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The college celebrates two new distinguished university professors

Fall | Winter 2016

The College Celebrates Two New Distinguished University Professors

Mary Barkley and Glenn Starkman are among eight faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences who have been named Distinguished University Professors. Photo by Daniel Milner.

Two senior professors in the College of Arts and Sciences received the university’s highest faculty honor during Fall Convocation on Aug. 31.

President Barbara R. Snyder conferred the title of Distinguished University Professor on Mary D. Barkley (chemistry) and Glenn D. Starkman (physics). This designation, created in 2010, celebrates exceptional achievements in research and scholarship, teaching and service. It honors faculty members who have brought international recognition to the university and who continue to make significant contributions to their disciplines.

Barkley, the M. Roger Clapp University Professor of Arts and Sciences, is a leading researcher in the field of biophysical chemistry. She has developed and applied innovative laboratory techniques to investigate the structure of proteins, and her work has provided invaluable raw material for computer simulations of protein behaviors. Barkley has published more than 60 scientific papers, several of which shed light on the process by which anti-AIDS drugs inhibit reverse transcriptase, a viral enzyme that catalyzes the first step in the replication of HIV.

A faculty member since 1996 and chair of the Department of Chemistry since 2008, Barkley has long been an influential mentor and advocate for women and underrepresented minorities in the sciences. She was the first woman at Case Western Reserve to become a tenured professor in the chemistry department, and also the first woman to hold an endowed chair in the natural sciences. In 2003, she played a decisive role in creating ACES (Academic Careers in Science and Engineering), a university program funded by the National Science Foundation to increase the percentage of women holding faculty and leadership positions in science and engineering programs. With Barkley’s active involvement, ACES successfully pressed for changes in recruitment and hiring practices, and it enhanced female scientists’ prospects for advancement by providing them with individual mentoring and coaching. Barkley’s efforts to increase diversity have also extended to the undergraduate level; since 2003, she has coordinated the Summer Undergraduate Research Program for underrepresented minority students. Many of the participants have won awards for their projects and gone on to master’s and doctoral programs.

Barkley is a past president of the Biophysical Society, which presented her with its Distinguished Service Award in 2003. Last year, she received the American Chemical Society’s Stanley C. Israel Regional Award for Advancing Diversity in the Chemical Sciences.

Starkman, who joined the physics faculty in 1995, has made major contributions to cosmology, particle physics and astronomy. His research interests include the shape and early evolution of the universe and the nature of dark matter, and his work in these areas has often challenged mainstream scientific thinking. For example, he and his colleagues have discovered anomalies in the cosmic microwave background—radiation generated by the Big Bang—that appear to be inconsistent with the standard theory of cosmology.

A participant in research collaborations around the globe, Starkman has been involved in experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s biggest particle accelerator. He and his colleagues developed a computer code that enabled them to model the production and decay of black holes; their goal was to discover ways to search for such events at the LHC. In addition, Starkman has worked with NASA to create tools for detecting and imaging planets beyond our solar system. At Case Western Reserve, where he holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Astronomy, he fosters intellectual exchanges between physicists and astronomers in his role as director of the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics.

Starkman is also the founding director of the Institute for the Science of Origins (ISO), which seeks to advance understanding and appreciation of research into the origins and evolution of physical, biological and cultural phenomena. The institute presents public lectures both on campus and at The Happy Dog tavern, where it attracts audiences with the slogan “Life, the Universe and Hot Dogs.” Recently, ISO joined forces with 10 departments in the college and with the CWRU School of Medicine to develop an undergraduate major in Origins Sciences.

Starkman has previously received a Guggenheim Fellowship (2005) and the John S. Diekhoff Award for Graduate Mentoring (2012), among other honors. His acts of service to the university include his chairing of the President’s Commission on Undergraduate Education and Life, whose landmark 2001 report inspired the creation of new curricular offerings and experiential learning opportunities for students at Case Western Reserve.

Alumni Award Winners Honored This Fall

Photo by Mike Sands

The winners of the college’s 2016 Alumni Awards were honored during Reunion and Homecoming Weekend this fall. From left: Joshua Martin III (CIT ’66) and Thalia Dorwick (FSM ’66, GRS ’73), Distinguished Alumni of the Year; Dean Cyrus C. Taylor; Natalie Epstein (FSM ’49, GRS ’74), Distinguished Service Alumna of the Year; and Joseph Loparo (CWR ’01), Young Alumnus of the Year.

To submit nominations for the 2017 Alumni Awards, please visit The deadline is Dec. 31, 2016. Next year’s awards will be presented during Reunion and Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 5–8, 2017.

