SUNY Board of Trustees Appoints 21 Faculty to Distinguished Ranks

May 10, 2017

Albany – The State University of New York Board of Trustees recently approved the appointments of 21 faculty to the Distinguished Faculty Rank. All distinguished faculty in active service within SUNY are also members of the SUNY Distinguished Academy.

“Each year it is an honor to review the collective work of SUNY’s outstanding faculty, and to recognize the sheer academic strength within our walls that inspires our students,” said SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. “The standards of our distinguished ranks are rigorous, with high demands set for leadership and innovation. Congratulations to all of today’s honorees, who have led our students by an excellent example, created new research opportunities, and challenged those around them to reach higher levels of achievement.”

“SUNY faculty achieving the distinguished ranks provide an additional spark that inspires groundbreaking research, innovation, and discovery while also setting a higher standard for teaching and learning,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Congratulations to all of the faculty receiving this honorable distinction.”

Since the program's inception in 1963, SUNY has appointed 1,091 faculty to the distinguished ranks, as follows, including these most recent appointments: 386 Distinguished Professorships; 318 Distinguished Service Professorships; 382 Distinguished Teaching Professorships; and 5 Distinguished Librarian Professorships. More information about SUNY’s faculty award program is available online.

The Distinguished Professorship is conferred upon individuals who have achieved national or international prominence and a distinguished reputation within a chosen field. This distinction is attained through significant contributions to the research literature or through artistic performance or achievement in the case of the arts. The candidate’s work must be of such character that the individual’s presence will tend to elevate the standards of scholarship of colleagues both within and beyond these persons’ academic fields. Receiving this rank are:

