Leon Barnes was a leader in head and neck pathology

A quick conversation with his family revealed two sides to renowned head and neck pathologist E. Leon Barnes Jr., who retired from Pitt in 2010 as a professor of pathology emeritus and died at 81 on Feb. 24, 2023.

Jonas T. Johnson, professor of otolaryngology, talked to Barnes’ widow and their two daughters a few days after his death and learned that he was the consummate family man who doted on his wife, kids and grandchildren.

But Barnes, despite being regarded as a leader in head and neck pathology, left his science at the lab. “Apparently,” Johnson says, “he did not talk too much about work at home.”

After earning his MD at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in 1966, Barnes came to the Pitt School of Medicine for a residency in anatomic and clinical pathology. He sidestepped after being drafted into the Army but completed his residency in 1972. He became an assistant professor of pathology, and except for one year in private practice, remained at Pitt Med until his retirement in 2010 as a professor of pathology emeritus.

The University established an endowed chair in the Department of Pathology in his name.

Barnes wrote seven pathology textbooks and more than 200 peer-review manuscripts. He received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in 1995 and was awarded the European Society of Pathology Honorary Diploma. In 2012, he received the Fred Waldorf Stewart Award from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Department of Pathology.

“Leon was one of only two or three in the world who helped define head and neck pathology,” Johnson says.

George K. Michalopoulos, chair of the Department of Pathology, says Barnes’ classifications of head and neck tumors are standards in the field and can be directly linked to therapies for those cancers.

“The whole field of pathology, from here to Alaska to Australia, relating to what are the classifications of head and neck cancers and how the therapies work” stems from Barnes’ research, Michalopoulos says.

Robert Ferris, the Hillman professor of oncology and director of UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, says of Barnes’ contributions: “Leon defined the concept of biomarkers before we really even knew what those were, and how important they could be for patient selection to optimize outcomes and guide treatment intensity. Many of the pathologic features of risk that he identified in the 1980s have been validated and are now integrated into the American Joint Committee on Cancer staging system across the world for head and neck cancer.”

Michael Aubele

Chiang led clean coal research and directed the Pittsburgh Coal Conference

Chemical Engineering Emeritus Professor Shiao-Hung Chiang — whose influential work on clean coal processes led to their wide use and several patents, and who directed the Pittsburgh Coal Conference for decades (1973-1999) — died Dec. 14, 2022, at 94.

“He certainly brought notoriety to the school through his research work, and he was certainly very well known not only throughout the school but the entire University,” said former departmental colleague George Klinzing, now an emeritus instructor. “He had the highest respect as a faculty member in the school. He always stood for the highest standards in the academic field.”

Klinzing assisted with Chiang’s most prominent grant-supported study on the LICADO coal-cleaning process, which uses liquid carbon dioxide as the agent. Chiang led the basic and applied research, which included building a pilot plant unit to prove the principle.

In his large, funded projects involving coal beneficiation — the filtration of fine coal — Chiang had Ph.D. and M.S. candidates, undergraduates and even high-school students in his laboratory, Klinzing said. “He had lots of good advice for everybody — not only me but the technicians. He was a senior counselor to all the junior faculty.”

Chiang was interim chair of his department for two years, traveled extensively to technical meetings all over the world and produced many scientific publications. In his work, he teamed not only with other faculty but also with government employees and those in industry concerning energy, coal and mass transfer basics.

He was active in the American Filtration Society and an officer in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and received an honorary degree from Wuhan University in China.

As executive chair of the Pittsburgh Coal Conference — a forum for exchange of technical information and policy issues among industry, government and academic participants — he worked to internationalize it by bringing the gathering to other countries.

Shiao-Hung Chiang was born in Suzhou, China, earned his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering at the National Taiwan University (1952), his master’s degree at Kansas State (1955) and his Ph.D. at Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) (1958), working there with Professor Herb Toor on basic mass transfer.

After being employed for several years at the Linde Corporation in Buffalo, N.Y., Chiang joined the Pitt faculty in 1960 and rose to the position of full professor. 

During his time at the University he enjoyed a strong rapport with the technicians in the department, Klinzing said; they worked with him closely in the design and construction of novel and innovative experimental apparatus to study a variety of physical and chemical principles, including radioactive tracers. He served on the University Radiation Safety Committee for many years, and took a sabbatical at Cambridge.

Chiang is survived by three children, Annette (Eric Hsiung), currently conducting research in Pitt’s Department of Biological Sciences; Grace; and Justin, and grandchildren Alexander Chiang, Lauren Chiang, Benjamin Hsiung and Emmy Hsiung.

— Marty Levine

Foulke designed Pitt’s first nuclear engineering program

Larry Foulke, who designed, organized and then oversaw the first decade of Pitt’s nuclear engineering program beginning in 2006 — after a four-decade career in the nuclear industry — died Oct. 26, 2022.

“We wouldn’t have a program without Larry,” said Dan Cole, one of Foulke’s successors as head of the program and today an associate professor in the Swanson School of Engineering’s mechanical engineering and materials science (MEMS) department.

Rather than teaching basic nuclear science and the design of reactor cores, the Pitt program formed by Foulke’s industry experience and expertise was “very focused on all the aspects that the industry needed to operate new power plants,” Cole said. This included the chemical and mechanical engineering knowledge that helps engineers keep nuclear power plants safe. “That is what makes our program strong and unique,” he said.

The academic program Foulke was recruited to spearhead — an undergraduate certificate and a graduate certificate and degree — was designed with industry needs in mind. Foulke had served in management at such local industry leaders as the Bettis Laboratory in West Mifflin and Westinghouse Electric Corp.

“What was remarkable about Larry was his enthusiasm,” said Cole, noting that Foulke’s career encompassed the promise of nuclear energy in the 1960s, the setback of Three Mile Island and the renaissance the industry enjoyed later. “I think the students appreciated that enthusiasm,” Cole added. Foulke’s enthusiasm extended to “getting the message out that nuclear power has a lot of promise and can help us solve some of the problems we have now.

“He was a great guy. I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if Larry hadn’t started a nuclear engineering program at Pitt — and what my students are doing. They’re doing great work, impactful work. It wouldn’t have happened without him creating the program.”

Foulke was born April 24, 1937 in Pratt, Kansas. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s of science degrees in nuclear engineering from Kansas State University and his Ph.D. in the same area from MIT in 1967, and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to the University of Oslo and Institute for Atomenergi in Norway (1961-62).

His 40-year career in nuclear technology began in the U.S. Army Reactors Group’s Nuclear Power Field Office in Ft. Belvoir, Va., where he served as a captain in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers through 1968.  He rose through management positions at Bettis and Westinghouse until his retirement in 2006.

During his career in industry, he taught nuclear engineering at the Bettis Reactor Engineering School (1969-1972) and as an adjunct at Penn State (1984-1988) before joining Pitt through 2015. While at the University, he also created and delivered a Massively Open Online Course, “A Look at Nuclear Science and Technology,” taken by more than 30,000 students in 179 countries.

He was a part-time technical judge for the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and a consultant to CRDF Global in the creation of the International Nuclear Education Consortium. He was a fellow of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology and a member of the Engineering Hall of Fame at Kansas State University.

Foulke was also a member of the American Nuclear Society beginning in 1966, serving as its president (2003-2004). He was on the advisory boards for other university nuclear programs and was the 2016 recipient of the Robert L. Long Training Excellence Award.

Brian Gleeson, Harry S. Tack chair and professor of MEMS, recalls Foulke as “a fantastic teacher — very well-spoken and very passionate about nuclear. He was energetic and creative. The guy was a fantastic figurehead but also knew the substance of what had to be put together” to create the program and make it succeed.

Minking Chyu, former MEMS chair and distinguished service professor and associate dean for international initiatives at the Swanson School, helped to hire Foulke and recalls him as “really the pioneer to bring his expertise to the nuclear program and to train the workforce for the industry.”

Foulke enabled the nascent Pitt program to make connections not only with his former industry colleagues but with professional societies and agencies. “He really opened up the opportunity for our faculty to explore research opportunities, which is still going on today,” Chyu said. “He has helped to put Pitt on the map for nuclear education.”

He is survived by his wife, Janice, and children Andrew Lan, Rikke Ralaine and Larra Lisa Omenetto, and five grandchildren.

— Marty Levine

Lewis Kuller

Kuller was one of the founders of preventive cardiology field

Pitt Public Health Professor Emeritus Lewis (Lew) H. Kuller, a pioneering researcher in the epidemiology of chronic diseases who built epidemiology into a top department as chair for three decades (1972-2002), died on Oct. 25, 2022.

“He was a giant in his field,” said Jane Cauley, interim epidemiology chair and distinguished professor. “He built the department into one of the premier departments of epidemiology” while maintaining his own research and prolific publication schedule in top journals to this year.

