SUNY Board of Trustees Appoints Faculty to Distinguished Ranks

November 10, 2016

Albany – The State University of New York Board of Trustees recently approved the appointments of eight faculty to the Distinguished Faculty Rank, now among SUNY’s 1,070 member Distinguished Academy.

"Each member deserves our utmost respect for their significant accomplishments to research and discovery, and for being an inspiration to countless students and those within their field of study worldwide," said SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. "It is with great pride that we can celebrate such excellence within our SUNY faculty, and to be able to honor such brilliance, dedication and hard work. Congratulations to our newest distinguished faculty."

"For each distinguished faculty member, there is a story of an individual who pushes the boundaries of what was thought possible in research, or of someone who has influenced greater thought leadership on a national or international level," said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. "These are some of our brightest minds, and they are also some of our greatest teachers. I am proud they are a part of the SUNY family. My congratulations to this year’s honorees."

Since the program's inception in 1963, SUNY has appointed 1,070 faculty to the distinguished ranks, as follows, including these most recent appointments: 375 Distinguished Professorships; 311 Distinguished Service Professorships; 379 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 Douglas R. Holmes – Dr. Holmes, a member of the Department of Anthropology at Binghamton University, has gained international recognition for his research on the anthropology of European integration and Europeanization, and on the anthropology of central banking. Dr. Holmes published this research in an ethnographic trilogy of three books: Cultural Disenchantments: Worker Peasantries in Northeast Italy; Integral Europe: Fast-Capitalism, Multiculturalism; and Neofascism and Economy of Words: Communicative Imperatives in Central Banks. In Italy, he found that the European social model with promises of welfare and dignity had reset expectations in rural populations. His research on neofascism seeks to understand the regionalism and the turn to violent radicalization that have become so prevalent in modern Europe. In the depth of the last world recession, Dr. Holmes went behind the closed doors of central banks to produce provocative new insights into the way bankers conceptualize and manage economies. Dr. Holmes directly engages the realities of the integration of Europe, neofascism, and international monetary management. His insights have made him an international commentator and advisor to those building governmental policies to confront these realities.
  • Professor Manuel London – Dr. London, Dean of the College of Business at Stony Brook University, has had a remarkable career combining research and practice that meet the highest level of academic excellence, and serves as a model for how social science is critical for business education. With 30 years as a university faculty member and administrator, and 12 in corporate research and management, Dr. London established himself as a prolific and highly cited scholar in the areas of leadership development, career dynamics, performance management, and social entrepreneurship. Dr. London was one of the first to study multisource performance evaluations and feedback in work settings, leading to seminal publications and ubiquitous corporate applications. Dr. London's theory of career motivation and associated research outlined how individuals' resilience, insight, and identity influence career goals and suggest structures for management development. Dr. London's award winning books and articles on performance management in changing organizations focused on creating climates to support employee learning. His book, The Power of Feedback, is now in its 3rd edition. Recognizing that much work is done in teams, Dr. London extended his ideas to how teams learn to be adaptive, generative, and transformative. He has held a range of administrative positions at Stony Brook.
  • Professor Scott A. Smolka – Dr. Smolka, a member of the Department of Computer Science at Stony Brook University, joined the department in 1982, and was promoted to Full Professor in 1995. He has made fundamental research contributions in a number of areas, including process algebra, model checking, probabilistic processes, runtime verification, and the modeling and analysis of cardiac cells and neural circuits. He is perhaps best known for the algorithm he co-invented with Paris Kanellakis for deciding bisimulation, a fundamental notion of equivalence for concurrent processes. His research has resulted in over 190 publications, generating 7,630 citations with an h-index of 45. He has also been principal investigator and co-principal investigator on grants totaling more than $23 million, and is the lead principal investigator on a recently awarded $4.2 million National Science Foundation (NSF) multi-institutional grant on Compositional, Approximate, and Quantitative Reasoning for Medical Cyber-Physical Systems. He also recently served as Deputy Director of a $10 million NSF multi-institutional grant on Computational Modeling and Analysis of Complex Systems. He was recently recognized as a Fellow of the European Association for Theoretical Computer Science, is the recipient of the President and Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, and the Computer Science Department Research Excellence Award.
  • Professor Yuanyuan Yang – Dr. Yang, a member of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Stony Brook University, is internationally recognized as a leading scientist in the field of parallel and cloud computing systems and computer networks. She has made seminal contributions to this field. For her outstanding achievements, she has been elected Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) – the world's largest professional society involved in all aspects of electronics and computing. Dr Yang is a recipient of Best Paper Awards and Distinguished Leadership Awards at top international conferences, and an IEEE Award for New Technical Concepts. Her research has been extensively supported by the National Science Foundation and Department of Defense. Dr. Yang has served on the editorial boards of top journals in computer systems and networks, including her current service as Associate Editor-in-Chief for IEEE Transactions on Cloud Computing – the leading journal in the cloud computing field. Dr. Yang has served as a general chair and program chair at several major conferences, and a program committee member for numerous conferences in her field. She also serves as the Vice Chair for Computer Society IEEE Fellow Evaluation Committee.

