November 2, 1999
Volume 46
Number 10

Three SAS Chairs: The First Holders

Dean Samuel H. Preston has named the inaugural holders of three recently endowed chairs in the School of Arts and Sciences. The chairs and their first incumbents are:

Roy Vagelos Professor: Dr. Percec, Chemistry

A new arrival, Dr. Virgil Percec, is the first P. Roy Vagelos Professor in Chemistry, taking the chair created by the Merck Company Foundation in honor of Penn's former Trustees Chairman.

Dr. Percec comes to Penn from Case Western Reserve University, where he held the Leonard Case, Jr. Chair of Macromolecular Science and Engineering. Educated in Romania, he received his B.S. and M.S. from the Polytechnic Institute of Jassy and his Ph.D. from the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry in Jassy. Dr. Percec has served as a visiting professor at the University of Freiburg, the Royal Austrian Chemical Institute, the Max Planck Institute for Polymers, and others.

Dean Preston described Dr. Percec as "a remarkably active scholar and researcher" who holds 26 American and European patents and has presented over 600 lectures in more than 30 countries. He has over 450 publications, including nine books, and serves as an editorial board member on 11 journals and is currently the editor or the Journal of Polymer Science: Part A: Polymer Chemistry. His research interests include polymer synthesis and modification, new organic polymerization reactions, reaction mechanisms, molecular recognition processes, molecular and supramolecular systems with complex architecture, and nature as a model for the design of nanoscale synthetic systems.

The P. Roy Vagelos Chair was established in 1994, as Dr. Vagelos, C '50, retired after 19 years' leadership of Merck and took office as chairman of the University Trustees. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Vagelos has received numerous awards including the National Medal of Technology presented in 1992 by George Bush, the Lawrence A. Wein Prize in Social Responsibility in 1993, and the Bower Business Leadership Award in 1998. He also received the Distinguished Alumni Award from SAS and an honorary degree from Penn in 1999.

Dr. Robert Weiss Professor: Jay Reise, Music

Professor Jay Reise, an internationally known composer who has been on the SAS faculty since 1980, is the first holder of the Robert Weiss Chair created by alumnus George A. Weiss in honor of his father.

Professor Reise is a graduate of Hamilton College who took his master's degree from Penn in 1975. He studied at Tanglewood and wrote two symphonies under Guggenheim and NEA fellowships, and taught at Hamilton and Kirkland Colleges before rejoining Penn as assistant professor. He was named associate professor in 1986 and full professor in 1989. He was chair of the department from 1993-96 and has been director of the University of Pennsylvania/Moscow Conservatory Exchange Program since 1994.

He is particularly known for his opera Rasputin, which was commissioned by the New York City Opera in 1988, and was described in The Washington Times as "a spellbinding, challenging and profoundly beautiful creation." He has written three symphonies--performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra among others--and numerous chamber works. In 1997, his choreographic tone-poem, The Selfish Giant, was commissioned and premiered by the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, and his chamber concerto Chesapeake Rhythms has been recorded by CRI. He has appeared as composer-in-residence with the International Music Festivals at Spoleto USA, Guanajuato/Mexico, Moldova, and the Grand Teton Music Festival, and in 1994 he gave master classes at the Moscow Conservatory. Professor Reise's articles have appeared in Opera News, Nineteenth-Century Music, and Perspectives of New Music. He has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation in 1979, National Endowment for the Arts in 1978 and 1984, the Rockefeller Foundation in 1982. and a U.S./Japan Creative Arts Fellowship in 1992.

The Dr. Robert Weiss Professorship in Music was created by George A. Weiss in memory of his father, who held a Ph.D. in chemistry and a Ph.D. in music from the University of Vienna, and who combined two careers as a research chemist and a concert pianist. This chair, established in 1994, was the capstone gift that completed the Campaign for Penn's goal of raising 150 new endowed chairs. George Weiss, W'65, is president of George A. Weiss Associates Inc., an investment banking and brokerage service based in Hartford. He is well known for his support of Penn athletics, of scholarships both at Penn and in the community, and of other endowed chairs including the Hum Rosen Professorship and the endowed deanship at GSE. He is a former trustee who now chairs the University Committee for Undergraduate Financial Aid.

