Regents’ Roundup


Editor’s Note: The Regents approved the following items at their October meeting.

By Mary Jo Frank, Office of the Vice President for Communications, and Jane R. Elgass

Endowed, titled professorships

Six faculty members were appointed to endowed or titled professorships.

Mahdi Asgari, assistant professor of mathematics; Mark E.T. Dickinson, assistant professor of mathematics; and Thomas A. Weston, assistant professor of mathematics, each were appointed a T.H. Hildebrandt Research Assistant Professor of Mathematics, effective Sept. 1, 2000–May 31, 2003.

“The T.H. Hildebrandt Research Assistant Professorships are awarded in honor of Professor T.H. Hildebrandt, who long served the Department of Mathematics as professor and chair, and whose work brought much distinction upon the University,” said LS&A Dean Shirley Neuman. Preference is given to candidates who have received a doctorate within the last two years. Individuals named as T.H. Hildebrandt Research Assistant Professor are given a reduced teaching load to allow them to concentrate to a greater degree on their research.

Among the honors Asgari has received are a bronze medal in the 32nd International Mathematical Olympiad in Sweden in 1991 and an Excellence in Teaching award from Purdue University in 1997, Neuman noted.

Dickinson’s research interests “include automorphic forms and Galois representations, arithmetic algebraic geometry, and deformation theory of Galois representations,” Neuman said.

Weston’s research interests also include arithmetic algebraic geometry and deformation theory of Galois representations as well as construction of Euler systems via geometric methods and abstract theory of Selmer groups. Among the honors Weston has received are the John Buscela Mathematics Award in 1996 and a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship in 1996–1999.

Eric J. Essene, professor of geology and mineralogy, also will be the William C. Kelly Collegiate Professor of Geological Sciences, effective Sept. 1, 2000–Aug. 31, 2005.

“In his 30 years at the U-M, Prof. Essene has built a remarkably strong international reputation in his field of metamorphic petrology and geochemistry. He brings a qualitative and intensely analytical approach to his studies of the pressure and temperature histories of the rocks of the earth’s crust,” Neuman said. “Prof. Essene embodies everything that makes our science exciting—perhaps the best research mind of his generation, among the finest mentors of graduate students in all of the earth sciences, a caring and hard working teacher, and a willing supplier of time and talent to his University and profession.”

Merritt Baker Fox, professor of law, was named the Alene and Allan F. Smith Professor of Law, effective Sept. 1.

“Prof. Fox is an internationally respected scholar of corporate and securities law, as well as of international private law. He has written numerous articles on such subjects as the global market for securities and corporate governance,” noted Law School Dean Jeffrey S. Lehman. Fox directs the Law School’s Center for International and Comparative Law and is co-director for Corporate Governance Studies at the William Davidson Institute in the Business School. “Prof. Fox’s interest in interdisciplinary work and in building connections between University units, as well as connecting the University to the world, make him an appropriate recipient of the Alene and Allan F. Smith Professorship,” Lehman added.

Mathias W. Reimann, professor of law, also will be the Hessel E. Yntema Professor of Law, effective Sept. 1.

“Prof. Reimann is a leading scholar of comparative law. He has written numerous books and articles in both English and German, including the co-edited volume The Reception of Continental Ideas in Common Law World 1820–1920 and Conflict of Laws in Western Europe. A Guide through the Jungle,” Lehman said. “He has done research at the European University Institute in Florence through a Jean Monnet Fellowship and currently serves as a member of the Board of Editors of the American Journal of Comparative Law, a journal founded by Prof. Yntema.” Reimann received the L. Hart Wright Outstanding Teaching Award for 1993–94.

Academic administrative appointments

The following academic administrators were appointed:

David R. Engelke, professor of biological chemistry, was appointed assistant dean for graduate and postdoctoral studies in the Medical School, effective Oct. 1.

William G. Weissert, professor of health management and policy, was reappointed chair of the Department of Health Management and Policy, effective Sept. 1. He has served as department chair since 1997.

