Campus News

UB celebrates academic excellence

By DAVID J. HILL

Published October 4, 2012

The pursuit of scholarly excellence does not come easy. Courage and risk-taking are necessary. And they are to be championed.

“We are here today to honor the risk-takers among us. ”
Charles Zukoski, Provost

That was the message UB’s new provost delivered during his remarks yesterday at the 2012 Celebration of Faculty and Staff Academic Excellence, held in the Center for the Arts’ Drama Theater.

“Excellence in teaching, service and scholarship comes through creativity and new ideas,” said Charles “Chip” Zukoski, who left his post at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign over the summer to become UB’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

“New ideas are borne of daring acts of mind that require courage,” he continued. “It takes courage to pursue new ideas that challenge established truths or that might frighten and alienate others. But it is in creating the new ideas and driving them into acceptance and implementation that defines excellence. We are here today to honor the risk-takers among us…These are practices that change paradigms. These adventures of the intellect create change.”

UB’s Celebration of Faculty and Staff Academic Excellence recognizes those individuals whose long-term contributions have made a significant impact on the people and communities around them, whether through groundbreaking research or in ensuring the smooth operation of a department or office.

“All of our honorees today are truly why UB is such an excellent university—because of its excellent people,” said Lucinda M. Finley, vice provost for faculty affairs and the emcee for the celebration.

Wednesday’s program included the recognition of four UB faculty members who attained the rank of SUNY Distinguished Professor, the highest rank in the SUNY system:

  • Paresh Dandona, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
  • Peter A. Rogerson, Department of Geography, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Richard Salvi, Department of Communicative Disorders and Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Edward H. Steinfeld, School of Architecture and Planning

President Satish K. Tripathi, in his welcome remarks, spoke about the definition of academic excellence. “I like Aristotle’s definition,” Tripathi said. “He said that academic excellence is not an act but a habit. These exceptional individuals prove the truth of that statement each and every day.”

Tripathi praised the honorees for their long-term commitment to their respective fields. “It is not these individual moments of greatness that make these faculty and staff excellent,” Tripathi said.

“It is their sustained dedication of greatness; their steadfast commitment to pursuing the boundaries of what is possible; their constant determination to seek out better explanations better solutions, better treatments and most of all, their commitment to using those achievements to make life richer and better for the world around them. The exceptional individuals we honor today truly have made a habit of excellence.”

In addition to the SUNY Distinguished Professor honorees, SUNY Chancellor’s Award winners, UB Distinguished Professors and employees with 50 years of service to UB also were recognized, as were recipients of the Graduate Student Mentoring, Sustained Achievement, Young Investigator and Teaching Innovation awards. See related story for the full list of honorees.

The event also included a presentation by Joyce Hwang, assistant professor in the School of Architecture and Planning, who talked about her eco-sculpture “Bat Cloud,” and a vocal performance by Antoinette Arnold, associate professor in the Department of Music.

A reception in the Center for the Arts Atrium followed the celebration.