  • Professor Jonathan Dewald – Dr. Dewald, a member of the Department of History at the University at Buffalo (UB), is internationally recognized and acclaimed for his innovative scholarship in early modern French history. His research has garnered many of the most prestigious national and international fellowships and honors over a more than 40-year career in academia, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the National Humanities Center. He has twice been designated as Directeur d'Etudes Invité at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. A preeminent and prolific scholar and former chair of the Department of History at UB, his research contributions have advanced the historical methods, theory, analysis, and interpretation among historians with a serious interest in social, cultural, economic, material, and gender history. The author of six major books and numerous articles in the top journals of his field, he is acclaimed by colleagues as someone who is “widely cited and respected, and unquestionably one of the best historians of France of his generation” and “one of the very few scholars who have…reshaped his field” by changing how scholars look and think about early modern French history.
  • Professor Petar M. Djuric – Dr. Djuric, a member of the Department of Electrical Engineering at Stony Brook University, is a world leading scholar in signal processing with numerous contributions impacting the field. In particular, his pioneering work in sequential Monte Carlo sampling and model selection is of groundbreaking caliber and truly outstanding. It finds applications not only in engineering, but also in almost any branch of science where randomness, uncertainty, and inference from observed data and mathematical models are of essence. Examples include understanding gene networks and their topologies, predicting weather patterns with improved degrees of accuracy, estimating unknowns from biomedical signals, quantifying the effects of ionization in radiation, understanding information diffusion and rumor spreading in social networks, and managing risk in finance. His contributions have been recognized by international scholarly and professional bodies with a number of highly prestigious awards and honors. He has mentored 37 Ph.D. students, has been Editor-in-Chief of a prestigious journal, Distinguished Lecturer of IEEE, and Fellow of both the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the European Association for Signal Processing (EURASIP). His work has made Stony Brook University a leading center in Monte Carlo-based signal processing.
  • Professor Alan Gintzler – Dr. Gintzler, a member of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, is a leading pain and addiction researcher investigating narcotic tolerance and sex differences in pain and analgesic mechanisms. Dr. Gintzler’s studies stand out in their depth and breadth. Professor Gintzler’s research provides the foundation for multiple areas of novel therapeutic discovery to develop highly efficacious agents for treating intractable pain in women, the prevalence and severity of which, relative to men, is poorly understood. Dr. Gintzler’s academic status is reflected by highly profiled citation classics, editorial board appointments, memberships on major National Institutes of Health (NIH) study sections, membership on the SUNY Research Foundation Board of Directors, and more than 35 years of funding from the NIH.
  • Professor Frederick E. Grine – Dr. Grine, a member of the Department of Anthropology at Stony Brook University, is one of the world's foremost paleoanthropologists, and he is widely acknowledged as having made substantial contributions to our understanding of how human beings and their relatives evolved. A leading authority on that group of hominins from the Pliocene and Pleistocene in Africa known as the robust australopiths, Professor Grine is also an acclaimed expert on the emergence of Homo sapiens in the Late African Pleistocene and a pioneer in the analysis of microscopic traces left by food on the chewing surfaces of molar teeth. He has published four books, 164 articles, and more than 100 abstracts, reviews, and conference presentations. His 2007 Science article was recognized by Time magazine as one of the top ten scientific news stories of the year. Professor Grine has obtained nearly $1 million dollars in grants, and has received recognition from prestigious institutions such as the University of Cambridge where Clare Hall awarded him a Visiting Professorship and elected him a Life Member, and the Leverhulme Centre for Evolutionary Studies made him a Leverhulme Visiting Professor.
  • Professor Mikhail Lyubich – Dr. Lyubich, a member of the Department of Mathematics at Stony Brook University, is one of the world's top researchers in the field of low-dimensional dynamical systems. He has made numerous deep and influential contributions to many aspects of this important field, which brings together ideas from many seemingly distinct areas of mathematics, and has important applications to many areas of science, including physics, economics, computer science, and biology to mention a few. Dr. Lyubich's most major contributions can be combined under the heading of "Renormalization,'' and he is an undisputed leader in this important direction of research. His scholarly achievements include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Jeffery-Williams Prize of the Canadian Math Society, and two invitations to speak at the International Congress of Mathematicians. He provides indispensable service to a broad mathematical community by organizing programs and conferences, and editing and refereeing for numerous math journals. He has worked tirelessly to elevate mathematics at Stony Brook University and in particular, the Institute for Mathematical Sciences (IMS), of which he has been Director for the past nine years. Over the past three years, the IMS has been recognized throughout the world as a leading center for research in dynamical systems.
  • Professor Scott M. McLennan – Dr. McLennan, a member of the Department of Geosciences at Stony Brook University, is a worldclass geochemist whose contributions have made him a leading figure in the study of the Earth, and later Mars. While doing so, he proved himself to be an extraordinarily successful mentor to some of the leading geochemists of the next generation. Early in his career, he quite literally wrote the book on the evolution of the Earth's crust. Still an essential reference after 30 years, this text paved the way for decades of productive research by many scientists. His ongoing insights into the potential of sedimentary rocks to serve as preserved, homogenized records of bulk crustal chemistry led Professor McLennan to discover profound changes in that chemistry early in our planet's history, illuminating broad questions of Earth's tectonic, atmospheric and climatic evolution. Over the past decade and a half, Dr. McLennan has focused his research on Mars. He and his students have been instrumental in using rover data to unravel the hydrological and climatic history recorded in Martian rocks. In the process, he has established himself as a leading figure on the Mars Rover teams, and has become widely regarded as the leading senior-level planetary geochemist in the country.