Christina L.B. Whitman, professor of law, was reappointed associate dean for academic affairs at the Law School, effective Jan. 1, 2001.

Peggy Burns was appointed LS&A assistant dean of communications and marketing for a three-year term, effective Oct. 15.

Casey Barbara-Ann White, who has served as director of the Medical School’s Learning Resource Center since 1997, was named assistant dean for medical education, effective Nov. 1.

Bonnie M. Beyer, associate professor of education at U-M-Dearborn, was appointed associate dean of Dearborn’s School of Education for a period of three years, effective Sept. 1.

Steven Myers, associate professor of biology at U-M-Flint, was named co-chair of the Department of Biology, effective July 1–Dec. 31, 2000, and chair of the Department of Biology, effective Jan. 1, 2001–June 30, 2003.

Eugene H. Studier, professor of biology at U-M-Flint, was appointed co-chair of the Department of Biology, effective July 1–Dec. 31, 2000.

Robert W. Stach, professor of chemistry and chair of the Department of Chemistry at U-M-Flint, was reappointed chair, effective July 1–Dec. 31, 2000.

Butterfield appointment approved

Barbara Butterfield was appointed associate vice president for human resources and affirmative action and chief human resource officer, effective Feb. 1, 2001. Her recommendation for the post was announced Sept. 22.

Butterfield will report jointly to Provost Nancy Cantor and Robert Kasdin, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Building projects

The following facilities projects were approved:

  • Lorch Hall addition. Constructed in 1928 as the first facility for the School of Architecture, Lorch Hall was designed by Emil Lorch, dean emeritus of the College of Architecture and Design. Since 1974, it has been home to a number of departments and organizations, including the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

    “The addition, which will provide additional space for the School, will be approximately 38,000 gross square feet and will include a new street-level ‘front door’ for the School,” said Robert Kasdin, executive vice president and chief financial officer. “There also will be limited renovation of some existing space.”

    Barton Phelps & Associates, in conjunction with O’Donnell Wicklund Pigozzi and Peterson Architects Inc., will design the project, “based on their experience and creativity in the design of educational facilities within an historical context,” Kasdin added.

    The estimated cost of the project is approximately $16 million, with funding from gifts and central administration sources. The design is to be completed by fall 2001, with construction taking approximately 18 months.

  • Pierpont Commons renovation. “Pierpont Commons is the community center for North Campus, serving students, faculty, staff and their guests,” Kasdin noted. “This project, designed to improve the functionality and design of parts of the interior environment, will enhance the notion of community center.”

    The 18,000-gross-square-foot project will improve circulation between the ground and first floor, add a new entry at the northwest side, provide for late night food options, add seating and gathering spaces, and combine student service functions.

    The project was developed over the past year through extensive interviews with many North Campus constituents.

    The estimated cost of the project is $3.2 million, with funding from central administration and University Unions. Design is scheduled to begin this fall, with construction to start next summer and be completed the following year. Albert Kahn Associates Inc. will design the project.

  • West Hall renovation. Renovation of West Hall was approved by the Regents in November 1999, with Albert Khan Associates Inc. retained to do the design. The project will involve renovations of approximately 161,000 gross square feet.

    The project is one component of a state-funded project authorized by Public Act 480 of 1996 and Public Act 137 of 1999. The state will fund up to $11,250,000 of the estimated $15 million cost of the project. The University will fund the balance from central administration and LS&A sources.

    Bids will be issued later this fall for the project, and awarded provided the project remains within the approved budget. The phased construction is expected to take 30 months due to the academic schedule. Departments in West Hall will be relocated into other space as required.

    Tenure appointment

    Carlos Santos-Burgoa, director-general of the Work, Environment and Health Institute in Mexico City, was appointed professor of epidemiology, with tenure, effective Nov. 1.


