SUNY Board of Trustees Appoints 14 Faculty to Distinguished Ranks

November 29, 2018

Albany – The State University of New York Board of Trustees recently approved the appointments of 14 faculty to the Distinguished Faculty Rank. All distinguished faculty in active service with SUNY are also members of the SUNY Distinguished Academy.

"The Board is honored to bestow these 14 exceptional academics, who come highly recommended by their peers and presidents, with SUNY’s most revered ranking of distinction," said SUNY Board Chairman H. Carl McCall. "Their dedication to the students, faculty, and staff at their individual campuses as well as to advancing research and sharing knowledge within their fields is laudable. Congratulations to all honorees."

"The individuals joining SUNY’s distinguished faculty exude academic excellence, commit themselves to being exemplary professionals inside and outside of the classroom, and relentlessly work to build on SUNY’s prominence as a national leader in education and service," said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. "Their accomplishments range from producing groundbreaking research to helping students find their passion for learning, and ultimately, to succeeding in their careers. Thank you to all of today’s honorees for their service to SUNY and congratulations."

Since the program’s inception in 1963, SUNY has appointed 1,130 faculty to the distinguished ranks, as follows, including these most recent appointments: 408 Distinguished Professorships; 327 Distinguished Service Professorships; 388 Distinguished Teaching Professorships; and 7 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 and/or international prominence and a distinguished reputation within their chosen field. This distinction is attained through extraordinary contributions to, and impact on, the candidate’s field of study, often evidenced by significant research and/or creative activity. Moreover, the candidate should be a role model for students and other faculty and their work must be of such character that it has the potential to elevate the standards of scholarship or creative activity of colleagues both within and beyond their academic fields. Their work must be of such quality that students and scholars on other State University of New York campuses would wish to benefit from lectures and seminars, or other appropriate presentations the faculty members might provide. Further, to be eligible for nomination, a faculty member must have attained and held the rank of full professor for five years, and must have at least one year of full-time service at the nominating institution. Receiving this rank are the following:

