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March 22, 2007


The Austrian Federal President has awarded law professor Vivian Curran the Grand Decoration of Merit in Gold for services rendered to the Republic of Austria in her capacity as a member of the Austrian general settlement fund committee. Curran was appointed to the committee by the U.S. State Department.

The general settlement fund committee worked to adjudicate claims filed by surviving victims of the Austrian Holocaust who were seeking compensation for losses suffered at the hands of the Nazis. The Austrian ambassador is expected in Pittsburgh later this spring for a ceremony presenting Curran with the Grand Decoration.

Curran is a member of the American Law Institute and the International Academy of Comparative Law. She is the founder of Pitt law school’s languages for lawyers program, in which students study foreign languages in a legal context, and of English for lawyers, in which international lawyers study English in a legal context.


The School of Education last week announced plans to expand its higher education management program in the Department of Administrative and Policy Studies to include a new center for community college leadership. The new center will be led by Stewart Sutin, president of Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), who will join Pitt in the summer upon completion of his service there.

In addition to directing the new center, Sutin will be a clinical professor of administrative and policy studies.

Pitt’s management program trains leaders and administrators for professional jobs in higher education. This new program will complement the school’s existing program with a targeted and extensive focus on community college leadership.

Prior to joining CCAC, Sutin was vice chair of the Board of Trustees of the International Fine Arts College of Miami and a member of the board of trustees of St. Thomas University in Miami and the board of overseers of the Graduate School of International Economics, Finance and Business at Brandeis University.

Sutin also was president of Bank of Boston International, senior vice president and international department head for Mellon Financial Corp. and assistant manager for the Latin American division of J.P. Morgan Chase.

Sutin has served on advisory boards at Pitt, including at the University Center for International Studies and the Center for Latin American Studies.


Nicholas Rescher, University Professor of Philosophy, has been awarded an honorary doctorate by Cleveland State University in recognition of his contributions to philosophy. This is the eighth time that he has been so honored by universities on three continents.

Rescher has served as chair of the philosophy department and vice chair of the Center for Philosophy of Science. He is the author of more than 90 books on a wide variety of philosophical subjects.

His awards include the Alexander von Humboldt Prize from the German Federal Republic for distinguished scholarship in the humanities, the Aquinas Medal from the American Catholic Philosophical Association and the Prix Mercier from the Catholic University of Louvain for his 2005 book, “Scholastic Meditations.”

He also is a foreign fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the equivalent of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Alexandros Labrinidis, assistant professor of computer science, was named editor-in-chief of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) SIGMOD Record, which is the official newsletter of ACM’s special interest group on management of data. SIGMOD is a professional organization for database researchers and practitioners.

Labrinidis’s research interests are focused on user-centric data management for network-centric applications.


Christopher D. Harner, professor of orthopaedic surgery at the School of Medicine, has been elected to the board of directors of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

Harner also is medical director of the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine, where he serves as director of education.

He was elected for “his unwavering dedication to the orthopaedic profession, as well as his many accomplishments,” according to an AAOS statement.

Harner supports the AAOS’s efforts to increase diversity within orthopaedics. “In my teaching positions at the University and Center for Sports Medicine clinic, I am able to work in a program that encourages both racial and gender diversity. It is important to our profession that we have much greater diversity. The racial and ethnic makeup of this country is changing. The face of orthopaedic surgery needs to reflect that change,” Harner said.

Harner has been published widely in peer-reviewed journals and books, and has held numerous visiting professorships. He is chief of the Division of Sports Medicine within UPMC’s Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.


An interdisciplinary conference at Pitt titled “Sovereign Space in Early Cities” will bring together noted scholars from three continents to discuss sovereign space, that is, space reserved for use by the ruler of a city in the early cities of Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, China, Mesoamerica and Africa.

The March 30 conference will honor Cho-yun Hsu, emeritus professor of history and sociology, who served Pitt for more than 30 years. The event is open to the public. For more information, contact conference organizer Anthony Jerome Barbieri-Low,


Rhonda Rea, assistant professor of pharmacy and therapeutics at the School of Pharmacy, received the 2006 Presidential Citation Award at the 36th annual Critical Care Congress for her contributions to the Society of Critical Care Medicine.

Rea also was appointed as chair for the Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacology section’s education committee for the upcoming year and named a member of the 2008 pharmacotherapy conference planning committee.


Ted Rice, associate professor of pharmacy and therapeutics at the pharmacy school, is the recipient of the 2006 National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) Distinguished Team Member Award for National Pharmacy Response Team Region III. He will receive the award this month during the 2007 NDMS conference.

Rice also received the 2006 Merck Pharmacy Achievement Award and the 2006 Bristol-Myers Squibb Award at the Pennsylvania Society of Health-System Pharmacists meeting last fall.


John Slimick, associate professor of computer science and director of the computer science and information systems programs at the Bradford campus, has been named to a team of professionals reviewing one of the academic programs at Jamestown (N.Y.) Community College (JCC).

Slimick will be a part of the external review team evaluating the associate of applied science degree program in computer information systems.

The evaluation will consist of tours of the facilities at the JCC Cattaraugus County Campus in Olean, along with meetings comprised of students and faculty. Additional meetings will take place at JCC’s Jamestown campus.

Slimick was invited to take part in the evaluation because of his familiarity with the subject matter and with JCC’s programs, campus officials said. This is the third review team on which Slimick has served.


Brian Vander Schee, assistant professor of business management at Pitt-Bradford, has been named the winner of a teaching award from the Marketing Management Association.

Vander Schee will be recognized as one of the winners of the 2007 Hormel Meritorious Teaching Award during the Marketing Management Association’s annual international conference March 28-30.

The association’s judges considered a number of factors, including courses taught, student assessment results, scholarship and successful teaching practices or strategies.


Awards for two Pitt-Greensburg staff members recently were announced.

Sandy Buehner, office services specialist at the Millstein Library, was named winner of the 2007 President’s Award for Staff Excellence. The award is designed to recognize staff who have demonstrated excellence in the workplace and a consistent pattern of extraordinary dedication to the University above and beyond a candidate’s job responsibilities. The recognition carries a monetary award of $750.

Joyce Bucchi, director of Human Resources at Pitt-Greensburg, was selected for an Innovations Award in the business/workplace category by the Mental Health Association of Westmoreland County, a United Way agency that works for better mental health and overcoming mental illness. Bucchi will receive the award April 26 at the association’s annual conference.

The business/workplace award is given to a person or entity that promotes wellness in the workplace. The winner must demonstrate outstanding promotion of mental health within the workforce or constituency; use health promotion and stress management strategies; employ people with psychiatric disability through supported employment programs; demonstrate insight and willingness to provide reasonable accommodations for persons with psychiatric disability; demonstrate low turnover related to job satisfaction, and display an investment in the mental health of the community.

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