    The Regents accepted $16,943,744 in gifts received by the University in September. The total included $12,616,181 from individuals, $2,199,326 from corporations, $1,252,921 from foundations, and $875,316 from associations and others.

    Retirement memoirs

    Four faculty members were given the emeritus title: Paul S. Fancher Jr., senior research scientist in the U-M Transportation Research Institute; Walter J. Loesche, the Marcus L. Ward Professor of Dentistry and professor of dentistry and of microbiology; Harrison L. Morton, professor of forest pathology; and H. Dennis Smith, professor of music.

    Fancher has been with the University since 1957, initially as a research assistant at the Institute of Science and Technology before joining the Highway Safety Research Institute in 1969. He served as acting head of the Engineering Research Division of the U-M Transportation Research Institute in 1986–89 and, until his retirement, as the division’s associate head. “His modeling and analysis concepts have aided the effort by automobile and heavy truck makers around the world to develop ‘active safety’ technologies meant to assist the driver in safe and convenient control of the motor vehicle,” noted the Regents, who cited his work on active safety technology, including adaptive cruise control and collision warning applications. In 1997, Fancher, a U-M alumnus, received the National Award for the Advancement of Motor Vehicle Research and Development, established by Congress as the highest national recognition given in the field.

    Loesche, a member of the faculty since 1969, has been “an extremely creative and productive researcher,” the Regents said. “Dr. Loesche’s work was key in changing our understanding of both caries and periodontal disease by recognizing them as bacterial infections. His research involving bacterial anaerobes and their role in periodontal disease led to the use of metronidazole or doxycycline as treatment alternatives to surgical intervention for these conditions,” they added. In recognition of his work, a new species of gram-negative anaerobic rods isolated from the oral cavity was named Bacteroides loescheii in 1988.

    A member of the faculty since 1966, Morton directed the Nichols Arboretum in 1986–99. “In this role,” the Regents said, “he initiated major programs in support of student research and established a Friends group, a newsletter and a volunteer docent organization.” He led fund-raising efforts to move the historic Burnham House to the Arboretum, where it now functions as the James D. Reader Jr. Urban Environmental Education Center and office for Arboretum staff. Morton, an expert on tree diseases and wood decay, “described new major foliage diseases on Douglas fir and unraveled the biology and then disease control using chemical, cultural and genetic resistance techniques,” the Regents added.

    Trombonist Smith, who joined the School of Music in 1980, “was an exceptional and valuable teacher and mentor, able to attract high quality students who were well trained musically and technically,” the Regents noted. While at Michigan, Smith “shared his talent by performing at numerous high schools and community colleges in Michigan and Ohio. He was recognized as an excellent musician and recording artist,” the Regents added. Smith was the principal trombonist with the Toledo Symphony from 1982 until his retirement, performing more than 40 concerts each year.

    UMHHC facilities projects

    Approval to proceed with five projects related to the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers (UMHHC) was granted.

    In 1999, the University purchased the building formerly known as the Industrial Technology Institute, now the North Campus Administrative Complex (NCAC), to provide the Health System with additional space.

    The building is programmed to house a number of administrative functions, including Planning and Marketing, Telecommunications, Telemarketing, Medical Information Services, and Human Resources.

    The Department of Medical Information Services now operates out of several locations, including University Hospital and the Taubman Center, Auxiliary Services on Green Road and Arbor Lakes on Plymouth Road.

    This project involves having the department vacate 28,000 square feet of space in Taubman, Auxiliary Services and Arbor Lakes and relocate to 31,000 square feet of space at the NCAC at an estimated cost of $3,910,000. Funding will be provided by the UMHHC capital fund.

    The four other projects, all funded by the UMHHC capital fund, are replacement of the NCAC roof ($1,020,000), replacement of 58 swivettes (swing-out toilet/sink combinations) in University Hospital intensive care units ($814,000), replacement of Med Inn air handling units ($1,125,000) and replacement of two air handling units at the Turner Building ($570,000). The Turner Building is an extension of the Kellogg Eye Center building.

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