Awards & More

Issue Date: 
February 18, 2008

Anthony J. DeArdo, the William Kepler Whiteford Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science in the Swanson School of Engineering, received a three-year appointment as a distinguished professor to the University of Oulu in Finland. He was one of four professors from around the world selected by the Finland Distinguished Professor Program (FiDiPro) to lead and advise a research project at a Finnish university.

FiDiPro helps Finnish universities recruit experts in various fields and is operated by the Academy of Finland and Tekes, an organization that supports and coordinates research and development projects in Finland for the Finnish government.

DeArdo directs the Swanson School’s Basic Metals Processing Research Institute (BAMPRI), a world-renowned research facility serving the basic metals industry through development and implementation of the latest products and processing technology. BAMPRI helps compensate for the metal production industry’s scaling back of in-house research and development in recent decades.

During his appointment, DeArdo will lend his 30-plus years of experience in steel development to help bolster the University of Oulu’s new Center for Advanced Steel Research, a BAMPRI specialty. The institute focuses on developing the next generations of steel, particularly microalloyed steel, a cost-effective and high-quality material. In Oulu, DeArdo said, he will help cultivate and maintain relationships with the local steel industry and manufacturing sector, assist and advise university research programs, and supervise undergraduate and graduate students.

“This appointment represents a highly visible acknowledgement of the quality and reputation of research at Pitt and the Swanson School,” DeArdo said. “Given that only a few of these appointments have been granted throughout Finland’s entire university system, it really is quite an honor for me, BAMPRI, the Swanson School, and Pitt.”
DeArdo said that while he plans to spend as much time as possible in Finland, he will travel between Oulu and Pittsburgh during his three-year appointment.

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford has appointed James T. Cobb Jr., an emeritus professor at the University of Pittsburgh with extensive experience in energy research, as acting director of its new Energy Institute.

“Dr. Cobb has all of the attributes we had hoped to find in a director—extensive knowledge in the energy field, practical, ground-level experience in the industry, and enthusiasm for potential renewable energy options,” said Livingston Alexander, president of Pitt-Bradford.

Cobb has been a faculty member in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the Pittsburgh campus since 1970. He earned his master of science and doctorate degrees in chemical engineering at Purdue University and a bachelor of science in chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

His current research involves the development, demonstration, and commercialization of wood- and grass-energy projects. He consults with a number of agencies and companies on projects related to biomass energy and has published numerous articles on turning biomass into gas.

As acting director, Cobb will work to develop the institute, which will foster the study of both traditional fossil-fuel applications and renewable energy sources. The institute will also serve as a resource to commercial projects and seek to bolster the regional economy.

Possible projects include creating biodiesel fuel or lubricants from plant oils, gasification technology, experimental wind turbines, and converting municipal solid waste into energy.

Students will be able to participate in faculty research with possible industrial applications. In addition to involving students in research, Cobb will assist faculty in developing an interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree program in energy technology.

Marilyn Alberter and Jeanine Lawn were awarded the President’s Staff Awards for Excellence in Service at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.

Alberter, Pitt-Johnstown registrar, received the President’s Staff Award for Excellence in Service to the University. A driving force behind the successful implementation of PeopleSoft on campus, Alberter was commended for her consistent efforts to serve students, faculty, and staff.

“Her ‘can-do’ attitude has transformed the Registrar’s Office into one that is student-centered and always cheerful,” said Pitt-Johnstown President Jem Spectar.

Lawn, director of financial aid, received the President’s Staff Award for Excellence in Service to the Community. She was recognized for her involvement in numerous service projects, including Habitat for Humanity, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Arthritis Foundation, and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

“Through her volunteerism, Mrs. Lawn has shown the high value placed on community service as she serves as an inspiration to those around her,” Spectar said.

Pitt’s School of Arts and Sciences recently awarded George Bandik, director of undergraduate studies in the chemistry department, the 2007-08 Ampco-Pittsburgh Prize for Excellence in Advising.

The $4,000 prize recognizes Bandik’s outstanding record of academic advising and the many contributions that he has made to help students maximize their educational experience, particularly through outreach and chemistry tutoring programs. Among his roles, Bandik serves as faculty advisor to Pitt’s award winning American Chemical Society-Student Affiliates, a nationally recognized undergraduate organization that promotes knowledge and appreciation of chemistry.

Bandik also received the Bellet Teaching Award in 2001, the Carnegie Science Center Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1998, and the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 1993.

He received his doctoral degree from Pitt in 1992 and currently teaches organic chemistry, honors organic lab, and chemistry for health-related professions. He also teaches the writing course for senior chemistry majors.