“He was a very generous mentor,” she recalled, having first met Kuller in graduate school; Kuller was also on Cauley’s doctoral committee and she later worked on his women’s health study. “He was fascinating to listen to. He knew so much and his mind moved so quickly. He was a lovely person, very loyal and kind, but he wasn’t afraid to speak his mind. He let you know if he disagreed” about a scientific idea. “Everyone respected him for that. He always did it to make the science best.”

Born Jan. 9, 1934, in Brooklyn, N.Y., Kuller earned his BA from Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y. (1955), an MD from George Washington University (1959), and both the MPH (1964) and DrPH (1966) from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Hygiene and Public Health.

He was a medical officer in the Navy (1961-63), then began his academic career at Johns Hopkins before joining Pitt. Here, Kuller established multiple large research programs in aging, women’s health, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease — including two groundbreaking projects that continue today, the Women’s Health Initiative and the Cardiovascular Health Study — which, according to his department, “made impactful contributions to our understanding of the progression of disease and principles of prevention.”

Kuller is one of the founders of the preventive cardiology field, and his work established blood pressure and cholesterol as risk factors for cardiovascular disease. He showed via major national clinical trials — including the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial and the Systolic Hypertension in the Elderly Program — that the illness is preventable.

He was among those who first recognized the significance of menopause for women’s cardiovascular health and conducted research to help reduce the risks. Kuller was also central to the institution of Pitt’s Alzheimer’s research program, which produced important findings concerning cognitive functioning in the elderly. His most recent work involved the study of cardiovascular disease’s effects on later Alzheimer’s disease.

Hailed by his department as “a prolific researcher,” “a superb epidemiologist” and a “visionary,” Kuller, department leaders said, was “known for his incredible intellect (and) took great joy in teaching and mentoring students. Throughout his long academic journey, he had a major influence on the careers of others, particularly the young investigators he tirelessly supported, serving as a role model for the importance of collaboration in the pursuit of science.” He was honored with a Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award for his years at Pitt.

Kuller was also awarded the Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship and a fellowship from the American Heart Association and Council on Nutrition. He received the American Public Health Association’s John Snow Award and the American Heart Association’s Peter J. Safar Pulse of Pittsburgh Award.

Anne B. Newman, UPMC chair in geroscience and distinguished professor of epidemiology, also knew Kuller as a teacher, mentor and colleague, teaming with him on the cardiovascular health study.

“He was always very clear about what was important,” Newman recalled. “He was always clear on what the big picture was. He was always looking at new data” and how to present it effectively. “And everyone wanted to get his ideas on how to work on their own projects. Everyone wanted to know what Lew would think … because he was so clear in seeing what needed to be done.”

Until recently, she said, Kuller was still sending her links to articles in her field so that she could keep up with the latest research findings, as he did. “I think his impact was through a lot of these other people — they call him a mentor but I think he was just having a great time talking about science. Lew talked about science for fun — he just enjoyed it so much.”

Bruce Psaty of the University of Washington’s epidemiology department worked with Kuller on the cardiovascular health study, since Washington was the coordinating center and Pitt was one of four field centers beginning in 1987 — a study still going on. Psaty was then a young faculty member and had not found a mentor at his own university. “Lew was tremendously generous and took me on as a mentor as part of the study. He was as kind as if I were at the University of Pittsburgh.

“Lew was just a national treasure,” Psaty added. “A generous, friendly, helpful soul. He thought broadly about the field and how to improve it and how to improve the health of the public.” Kuller’s impact on the field “was really tremendous. His mentees are all over the country doing good work. I often went to him for advice on scientific issues and how to behave with colleagues. He was a model of collegiality,” sharing data and promoting young investigators.

“He just was such a generous soul and set a standard and created a culture that allowed us all to thrive. He is in the hearts and minds of many scientists across the country.”

Kuller is survived by his wife Alice, children Gail Enda (Stephen), Anne Kuller (Brian Adams) and Steven Kuller (Laura), and grandchildren Helen, Grace, Sophie, Charlotte, Eliza and Margot.

A University memorial will be held at a later date. Memorial gifts are suggested to the Lewis H. Kuller Scholarship Award, which supports student tuition, books, fees, research and travel for students in the Department of Epidemiology.

— Marty Levine

Sally Newman was honored for her work on Generations Together

Sally Newman, who created and served as executive director of Generations Together — the first university-based intergenerational studies program in the United States — and was the founding editor-in-chief of the Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, died Sept. 23, 2022 at 93.

Carrie Ann Rodzwicz, assistant editor of the journal and grants administrator for Pitt’s University Center for Social & Urban Research (UCSUR) — which housed Newman’s program —  worked closely with Newman from 2006 through the end of her career.

“In spite of our 50-plus-year age difference, we became fast friends,” Rodzwicz recalls. “She was a visionary, devoted to the field” that she pioneered. “Sally was passionate about bringing younger and older generations together for mutual learning and reducing stereotypes. Her goal was to bring intergenerational programs to communities around the world and to multiple disciplines in academia.”

Newman tried to retire repeatedly but still showed up to her office every day, Rodzwicz remembers. “It became a running joke at UCSUR. I would work with her for five-six hours per week and, in our weekly meetings, she would assign to me 20 things that needed to be completed five minutes ago. I knew, in the time it would take for me to complete the assignments, that she would complete 100 tasks.”

Born Sally May Faskow on June 4, 1929, in Brooklyn, N.Y., Newman began attending Juilliard at 16, graduating in piano in 1950. Working as a concert pianist, conductor and music teacher, she earned a master's degree from Columbia University Teachers’ College in 1954 and her Ph.D. in education from Pitt in 1973, as well as a post-doctoral gerontology certificate from Pitt’s School of Social Work in 1980.

She had already begun her academic career as a research associate in the University’s Gerontology Center (1979-1982), then became a clinical instructor in psychiatry at Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic starting in 1982 and a senior research associate in UCSUR that same year. She was an adjunct faculty in social work here beginning in 1986 and an assistant professor in education commencing six years later, gaining emeritus status at UCSUR in 2001.

Generations Together earned broad recognition for its work, including two Presidential Awards at the White House in 1986 and 1989. Newman herself received the Clark Tibbits Award from the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, as well as honors from the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the National Intergenerational Caucus of Early Childhood Professions.

When she received the Tibbits award, Newman was quoted in a Pitt News Service release as saying: “The quality of life of older persons is best expressed in relationship to how they fit as productive citizens in society at large. Intergenerational programming can have a profound impact on their learning, socialization and cognitive functions." 

In nominating Newman for another prize in 2011, Richard Schulz, then UCSUR director, noted her accomplishments, which included instituting a Youth in Service to Elderly program, bringing more than 1,000 middle school, high school and university students each year as volunteers to isolated, homebound or institutionalized elderly; the Intergenerational Arts Programs, partnering with 25 Western Pennsylvania school districts and the regional art community to place older artists in schools for workshops and coaching sessions; the Intergenerational Service Learning Program in Gerontology for master’s level students to learn how to design and implement intergenerational programs in their communities; and the Senior Citizen School Volunteer Program, the first intergenerational, school-based model in Pennsylvania for placing seniors in school classrooms as tutors, mentors, project monitors, examination coaches and emotional or social advisors.

She co-authored the first textbook on intergenerational issues, “Intergenerational Programs: Imperatives, Strategies, Impacts and Trends(1989) and is senior author of the textbook, “Intergenerational Programs: Past, Present and Future” (1997). She was widely cited as a spokesperson in her field, working as a consultant to university programs and social agencies here and abroad.

She was also founder and first co-chair of the International Consortium of Intergenerational Programs.

Jennifer Bissell, program coordinator of the Gerontology Research Program at UCSUR, worked alongside Newman and collaborated to create one of the courses in the graduate certificate in gerontology program, “Intergenerational Studies.” an online offering in collaboration with colleagues around the world.

“She had so much to offer and so much to say,” Bissell said of Newman. “She was fascinating, because she had so many life experiences. She was a great storyteller.”

Rodzwicz concurs: “Sally told the best stories, about camping follies, her time living in India, about growing up in New York City, about Julliard and hair modelling … to make ends meet. 

“I was shocked at my first dinner with her and her husband Ezra — Ted — that they argued about politics and religion the whole time. I was raised being told these topics were inappropriate for the dinner table since they caused arguments. Sally asked: What was wrong with that? Let everyone express their opinions and then you know where they stand.

“Sally challenged all of her younger coworkers to obtain higher degrees, go back to school, move up, fight for higher wages. She was relentless …

“She was always updating coworkers about what her grandchildren were up to in their lives. She seemed to encourage and motivate her family in the same way she did with younger colleagues at work, telling us to strive, advance, reinvent and that nothing is impossible.”

