Fischer, Jordan Named Distinguished Professors, Woo Receives Title of University Professor

Issue Date: 
May 29, 2007


Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg made the appointments, which became effective May 1, based on the recommendation of Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor James V. Maher.

According to the Office of the Provost, the rank of Distinguished Professor recognizes “extraordinary, internationally recognized, scholarly attainment in an individual discipline or field,” while the title University Professor recognizes “eminence in several fields of study, transcending accomplishment in, and contributions to, a single discipline.”

Biographical information on the faculty honorees follows.

Lucy Fischer

Fischer, professor of English and film studies and director of the Film Studies Program in Pitt’s English department, was named Distinguished Professor of English. She has spent much of her career exploring the role of women in film. She teaches such graduate courses as Maternal Discourse in Film, Cinema and Desire, The Body in Cinema, and Women and Film. She was president of the International Society for Cinema Studies from 2001 to 2003.

She has written several books, including Designing Women: Art Deco, Cinema, and the Female Form (Columbia University Press, 2003), Jacques Tati (G.K. Hall, 1983), Shot/Countershot: Film Tradition and Women’s Cinema (Princeton University Press/Macmillian, 1989), Imitation of Life, editor, (Rutgers University Press, 1991), Cinematernity: Film, Motherhood, Genre (Princeton University Press, 1996), and Sunrise (British Film Institute, 1998).

Articles Fischer has written on issues of film history, theory, and criticism have been published in such journals as Camera Obscura, Cinema Journal, Film Criticism, Film Quarterly, Frauen und Film, Journal of Film and Video, Screen, Sight and Sound, Wide Angle, and Women and Performance. She also serves on the editorial boards of The Canadian Journal of Film Studies, Wayne State University Press Contemporary Film and Television Series, and Journal of Film and Video.

In addition, Fischer has held curatorial positions at The Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. She also has written catalog essays for exhibitions at the Wight Gallery in Los Angeles and the Neuberger Museum in Purchase, N.Y. Her honors include an Art Critics Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Fischer earned her bachelor’s degree in English at City College of New York in 1966 and a master’s degree in education at the University of Pennsylvania in 1967. In 1968, she received a professional diploma in the Teaching of English from Columbia University. In the field of film studies, Fischer earned an MA degree and a PhD degree in cinema studies at New York University, in 1973 and 1978, respectively.

Kenneth D. Jordan

Jordan has been appointed Distinguished Professor of Computational Chemistry. He is a faculty member in the chemistry department, of which he was chair from 2002 to 2005. He is also a member of Pitt’s Petersen Institute for Nanoscience and Engineering, an associate faculty member in the Department of Computational Biology, and director of the University’s Center for Molecular and Materials Simulations.

Jordan is an expert in the use of theoretical and computational methods for understanding the properties of molecules, clusters, and surfaces. He has employed electronic structure methods to elucidate the origins of long-range interactions in molecules and to study chemical processes on semiconductor surfaces. In recent years, he has been especially interested in hydrogen bonding and how excess electrons and protons localize in clusters of water. Jordan’s research on water was included in Science magazine’s top 10 scientific breakthroughs of 2004.

Recently, Jordan’s research group has been modeling hydrates, including methane hydrate, a methane-containing ice found in large deposits deep beneath the ocean surface. Methane hydrate is an enormous reserve of harvestable natural gas, but to bring methane hydrate to the ocean’s surface would cause it to melt and release into the atmosphere massive amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Jordan’s research focuses on how heat transfers through methane hydrate crystals, both ideal and defective. He is collaborating with researchers at the University of California at Irvine and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory in Pittsburgh.

Jordan earned his BA degree at Northeastern University in 1970 and his PhD degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1974. He was on the faculty of Yale University from 1974 through 1978, when he joined the Pitt faculty. Jordan is a fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His awards include the University of Pittsburgh Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award and the Pittsburgh Award from the Pittsburgh Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS). In spring 2007, he was the David P. Craig Visiting Professor at the Australian National University. Jordan is presently a senior editor of the Journal of Physical Chemistry and is vice chair of the Telluride Science Research Center. He has served as a program officer at the National Science Foundation and as the secretary/treasurer of the Physical Chemistry Division, ACS.

Savio L-Y. Woo

Woo was named University Professor of Bioengineering. He founded and directs Pitt’s Musculoskeletal Research Center (MSRC), a multidisciplinary research and educational center that has hosted more than 450 orthopaedic surgeons, bioengineering students, and staff. In 1990, Woo joined the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery in Pitt’s School of Medicine as the inaugural A.B. Ferguson Professor after 20 years on the University of California at San Diego faculty. In 2004, Woo moved to Pitt’s School of Engineering as a senior faculty member in the bioengineering department.

Throughout his career, Woo has focused his research on knee ligament healing and repair, particularly medial collateral (MCL) and anterior cruciate (ACL) ligaments, two of the knee’s four major ligaments. He has published 295 refereed journal papers, 130 book chapters, and more than 740 abstracts. Woo also has edited 11 books and 15 conference proceedings. In addition, he has given more than 770 lectures. More recently, his work has centered on functional tissue engineering of ligament healing and regeneration by examining the processes from molecular and cellular to tissue and organ levels, as well as the use of robotic technology to examine the function of the ACL replacement grafts.

Woo has been elected to the Institute of Medicine, The National Academy of Engineering, and Academia Sinica. In 1998, Woo was awarded the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Prize for Sports Science. He also has received the Kappa Delta Award, the Lissner Award, the O’Donoghue Award, the Borelli Award, and the Muybridge Medal, among other awards. He has served as the president of the American Society of Biomechanics, Orthopaedic Research Society, Biomedical Engineering Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, International Society of Fracture Repair, and World Association of Chinese Biomedical Engineers.

Woo earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Chico State College in 1965. At the University of Washington, he received a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and his PhD degree in bioengineering in 1966 and 1971, respectively. In 1999, Woo received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the California State University System.