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Professors in Arts and Sciences are invested with professorships

Loyola press release - March 22, 2004

The College of Arts and Sciences will recognize and honor five faculty members with endowed professorships at a ceremony March 26 at 3 p.m. in the Audubon Room. Among those to be honored are Bernard A. Cook, Ph.D., as the Provost Distinguished Professor II; Bogdan D. Czejdo, Ph.D., Provost Distinguished Professor III; Mary A. McCay, Ph.D., Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Professor; Patricia L. Dorn, Ph.D., Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Professor; and Kurt R. Birdwhistell, Ph.D., Earl & Gertrude Vicknair Distinguished Professor of Chemistry. Interim Loyola President, the Rev. William J. Byron, S.J.; Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Walter Harris, Jr.; and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Frank E. Scully will preside over the ceremony.

Dr. Bernard A. Cook is a professor of history. After studying at the Gregorian University in Rome and at the University of Marburg on a Fulbright Fellowship, he received his Ph.D. in modern European history from Saint Louis University. He chaired the Department of History from 1983 to 1989. In addition, he is a founder and co-director of Loyola’s Summer Study Program at Leuven, Belgium, and is coordinator of Loyola’s semester program in Pontlevoy, France. He was the recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award of the College of Arts and Sciences (1994), the Dux Academicus Award (2000), and was voted an honorary professor by the faculty senate of the University of Banat in Timisoara, Romania, in 2002. He is a board member of the Consortium on Revolutionary Europe 1750 - 1850, and was voted an honorary member of the Central European Academy of Science and Arts. Among his recent publications are the two-volume Europe Since 1945: An Encyclopedia (2001), Belgium: A History (2002), and a chapter on “The Rights of Linguistic and Cultural Minorities in Post-1945 Europe” in Human Rights in Europe Since 1945 (2003). He is currently editing Women and War: An Encyclopedia.

The Provost Distinguished Professorships were established through the proceeds of a life insurance policy of a Loyola faculty member. Keith Jacobs, a Loyola University New Orleans Professor of Psychology, named the university as his beneficiary, and this gift—along with the match from the State of Louisiana—created three endowed professorships. The first individual to hold the Provost Distinguished Professorship II was Sandra Rosenthal in the Department of Philosophy. Dr. Bernard A. Cook will be the second professor invested with this honor.

Dr. Bogdan D. Czejdo is a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. Since his arrival at Loyola in 1990, he has served as chair of the Department of Math and Computer Science, vice chair of the department, and has participated in the University Senate for several years. He received both an M.S. in electronics engineering and Ph.D. in computer science from Warsaw Technical University in 1972 and 1975, respectively. His research interests include distributed database systems, database and visual languages, and software for WEB-based cooperation. Czejdo has published more than 100 refereed technical papers in these areas and has involved his students with many of his research projects. He has participated in the editing of various research proposals and papers, and has helped to organize numerous international conferences. In addition, he is the founding member of the Society for Design and Process Science and associate editor for both the Journal of Parallel Computing and the Journal of Computing and Information (JCI).

The Provost Distinguished Professorships were established through the proceeds of a life insurance policy of a Loyola faculty member. Loyola University New Orleans Professor of Psychology Keith Jacobs named the university as his beneficiary, and this gift—along with the match from the State of Louisiana—created three endowed professorships. The first individual to hold the Provost Distinguished Professorship III was Julian Wasserman in the Department of English, before he passed away in June 2003. Dr. Bodgan D. Czejdo will be the second professor invested with this honor.

Dr. Mary A. McCay currently serves as a professor of English as well as chair of the Department of English. She is director of the Loyola Irish Studies Program, co-director of the Americans in Paris Program, and liaison for both the Keele University Exchange Program and Nijmegen University Exchange Program. In addition, McCay is the faculty adviser for the Loyola Croquet Society and Sigma Tau Delta. McCay earned a Ph.D. in English and American literature from Tufts University and has taught at several universities around the world, such as Harvard University, Emmanuel College, and Keele University in the United Kingdom. Since coming to Loyola in 1990, she has accomplished many initiatives as chair and published numerous literary works. Some of her many honors include the Arts and Sciences Excellence in Advising Award, Arts and Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award, and most recently, the Dux Academicus Award for faculty excellence at Loyola.

The Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Professorships have been established by the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences specifically to promote excellence in teaching, a hallmark of the undergraduate experience at Loyola University New Orleans. Distinguished Teaching Professors are selected by a committee of Excellence in Teaching award winners in the college, based on the recommendation of fellow faculty and also on the outstanding commitments of these individuals to classroom innovation, the undergraduate student experience, and the educational mission of Loyola. Inaugural support for these distinguished positions has been provided through generous support of Loyola alumni and the Annual Fund. Dr. Mary A. McCay will be one of the first to be invested as the Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Professor.

Dr. Patricia L. Dorn received her Ph.D. in molecular biology and virology from the University of Maryland, College Park. Her doctoral research on retroviruses was conducted at the National Cancer Institute. A three-year post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford Medical School followed, where she investigated changes in gene expression during the lifecycle of parasites causing African sleeping sickness. She then served as a visiting assistant professor for two years at Hope College in Michigan, a school renowned for its innovations in teaching and involvement of undergraduates in research. Here she began her work on the parasites that are responsible for a leading cause of heart disease in Latin America. Dorn has conducted collaborative research with colleagues in Guatemala for the past eight years, including holding several workshops in Guatemala for appropriate technology transfer. She has mentored 20 undergraduate students in her laboratory over the last 10 years, 63 percent of which have been minority students and 89 percent female, all of which have advanced to careers in biomedicine. At Loyola, Dorn teaches the core courses, Cells and Heredity and Cell and Molecular Biology, majors’ electives such as Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, and a non-majors course, Genetics and Society.

The Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Professorships have been established by the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences specifically to promote excellence in teaching, a hallmark of the undergraduate experience at Loyola University New Orleans. Distinguished Teaching Professors are selected by a committee of Excellence in Teaching award winners in the college, based on the recommendation of fellow faculty and also on the outstanding commitments of these individuals to classroom innovation, the undergraduate student experience, and the educational mission of Loyola. Inaugural support for these distinguished positions has been provided through generous support of Loyola alumni and the Annual Fund. Dr. Patricia L. Dorn is one of the first to be invested as the Dean’s Distinguished Teaching Professor.

Dr. Kurt R. Birdwhistell has been a part of Loyola’s Department of Chemistry since 1988. He served as chair of the department for six years and is currently a professor of chemistry. Birdwhistell has taught a variety of courses including General Chemistry Lecture and Laboratories, Organic Chemistry II Lab, Inorganic Chemistry Lecture, and Integrated I Lab. In addition, he is an avid researcher and has written many scientific and educational articles, and given many professional presentations. He has obtained funding for his research from various national funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation, Department of Energy, Research Corporation, and Petroleum Research Fund. Birdwhistell recently organized National Chemistry Week activities with the Loyola American Chemical Student Affiliate students at the Children’s Museum in New Orleans. In addition, he has assisted with several important fund-raising initiatives, which secured grants from the Shell Oil Company Foundation, W.M. Keck Foundation, and The Gheen’s Foundation, Inc., for the renovation of the new chemistry lab.

In 1997, Gertrude and Earl, A’50, Vicknair made a commitment to Thresholds: the Campaign for Loyola University New Orleans to create a chemistry professorship in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Gertrude and Earl Vicknair Distinguished Professorship. The Vicknairs are active and dedicated members of the Loyola community. Dr. Kurt R. Birdwhistell will be the first Gertrude and Earl Vicknair Distinguished Professor.