Newman is survived by her son, David (Uma Bhatt); her daughter, Dara (Scott Samuels); her sister, Ricky Fullman; and her grandchildren Tessa, Leah, Tilahun, and Ari José.

— Marty Levine

Anthony SIlvestre

Silvestre led the way on Pitt Men’s Study and AIDS Task Force

Anthony “Tony” Silvestre, whose work with the LGBT community was far ahead of its time and made the pioneering Pitt Men’s Study possible, died Sept. 1, 2022 at 75.

Silvestre was one of the founders of the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force and, for three decades, was on the frontlines of AIDS research for Pittsburgh and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania — work that improved how the country did HIV studies and, eventually, other research that required the enlistment of the public in order to succeed.

Charles Rinaldo, professor of infectious diseases and microbiology in the School of Public Health and of pathology in the School of Medicine, received National Institutes of Health funding in 1983 to study this disease that did not have a name or a known cause yet. And he needed someone who could meet and speak with local LGBT community members on their own terms and gain trust and participation in what became known as the Pitt Men’s Study. Pittsburgh had very few AIDS cases at the time and the NIH questioned whether there might be different strains of the disease in different cities.

Silvestre, then working as an LGBT activist in Philadelphia, was the top choice of the Persad Center, a prominent Pittsburgh LGBT organization. Hiring Silvestre “was the best move I ever made in the study,” Rinaldo recalls. “Tony was fantastic. He said: ‘This is how we need to go about communicating with the community and getting them on our side,’ ” and began attending local LGBT community events and meeting with local LGBT bar owners.

“He set up what I believe was the first community development board for one of these studies in the United States,” Rinaldo said — now something required by NIH for such community research. The study also involved meeting personally with study participants answering questions about their lives and health and allowing the study to take blood samples. Silvestre was there for that part of the job as well, at a time when giving the men a positive AIDS test result was tantamount to pronouncing a death sentence.

“We would have gone down the drain as a study if we hadn’t done it right, and Tony taught us how to do it right,” Rinaldo said. Silvestre’s work there continued for decades, even as the study participants’ needs changed with new effects of the disease emerging, and new medications being developed to make the illness livable.

“Tony and I especially had a bond,” based on their Italian heritage and New York origins, Rinaldo added, but they were also different, since Silvestre was a Zen Buddhist. “He didn’t proselytize but it was in his life in the way he dealt with people,” Rinaldo said.

Silvestre led an ad hoc class on meditation at Pitt and his practice helped him found the Pitt Center for Mindfulness and Consciousness Studies. “Tony was a special person, with a very calm demeanor … We followed his lead. He taught me a lot about dealing with the community in the right way, and I bless him for that.”

Silvestre was born on Feb. 26, 1946 in the Bronx’s “Little Italy,” graduating from Cardinal Spellman High School and enrolling at Holy Cross Brothers Seminary/Stonehill College in Massachusetts for three years. He earned his undergraduate degree from Kings College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., his master’s degree from Penn State University in 1974 and his Ph.D. in social work from Pitt in 1992.

His international advocacy and public health work began at Penn State (1971-76), continued with several Philadelphia organizations (1976-83) and brought him to Pitt in early 1984 until his retirement in 2018.

In 1976, he was the founding chairman of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Council on Sexual Minorities, likely the first such state organization in the country. He was U.S. liaison to the World Health Organization (1990-93) and a subject matter expert on HIV for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2002.

Through the years, he served on many expert and advisory panels for the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Allegheny County Department of Health on HIV, alcohol and substance use among gender and sexual minorities, community marginalization and health education and outreach.

But he is perhaps best known in Pittsburgh for his role in forming and running the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force (now Allies for Health and Wellbeing) in its early years. In the process, he supported more than a dozen other state and community groups promoting LGBTQIA-related and HIV-related health messaging for at-risk communities.

In conjunction with his research and teaching in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, he founded the Pennsylvania Prevention Project (now the HIV Prevention and Care Project) there in 1993 to advance comprehensive HIV planning with impacted communities. He also helped create and direct the School of Public Health’s Center for LGBT Research, and was honored by Pitt with the Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award.  

He published more than 45 peer-reviewed articles, proceedings and book chapters, and created many state and federal professional reports and presentations as well, much of which can be found at Dickinson College.

His decades of service garnered many community awards: “Outstanding Young Man of America Award” from Advocate Magazine; Pittsburgh’s Lambda Man of the Year Award, the Director’s Advocacy Award from the Lambda Foundation; the Justice Achievement Award from the Thomas Merton Center; and the Founders’ Award from the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force. The city of Pittsburgh declared Sept. 21, 2019 “Dr. Tony Silvestre Day” in honor of his work.

Silvestre’s departmental colleague Sarah Krier took a class from him in 2008 that she eventually co-taught with Silvestre and now handles herself. She remembers Silvestre as “the greatest mentor of my life. He mentored so many people around the world. How did he do it all? How did he change my career? He saw something in me that I didn’t even see myself.”

His classroom demeanor in the course Krier took and teaches, “Human Diversity in Public Health Research Practice and Policy,” was “engaging and funny. His course was way ahead of the time in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion. The two big lessons were that if you want to know something about people, you need to ask them, but you also need to do critical self-reflection about your privilege and your power which you bring to your work. What he learned from the early days of AIDS is that this was essential.”

In the class’s second assignment, he asked students “how you would take care of yourself as a healthcare worker when you got burned out, and he encouraged us to get out of the classroom and learn from outside of academia.”

She also worked for Silvestre in his last decade with Pitt as a research specialist in the HIV prevention and care project in their school, of which she is now principal investigator.

“He led the way for all of us who are passionate about LGBTQ health and well-being,” as “a fierce advocate and an example that we all wanted to follow. … After he said something, it would move the world forward. Community mobilization was his thing and he was the best at it.” In particular, she remembered an e-mail from him that urged: “‘We all need to succeed and there are far too few of us in this work. We all need to support each other to succeed.’

“He was just an incredible force and an incredible man.”

“It is difficult to overstate the impact that his work has had,” noted David Givens, faculty in Silvestre’s department and now co-PI and director of the HIV Prevention and Care Project and co-director of the Center for Mindfulness and Consciousness Studies. “The groundbreaking work they were able to do (in the governor’s council) extending protections to LGBT people in the state was unprecedented at the time.” There and elsewhere, Silvestre was “always trying to press the conversation: Who is not at this table? What’s next? How to make our effort and the efforts of the state more equitable and more inclusive … really pushing for committee members of color, people who identify as trans.

“This perspective and the way that he pushed for better health outcomes … was looking beyond single issues” and tried more broadly “to improve co-morbidities and other health disparities for communities impacted by HIV,” as well as lessen the impact of stigma, of poverty, of drug and alcohol use and other issues. “It is part of the pattern of his life: looking beyond the issue immediately in front of you and looking at how do we improve the communities for the future.”

When Givens tried to throw a retirement party for Silvestre, he recalled, Silvestre turned it into a presentation honoring those who had died of AIDS and outlining the ways in which we still need to help. 

The Center for LGBT Research is now “a leader nationally and internationally in this topic,” Givens said, and the Center for Mindfulness, as “an academic lens for that human experience … was just another way he was looking ahead,” aiming to find evidence-based ways to improve overall health and well-being. “He saw so many of the opportunities that still lie ahead of us. “

Former departmental colleague Mackey Friedman, now at Rutgers, recalls meeting and working with Silvestre beginning in 1990: “I found him to be incredibly warm and welcoming and interested in harnessing all the talent locally to make the conditions better for people who are dealing with HIV. He was a tremendous individual with seemingly unlimited compassion and selflessness, just an incredible human who was always about 25 years ahead of his time.

“This guy had been doing stuff long before the rest of the country caught up,” Friedman added. “He was pushing for LGBTQ-plus equity at very high levels of government, (and with) bottomless charm, very canny strategies, he was able to make things better for LGBTQ-plus folks in Pennsylvania. The organizations that he has helped found continue to be the bedrock and foundation for LGBTQ-plus equity here. He was an absolute visionary.”

Talking to people recently about Silvestre — those who met him once, those who knew him for years — Friedman has found “they all say the same thing: They felt so welcomed in his company. They also felt like he wanted to be right there, right then, talking with them.”

He is survived by his husband Michael Sutherland, sister Angelina, 10 nieces and nephews and 10 great-nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held in Pittsburgh at a future date. Memorial gifts are suggested to the Thích Nhất Hạnh Foundation, 2499 Melru Lane, Escondido, CA 92026

— Marty Levine

Ray Cristina helped guide a wide variety of Pitt’s publications

Ray Cristina, a top editor and writer for Pitt’s News and Publications department (1977-1990) who shepherded half the University’s print materials from idea onward in the days when a central office handled them all, died in late August 2022.