  • Professor Kathlyn A. Parker – Dr. Parker, a member of the Department of Chemistry at Stony Brook University, is an internationally known scholar in the field of organic synthesis. Her research contributions include numerous demonstrations of new methods and strategies which set standards for the efficient construction of novel and important "small molecules" (drug-like molecules). Her more than 130 research papers and reviews in high profile journals have garnered more than 1,600 citations. Dr. Parker has received two major awards from the American Chemical Society (ACS) and several fellowships for career advancement; she is a Fellow of the ACS and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She has mentored 45 Ph.D. students, eight M.S. students, five postdoctoral researchers, and more than a dozen undergraduate research students, and led a project on graduate education in chemistry. She has served in leadership positions in the ACS and provided service to the NIH, NSF, AAAS, the American Cancer Society, and the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Professor Andras Perl – Dr. Perl, a member of the Department of Medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical University, is Chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Director of the Rheumatology Fellowship, and Co-Director of the M.D.-Ph.D. Training Program. Professor Perl has achieved national and international recognition for his research into the mechanisms of autoimmunity in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), as well as the translational applications of that research to treatment of patients with the condition. His major discoveries include the identification of HRES-1, the first protein-coding human endogenous retrovirus and its impact on T-cell activation and lupus pathogenesis; the discovery of mitochondrial and metabolic dysfunction and the activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) in lupus; the discovery of transaldolase and its role in metabolic control of apoptosis, inflammation, autoimmunity and progressive liver disease leading to cancer; and clinical research into effective treatment of lupus based on targets of molecular pathophysiology. Dr. Perl has been continuously funded for his research by NIH and other foundations, and has mentored dozens of graduate students, medical students, M.D.-Ph.D. students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty over his 30-year tenure at SUNY Upstate Medical University.
  • Professor Chunming Qiao – Dr. Qiao, a member of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University at Buffalo, is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Professor Qiao is one of the world’s leading researchers on network protocols and architectures, and inventor of optical burst switching who has also been at the forefront of pioneering research on integrated wireless systems that have revolutionized the smartphone industry, and profoundly impacted in the communication infrastructure of the Internet as well as in video, multimedia and high-end digital services. A prolific scholar, he has published more than 350 peer-refereed articles, approximately 140 journal papers, eight book chapters, and more than 210 symposium and conference papers. With research that has been cited more than 20,000 times, his groundbreaking 1999 article on optical burst switching has received 2,700 citations to date. Holding eight U.S. patents, Dr. Qiao’s seminal research has garnered almost 50 grants and more than $8 million in total funding, including from the National Science Foundation where he has served as Principal Investigator (PI). Over the last ten years, he has also established himself as a leader in the design and evaluation of Transportation Cyber Physical Systems with connected and autonomous vehicles.
  • Professor Fotis Sotiropoulos – Dr. Sotiropoulos, Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Stony Brook University, is one of the world’s leading researchers in simulation-based engineering science for cross-disciplinary fluid mechanics problems in renewable energy, environmental, biological, and cardiovascular applications. Funded by NSF, DOE, NIH, the Sandia National Laboratories, private industry, and other state and federal agencies, Professor Sotiropoulos has raised over $25 million in externally sponsored funds for research and research facility development and renovation. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS), has authored over 160 peer-reviewed journal papers and book chapters, has twice won the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics Gallery of Fluid Motion (2009, 2011), and is a recipient of a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation. His research results have been featured repeatedly on the covers of prestigious peer reviewed journals in fluid mechanics. He is also a 2014 distinguished lecturer of the Mortimer and Raymond Sackler Institute of Advanced Studies at Tel Aviv University, and is serving or has served on the editorial boards of several journals.
  • Professor John E. Tomaszewski – Dr. Tomaszewski, Professor and Chair in the Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, is internationally renowned for his research in pathology and prognostic factors in cancer, and the development of quantitative image analysis tools used in digital pathology and automated cancer diagnostics. He is a global leader in digital pathology and computational modeling in histopathology and the informatics revolution in pathology where he contributes to international diagnostic guidelines. A pioneer of high throughput detection of prostate cancer in histologic sections using probabilistic models and computer-aided diagnosis, he is a leader in the development of multidimensional molecular data pairings with pathological findings. He is the author or co-author of more than 300 peer-reviewed publications, 35 book chapters, and ten chapters dealing with his special interests in renal pathology, renal transplant and immunopathology. He holds four U.S. patents.

