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Loyola University New Orleans Presents 2017 Integritas Vitae Award

Loyola press release - November 7, 2017

High honor goes to educators, scientists, and community leaders, Drs. Richard Ranney Mize and Emel Songu Mize

Loyola University New Orleans presents one of its highest honors, the 2017 Integritas Vitae Award, to Doctors Richard Ranney Mize and Emel Songu Mize, renowned and retired professors of Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and enthusiastic supporters of Loyola University New Orleans and performance arts organizations around the region. The 2017 Integritas Vitae Award will be presented at the 1912 Society Dinner, one of the year’s biggest social events hosted by Loyola in December. Guests will enjoy Christmas photos in the Roosevelt New Orleans Hotel lobby’s spectacular Winter Wonderland display, a performance by internationally acclaimed violonist and faculty member Nadja Salerno-Sonneberg, a silent auction, and other fun at the annual event.

This year’s event, which includes a cocktail hour, formal dinner, and dessert reception will take place on Thursday, Dec. 7, from 6 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. at the Roosevelt New Orleans Hotel, 123 Roosevelt Way. Tickets may be purchased here.

The Integritas Vitae Award is presented annually to an individual who exemplifies the qualities Loyola seeks to instill in its students, such as high moral character and a commitment to selfless service done without expecting rewards or public recognition. The award also recognizes leaders who have demonstrated the values and philosophy of a Jesuit education – namely moral character, service to others, and unquestionable integrity. The literal translation of integritas vitae is “a life of integrity.” The 1912 Society Dinner traditionally honors the year’s Integritas Vitae Award recipient, as well as new inductees into the Society of St. Ignatius.

“At Loyola University New Orleans, we educate our students to be ‘men and women for others,’ respecting the world around them and using their God-given skills and talents to make the world a better place,” said Loyola president the Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D. “The Integritas Vitae Award recognizes individuals of strong moral character who for years have espoused our Jesuit ideals and shined a light through their good works and selfless service. We are pleased this year to honor Dr. Richard Ranney Mize and Dr. Emel Songu Mize, who have done so much to support the people and organizations of our region, including Loyola.”

The Mizes, both renowned scientists who are highly celebrated in their respective fields, are known throughout the greater New Orleans area and higher education community as educators, scientists, and community leaders with a special interest in the performance arts. So strong is their involvement and support of performance arts in New Orleans, the couple was honored in 2011 by Gambit Weekly as co-recipients of the weekly newspaper’s Classical Arts Patron Award by Gambit, Tribute to the Classical Arts.

Together, these lifelong supporters of the arts have contributed their talents, time, and skills over a nearly 20-year period to supporting the Loyola University New Orleans College of Music and Fine Arts; Musical Arts Society of New Orleans; the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra; the New Orleans Opera Association; and WWNO, the local NPR-affiliate radio station and classical radio station of New Orleans. They’ve also supported fundraising efforts tied to the LSU Health Sciences Center and the Turkish American Association of Louisiana. For many of these organizations, they have held leadership positions and participated in a variety of volunteer and philanthropic efforts.

They have also initiated a number of new efforts to support regional arts and artists. Together, the Mizes cofounded the Seibel Society, a music society that supports promising visiting soloists who perform with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. They also established a “Medicine in the Arts” group at LSUHSC that promoted interest in the humanities and performance arts to medical students and faculty. Following Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Ranney Mize, who was previously instrumental in the development of the LPO, was an active member of the New Orleans Regional Performance Arts Cooperative, a group which contributed to the cause of restoring the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts.

Dr. Emel Songu Mize is professor emerita of pharmacology of Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (LSUHC), where she served from 1992 until her retirement in 2011. Her research at LSUHSC focused on cardiovascular system function, specifically mechanisms of hypertension, blood vessel function, and the pathologies involved in contraction and relaxation of arteries. Dr. Emel Songu Mize uncovered the altered mechanisms in functioning of an enzyme, Na, K+ATPase, that is crucial in the vascular smooth muscle contraction-relaxation process in hypertension.

Dr. Richard Ranney Mize is a Professor and Chair Emeritus of Cell Biology and Anatomy and Co-Director Emeritus of the Interdisciplinary Training Program in Neuroscience at LSUHC. Throughout his academic career, he studied transmitter-specific synaptic circuits in the visual system and activity dependent modifications of that circuitry which occur during brain development.

Highly recognized for their professorship, research, and contributions to pharmacology, the Mizes have received numerous grants from the National Institutes of Health and other organizations and are widely published in scientific journals and books related to their fields of study. They have served on local, regional, and national boards related to their professions and the arts and spent a majority of their lifetimes advancing scientific research and teaching in institutions around the world.