Peter Hart, who handled the other half of the University’s publications for a dozen years alongside Cristina, recalls his friend as a mentor and “among the best editors I’ve worked with in my 32 years at Pitt. He was equally comfortable talking with a chancellor, with a faculty member or a student. He also was a talented writer, an avid reader, a humorist, a great storyteller, a competitive athlete from tennis to roller skating and an animal lover, particularly horses and dogs. … Ray was someone who genuinely loved life and lived it to the fullest.”

Another colleague, designer Vicki Dinsmore, saw Cristina’s deftness as a liaison between University departments and his own, when everything from recruitment brochures, admissions booklets, special event publications and theater programs needed to be designed or edited and printed. Cristina edited their copy “if they allowed him to,” Dinsmore recalled, and then directed it to a designer.

“He was the portal through which all the material came,” she explained. “He was very knowledgeable, very thorough in what he was doing. Every job was held closely by him and monitored and defined by him, according to the client’s wishes.

“He worked in a really wonderful way,” she recalled. “He knew what the client wanted but he knew what the designer wanted to do. He would sell the designer’s work to the client, would talk to them in his manner and get them to come around. He had his way of softly, gently dealing with them, and they loved it. They really responded to him.” If, she added, the University department held firm, he also had no problem helping the designer to adjust her design.

“He was very much a rock of the department,” Dinsmore said. “He was looked at as a person who understood, who had the good of the client at heart, who had the good of the University at heart.

"He just never promoted himself,” she said. “He was very gentle, very modest, but he knew who he was and what he could do.”

That included teaming with English professor Edwin L. Peterson on the research for his famed book “Penn’s Woods West,” exploring the Allegheny River and Allegheny National Forest together, and later in life taking up ceramics, including enamel work, and penning two self-published novels.

Cristina served in the Navy (1946-48) as an electronic technician’s mate, then began his career as a staff correspondent in the Pittsburgh bureau of United Press Association (1951-54), joining Pitt’s English department as an instructor for a decade afterward (1955-64). In the 1950s, he produced a half-hour documentary for KDKA-TV, a play for WIIC (now WPXI) and both kinds of material for WQED. He spent another decade as director of technical communications for the Western Pennsylvania Hospital (1964-75), where he wrote publications and scripted, edited, directed and even narrated instructional and PR films, before returning to Pitt in the News and Publications department.

On his retirement on March 1, 1990, then-Pitt President Wesley W. Posvar praised Cristina in a letter as a “talented and dedicated member” of the staff, “especially helpful” in the design and production of several prominent reports, which he handled with “characteristic professionalism.”

The senior officer in charge of Cristman’s department, Mary Ann Aug, recalls him today as “a wonderful guy. We were very lucky to have him for all the years we did. Ray was a canny businessman, excellent editor and creative idea guy, and he was very well liked by all of his clients.”

Another departmental colleague, Patricia White, remembers Cristina as a “wonderful friend” but also a colleague whose desk was so clean and orderly one could only marvel, “Where is his work?”

They kept in touch through Cristina’s retirement in Florida. “I’m going to miss those little emails and talks that we had,” White said. He was still pitching book ideas to her in his later years.

“The man was never idle,” she said.

He is survived by his wife, Deanna R. Kratt; sister Shirley Anne Clarke; nieces and nephew Mary Dufek, John Clarke, Patricia Hurst, Kathleen Zumpone and Cristina Clarke; stepdaughter Jane Heffelfinger; step-granddaughters Raegan Heffelfinger and Peyton Heffelfinger and stepson Richard Kratt.

Memorial gifts are suggested to the National World War II Museum, 945 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70130.

— Marty Levine

Li had 58-year ‘impactful’ career at Swanson School

Professor Emeritus Ching-Chung Li, the longest-serving professor in the Swanson School of Engineering’s Electrical and Computer Engineering department at 58 years, died Sept. 3, 2022 at 90.

Department chair Alan George said Li “had a very impactful role for many years” in the school. He was hailed by his department for having “a tireless work ethic, deep principles and a fierce persistence that led him to excel at everything he pursued.”

Born on March 30, 1931, in Wuxi, China, Li grew up in Changshu, China, and earned his bachelor’s degree from National Taiwan University. At Northwestern University he received his M.S.E.E. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering.

He joined the Pitt faculty in September 1959 as an assistant professor and moved up the ranks to professor by 1967. Between 1964 and 2012, he conducted research as a visiting professor or visiting scientist at numerous academic and research institutions, including the Department of Electrical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley (1964); Biodynamics Laboratory, Alza Corporation, Palo Alto, Cal. (1970); Coal Preparation Division, Department of Energy, Pittsburgh Energy Technology Center (1982, 1983, 1985, 1988); Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass. (1988); and Robotics Institute (1999), Advanced Multimedia Processing Laboratory (2006), and Information and Communication Technologies Institute (2012), all at Carnegie Mellon University.

He mentored 28 students at the M.S. level, 37 students at the Ph.D. level, and two at the postdoctoral level. His more than half a century of research saw him involved as a member and committee chair of many professional organizations in his field, and as editor or a member of editorial boards for the Journal of Cybernetics and Information Science, Pattern Recognition, Computerized Medical Imaging and Graphics, Journal of Wavelet Theory and Applications and Current Development in Theory and Applications of Wavelets.

He published more than 250 peer-reviewed papers and numerous edited books. In honor of his scientific contributions, he was recognized as a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, American Association for Advancement of Science and the International Association for Pattern Recognition.

Li also made significant contributions to the promotion of research worldwide, especially in developing countries. He hosted numerous international visiting professors, research fellows and trainees in his laboratory and organized many international research conferences and workshops. He also gave lectures and helped establish research centers, including at the Institute of Information Science at the Beijing Jiaotong University in the 1980s, and the Center for Artificial Intelligence at the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan in recent years.

Li retired in August 2017.

He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Hanna (Wu); sons William (Shawna) Li and Vincent (Joy) Li; grandchildren Madeleine, Oliver and Noemi Li; and his sister Ching-Mi Sun.

Memorial gifts are suggested to the Angiogenesis Foundation

— Marty Levine

Chamberlain helped grow Center for Latin American Studies

Bobby John Chamberlain, associate professor emeritus following a 33-year career as a faculty member in the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures, died at 75 on Aug. 7, 2022.

Chamberlain’s arrival at Pitt, recalled Keith McDuffie, who served as department chair for many years, was not just a boon to the department “but for the Center for Latin American Studies and the University Center for International Studies. When he came he gave structure to the program and permanence, which was big.

“He was a nationally known figure at the time I hired him,” McDuffie said. “He had published quite a bit. He’d also taught and we’d had good reports on his teaching” at Michigan State and UCLA.

“He was an excellent teacher and that was supremely important,” McDuffie added. “His generous and very kind approach with students was a key part in his teaching,” in particular as he mentored students from Latin American countries who found Pittsburgh to be “very unusual” territory.

Another emeritus professor in the department, John R. Beverley, remembered Chamberlain as “a cherished colleague for some 40 years. He was the sort of teacher who comes in every day even when the weather is atrocious and the commute from the North Hills long.”

“When he came to Pitt, few universities had programs in Portuguese language and literature,” Beverley said. “By dint of his patient and dedicated work, Pitt now has an undergraduate minor in Portuguese and a series of graduate courses in Brazilian literature that most grad students take as part of their preparation for the Ph.D. Our department decided to move from a Spanish peninsular focus to a Latin American focus in the late 1980s. Brazil is the largest and most advanced country of the region, so it was decisive for both the department in its new orientation and the Center for Latin American Studies to offer that country as an area of study.”

Born in Huntington Park, Calif., on Oct. 30, 1946, Chamberlain earned all his degrees at UCLA, receiving the California Governor’s Award in his field alongside his doctorate in Brazilian and Spanish Literature and Linguistics. He was a two-time Fulbright Scholar conducting research in Brazil.

During his career, his research focused on Portuguese language and Brazilian literature, with a concentration on the prose fiction of Brazilian modernism and post modernism and on contemporary literary theory. He published widely in U.S. and Brazilian journals, as well as seven books, five of them as author, including dictionaries and guides to Brazilian Portuguese literature as well as to the author Jorge Amado.

At Pitt, he served as director of the Portuguese program upon his arrival in 1985, acting chair of his department in 1986-87, director of the Brazilian studies program beginning in 1999, and director of the Center for Latin American Studies’ field trip in Brazil in 1994 and 1997. He also served on the Ph.D. committees of many students. Chamberlain retired in 2018.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Katherine/Kay Giercyk Chamberlain, daughter Katherine Perrotti (Matt), grandchildren Scotlynne and Logan Fennell, Griffin, Brighton and Greenleigh Perrotti, son Robert Parker Chamberlain (Katrina Buches), sister Judith Lynn Baggs (Larry), nephew John Baggs (Veronica) and brother Gerald Parker Chamberlain.  