Eva Kahana Receives the Hovorka Prize


Eva Kahana conducts applied research focusing on improving older adults’ quality of life. Photo courtesy of Eva Kahana.

Distinguished University Professor Eva Kahana has won the 2016 Frank and Dorothy Humel Hovorka Prize, which recognizes faculty members for exceptional achievements in teaching, research and service that have benefited the community, the nation and the world.

Kahana, who is also the Pierce T. and Elizabeth D. Robson Professor of the Humanities in the Department of Sociology, conducts applied research aimed at improving older adults’ quality of life. She has studied the elderly in settings ranging from hospitals and nursing homes to retirement communities, and she has long been impressed by the “adaptive skills and resilience of even frail elders.” She believes that the more we learn about older people’s ways of coping with illness, trauma and aging itself, the better equipped we will be to develop institutional practices and social policies that support successful aging.

A faculty member since 1984, Kahana was chair of the sociology department from 1985 to 2004. She is the founding director of the Elderly Care Research Center, which trains graduate and postdoctoral students in social gerontology. Holding secondary appointments in the CWRU School of Medicine, the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing and the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Kahana engages in educational and research collaborations across the university. For one project, she is formulating guidelines for “health care partnerships” involving older adults, their caregivers and their primary care providers. The goal is to recognize the proactivity of elders in the 21st century by making them full participants in managing their care.

Kahana accepted the Hovorka Prize during CWRU’s commencement ceremony on May 15. For her, she says, it was the most memorable event of its kind since her two sons graduated from the university. Jeffrey Kahana (CWR ’89, GRS ’89) is now a history professor at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, N.Y., and Michael Kahana (CWR ’89) is a professor of neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania.

CAS Faculty Members Win Teaching, Mentoring Awards

When Case Western Reserve University presented its annual awards for outstanding teaching and mentoring this spring, faculty members and full-time lecturers from the college were among the honorees in every category.

Carl F. Wittke Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

  • Amy Absher, SAGES Fellow and full-time lecturer, Department of History
  • Jim Sheeler, the Shirley Wormser Professor in Journalism and Media Writing, Department of English

John S. Diekhoff Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching

  • Carlos Crespo-Hernández, associate professor, Department of Chemistry
  • Andrea Wolk Rager, the Jesse Hauk Shera Assistant Professor, Department of Art History and Art

John S. Diekhoff Award for Excellence in Graduate Mentoring

  • Karen Potter, professor and chair, Department of Dance
  • John Ruhl, the Connecticut Professor, Department of Physics

J. Bruce Jackson, MD, Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring

  • Lisa Nielson, Anisfield-Wolf SAGES Fellow and full-time lecturer, Department of Music
  • Rekha Srinivasan, senior instructor, Department of Chemistry

Richard A. Bloom, MD, Award for Teaching Excellence in the SAGES Program

  • Suhaan Mehta, full-time lecturer, Department of English

Jessica Melton Perry Award for Distinguished Teaching in Disciplinary and Professional Writing

  • Georgia Cowart, professor, Department of Music

art/sci, etc.

Julie Andrijeski (GRS ’06), senior instructor in the Department of Music and director of the CWRU/Cleveland Institute of Music Baroque Orchestra, has received the Thomas Binkley Award from Early Music America. The award recognizes outstanding achievement in both performance and scholarship by the director of a university or college collegium musicum.

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and the Arts, edited by Timothy Beal, the Florence Harkness Professor of Religion and chair of the Department of Religious Studies, won Library Journal’s award for Best Print Reference | Best Reference Work for 2015 in the Humanities category. Three other faculty members were involved in creating the encyclopedia. Associate Professor David Rothenberg, chair of the Department of Music, served on the editorial board for music; Associate Professor Joy Bostic and Assistant Professor Justine Howe, both of the Department of Religious Studies, contributed major articles.

An article by Robert W. Brown, Distinguished University Professor and Institute Professor, and Professor Corbin E. Covault, both members of the physics faculty, was recognized by the American Association of Physics Teachers as among the best published in 2015–16 in the journal The Physics Teacher. The article, “Re-Cycling,” describes a teaching method in which concepts are revisited multiple times over the course of a semester.

William Marling, professor in the Department of English, is the author of Gatekeepers: The Emergence of World Literature and the 1960s.

Susan McClary, professor in the Department of Music, received an honorary degree from McGill University in May.

Emily Pentzer, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, received a National Science Foundation CAREER award.

Karlie Budge. Photo by Brad Petot.