A. M. Rosenthal Professor: John Richetti, English

Dr. John Richetti, a member of the English department since 1987, is the first holder of the A.M. Rosenthal Professorship, given by Trustee Saul Steinberg in 1989 as part of a larger gift that provides for five chairs, a fellowship fund in English and the Steinberg Symposium.

Dr. Richetti is a 1960 alumnus of St. Francis College, Brooklyn, who took his Ph.D. at Columbia University, where he specialized in 18th-century English literature, and wrote his dissertation at University College, London, as a Fulbright and a Danforth Fellow. He taught at Columbia, and Rutgers before coming to Penn as the Leonard Sugerman Term Professor of 18th English Literature. A Lindback Award winner at Rutgers, he has chaired the English department at Penn, 1990-95, and served as Faculty Fellow of Van Pelt, now Gregory College, 1996-98.

He has held fellowships from the ACLS, the NEH, and the Guggenheim Foundation. His books include: Popular Fiction Before Richardson: Narrative Patterns 1700-1739, Defoe's Narratives: Situations and Structures, and Philosophical Writing: Locke, Berkeley, Hume. Most recently he edited the new Columbia History of the British Novel and the Cambridge Companion to the Eighteenth-Century Novel. His new history of the novel in Britain in the 18th century, The Novel in History: 1680-1780, will be published by Routledge this winter. He is currently working on a new critical biography of Defoe and beginning to edit the Restoration and Eighteenth Century volume of the new Cambridge History of English Literature.

The new Rosenthal chair was created by Mr. Steinberg, W'59, in honor of his friend Abraham Rosenthal, former executive editor of The New York Times. Mr. Steinberg is chairman and CEO of Reliance Group Holdings, Inc., a New York-based insurance holding company. He chairs the Board of Overseers of the Wharton School, where he funded the renovation of Dietrich Hall and endowed the Wharton deanship. Later his gifts created SAS's Rodin and Gregorian chairs; the Kelley chair in Medicine; and seven more chairs in Wharton including the Palmer, Gerrity and Bowman chairs and four that bear Steinberg family names.

Chair in SEAS: Dr. Anandalingam

Newly appointed to Engineering's National Center Chair in Resource Management and Technology is Dr. G. (Anand) Anandalingam, who has been professor of systems engineering in SEAS and professor of operations and information management in the Wharton School. The endowed chair was established in 1982 to support long-term research in resource management, and was formerly held by Dr. Iraj Zandi, now emeritus professor, said Interim Dean Eduardo Glandt.

Dr. Anandalingam, who took his B.A. from Cambridge in 1975 and his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1981, joined Penn in 1987 as assistant professor of systems after serving as an engineer-economist at Brookhaven National Laboratories. He has become internationally known for his research in networks, multilevel programming, multiple criteria decision making and hierarchical optimization theory. Author of some 80 papers in his field, Dr. Anandalingam is known especially for his book, The Design of Large Scale Telecommunications Networks, and is frequently quoted on telecommunications issues in the popular press. He is also a columnist for Economic Times, which is regarded as "the Wall Street Journal of India." Teaching both in systems engineering at SEAS and in operations at Wharton, Dr. Anandalingam has been advisor to 18 Ph.D. students who have gone on to distinguished careers in academia and industry. Since 1997 he has also chaired the systems engineering department, where "The success of our multidisciplinary Executive Masters in Technology Management program can be attributed to his intellectual and organizational leadership," said Dean Glandt. "His presence at Penn has helped establish the School as a center for telecommunications research."


Penn Health: 450 People

In the second round of its three-part cutback, the Penn Health System is laying off about 450 people and eliminating some 650 unfilled jobs for a total reduction of 1100 positions in the four owned hospitals. The largest reported cut, at HUP, is 160 employees and 180 empty positions. See also Dr. William Kelley's message in this issue.


Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 10, November 2, 1999