Awards and More

Issue Date: 
June 9, 2008

Pitt’s Center on Race and Social Problems (CRSP), housed in the School of Social Work, was honored at the Pittsburgh Branch of the NAACP’s 54th annual Human Rights Dinner on May 8 at the Hilton Pittsburgh.

The Homer S. Brown Award is given by the local NAACP branch in recognition of the pioneering civil rights attorney of the same name; this year, it was presented to three organizations: CRSP, Youth Enrichment Services, and Tadisco, Inc.

“[These organizations] have positively impacted our community while attempting to build survival bridges for children, youth, and adults in times of adversity,” said Pittsburgh-area NAACP attorney Joseph K. Williams III in recognizing the winners.

Founded in 2002, CRSP has been a leader in conducting race-related research, mentoring emerging scholars, and disseminating research findings. The first research center on race at any school of social work in the nation, it focuses on race relations in several key areas—economic and education disparities; interracial group relations; mental health; youth, families, and the elderly; and criminal justice. In 2007, the center released Pittsburgh’s Racial Demographics: Differences and Disparities, the most comprehensive study ever done on quality-of-life issues for Pittsburgh’s Black, White, Asian, and Hispanic residents.

James Baldwin, assistant dean of academic affairs, registrar, and director of enrollment services at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, is the recipient of the 2008 Staff Recognition Award, presented by the Pitt-Bradford Staff Association Council. The annual award honors an employee whose performance at the University or in the community consistently exceeds standards and expectations.

Baldwin oversees all functions related to student records and accounts, institutional research, and the College in High School Program, which he was instrumental in bringing to Pitt-Bradford in 2005. Local high schools are now able to offer Pitt courses to their students during the regular school day.

Baldwin is a campus study member for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Graduate Rate Outcomes study project. He also is a member of the grant team for the program Science: It’s Elementary at Kane Elementary School.

University of Pittsburgh scientists, educators, and an associate editor in the Office of Public Affairs were honored at the annual Carnegie Science Awards on May 9 in Carnegie Music Hall, Oakland. Keynote speaker at the event was Pitt English professor Lee Gutkind, journalist and author of Almost Human: Making Robots Think (W.W. Norton, 2007).


Pitt honorees and their awards were Stephen F. Badylak (above), Pitt professor of surgery and deputy director of the Pitt-UPMC McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Advanced Materials Award; John W. Manzetti, Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse president and CEO, the Catalyst Award; Professors Joseph J. McCarthy (below) and Robert S. Parker in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and Mary Besterfield-Sacre in the Department of Industrial Engineering, the University/Post-Secondary Educator Award; Professor William R. Wagner in the Department of Surgery, the Life Sciences Award; and Joe Miksch, associate editor of Pitt Med magazine, Honorable Mention in the Journalism category.


The awards program, established in 1997 by the Carnegie Science Center, recognizes outstanding science and technology achievements in education, research, entrepreneurship, and commerce in Western Pennsylvania.

The Office of Public Affairs won a Golden Quill Award and was a finalist for two others awards at the annual presentation May 12 at the Hilton Pittsburgh. The Golden Quill competition recognizes professional excellence in written, photographic, broadcast, and online journalism in Western Pennsylvania.

In the category of Health/medical Writing, Magazines, former Pitt Magazine managing editor Bo Schwerin won for the article “Danger Zone.”

In the category of Feature Writing, Magazines, Pitt Magazine senior editor Cara Hayden was a finalist for the article “Wonderlust,” and in Cultural Writing, Magazines, Pitt Magazine editor-in-chief Cindy Gill was a finalist for the article “On the Edge.”

Pitt was one of the lead sponsors of the 2008 Golden Quill awards ceremony, along with Burson-Marsteller, Columbia Gas, Dominion, PR Newswire, Reed Smith, Strassburger, McKenna, Gutnick & Potter, and Trib Total Media.

Jeanne Marie Laskas, assistant professor in Pitt’s Department of English, was a finalist in the 43rd annual National Magazine Awards, presented by the American Society of Magazine Editors at a May 1 gala in New York City’s Lincoln Center. Laskas was a finalist in the feature-writing category for the article “Underworld,” which sheds light on the culture of coal mining. To research the article, Laskas spent several weeks underground with coal miners working for the Hopedale Mining Company in Cadiz, Ohio. “Underworld” was published in the May 2007 issue of GQ.

Jerry Samples, professor of mechanical engineering technology at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (UPJ), has been selected to receive the 2008 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Outstanding Teacher Award. A faculty member at Pitt-Johnstown since 1996, he also has served as director of UPJ’s Engineering Technology Division and vice president for academic and student affairs. Samples came to UPJ from the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., where he was associate professor and director of the Mechanical Engineering Division and director of the Mechanical Engineering Research Center. A coauthor of numerous books and articles on education and engineering, he is the recipient of many honors, including the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ (ASME) Dedication Service Award and ASME’s Life Quality Award. Samples will be recognized at ASEE’s annual awards banquet in Pittsburgh on June 25.

Andrea Robbins, instructor of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford (UPB), has received the 2008 Faculty Teaching Award. “Andrea is very sensitive to her students’ demands and suggestions and always does her best to make adjustments to meet their needs,” said Yong-Zhuo Chen, chair of UPB’s Division of Physical and Computational Sciences, when nominating Robbins for the award. She has been nominated three times by her students for inclusion in Who’s Who Among American Teachers and has twice received the American Chemical Society Salute to Excellence Award. The chairs of Pitt-Bradford’s five academic divisions select the Faculty Teaching Award recipient.


Three volumes in the Pittsburgh Series on Composition, Literacy, and Culture have won several major awards. The series, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press, is edited by Pitt Department of English chair David Bartholomae and Pitt English professor Jean Ferguson Carr (above).

The volume Toward a Civil Discourse: Rhetoric and Fundamentalism by Sharon Crowley received the 2007 Gary A. Olson Award from the Association of Teachers of Advanced Composition and the Journal of Advanced Composition. The book also garnered the 2007 David H. Russell Award for distinguished research in teaching from the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the 2008 Outstanding Book Award, a prize sponsored by NCTE and the Conference on College Composition and Communication.

The volume A Counter-History of Composition: Toward Methodologies of Complexity by Byron Hawk won the 2008 W. Ross Winterowd Award for the most outstanding book on writing studies from the Journal of Advanced Composition, and the volume Acts of Enjoyment: Rhetoric, Zizek, and the Return of the Subject by Thomas Rickert won the 2008 Olson Award.

David J. Kupfer, Thomas Detre Professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and medical director and director of research at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC, will serve as chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s task force to develop the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). The work group comprises more than 120 world-renowned scientific researchers and clinicians with expertise in neuroscience, biology, genetics, statistics, epidemiology, public health, nursing, pediatrics, and social work, who review scientific advances and research-based information in the field of psychiatry in order to update the manual. DSM-V is scheduled to be published in 2012.

Steven T. DeKosky, Pitt professor and chair of the Department of Neurology, has been appointed chair of the executive advising committee of the Alzheimer’s Association’s new International Society to Advance Alzheimer Research and Treatment. The society is the first collegial group that represents all areas of Alzheimer’s disease investigation.

Eugene Myers, professor and emeritus chair of Pitt’s Department of Otolaryngology, professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery in the School of Dental Medicine, and director of the Oral Cancer Center of Discovery at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, participated in the third-annual international symposium STATEMENTS 2008 on Head and Neck Cancer, in Frankfurt, Germany. Myers was chair of the Ear, Temporal Bone, and Lateral Skull Base panel.