Associate Professor Blanton Tolbert is the first recipient of the Morton L. Mandel Award, which will be presented annually to a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry. Morton L. Mandel (HON ’07, CWR ’13) has committed $100,000 to endowing this award through the Morton and Barbara Mandel Family Foundation.

Rhonda Y. Williams, professor in the Department of History and director of the Social Justice Institute, received the June 2016 Patriot Award from the Bill of Rights Defense Committee/Defending Dissent Foundation.

SAGES Fellow Dave Lucas, a full-time lecturer in the Department of English, received a 2016 Cleveland Arts Prize in the Emerging Artist category. Lucas, whose first book of poems, Weather, appeared in 2011, is this year’s Baker­Nord Center for the Humanities Faculty Affiliate, and he was recently named the inaugural William N. Skirball Writers’ Center writer-in-residence by Cuyahoga County Public Library.

Frank Manzella, a graduate student in the Department of Anthropology, has received a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award. Manzella will conduct a year-long ethnographic study in Brazil, examining “medical tourism”—specifically, the experiences and interactions of foreigners who come to Rio de Janeiro to undergo cosmetic surgery.

Karlie Budge (CWR ’16), who graduated in May with a bachelor of science degree in statistics and a bachelor of arts degree in dance, has been admitted into Graham 2, a pre-professional dance company comprising the most advanced students of the Martha Graham School in New York City.

Jenifer Neils to Receive Humanities Faculty Award

Jenifer Neils’ writings about the Parthenon and other works of classical art have won her an international reputation. Photo by Mike Sands.

At a ceremony early next year, Jenifer Neils, the Elsie B. Smith Professor in the Liberal Arts in the Department of Classics, will receive the inaugural Baker-Nord Center Award for Distinguished Scholarship in the Humanities.

The purpose of the award, says Peter Knox, the Eric and Jane Nord Family Professor and director of the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities, is to honor members of Case Western Reserve’s humanities faculty whose achievements have gained national and international recognition. The Baker-Nord Center established the award with support from the College of Arts and Sciences and the university’s Office for Research and Technology Management.

Neils, a classical archaeologist who joined the college faculty in 1980, is a former Ruth Coulter Heede Professor of Art History and former chair of the Department of Art History and Art. At the close of this academic year, she will become the director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

The remarks below are adapted from an interview in which Knox reflected on Neils’ scholarly contributions.

In this country and abroad, in the international arts community, in museums and in the field of archaeology, Case Western Reserve University is a familiar name because it has been home to Jenifer Neils for 36 years.

Her stature derives, in part, from her landmark publications about classical Athens and the Parthenon, including her 2001 monograph The Parthenon Frieze. That volume is one of the best treatments ever of one of the most important monuments of ancient art. Jenifer addresses the sculpture’s historical, political and social context; the spatial arrangement of its figures; its style and imagery; and finally its meaning, ancient and modern. Her research has had a lasting impact on the way the frieze is studied; no one will ever look at this iconic structure the same way again.

Jenifer is equally eminent as a scholar of Greek vase-paintings. She takes a particular interest in their renderings of the world of Greek heroes and gods, a subject to which she has devoted many original, thought-provoking and frequently cited essays. In 2009, for example, she offered a new interpretation of the Sarpedon krater, a famous vase painted with a scene from The Iliad in which Sarpedon, a Trojan ally and son of Zeus, lies dead on the battlefield. Previous scholars had regarded the krater as a tribute to a fallen hero. But Jenifer argued that it celebrates the victory of the Greeks, who are shown dishonoring the bleeding corpse of their foe.

Last but not least, I would mention Jenifer’s prominent role in international debates on cultural heritage issues, including the question of whether Britain should return the Parthenon marbles to Greece. To discourage illicit trafficking in antiquities, she has called on university collections to provide full disclosure concerning new acquisitions, including information regarding provenance and names of dealers. Jenifer’s influence in this area will continue to grow once she assumes her new position at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

Neils will accept her award and deliver a public lecture on February 1, 2017, at the Tinkham Veale University Center.

Melvyn Goldstein Wins Faculty Research Award

Anthropologist Melvyn Goldstein has received the university’s Faculty Distinguished Research Award. He was one of four faculty members across the university recognized this year for their contributions both to their fields and to Case Western Reserve’s research reputation.

Goldstein, the John Reynolds Harkness Professor in the Department of Anthropology, is widely regarded as the founder of modern Tibetan studies. In 1985, he became the first Western ethnographer to conduct fieldwork in Tibet, and through an agreement he negotiated with the Tibet Academy of Social Sciences, CWRU became the first university in the world to commit itself to furthering anthropological research in that country and to bringing young Tibetan researchers to its campus for graduate training in anthropology.