The Distinguished Teaching Professorship recognizes and honors mastery of teaching. For this prestigious tribute to be conferred, candidates must have demonstrated consistently superior mastery of teaching, outstanding service to students, and commitment to their ongoing intellectual growth, scholarship and professional growth, and adherence to rigorous academic standards and requirements. Further, a faculty member must have attained and held the rank of full professor for five years, have completed at least three years of full-time teaching on the nominating campus, ten years of full-time teaching in the System, and must have regularly carried a full-time teaching load as defined by the campus. Receiving this rank are:

  • Professor Ann S. Botash – Dr. Botash, Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at SUNY Upstate Medical University, is an expert in child abuse. Her learners include medical students, pediatric residents, practicing physicians, members of many other health professions, colleagues in law, criminal justice, social work, and the lay public. She teaches in the classroom, at the patient bedside, on the Internet, and through various other media to reach an audience at Upstate Medical University, in Central New York, in the State of New York, and across the country. She has received a number of awards from national organizations for her teaching and service, including the Public Policy and Advocacy Award from the Academic Pediatric Association, for her work developing a curriculum in advocacy, and recognition from the American Association of Medical Colleges Council on Teaching Hospitals for her work on a model which teaches physicians how to deliver a safe and comfortable experience for pediatric patients undergoing bedside procedures.
  • Professor Charles G. Freeman – Dr. Freeman, a member of the Department of Physics at SUNY Geneseo, is a passionate teacher who brings innovation, rigor, and excitement to the physics classroom. His pedagogy is student-centered, inquiry-based, and inclusive of all students. Because of his extensive work with students in directed studies and independent research projects, many have gone on to continue their studies in leading graduate and research programs. He has garnered considerable praise for his role as Director of Geneseo’s MV Pelletron Accelerator Lab, which has supported collaborations with undergraduate, graduate, and faculty researchers at other institutions. Most notably, Dr. Freeman has trained students to use the Pelletron Accelerator, which positions them to gain skills in a wide range of areas. In addition to the work with the Pelletron, his collaborators credit him with laying the foundation for important advances in the area of plasma physics, and he has served as co-principal investigator in a number of projects totaling $4.2 million in Department of Energy funding.
  • Professor Julie Ann Woodworth – Dr. Woodworth, a member of the Department of Nursing and Allied Health at Niagara County Community College, has implemented evidence-based teaching techniques that support student engagement and learning. Professor Woodworth has completed recent research within the nursing education field and has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals to add to the evidence-based literature in the nursing education field. She is generous with her personal time, easily accessible, and demonstrates a continual concern with the intellectual growth of individual students. She maintains high standards of care and knowledge level attainment for patient care delivery in the very rigorous nursing program. She is also involved in the promotion of curricular reform at Niagara County Community College to advance the nursing curriculum to an up-to-date, rigorous student centered program with above average NCLEX-RN pass rates.