  • Professor Michel Bruneau – Dr. Bruneau, a member of the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering at the University at Buffalo, is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Canadian Academy of Engineering. Dr. Bruneau is a structural engineer who is internationally renowned for his expertise in earthquake and blast engineering of buildings and bridges, with particular emphasis on the ductile design of steel structures. Lauded by his peers as a "towering figure" in structural engineering who has been "informative and influential in the progress made on steel design and seismic standards in the United States," Dr. Bruneau has made seminal research findings that have been incorporated into both national and international standards of specifications for ductile steel plate shear walls, tubular eccentrically braced frames, and ductile composite sandwich walls. Dr. Bruneau’s development and validation of the tubular eccentrically braced frames concept for bridges was implemented in the $1 billion temporary supports for the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Over the decades, Dr. Bruneau has traveled the world to assess structural damage caused by earthquakes, including those in Christchurch, New Zealand; Turkey; Los Angeles; and San Francisco. Similarly, he was sought out for a reconnaissance visit to New York City in the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. He has more than 500 publications to his credit.
  • Professor Jessica Gurevitch – Dr. Gurevitch, a member of the Department of Ecology and Evolution at Stony Brook University, is a nationally and internationally lauded ecologist. She was elected as a Named Fellow of the Ecological Society of America in the inaugural year of this award, demonstrating her standing in the field. She is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Gurevitch is a leader in research synthesis and meta-analysis, biological invasions, and plant ecology. She introduced contemporary quantitative research synthesis and meta-analysis to the fields of ecology and evolution, changing the way scientists in these fields conceptualize and review scientific data. Dr. Gurevitch’s work has had an impact on numerous other fields, including human medicine and sociology. Her bestselling co-edited book The Design and Analysis of Ecological Experiments, now in its second edition, has influenced a generation of young ecologists. She is the lead author of a major undergraduate textbook, The Ecology of Plants, and co-authored the influential Handbook of Meta-analysis in Ecology and Evolution. Dr. Gurevitch served as an NSF Program Director, Secretary of The American Society of Naturalists, and Executive Vice President of the Society for the Study of Evolution. She currently serves on the Governing Board of the Ecological Society of America.
  • Professor Dmitri E. Kharzeev – Dr. Kharzeev, a member of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Stony Brook University, is nationally and internationally recognized as one of the world's leading theorists in nuclear physics. He is best known for his groundbreaking work on the Chiral Magnetic Effect (CME), which relies on the separation of right- and left-"handed" particles in the presence of strong magnetic fields. CME was first discovered experimentally in heavy ion collisions at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Though the theory behind CME was initially developed in the context of nuclear physics, it has far-reaching implications for condensed matter physics as well. Based on Dr. Kharzeev's prediction, he and a team of condensed matter scientists discovered a new way to generate very low-resistance electric current in a new class of materials. This discovery points to a range of potential applications in energy, quantum computing, and medical imaging, and possibly even a new mechanism for inducing superconductivity – the ability of some materials to carry current with no energy loss. Dr. Kharzeev is an author of nearly 200 scientific publications.
  • Professor Errol E. Meidinger – Dr. Meidinger is the Margaret W. Wong Professor of Law in the School of Law at the University at Buffalo. He is an internationally renowned scholar of regulation, and a pioneer of the influential view of regulation as a collaborative process of governnance. He is credited with conducting research that helped demonstrate the vast potential of non-governmental institutions, and his scholarship has greatly broadened national and international strategies to address critical environmental challenges. He has served the Law School as Vice Dean for Research, Director of the UB Environment and Society Institute (from 1998-2001), and Director of the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy. Dr. Meidinger is known internationally for his path-breaking work in theorizing regulation as a complex interaction within a field of "regulatory culture." This framework has enabled Dr. Meidinger to illuminate emergent governance institutions in environmental policy, including emissions markets, privatized enforcement, collaborative ecosystem management, and, most notably, private standard-setting and product certification. A consistent focus of his scholarship has been the rise of non-state governance institutions. Dr. Meidinger has catalyzed a group of scholars worldwide to transform our understanding of the relationships among and between citizens, institutions, and the environment, and to expand strategies for meeting critical environmental challenges. His work has influenced not only this area of study but also the practice of policy, both nationally and internationally.
  • Professor Ute Martha Moll – Dr. Moll is a member of the Department of Pathology at Stony Brook University. She was recruited to her first faculty appointment in the Department of Pathology in 1992, and since that time has developed her career at Stony Brook as an internationally renowned research scientist based on her numerous and fundamentally important discoveries of the roles of p53/p63/p73 and MIF gene expression in both health and disease. Dr. Moll’s work most recently demonstrated that pharmacological approaches to eliminate the oncogenic protein encoded by TP53 hotspot mutations could be highly effective cancer treatments. She has authored over 175 research manuscripts and her work has been cited over 19,000 times, earning her an H-index of 65. Dr. Moll has also maintained continuous grant support for over 25 years from the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, and others. She has received numerous honors, including, in 2017, the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities. She is a member of the Association of American Physicians.
  • Professor Suparna Rajaram – Dr. Rajaram, a member of the Department of Psychology at Stony Brook University, is a leading scholar in the experimental study of human memory. Her early work on explicit versus implicit memory and recollective experience has influenced major theories of memory. Dr. Rajaram pioneered a conceptual framework to study cognitive mechanisms that underpin memory transmission in groups and the emergence of collective memory. Her major contributions include the introduction of novel paradigms to model social networks in the laboratory. Dr. Rajaram's research has appeared in top journals and has received support from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Russell Sage Foundation, the National Science Foundation (NSF), Google, and others. She is the recipient of the prestigious FIRST Award from the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Rajaram was President (2017-18) of the Association for Psychological Science. She was also Chair of the Psychonomic Society Governing Board. A Fellow of AAAS and the Society of Experimental Psychologists, and associate editor of three major journals, Dr. Rajaram was a featured memory scholar in the Rubin Museum of Art's Brainwave Series. Dr. Rajaram also co-founded an international group, Women in Cognitive Science, supported by NSF to promote gender equity in cognitive sciences.
  • Professor Nicole S. Sampson – Dr. Sampson, a member of the Department of Arts and Sciences at Stony Brook University, is a Professor of Chemistry and an internationally known scholar in chemical biology and organic chemistry. Her research contributions include enzymology of bacterial cholesterol metabolism, drug and diagnostic discovery for treatment of tuberculosis, pioneering the use of polymer probes to unravel mammalian sperm-egg interactions, and developing precisely alternating copolymer synthetic methodology. Professor Sampson has received $16 million in research support from federal and private agencies. She has written more than 100 research papers and reviews in high profile journals and holds five issued patents. Dr. Sampson's honors and awards include the Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award, an NSF CAREER Award, the Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, and the Pfizer Award in Enzyme Chemistry, both from the American Chemical Society (ACS), the Research Foundation of SUNY Research and Scholarship Award, and the New York State NYSTAR Faculty Development Award. She has served in leadership positions in the ACS, and provided major service to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and NSF. Dr. Sampson currently co-directs an NIH-funded Chemical Biology Graduate Training Program and served as Chair of the Chemistry Department from 2012-2017.
  • Professor Lawrence M. Schell – Dr. Schell is a member of the Department of Anthropology at the University at Albany with a joint appointment in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in Albany’s School of Public Health. He also serves as Director of the University at Albany Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities and holds the title of Clinical Associate Professor at Albany Medical College’s Department of Pediatrics. A globally respected biological anthropologist, Dr. Schell is internationally known and respected for his research on human growth and development. He has generated nearly 200 publications that are highly regarded across the fields of anthropology, biology, and public health, and that appear in some of these fields’ top outlets. His research has attracted significant external funding, totaling over $25 million, resulting in important changes in environmental health and the ways in which practitioners and policy-makers serve those most affected by health disparities. Dr. Schell has been honored with numerous awards and prestigious fellowships. He is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an Honorary Scientific Advisor for the Institute for Anthropological Research, Zagreb, Croatia. He has received support from the NATO Advanced Study Institute, and was a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar in Florence, Italy.
  • Professor Leon A. Takhtajan – Dr. Takhtajan, a member of the Department of Mathematics at Stony Brook University, is a highly regarded mathematical physicist who has produced fundamental and pioneering work on the theory of classical and quantum integrable systems and string theory, with deep applications to algebraic geometry, the Teichmüller theory of Riemann surfaces, and number theory. He has co-authored several highly influential textbooks, regarded as must-reads for several generations of mathematical physicists. Dr. Takhtajan has played a crucial role in shaping his department over the past three decades, including serving as department Chair for four years. He also played an instrumental role in founding the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics. Dr. Takhtajan’s outstanding achievements have been recognized by an invitation to give an address to the International Congress of Mathematicians and a plenary address to the annual meeting of the American Math Society. He received a Clay Math Institute Fellowship and was elected to the inaugural class of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society.