Even before he visited Tibet, however, Goldstein was an authority on its history, politics, language and culture. Starting when he was a graduate student at the University of Washington in the 1960s, he had conducted fieldwork in a Tibetan refugee settlement in India and in an indigenous Tibetan community in northern Nepal. He had also published a grammar of modern Tibetan as well as an English-Tibetan and a Tibetan-English dictionary.

Goldstein’s initial research goal was to document traditions that had been suppressed, or that seemed likely to vanish, under Chinese rule. (China incorporated Tibet in 1951 and solidified its control after a failed uprising in 1959.) He did his first extended fieldwork in Tibet proper in 1986 with colleague Cynthia Beall, Distinguished University Professor and the Sarah Idell Pyle Professor of Anthropology, among pastoralist nomads, studying their way of life and their biological adaptation to their high-altitude environment. Since then, the two anthropologists have returned many times to examine how nomad communities are adapting to modernization. Goldstein also started a parallel longitudinal project focusing on farming communities in Tibet.

To date, Goldstein has written or co-authored more than 100 articles and 20 books, including the first three volumes of an authoritative history of modern Tibet. Once it is complete, this history will illuminate nearly a half-century, from 1913 to 1959, in which Tibet attained and lost its independence. Goldstein is now at work on the final volume, which will include his reflections on that entire tumultuous period.

In another long-term project, Goldstein is creating an online repository of about 1,800 hours of recorded interviews he and his assistants conducted with almost 800 Tibetans. The subjects include ordinary people; former government officials; and Buddhist monks who lived in Tibet’s largest monastery, Drepung, when it was home to 10,000 monks. About 300 of the interviews are now available on a website hosted by the Asian Division of the Library of Congress, which will permanently host the entire archive.

Among his many previous honors, Goldstein was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2009 and received the university’s Frank and Dorothy Humel Hovorka Prize in 2012. A faculty member since 1968, he teaches an introductory course on social and cultural anthropology every semester, and he was in the midst of a lecture in April when President Barbara R. Snyder and other senior administrators arrived unexpectedly to present him with his latest award.

Once he finishes A History of Modern Tibet, Goldstein will embark upon two books of oral history—one about Drepung Monastery and one about the lives of common Tibetans in the traditional society. He also plans to continue his fieldwork in Tibet with the nomad and farming communities.

In Memoriam: Tom Knab

Tom Knab, who served as the college’s chief information officer from 2004 to 2016, was a Grammy Award-winning recording engineer. Photo by Erica Brenner.

Thomas J. Knab, who integrated new and emerging technologies into research, teaching and the performing arts as the college’s chief information officer (CIO), died Sept. 25, at age 61.

His educational background set him apart from most people in his line of work: Knab held degrees in composition from the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) and Southern Methodist University. But he had long devoted his talents to both technology and the arts, and he regarded the two as naturally allied. When he applied to CIM in 1976, he submitted a piece he had written for synthesizer and guitar, explaining that he had built his own synthesizer in order to compose and perform it.

As a CIM undergraduate, Knab began forging connections at Case Western Reserve, playing in an early music ensemble led by Ross Duffin, the Fynette H. Kulas Professor of Music. In 1984, he joined the CIM faculty as head of an audio recording degree program conducted jointly by the institute and CWRU’s Department of Music, and in the early 2000s, he served as a consultant to the university’s Center for Excellence for Advanced Network Applications in the Arts. The relationships he built over the decades were an invaluable asset when he joined the college as its first CIO in 2004.

Upon his arrival, Knab discovered that some faculty members were using computers that were too outdated to connect to the university’s wireless network. In response, he instituted a computer refresh program to ensure that the entire faculty had access to the latest hardware and software. Knab collaborated with Kelvin Smith Library in establishing the Freedman Center for Digital Scholarship, and he assisted participants in the Freedman Fellows Program, which supports faculty members in expanding the role of technology in their research and teaching.

One of Knab’s most fruitful collaborations began in 2002, when he approached the dance program with the idea of producing a work that dancers and musicians at multiple sites would perform together in real time, linked by advanced networking technologies. Kinetic Shadows, the piece that Professor Gary Galbraith choreographed in response to this invitation, initiated a lasting partnership that made the Department of Dance a pioneer in bringing technology into the rehearsal studio and onto the stage.