Memorial gifts are suggested to the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation.

Services will be held at a later date.

— Marty Levine

Russian Film Symposium founder Padunov was dedicated to mentoring students

Vladimir Padunov, faculty member in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures who brought to Pitt the international Russian Film Symposium, his pioneering thinking about post-Soviet Russian culture and a lifelong dedication to mentoring students, died June 26, 2022 at 75.


A gathering in Padunov's memory will be held at 4 p.m. Sept. 16, n the Kurtzman Room of the William Pitt Union.

Those who wish to contribute one sentence or photos of Volodia to the memorial slideshow may do so at this link by Sept. 9.

Please contact with any event questions.

His wife and academic partner, Nancy Condee (director of Graduate Studies in Padunov’s department and the Program for Film and Media Studies in the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences), notes the evolution of his work, first focusing on the culture that was emerging in Russia’s perestroika era as the pair lived in Moscow for several years prior to joining Pitt’s Slavic department and Film Studies program. Padunov served as Film Studies associate director (2002-13) and directed many Slavic and film Ph.D. dissertations. His research (both single-authored and with Condee) appeared in The Nation, New Left Review, and October, as well as in leading Russian journals and the independent Russian newspapers.

When joining Pitt, Padunov in 1990 formed the Working Group on Contemporary Russian Culture — international scholars who held meetings in Moscow, Berkeley and London on contemporary Russian cultural politics, supported by funds from the American Council of Learned Societies, Social Science Research Council and the MacArthur Foundation. They authored a series of working papers in the new field of post-Soviet studies.

“It was formative in the early ‘90s,” Condee says, leading to discussions and debates: “Who to read? What was the politics? We were among the people at the center of what post-Soviet culture would be.”

Beginning in 1999, his Russian Film Symposium brought the Russian liberal and oppositional intelligentsia to Pittsburgh for this annual weeklong event each May. The festival attracted directors, actors and scriptwriters whom it was rare to see in other venues. This year it focused on Ukrainian films, and in the past has also included cinema from Central Asia and other former Soviet states as well.

The symposium drew attention for the breadth of its offering and willingness to broach controversial themes, Condee says. Guests regularly donated media copies to the University library, contributing to what became the largest collections of materials on Russian and regional cinema in the Western hemisphere.

And Pitt doctoral students were at the center of its organization, helping to plan and set up the festival, writing screening notes and introducing the offerings. “It was a kind of practicum for them,” Condee says.

“Volodia,” as Padunov was known, also brought groups of Pitt Ph.D. students to important Russian film festivals and drew younger Russian scholars from provincial cities to the West for the first time.

As a mentor and teacher, she recalls, “he was the toughest of all of us in the department. He set his standards high, and he was insistent that the standards be met. He was a lively interlocutor. He was a very active mentor to both undergraduates and graduate students.” He brought students to Russia repeatedly, not only for its film festivals but also for conferences, she reports. “He trained them not just to be a scholar but a part of the international scholarly community,” Condee says.

Two of Padunov’s former students, now faculty members in Russian studies at the College of William & Mary — Elena Prokhorova and husband Alexander Prokhorov — say he mentored them from the beginning, when they left the Soviet Union in the early 1990s to enter Pitt to this year.

“For both of us, his influence on our lives and careers was just tremendous,” says Prokhorova. Both say Padunov introduced them to their profession, to the life of a scholar and to specific individuals who could help their work and careers.

“He was an unorthodox teacher and mentor and thinker,” Prokhorova recalls. “Paradoxes are what he threw at us. It was not a smooth ride for any graduate student. But if you could take it, it opened up literature or film or whatever you were dealing with.”

“He invented things which never existed before. He opened up new fields,” Prokhorov says.

“It changed our lives,” Prokhorova says. “That’s a scholar. That’s a thinker. He was a challenging presence in everyone’s life.”

In 1990, for instance, he prompted his department to expand teaching assistant duties from language courses to include those on literature and culture. Then, when Prokhorova was a TA, he sat in on all her classes, taking notes and debriefing her after every session. “It was a semester from hell,” she says, “but, after that, teaching became a natural. He had just an incredible amount of investment in us.”

“That kind of mentoring continued for the next 30 years,” says Prokhorov. With Condee, the pair “taught us how to be in the profession. They taught us how to write grant applications. They took us to major conferences. They introduced us to people probably we would never have been able to meet. They made sure that we learned how to network.

“Both of them have a gift for creating an intellectual community around them and keeping the community around,” he added, “In my view this is the greatest tribute to their contribution to the fields” of Slavic Studies and Film Studies.

Padunov’s work, says Prokhorova, marked “the shift from the Cold War model for studying anything Russian, where the political scientists led the way. They moved away from that to looking at Russian and even Soviet cultures as normal, if you will — looking at cultural artifacts, women literature, etc. “

Prokhorov sees Padunov’s work as “a great resource for everybody, translating the love and enthusiasm for visual culture and popular culture” into a field of academic study. Traditionally, scholars focus on high culture and canonical literature, whereas Padunov introduced contemporary Western literary theories to popular cultural studies, he notes.

Pitt emeritus faculty member in history William Chase remembers Padunov as a colleague and friend: “He and Nancy had an astounding network of colleagues in Russia,” Chase says, which greatly enhanced the impact of the film symposium for students and in general. Chase recalls Padunov as being “demanding yet fair. He really was devoted to his students, especially the graduate students; it always impressed me. He was very much committed to students and their success. That commitment really paid off” in the success of those students in their academic fields.

Born June 4, 1947 in a displaced persons camp in Aschaffenburg, Germany, Padunov moved to the U.S. with his mother as a pre-schooler. He earned his BA in English and comparative literature from Brooklyn College in 1968, and his MA (1975) and Ph.D. (1983) from Cornell in comparative and Russian literature. Drafted by the Army, he worked in Thailand as a senior administrative specialist, reassigning or discharging soldiers from the field, then received a fellowship at the Freie Universität Berlin (1975-76), as well as teaching positions at the University of Iowa (1976-78) and Hunter College (1979-85).

In 1984, he and Condee moved to the Soviet Union, supported by U.S. grants from the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) and the Institute of Current World Affairs. They were affiliated with the Gor’kii Institute of World Literature (Moscow) and stayed on to work in a publishing house and eventually with the Kennan Institute of Advanced Russian Studies.

His work, Condee says, “looked at the battles of the liberal intelligentsia in dialogue with the state, what was forbidden and why, what was funded and why and what lay below the surface. He thought of himself as an alternative to often a naive engagement with post-Soviet culture and on the other hand a kind of knee-jerk anti-communism. Between both those poles there are a lot of interesting questions to ask.

“Speaking as his partner,” Condee adds, “we seldom agreed on (Pitt) department policy and that disagreement was ultimately good for us and the department. He was a contrarian by nature. He was unafraid to raise difficult questions. He’s the kind of faculty colleague who is good for administrators. in the sense that he was unafraid of contradictions, of the need to address difficult questions that kept us to a higher standard.”

As for his legacy, she says: “He was a fire starter, a provocateur, and I think that’s one of the reasons for his success. Even with his undergraduates he was not afraid to take a polemical position.

“He was a great partner,” she concludes, “and in that partnership I think other colleagues in our field felt more comfortable moving forward as academic partners. I value that I had this partnership with him.”

He is survived by Condee, two children (Kira and Nikolai), and grandchild Leander Nathaniel Hauser.

— Marty Levine

Bramson made sure research animals got excellent care

Paul Harlan “Cooky” Bramson, whose work in animal procurement and care was a crucial part of Pitt’s biomedical programs for 30 years, died April 24, 2022, at 80 in Murrysville.

Daniel J. Simons, faculty member in neurobiology in the School of Medicine, worked closely with Bramson for 12 years as chair of the University’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.

“Dr. Bramson was a highly knowledgeable, scientifically schooled veterinarian,” Simons said. “For Paul, a program ensuring excellent animal care was a vital component of the University’s biomedical research and teaching activities, missions to which he was deeply committed. Paul’s good nature and abundant personal charm helped him guide Pitt’s animal-related research enterprise through a period of substantial growth and change during which Pitt’s accomplishments in health-related research rose to national prominence.”

Rich Henderson, associate vice chancellor for Finance Management in Health Sciences, remembered being the first “ ‘gray suit,’ as he liked to call me,” working in Bramson’s department beginning in 1991. “We quickly developed a great working relationship and a solid friendship. He was a kind and caring man, and he did everything that he could to help the employees in the department. The University was lucky to have a man like Paul working here for close to 30 years.”

“As a friend and veterinary colleague, I watched as Paul managed the University of Pittsburgh biomedical animal research program from the level of a mom and pop store upon his entry to the University in the early 1980s to one of the largest NIH-funded institutions in the country,” recalled Ed Klein, clinical associate professor emeritus of the medical school.