The Distinguished Service Professorship honors and recognizes extraordinary service by faculty across SUNY. Candidates must have demonstrated substantial distinguished service, not only at the campus and the system-level, but also at the community, regional and state levels. They must have held the rank of full professor for five years, must have at least three years of full-time service at the nominating institution, and must have completed at least 10 years of full-time service in the SUNY system. Further, many individuals appointed to this rank have rendered influential service at the national and international levels. To be considered, service activities must exceed those generally considered to be a part of a candidate’s basic professional portfolio of work and should include service that surpasses that for which professors are normally recognized. It must also extend over multiple years and, very importantly, must involve the application of intellectual skills drawing from the individual’s scholarly and research interests to issues of public concern. Receiving this rank are the following:

  • Professor Mary F. Kritzer – Dr. Kritzer, a member of the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Stony Brook University, has provided outstanding service to the University in many capacities beyond her primary teaching and research responsibilities. She has volunteered to serve on medical school governance, the University's athletics programs, services for underrepresented graduate students, and services for commuter students. She has also gained an impressive reputation for service outside the University by participating in science programs in local high schools, serving as an effective leader in numerous NIH study section activities, and bringing the Healthy Minds Across America Outreach program to Stony Brook University. Dr. Kritzer has twice taken on the demanding task of graduate program director for her home department, a crucial aspect of the departmental mission. Individuals inside and outside the University write glowingly of her willingness to serve in multiple capacities and the reliability of her service as a go-to person. Her teaching has received numerous awards, and her research program on cerebral cortex function has been externally funded and published in high quality international journals.

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 at the undergraduate, graduate or professional level. Receiving this rank are the following:

  • Professor Beverly J. Evans – Dr. Evans, a member of the Department of Languages and Literatures at SUNY Geneseo, has consistently demonstrated exceptional teaching over her 33 years at Geneseo. She has taught a wide array of courses including advance-level offerings; key general education courses in the humanities; and special programs for study abroad, first-year seminar, and the honors program. Early in her career, Dr. Evans adopted integrative learning strategies identifying ways to incorporate social and political issues within the humanities. Her dedication to mentorship has led to numerous students presenting their research at local and regional conferences. She received the SUNY Geneseo President’s Award for Excellence in Academic Advising in 2014, in recognition of her focus on student success. She is an engaged scholar, having published a significant number of peer reviewed articles and reviews. Additionally, Dr. Evans’ contributions to her discipline include serving as executive director of Pi Delta Phi National French Honor Society; a member of the board of directors of the Association of College Honor Societies; and editor of Encomia, an annual publication of the international Courtly Literature Society.
  • Professor Mark S. Hartman – Dr. Hartman, of The Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, has consistently demonstrated mastery of his musical specialty and excellence in teaching over his career at SUNY Potsdam. Former students from his trombone studio at Crane have performed with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the U.S. Army Band, and the New York Philharmonic, and have performed at highly regarded national and international performance venues. He has also successfully placed students in some of the most competitive graduate programs in the country. In support of his teaching, Dr. Hartman maintains a rigorous professional performing schedule as a member of the Potsdam Brass Quintet and as principal trombone with the Orchestra of Northern New York and the Northern Symphonic Winds. Dr. Hartman has toured New York State conducting the Crane Trombone Ensemble and has given presentations to music educators at statewide, regional, and local events for the New York State School Music Association, New York State Band Directors Association, and others, as well as authoring articles on trombone pedagogy. He provided outstanding service as Acting Associate Dean at the Crane School of Music and in other leadership roles on campus. He has been awarded both the SUNY Potsdam President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Dr. Hartman was also awarded lifetime membership to the International Trombone Association and received the New York State Band Directors Association Award for his service to music education.

The Distinguished Librarian Professorship recognizes librarians whose contributions have been transformational in creating a new information environment by providing access to information, sharing or networking information resources, and fostering information literacy. In extending its "Distinguished" ranks to the library faculty, SUNY recognizes the accomplishments of all its faculty and assumes national leadership within the academy by becoming the first university system to so encourage and foster the full potential of the faculty status of librarians. The Distinguished Librarian rank honors and promotes the achievement of personal excellence, groundbreaking professional progress, and wide-ranging benefit to the academic community. This rank parallels the Distinguished Professor rank in terms of expected level of accomplishment and the rarity in awarding the rank. The Distinguished Librarian rank is open to State-operated campuses of the State University of New York. Receiving this rank are the following:

  • Michael B. Huang – Mr. Huang, a Full Librarian at the Health Sciences Center Library at Stony Brook University, serves as Director of Global Library Initiatives, developing productive and diplomatic relations between U.S. and Chinese libraries. His significant contributions to Stony Brook University and the library profession, both locally and internationally, focus on Chinese digital and medical libraries initiatives. Through his teaching as a course instructor, library workshops, and consultations, Mr. Huang has contributed substantially to the understanding of evidence-based practice and the acquisition of information literacy skills for the students and faculty in Stony Brook’s Health Sciences programs. As Director of Global Library Initiatives, he has fostered sustainable partnerships with institutions abroad, furthering the global mission of the University. An accomplished and committed scholar, his publication record includes four co-edited books, more than 25 articles, nine research guides, and more than 85 presentations. Mr. Huang serves as editor of the International Journal of Librarianship. He has received awards from the Library Society of China, the Guangzi Society for Library Sciences, and the Chinese American Librarians Association. He has twice received the Stony Brook President’s Award for Excellence in Team Achievement.
  • Edward M. Komara – Mr. Komara, a full librarian in the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, has achieved an international reputation for his work as a librarian and musicologist. A two-time inductee of the Blues Hall of Fame, Mr. Komara is the epitome of a scholar-librarian, publishing six books, more than 23 articles, and 121 reviews of sound recordings and books. Mr. Komara is able to write for both the scholar and the fan, as his many recognitions acknowledge. He has thrice won the Association for Recorded Sound Collections’ Award for Excellence in Historical Sound Research: in 2002 for his essay and discography in Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues: the Worlds of Charley Patton; in 2007 for the two-volume Encyclopedia of the Blues; and in 2014 for his coauthored book 100 Books Every Blues Fan should Own. This last book also won the Music Library Association’s prestigious Vincent H. Duckles Award for best book-length bibliography. He has served as a consultant on the blues for the American Folklore Society, the American Folklife Center, and the Library of Congress. His broad scholarship informs his management of the Julia E. Crane Memorial Library and service to its users. Mr. Komara is an Adjunct Instructor teaching Introduction to Music Bibliography and Mississippi Blues 1890-2000; he also leads bibliographic instruction sessions and gives guest lectures to a wide range of classes.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, 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 2022, 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

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