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, 10 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 Latha Chandran – Dr. Chandran, a member of the Pediatrics Department, Founding Director of the David and Miriam Donoho Academy of Clinical and Educational Scholars, and Vice Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education at Stony Brook University, has a distinguished career of teaching and mentoring of medical students and residents at Stony Brook University’s School of Medicine. Among her accomplishments is her profound impact on the education, as well as the personal and professional development of her students; and her commitment to scholarship, leadership, professionalism, humanism and service in medicine. Dr. Chandran is the recipient of the Aesculapius Award for Excellence in Medical Teaching, the President and Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching as well as the Best Teacher in Resident Continuity Clinic Award. She is a member of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation’s Gold Humanism Honor Society, and she has been recognized as a national leader in pediatrics education and educational scholarship in her role as a co-leader and co-developer of the Academic Pediatric Association’s Educational Scholars Program. She has shown tremendous leadership in curricular reform as Co-Chair of the Curriculum Committee at Stony Brook’s School of Medicine. Dr. Chandran is also Course Director for several undergraduate medical education courses.
  • Professor Alok Kumar – Dr. Kumar, a member of the Department of Physics at SUNY Oswego, is an internationally recognized scholar and teacher, a distinguished translator of ancient texts and a historian of the evolution of medieval science. He has been honored internationally by peers for his numerous contributions to teaching, and has served as a principal investigator on many research projects that have advanced the science of physics. Dr. Kumar has been an ardent advocate for the inclusion of non-Western perspectives on science in the teaching of all sciences, not just physics. He is considered a world-class authority on the development of science and mathematics throughout antiquity, particularly among the ancient Hindus. Dr. Kumar’s highly effective approach to teaching consistently challenges and engages students, and he has received superlative reviews from current and former students. He is an extraordinarily productive member of the SUNY Oswego faculty, regularly teaches full course loads that include as many as four unique preparations, often for courses in the first iteration. He sets a fine example for others through tireless service, award-winning performance as a master teacher, advisor and mentor. He truly contributes to the ongoing success of the SUNY Oswego mission.
  • Professor Laura J. Person – Dr. Person, a member of the Department of Mathematics at SUNY Potsdam, received her Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of California at Santa Barbara before joining SUNY Potsdam’s faculty in 1989. Having taught over 20 different undergraduate and graduate courses, and served as a mentor for new faculty, she has proven herself a skilled and outstanding professor. Her numerous awards include the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, Favorite Professor of the Mathematics Department, and the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Dr. Person has published two well-used textbooks, Write Your Own Proofs in Set Theory and Discrete Mathematics (co-author Amy Babich) and Topology Notes. Her exceptional teaching has been recognized by colleagues across the country through multiple honors from the Mathematical Association of America. The Oklahoma-Arkansas Section invited her to be the Workshop Director for "Building a Healthy Undergraduate Program." The Seaway Section invited her to present the distinguished Randolph Lecture and presented her with the Clarence F. Stephens Distinguished Teaching Award – intended to honor someone with documented exceptional teaching effectiveness whose influence has extended beyond the institution.

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 today is:

  • Professor Perry Goldstein – Dr. Goldstein, currently serving his second three-year term as Chair of the Department of Music at Stony Brook University, has achieved an impressive record of service in the academic department, the Stony Brook University community, and the music profession in New York State, as well as in national and international organizations. In the Department of Music, he served as Director of Undergraduate Studies and Graduate Program Director. In the University at large, he has been a member of numerous important committees, including Budget and Finance, the Fulbright Committee, the Staller Long Range Planning Committee, the General Education Committee, and many others. He has chaired the College of Arts and Sciences Departmental Excellence Committee and the Distinguished Professor Award Selection Committee at Stony Brook, and has cochaired the CAS Dean Search Committee and the second Cluster Hire Committee, among others. He was the inaugural Director of the College of Arts, Culture and Humanities, and co-creator of the Seawolves Marching Band. In the music profession, he has held important responsibilities as a member of the Music Funding Panel and Program Auditor for the New York State Council on the Arts. At the national and international level, Dr. Goldstein has served as a National Advisor and a member of the Board of Directors of the League of Composers/International Society of Contemporary Music, as well as a United States Representative to the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers in Paris, for which he also was an adjudicator. In addition to his service accomplishments, Dr. Goldstein enjoys an international reputation as a composer, and has received both the President's and the Chancellor's Awards for Excellence in Teaching.

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, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three 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 opportunities, visit

Share this:


Holly Liapis
Email the Office of Communications