“Some of his major accomplishments included the planning and structural design of numerous new animal housing and use facilities, achieving full institutional credentialing in the Association for the Advancement and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (the gold standard in independent accreditation of biomedical research institutions internationally) and helping develop and refine an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee in 1985.”

Bramson, continued Klein, “was a staunch advocate and defender of all who worked under him, knowing most of his 100-plus employees by name and personally interacting with them as often as possible. While spending a career ushering Pitt into the forefront of biomedical research excellence, he remained a humble and genuine person, constantly working to better the lives of both the animals and personnel under his charge.”

Bramson was born Dec. 29, 1941, in Brooklyn, N.Y. He attended Colorado State University and the University of Illinois, where he got his veterinary doctorate as well as a master’s degree in biology and reproductive physiology.

Beginning in 1978, he worked at the Bushy Run Laboratory of Carnegie Mellon University for several years before moving to Pitt, where he was involved with animal procurement for Thomas Starzl’s pioneering liver transplant surgeries as well as the design of the animal housing in Pitt’s Biomedical Science Towers.

Prior to his retirement, he was the longest president of the Three Rivers Branch of the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science.

He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Toni Sue (Trout); children David (Kristen) Bramson and Heidi (Russ) Winslow; grandchildren Emily, Lucas, Ryan (Jessie) and Cody; brothers Robert (Ruth) and Philip (Kay); sister Ginger (Jimi) and many nieces and nephews.

Memorial gifts are suggested to the Pittsburgh Zoo Docent Program or the Murrysville Emergency Shelter Team, c/o Municipality of Murrysville, 4100 Sardis Road, Murrysville, PA 15668.

— Marty Levine

Nursing’s Evelyn Perloff ‘was ahead of her time’

Evelyn Perloff, School of Nursing professor emerita who was the pioneering developer of the Health and Psychosocial Instruments database — now providing information about more than 225,000 behavioral and psychosocial measurement tools supplied to hundreds of libraries around the world — died May 26, 2022 at 101.

When Dean Jacqueline Dunbar-Jacob joined the nursing school as a faculty member in 1987, Perloff was teaching research methods to undergraduates and had already been building the database since 1985, with a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

“She was very, very invested in it, and it was really a novel project,” recalled Dunbar-Jacob. “Finding psychosocial instruments to use for research projects was very challenging at the time. What she was building really served an incredible need. She was ahead of her time, for sure.”

Perloff’s degrees had all been in psychology: a B.A. from the University of Cincinnati in 1942 and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Ohio State in 1946 and 1951. “As a psychologist, she was very committed to accuracy in measurements, making sure you had valid inputs, making sure you knew what they measured,” Dunbar-Jacob said. “Her commitment in building this database was to make that an easier process and more accessible for people doing research.”

The database not only helped psychosocial researchers in many fields, Dunbar-Jacob said, but encouraged research in the school, which had not been as much of an emphasis prior to 1971, when Perloff began her teaching career at Pitt. She had already been on the faculty at Purdue, Kendall College, Northwestern and Ohio State, beginning in 1948.

“Her work really addressed multiple fields and continues to go on,” remarked the dean.

Perloff’s published articles and book contributions focused not only on her field and her research interest but on home health care, ethics in academic program evaluation and the status of women in the mid-20th century. She also lectured throughout the country and served on many School of Nursing administrative committees and on dozens of master’s and doctoral committees for students.

Her career outside academia began with a research focus as well, working as a research technician for the Air Force (then part of the Army) during World War II and as a researcher, research psychologist and visiting scientist for such varied concerns as the American Institutes for Research, the Prince George’s County Board of Education in Maryland and the American Psychological Association. She was also a lecturer at Winchester-Thurston School during her time at Pitt.

Perloff was born in New York City and raised in Philadelphia, marrying her husband, Robert Perloff (who died in 2013), in 1946.

She is survived by her three children, Richard, Linda and Judy, six grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

Memorial gifts are suggested to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, P.O. Box 515, Northampton, MA 01061-0515.

— Marty Levine

Dunkelman worked behind the scenes for trustees and Nordenberg

Robert E. Dunkelman, former secretary of the Board of Trustees and special assistant to Chancellor Mark Nordenberg, died May 12, 2022, at 91.

In his eulogy, Nordenberg remembered Bob Dunkelman as “a very special person — a highly accomplished professional who touched countless individuals in positive ways — through his work, through his community service and just by being who he was, a warm and wonderful human being.”

Born in Wilmerding, Dunkelman earned his degree in industrial engineering from Pitt in 1954, worked for Westinghouse and served in the Army. But he spent the bulk of his career, 44 years, at Pitt beginning in 1958, first as budget director, then as vice provost for resource management and interim senior vice chancellor for business and finance, before attaining his final positions in 1992. “That list of positions, standing alone, is impressive,” Nordenberg said. “Far more important, though, was the good he did and the respect he earned in each of them.

“He quickly proved himself to be knowledgeable, helpful, capable and completely trustworthy.  From those early interactions, then, we built a productive working relationship and a strong friendship, with my feelings of admiration and affection for Bob growing with each passing year.”

When Dunkelman retired in 2002, he was named secretary emeritus of the corporation and the Board of Trustees, a unique honor in the history of the University.

His other service to Pitt included working as executive secretary to the University's presidential search committee (1990-1992) and chairing the senior vice chancellor for business and finance search committee. He was an administrative liaison to the University Senate’s benefits and welfare, budget policies and organization and procedures committees.

“I was one of many people whom Bob coached when being introduced to this world” of central administration and the Board of Trustees, recalled Randy Juhl, now distinguished service professor emeritus in the School of Pharmacy. In 2002, he became part of the University's senior leadership team as vice chancellor for research conduct and compliance.

Dunkelman, he said, set the tone and tenor of the Board of Trustees’ business, since much of the work goes on in committees prior to the public board meetings. “Bob Dunkelman played a huge role behind the scenes in that,” fielding trustees’ phone calls about the propriety of participating in certain aspects of Pitt policy when their own business interests overlapped, for instance. “Bob handled this kind of thing with aplomb. He was a very gregarious, outgoing individual and always had his eye out for things we should be aware of” — down to the proper seating for board members at social events.

“He was a consummate professional who touched a lot of people's lives. He was one of the good guys,” Juhl said.

Dunkelman and his wife, Barb, Juhl added, “were just a tremendous team together — just delightful to be around” at University functions.

Thanks to Dunkelman’s deep integrity and character, remembered Arthur Ramicone, who retired as senior vice chancellor and chief financial officer in 2018, “you could always trust Bob to deal with things unemotionally. He was always consistent. He was always a gentleman.

“These are high-powered individuals” on the board, Ramicone said. “You have to gain their trust and they have to respect you, too. Bob was very effective with that. He did a wonderful job of helping me navigate board politics. Bob would reach out to the board members individually.”

Dunkelman would also help trustees learn about the nonprofit world, the worlds of research and fundraising, Ramicone added. “Bob would help both internally and externally bridge that gap. Not everybody is able to do that.”

Chancellor Emeritus Nordenberg also noted that, when he was a new dean in the School of Law in the mid-1980s, Dunkelman helped him find his bearings in that position.

“Everyone agreed that Bob never sought the limelight but was very content to work behind the scenes to advance Pitt’s interests,” he said in his eulogy. “Those of us who knew and liked Bob liked everything about him. … I see an unbroken pattern of Bob always doing the right thing and always doing it in the right way and always building good will along the way. That is an amazing legacy — one of which Bob could rightfully be proud and one that brought honor to his family and to his University.”

He is survived by his wife of almost 56 years, Barbara; daughter Missy Udekwu; granddaughter Lily Udekwu, and nieces and nephews.

Memorial gifts are suggested to the Shadyside Presbyterian Church or the Swanson School of Engineering.

— Marty Levine

GSPIA’s Dunn was a multidisciplinary renaissance thinker

Professor Emeritus William N. Dunn, a 50-year teacher and researcher at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, died May 16, 2022 at 83.

His student and colleague for 44 of those years, GSPIA Professor Emeritus Kevin Kearns, recalled Dunn as one of the first people he met at Pitt, a mentor who influenced him to stay on to pursue his Ph.D. here, an ever-supportive colleague “and a dear friend.”

“He opened the door to a career that was more rewarding than I could have imagined,” Kearns said. “We talked frequently, we shared ideas and we were actively engaged together in faculty governance.”

Dunn’s work “has been phenomenal,” Kearns said. It has more than 20,000 citations on Google Scholar, and his book, Public Policy Analysis: An Integrated Approach” is the most widely cited book of its kind. It is now in its 7th edition and has been translated into five languages. “He really left a huge mark on the field itself.

