Tomasi to Receive SUNY Honorary Degree At UB Convocation

By Mary Beth Spina

Release Date: October 6, 1997

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A SUNY honorary degree will be presented to Thomas B. Tomasi, M.D., Ph.D., former president and chief executive officer of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, when the University at Buffalo holds its third annual University Convocation at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 15, in the Center for the Arts on the North (Amherst) Campus.

A recognition award for 50 years of service to the university will be presented to Jacob B. Hyman, professor of law and former dean of the School of Law.

Also to be honored are five UB faculty members recently named SUNY Distinguished Professors and UB faculty and staff members who earlier this year were named recipients of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for excellence in the areas of teaching, librarianship and professional service.

The convocation will open with an academic procession, and will be declared open by Peter A. Nickerson, professor of pathology and Chair of the Faculty Senate, who will be macebearer. Greetings will be offered by Provost Thomas E. Headrick, SUNY Distinguished Service Professor in the School of Law. Closing remarks will be presented by President William R. Greiner, professor of law.

Keynote speakers will be Bruce H. Jackson, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of English and Samuel P. Capen Professor of American Culture, and Sargur N. Srihari, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Computer Science and director of the Center of Excellence for Document Analysis and Recognition.

Arnold B. Gardner, a member of the SUNY Board of Trustees, will confer the honorary doctorate in science on Tomasi, who headed Roswell Park from 1986 until February 1997.

Tomasi continues to be active in research at the nation's first cancer center for research, treatment and education. His leadership legacy includes renewal of the vision of the center’s founder, the late Roswell Park, M.D., through expansion of the facility's community-service role and repositioning its clinical and academic programs.

Described as dynamic, dedicated and energetic, Tomasi established a positive and aggressive vision for Roswell Park, insisting on and fighting for progress, demanding excellence and promoting teamwork and thoughtful planning.

His discovery in the 1970s of the mucosal immune system laid the foundation for his work on retroviruses and immune disorders, as well as for the future research of hundreds of other scientists.

Greiner, Headrick and UB law school Dean Barry B. Boyer will present the recognition award to Hyman.

Known as a "teacher, a scholar and a gentleman," Hyman came to UB in 1946 after five years in private practice and six in government service.

Named the 10th dean of the UB law school in 1953, he helped lead the then-private University of Buffalo through its merger with the State University of New York and helped make UB the leading comprehensive university it is today.

Hyman stepped down as dean after 11 years and since then has developed innovative programs to provide access to members of underrepresented groups who seek to enter the legal profession. A legendary teacher and Harvard graduate, he was the first non-alumnus to receive the Jaeckle Award, the UB law school's highest honor, in 1983.

Also being recognized at the event will be five UB faculty members recently named Distinguished Professors, the highest faculty rank in the SUNY system, by the SUNY Board of Trustees.

They are SUNY Distinguished Professors Paras N. Prasad of the Department of Chemistry and director of the Photonics Research Laboratory, and Srihari; SUNY Distinguished Service Professors Peter H. Hare of the Department of Philosophy and Charles V. Paganelli of the Department of Physiology, and SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor Diane R. Christian of the Department of English.

Ten faculty and staff members who received the SUNY Chancellor's Awards for excellence also will be honored.

Recognized for excellence in teaching will be Shahid Ahmad, associate professor of civil, structural and environmental engineering; Michael P. Long, associate professor of music, and Triantafilos J. Mountziaris, associate professor of chemical engineering.

Honored for excellence in librarianship will be Edward Herman, associate librarian, Lockwood Library; Glendora Johnson-Cooper, associate librarian, undergraduate library, and Nancy A. Schiller, associate librarian, science and engineering library.

Recognized for excellence in professional service will be Martha A. Barton, assistant dean in the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Sandra J. Fazekas, staff associate/events coordinator for the Center for the Arts; Maryanne L. Mather, instructional support technician in the Department of Periodontics, and Leonard F. Snyder, associate vice president and controller.