The college and Cleveland’s musical community at large benefited from Knab’s expertise as a Grammy Award-winning recording engineer. The Baroque orchestra Apollo’s Fire, members of the Cleveland Orchestra and the CIM faculty, and Quire Cleveland, directed by Ross Duffin, all entrusted their performances to him. Moreover, Knab was an indispensable participant in the renovation of Silver Hall, the concert venue in the Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center at The Temple–Tifereth Israel. He developed the specifications for the hall’s state-of-the-art recording and broadcast facilities, and he actively conferred with acoustician Paul Scarbrough.

Knab’s colleagues gratefully recall how patient and thorough he was, putting in hours of preparation to ensure that a teleconference, performance or streaming lecture proceeded without a glitch. They speak of his unassuming demeanor, his gentle persistence in garnering support for initiatives he believed in and his dedication to the college’s mission. “I had the privilege of working closely with Tom for more than a decade,” said Dean Cyrus C. Taylor. “He was a visionary, an artist, an extraordinarily effective administrator who brought out the very best in everyone and in every project. He was a friend. He will be terribly missed.”

Tom Knab is survived by his wife, Rebecca; their children, Elizabeth and Peter; three sisters and two brothers.

Alumni Notes

William Heath (GRS ’66, ’71, American Studies) received two 2016 SPUR Awards (Best Western Historical Nonfiction and Best First Nonfiction Book) from the Western Writers of America for his 2015 biography William Wells and the Struggle for the Old Northwest.

Juanita Murphy (GRS ’67, sociology), former dean and professor in the College of Nursing at Arizona State University, is the author of Entrapped, a book about relationships between patients and caregivers.

Susan E. Hill (GRS ’70, English; GRS ’72, library science), who retired from her position as medical librarian at the Cleveland Health Sciences Library in 2008, is director of Andover Public Library in Ashtabula County, Ohio. She is proud to have collaborated last summer with Patricia Princehouse, outreach coordinator of Case Western Reserve’s Institute for the Science of Origins, on programs during the Smithsonian Human Origins Touring Exhibit at Andover.

Katrenia Pruitt Kier (CWR ’76), owner of the real estate brokerage firm Kier Realestate in Huntsville, Ala., has been appointed to the Alabama Forestry Commission.

William “Bill” Gropp (CIT ’77) has been named acting director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Robert A. Oster (CIT ’84) has recently been promoted to full professor in the Division of Preventive Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham. His area of expertise is biostatistics. He greatly appreciates the (undergraduate) education he received at CWRU and extends his best wishes to his classmates.

Evalyn Gates (CSE ’81; GRS ’90, physics), executive director and CEO of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, was among Northeast Ohio’s winners of the Corporate College Smart 50 Award, presented by Smart Business magazine.

Natalie Ciarocco (CWR ’99; GRS ’01, ’03, psychology), an assistant professor at Monmouth University, is the author of The Scientist Within: Research Methods in Psychology, an undergraduate textbook.

Asim Haque (CWR ’02) has been named chair of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

Shirley Beal (FSM ’44, NUR ’46) (right), known for her advocacy of women’s rights and her devotion to music and art, died in August at age 94. Earlier this year, she sat for this photograph with her daughter Debby Beal (WRC ’77). Photo courtesy of Debby Beal.

Elizabeth A. Sullivan (CWR ’05; GRS ’05, bioethics) has joined McDonald Hopkins LLC as a member of the firm’s National Healthcare Practice.

Aimee Marcereau DeGalan (GRS ’07, art history) has been named curator of collections and exhibitions at the Dayton Art Institute.

Christina Larson (GRS ’07, ’15, art history) has been awarded a Mellon Fellowship at the Toledo Museum of Art, in a program designed to prepare the next generation of museum leaders.

Anne Meier Lambelet (CWR ’10) recently illustrated a children’s book for the National Park Service, Get to Know Your Parks.

Kathryn Metzger (CWR ’12; GRS ’16), a recent graduate of the Cleveland Play House/Case Western Reserve Master of Fine Arts Program in Acting, starred this summer in the Chautauqua Theater Company’s production of In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), by Sarah Ruhl.

Olivia Ortega (CWR ’16) is one of nine recent college graduates selected as inaugural Cleveland Foundation Public Service Fellows. During her yearlong paid fellowship, funded by the fundation and the Cleveland City Council, Ortega is working on a public health initiative to address infant mortality and lead poisoning.


The notes in this section are compiled from news releases, other publications and messages from alumni like you. We appreciate hearing about milestones in your life and would like to announce them in future issues of art/sci. Please send your updates, including your graduation year, to art/


Page last modified: February 9, 2017