“We use the term multidisciplinary a lot, but Bill really exemplified that,” he added. “He was a real renaissance thinker in his ability to draw upon different fields, and people in the different fields recognized his work as well.”

As a teacher, in Kearns’ early years, Dunn “was outstandingly well prepared for every class,” with syllabi that might run to 30 pages. “He was especially gifted in working with doctoral students and mentoring them in their research and early in their careers.” A number of younger faculty have remarked to him, Kearns said, how important Dunn was to their early scholarly development, “and what a welcoming voice he was as they joined the University.”

As friends, Kearns recalled, “we were with each other through good times and bad and he was always one of my greatest cheerleaders and supporters. As a colleague, he was just so helpful and inspirational.”

Born in Monterey Park, Calif., Dunn enlisted in the U.S. Army after high school and earned a diploma in Russian language from the Defense Language Institute in Monterey. He then joined the Peace Corps, receiving a certificate in African Studies and French from the Peace Corps Training Program at the University of Massachusetts.

Dunn earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California–Santa Barbara, and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Claremont Graduate University, then joined the Pitt faculty in GSPIA. His scholarly worked ranged across public policy analysis, research methods and public administration.

“He was an interdisciplinary and globally respected scholar,” noted a memorial notice from his school, “broadly interested in the application of logic and reason to policy analysis, decision making and public discourse. He collaborated with and was admired by accomplished scholars in fields such as political science, philosophy of science, economics, sociology, public health, systems theory and business.”

At GSPIA, he served twice as associate dean and was also director of the doctoral studies program. He published 100 works, from books, edited volumes and book chapters to articles and government reports. He was called upon for consultation by the offices of the presidents of the U.S and of Macedonia (where he was the founding director of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Public Policy and Management in Southeast Europe), the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the National Science Foundation and General Motors.

He also held affiliate faculty appointments at the University of the West Indies, the University of Bologna, the American University College of Skopje, and the University of Southern California.

He received the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring; the Donald T. Campbell Award for methodological innovation in policy studies; the Aaron Wildavsky Best Book Award; and the Alisa Brunovska Award for Teaching Excellence in Public Administration. He was also a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.

Dunn retired in 2020.

B. Guy Peters, Maurice Falk Professor of Government in the Department of Political Science, has known Dunn since 1984, collaborating on several research papers in recent years.

“He was a super colleague, just one of the best I’ve worked with,” Peters said. “He was smart and very cooperative. Even if he didn’t like your ideas he would tell you in a constructive manner.”

Dunn and Peters were recently planning a book together on so-called wicked problems — those for which there are no clear solutions and multiple causes. They were going to examine how best to use the wicked problems concept, since “we both felt it may be overused,” Peters explained. He is still deciding whether to go through with it: “It doesn’t seem as much fun to go forward without Bill. He has been so central to GSPIA for several decades. It will leave a hole in the school. It’s a real loss for the University.”

Dunn is survived by his wife, Marianne; his children, Mark (Debbie) Dunn, Jennifer (Jeffrey) Bond, Ian (Marisol) Bush, Alexander (Alison) Dunn, Elizabeth (Thomas) Dunn-Taylor and Melissa (Robert) Mulholland; his brother-in-law James French; and his grandchildren Jakob Dunn, Makayla Mulholland, Maryn Hilliard, Anastasia Andrejchak, Julian Dunn, Hillary Bush, Ian Bush, Adam Dunn, Natalie Dunn, Ainsley Bond, Aiden Bond, Olivia Kailey, Bennett Kailey, Leonie Taylor, Lilly Taylor, Liam Taylor, Nicole Cummings and Courtney Quealy.

Memorial gifts are suggested to Pittsburgh Soccer in the Community, which gives children in at-risk communities access to tuition-free soccer programs, at\donate.

— Marty Levine

Joan Hoffman served as the welcoming face for three chancellors

Joan C. Hoffman, for 30 years the face and voice of the chancellor’s office under Chancellors Wesley Posvar, J. Dennis O’Connor and Mark Nordenberg, died May 7, 2022 at 90.

“Joan Hoffman was a one-of-a-kind wonderful person,” Nordenberg recalled. “She treated everyone with kindness and welcomed visitors to the chancellor’s office with a warm human touch. In fact, she was so nice that many of the people who came to see me probably would have preferred to stay in the reception area talking to Joan. She was the first point of contact for many University guests, and she left them all with an extraordinarily positive impression of Pitt.”

Referencing a quote often attributed to Maya Angelou — “People will forget what you said, and people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” — he added: “Joan Hoffman made everyone feel good about themselves and about the University of Pittsburgh.”

Reynolds Clark, Nordenberg’s chief of staff and vice chancellor for community initiatives, remembered how “she finally decided to take early retirement — at age 80.” One of her other duties was screening the chancellor’s mail, creating a log and drawing the chancellor’s attention to things that needed more immediate response.

“Whether it was a high-ranking elected official, a member of the Board of Trustees or a student who was there,” Clark said, “she treated everybody in a positive and professional way. I think that is a real testament to her. She had a high standard of professionalism with everybody.”

And she loved her job, he added. He remembered running into her after her retirement, as she walked near her residence in Oakland just a few blocks from her old office. “Pitt was truly her professional home and, in her late years, her personal home.”

Hoffman was a graduate of St. Justin High School in Mt. Washington and a member of Pitt’s class of 1954, earning a bachelor's degree in psychology. She joined the chancellor’s office as an administrative assistant in 1981 and retired in 2012.

She is survived by children Kurt (Patti) Hoffman, Paul (Michelle) Hoffman, Gail (Richard) Kepple and Stacy Hoffman; grandchildren James and Robert Hoffman; and cousin Cathy (Terry) O'Brien.

Memorial gifts are suggested to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

— Marty Levine

Psychiatry’s Peter Fabrega ‘was always a student’

Psychiatry Professor Horacio “Peter” Fabrega Jr., whose interest in medical anthropology led him to author or co-author books on culture and psychiatric diagnosis, the evolution of sickness and healing, and disease and social behavior, died Feb. 21, 2022, at 88.

“He was always a student, and an intellectual one,” recalled his long-time colleague, Loren Roth, emeritus distinguished service professor of psychiatry. “He enjoyed analysis of our world, the events of the day and other people. He certainly was a commentator, and that was often with a cross-cultural bent,” thanks to his early upbringing in Panama before coming to the U.S. for boarding school at age 13.

In his office stacked with books on every wall, floor to ceiling, as Roth remembered it, Fabrega could be somewhat reserved. He might listen to a group discussion for many minutes and say nothing, or very little, “and it was very difficult to know what he was thinking. Then he would make an extremely incisive statement. He was a thoughtful listener. And when he talked, people listened.”

A group of forensic psychiatrists from Pitt (including Fabrega, although he was not a forensic psychiatrist) in 1985 spent three weeks touring the then-Soviet Union and China under Roth, and Roth remembers in particular their last moments in Asia: “This was during a time in China when the atmosphere was still, shall we say, restrictive, and our Chinese guides wanted to be perfect,” he said. “When the bus was finally leaving … Peter was uncomfortably late. The Chinese guide we had panicked. She knew that things would probably not be good for her if we missed our plane.”

It turned out that Fabrega was late merely because he could not tear himself away from the country: “He was out talking to people or he got stuck in something that he thought was artistically interesting,” Roth said.

Born Jan. 6, 1934, Fabrega got his initial degree from the University of Pennsylvania and earned his medical degree at Columbia University in 1960, interning at St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City and spending his residency at Yale Grace New Haven Hospital. His interest in psychiatry stemmed from his stint with the U.S. Army medical service, where he served as an officer at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

His academic career began in 1969 at Michigan State University, after which he joined the Pitt faculty in 1977. He also opened a private practice.

He is survived by his wife Joan, daughters Andrea and Michele; and three grandchildren.

Memorials gifts are suggested to the ALS Association, Western Pennsylvania chapter, 416 Lincoln Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15209.

— Marty Levine

Kruper developed dental school’s behavioral sciences department

Emeritus Professor Donald Curtis Kruper, first chair of the behavioral sciences department in the School of Dental Medicine, died on Feb. 21, 2022.

Kruper earned his Ph.D. in psychology from Pitt. At the dental school, he started and developed his department, retiring in 1991.

During his tenure, he was instrumental in establishing the Dental Fears Clinic Evaluation and Treatment Center, which offers dental care to people whose fear of dentistry might otherwise keep them away from seeking and receiving such care. The clinic encompasses faculty members from anesthesiology, behavioral sciences, pharmacology and physiology. 

He also was crucial to the creation of the Behavioral Sciences Group (now Behavioral, Epidemiologic and Health Services Research Group) of the International Association for Dental Research.