The Distinguished Service Professorship honors and recognizes extraordinary service. Candidates must have demonstrated substantial distinguished service not only at the campus and the State University, but also at the community, regional and State levels. Further, many candidates for appointment have rendered influential service contributing at the national and international levels. Service must exceed the work generally considered to be a part of a candidate’s basic professional work and should include service that exceeds that for which professors are normally compensated. It must also extend over multiple years and, very importantly, must involve the application of intellectual skills drawing from the candidate’s scholarly and research interests to issues of public concern. Receiving this rank are:

  • Professor Mohamed Gaber – Dr. Gaber, Professor and Chair of the Accounting Department, is among the finest professors in the School of Business and Economics at SUNY Plattsburgh. He has been presented the Outstanding Adult Student Educator Award and the Outstanding Academic Advisor Award for his work with students, as well as the Faculty Staff Impact Award for his work as an informal mentor to several faculty members. He is also the recipient of the SUNY Plattsburgh Leadership Award. Accounting alumni have recognized him for his commitment with the establishment of the Mohamed Gaber Excellence in Mentoring Endowment. In addition to his extraordinary service to the campus, he has served as the Coordinator of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA), in conjunction with AARP-Tax-Aide for the past 20 years. He has established accounting internships with local, regional, national and international businesses and non-profit organizations, and supervised over 250 internships. He has served on the board of the Institute of Management Accountants as Director of Manuscripts and Director of Student Activities. Professor Gaber has served as an external consultant on the promotion boards of foreign universities and published an accounting book in Egypt, and co-edited (with G. Gregoriou) a book on International Accounting: Standards, Regulations and Financial Reporting.
  • Professor John Peter Gergen – Dr. Gergen joined the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Stony Brook University in 1989. Since that time, Dr. Gergen has developed an exceptional record both of scholarship in his field and of service to the undergraduate and graduate students of the University. He served as an Associate Dean of the Graduate School from 2005 to 2008, during which time he was involved in efforts to expand the pool of graduate applicants and diversity of the graduate students. He remains active in these efforts and is currently the principal investigator on a large NIH grant that provides support for underrepresented and disadvantaged students, at both the undergraduate and graduate level, to develop careers in biomedical research. As Director of Undergraduate Biology since 2010, Dr. Gergen has spearheaded a number of initiatives to improve guidance and counseling services, to upgrade the teaching laboratories, and to increase opportunities for research experiences. He has also led outreach efforts to Biology alumni and been actively engaged in working with other professors lo improve and incorporate new teaching modalities into their courses. Dr. Gergen has had national impact on efforts to improve biology education. He was an organizer and serves on the Leadership committee for the National Academy of Sciences/HHMl Summer Institutes on Undergraduate Education in Biology, held annually at different sites around the country.
  • Professor Bonni C. Hodges – Dr. Hodges, a member of the Department of Health at SUNY Cortland, is a noted authority in public and community health. A prolific researcher, she has published numerous peer-reviewed articles in respected journals of health, and is co-author of a seminal book, Assessment and Planning in Health Programs. Dr. Hodges has made over 90 presentations at professional conferences across the United States. She is a successful grant writer for the College, the Cortland County Health Department, and the New York State Department of Health, securing awards in excess of $1 million. She is an editorial reviewer for several journals, including Journal of School Health, The Catalyst: Journal of the New York State Federation of Professional Health Educators, Journal of School Health, and Journal of Health Education Teaching. Dr. Hodges has served as department chair for the past 14 years, providing superior leadership in curriculum development and the NCATE/CAEP accreditation process. She is a tireless advocate for the greater Cortland community, providing extensive service to the YWCA, Seven Valleys Health Coalition, the Cortland County Health Department, and Cortland City Schools. She was instrumental in the school district obtaining a Healthy Heart Mini-Grant, and she has provided training to elementary school children on nutrition, obesity prevention and other health topics. The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) appointed Dr. Hodges to the Public Health Educator Continuing Education Committee. She has also provided superior executive leadership to the Society of Public Health Education (SOPHE), American Association for Health Education (AAHE), and the American School Health Association (ASHA).
  • Professor Eric J. Johansson – Captain Johansson began his career as Master of Tugs, Salvage Vessels and Pilot of Unlimited Tonnage Ships before joining the faculty at SUNY Maritime College in 1994. Captain Johansson has been the recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service, the Plimsoll Award, and the Public Service Commendation (United States Coast Guard). He is the founder of the annual SUNY Maritime College Towing Forum, now in its 17th year, and has published numerous funded research projects including the Maritime Support Service Location Study I, Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation “Economic Analysis,” Small Business Dredge Needs Port of NY Study, “New Jersey Offshore Wind Outlook,” and “Economic Impact of Siltation on NYC’s Small Waterways.” In addition to educating and mentoring cadets at Fort Schuyler, Captain Johansson is a founding member and Co-Chair of the NY Harbor School Professional Advisory Committee facilitating curriculum development and industry connections, and as an internship liaison with the McKee Vocational School in Staten Island.
  • Professor Douglas R. Lazzaro – Dr. Lazzaro is Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. He holds the Richard C. Troutman MD Distinguished Chair in Ophthalmology and Ophthalmic Microsurgery. Dr. Lazzaro, who is a Downstate Medical School graduate, has contributed to the SUNY Downstate Community since 1990. He has lectured to medical students and residents at all levels, and has participated in Continuing Medical Education seminars for practicing community and academic physicians. He has served as the President of the Kings County Medical Staff, and Chair of Downstate’s CPMP and University Physician of Brooklyn Board. He actively sees patients and has written about his experiences from the Level 1 Trauma Center at Kings County Hospital. Professor Lazzaro has received grant money to study common eye problems and has found ways to treat them. He has been named teacher par excellence by his residents. Dr. Lazzaro has published in many referred journals, and is a highly sought after visiting professor at other medical schools and contributes to many societies in a meaningful way.
  • Professor John F. Penrose – Mr. Penrose, a member of the Department of Lab Sciences at Jefferson Community College, is the recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Thomas Myers Co-Curricular Award in 2003, Phi Theta Kappa Outstanding Faculty Member in 2005 and 2012, and the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service. His work at the Educational Testing Service as a reader/table leader of advanced placement examinations, as well as a head writer of examination questions for the PRAXIS exams distinguishes him among science educators. Professor Penrose has served on many SUNY initiative committees (strategic planning, academic excellence, transfer pathways for chemistry). He has also served on many Middle States initiatives such as member and co-chair of three Jefferson steering committees and peer evaluator for Cumberland County Community College.
  • Professor Leonard B. Weiner – Dr. Weiner serves as Vice Chair for Academic Affairs, Director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Disease and Immunology, and Director of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Fellowship at SUNY Upstate Medical University. He has previously served in a number of other leadership roles at Upstate Medical University, including Vice Chair and Interim Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, as well as Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs in the College of Medicine and Deputy Medical Director of University Hospital. Dr. Weiner’s service in the region includes his role as Director of the State Designated Pediatric AIDS Center, service on the Professional Standards Review Organization of Central New York at Upstate, on the “Success by Six” Immunization Project Team. He has been active with the American Academy of Pediatrics for several decades, including his membership on the Committee on Infectious Diseases, which publishes the “Red Book,” clinical guidelines for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of infectious disease in children, which is used worldwide. For his many contributions to the field of pediatric infectious disease over many decades, he received the Academy’s prestigious Lifetime Contribution Award in 2015.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school, and business in the state. As of Fall 2018, more than 424,000 students were enrolled in a degree program at a SUNY campus. In total, SUNY served 1.4 million students in credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs in the 2017-18 academic year. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Its students and faculty make significant contributions to research and discovery, contributing to a $1.6 billion research portfolio. There are 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit

Share this:


Holly Liapis
Email the Office of Communications