Before joining the dental school, Kruper oversaw a primate research laboratory involved in brain studies, which was affiliated with Montefiore Hospital, across from Salk Hall.

He was born in 1929, grew up in Smithton, Pa., and attended high school in Connellsville before joining the Navy, where he served as a hospital corpsman from 1948 through 1952.

He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Winnie; daughter Martha (Straw); sons Thom (Melinda) and Curtis; stepchildren Craig (Becky) and Mark (Vera) Shafer; grandchildren William, Madeline, Timothy, Rusty, Riley, Mahala, and Clay; and nieces and nephews James, Jay, Judy, Sally, William, Maryellen, Dean, Reed and Todd.

Memorial gifts are suggested to the White Elephant, 601 N. La Canada, Green Valley, AZ 85614.

— Marty Levine

Gruener helped design and run Pitt’s family law clinic

Harry J. Gruener, a top family practice lawyer who was instrumental in designing and implementing Pitt’s family law clinic and teaching students the skills to represent its low-income clients, died March 11, 2022 at 77.

“He was a teacher through and through,” said David Herring, School of Law faculty member and founding director of the school’s clinical legal education program, which includes the family law clinic.

Gruener first joined the school as an adjunct faculty member, teaching its large family law course, which was required of students but not exactly their favorite subject, Herring recalled. “He got rave reviews from his students. Harry viewed it as a kind of performance, engaging them as part of a large class.”

When the family law clinic started, Gruener was hired full-time in 1990 for that work. Each semester he took eight to 10 students downtown to help prepare and represent clients in divorce proceedings — clients who could not otherwise afford lawyers.

Gruener, Herring said, taught “much more than the law — it was human relationships, how to interview somebody, how to deal with the judge’s questions. That’s what he offered the students.

“We were good friends and would often talk about his teaching and how he was preparing,” Herring said. “He just lived and breathed this stuff.”

Overall, Herring added, “Harry was just such a positive person. He was always upbeat and he had a high sense of adventure. He knew how to have fun,” from golfing — where he still kept coaching Herring toward a better game, he said — to his red Corvette, coaxing Herring off the street, if Gruener passed by, to lunch in another part of town. “He was just a joy,” Herring said.

Gruener was born and raised in West View and graduated from North Hills High School. He earned his B.A. and J.D. degrees from Pitt and began his career as a civil trial lawyer in state and federal courts, eventually concentrating on family law for more than two dozen years. He founded the law firm Goldberg, Gruener, Gentile, Horoho & Avalli and was a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, serving as president of the Pennsylvania Chapter in 2000 and 2001. He was a member and former chairman of both the Pennsylvania Bar Association Family Section and Allegheny County Bar Association.

He was also a member of the advisory committee responsible for guiding the 2005 legislative amendments to the Pennsylvania divorce code.

At Pitt, Gruener was clinical associate professor of law and associate director of family law curriculum. He received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the graduating law school classes in 2005 and 2012 — a rare distinction — and in 2009 was awarded the School of Law Distinguished Alumni Award. He also earned the Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award in 2013.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Christine (Larson); children Gretchen Busquets (Miguel) and Rachel Kress (Paul); and grandchildren Marisa and Talia Busquets and Catie and Jay Kress.

Memorial gifts are suggested to Animal Friends, 562 Camp Horne Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15237.

Engineering’s Vallejo helped mentor many international students

Luis Vallejo, a 37-year professor of civil and environmental engineering known for bringing students to Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering from his native Colombia, mentoring students from all over the world and helping them gain a career, died March 18, 2022.

“He changed my life,” said Sebastian Lobo-Guerrero, who was a student at the end of his bachelor’s degree program at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá when Vallejo was invited to teach there. Vallejo chose Lobo-Guerrero to participate in a National Science Foundation grant back at Pitt.

“I had no clue about where Pittsburgh was in the world,” Lobo-Guerrero recalled. But two weeks later — after Vallejo convinced Lobo-Guerrero’s professors that he could finish his bachelor’s degree 2,500 miles away — Lobo-Guerrero was here: “He gave me all those chances and I ended up doing both my master’s and Ph.D. under him. We ended up publishing 18 to 20 papers together. He had adopted me to his family.”

Vallejo eventually helped Lobo-Guerrero join the engineering company where he has worked for the past 16 years, which led to the presidency of the city’s geotechnical engineering society.

“He really helped a lot of people from Colombia to find a way into Pitt,” Lobo-Guerrero said. “He influenced an entire generation of geotechnical engineers in Pittsburgh today. Everyone is always appreciative, not only for his technical content, but for the personal connection. That’s what made him so unique.”

Through the years, Lobo-Guerrero recalled, “He was always asking about every student that he had. He helped me a lot to recruit people for the company that I work for. It just shows the kind of person he was. … If anything I have to remember from his life, it was the service he was doing to others. We literally traveled the world when I was at Pitt — he was always encouraging students to get involved” with conferences and other scientific meetings.

“When you come to this country as an outsider,” he continued, “you are very happy about the opportunity you have … but you don’t always understand about the culture. Before diversity and inclusion was a thing, he was already a king of that,” helping students from Nigeria, Malaysia, Japan and elsewhere to acculturate.

Vallejo earned his civil engineering degrees from Washington State University (BS, 1982), Michigan State University (MS, 1984) and the University of Wisconsin (Ph.D., 1977). Joining the University faculty in 1983 as assistant professor, he retired as emeritus professor in 2018.

He was a nationally recognized expert in geotechnical engineering with expertise in slope stability and the application of fracture mechanics and fractal theory in soil mechanics. He published numerous journal papers, several books, 34 technical publications in book format and 123 refereed conference proceedings.  He taught more than half a dozen different courses here, mentored 12 PhD and 30 master’s students, and was a member of the editorial board of the international journals “Engineering Geology” and “Geomechanics and Engineering” and associate editor of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ “Journal of Geotechnical and Geo-environmental Engineering.”

He received the Morada al Sur award from the State of Nariño, Colombia, for contributions to education and technology; the award for superior performance from the Office of Surface Mining, U.S. Department of the Interior; and the Lilly Endowment teaching fellowship for excellence in teaching.

He served on the University Senate at Pitt, the annual promotion and tenure review committee in the Swanson School and as undergraduate coordinator in his department

N. Catherine Bazán-Arias, another one of Vallejo’s students, called Vallejo one of “the gurus of geotechnical engineering during my years at Pitt,” who “taught me the importance of looking beyond what is visible to understand the dynamics behind soil-structure interaction (where) so many critical parameters lie hidden from sight.”

After finishing her undergraduate degree in structural engineering here in 1992, Bazán-Arias was convinced by Vallejo and a few of his colleagues to remain here for graduate school. She was from Mexico, and it was important that she and Vallejo shared a language and “cultural resonance,” she said: “Being a Latina in engineering was relatively unique in the United States and also in geotechnical engineering. His technical expertise and his willingness to share his knowledge … finally provided me the path to focus my structural background.”

He also helped her learn to deal with setbacks, such as a graduate test in which a machine malfunctioned. “I learned that day that panicking is not a really good option and a mentor who can coach a mentee through the experience is the best. To provide me the confidence and the calmness to address complexities in a highly complex field is what I remember most.”

Radisav Vidic, Vallejo’s department chair, recalled his colleague as someone “who cared about students a lot. He was very willing to go out of his way accommodating students.”

He was also, Vidic said, “a top notch expert. He made significant contributions to this profession … He was a real gentleman and a thoughtful person who considered the well-being of the department, and he was dedicated to our students to help them master the topics he was passionate about.”

— Marty Levine

Trucco had 30-year career as Magee pathologist

Retired pathology faculty member Giuliana Trucco, a 30-year Magee Women’s Hospital pathologist (1986-2015), died March 5, 2022 at 72.

Rohit Bhargava, now division chief at Magee, recalls their time as colleagues: “She was wonderful — one of the sweetest people you will ever meet, always calm and friendly. An excellent pathologist, a fine diagnostician, with error-free reports. She had a good eye.”

Whether in her practice as a surgical pathologist doing breast and gynecological pathology, particularly cytopathology, or instructing residents in pathology one-on-one, he said, “She was wonderful. Everyone loved her.”

Born in Torino, Italy, on Sept. 1, 1949, Trucco earned her M.D. from the University of Torino in 1976, and completed residency training in gynecology, with a clinical focus in infertility, at UPMC. In medical school, she met her husband of more than 45 years, Massimo Trucco. She completed her fellowship training at Magee.

She is survived by her husband and children Sara Trucco (Tatum Tarin), Matteo Trucco (Christine Trucco), Elisa Trucco (Nicole Fava); her mother Maria Lanzetti Scansetti; and her grandchildren Luca, Lorenzo and Lucia Tarin, Paige and Claire Trucco and Ayden and Greyson Fava-Trucco.

Memorial gifts are suggested to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.