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Honors and Other Things
January 26, 2010, Volume 56, No. 19

SEAS Dean’s Medal: Mr. Ambani


Mukesh D. Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Ltd., has been awarded the inaugural Dean’s Medal from Eduardo Glandt, dean of Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. Mr. Ambani was recognized for visionary leadership in the application of engineering and technology for the betterment of mankind. The medal was awarded at a gala ceremony at the Trident Hotel in Mumbai, India.

The medal, Dr. Glandt said, acknowledges Mr. Ambani’s ingenuity and initiative to usher in Reliance’s vertical-integration journey from textiles into fibers, petrochemicals, petroleum refining and eventually oil and gas exploration and production. Today, Reliance is a global leader in polyester, petrochemicals and refining, including the world’s largest petroleum refinery complex at Jamnagar.

Mr. Ambani is widely considered the architect of the company’s aggressive energy exploration program, which resulted in the world’s largest gas discovery in 2002. The field eventually doubled gas production in India, a step towards Mr. Ambani’s vision of energy security for India.

“Mukesh Ambani embodies what the engineering profession can contribute to a country, as someone who seeks to apply technology for the betterment of society,” Dr. Glandt said.

Mr. Ambani is currently steering Reliance’s development of a pan-India retail network, a transformational initiative connecting rural and urban India. He was also instrumental in the formation of Reliance Infocomm Ltd., one of the largest information and communications initiatives in the world.

“I will treasure this medal,” Mr. Ambani said in his acceptance speech. “It is much more than the recognition of the modest contribution of a chemical engineer from India. It recognizes the collective achievement of the Reliance family and the creativity of over 25,000 engineers in Reliance. I dedicate this Medal to the indomitable spirit of our founder chairman, Dhirubhai Ambani, and each and every member of the Reliance family.”

Mr. Ambani was the co-chair of the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2006 and received the 2004 World Communication Award as the “Most Influential Person” in Telecommunications by Total Telecom.

In 2008, Mr. Ambani was elected vice chairman of the Executive Committee of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. In India, he is a member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Trade and Industry and of the Board of Governors of the National Council of Applied Economic Research.

He is also chairman of the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, and a member of the Indo-US CEOs Forum, the International Advisory Board of Citigroup, the International Advisory Board of the National Board of Kuwait and the Advisory Council for Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, among other appointments.

President-Elect of AIRI: Mr. Keinath
Larry Keinath, The Wistar Institute’s vice president for finance and administration, was named president-elect of the Association of Independent Research Institutes (AIRI) at the national organization’s annual meeting. Mr. Keinath will serve a two-year term as AIRI President-elect from October 2009 until October 2011. His leadership responsibilities will include serving on AIRI’s Government Affairs Committee to advance legislative issues of importance to member institutes; chairing AIRI’s nominating committee to recommend an annual slate of officers and fill board vacancies; and serving on the Program Committee to plan AIRI’s 2010 annual conference. AIRI is a nationwide association of close to 100 independent, not-for-profit research institutes that are an integral part of the United States research community.

UNESCO Roundtable Coordinator: Dr. Lior
Dr. Noam Lior, professor of mechanical engineering and applied mechanics in SEAS served as coordinator of the roundtable, “The Energy-water Interdependence” at the 5th UNESCO sponsored Conference on Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems held September 29-October 3, 2009 in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Dr. Lior also gave the opening keynote presentation on “Sustainable Energy Development: The Present.”

LTQA Chair: Dr. Naylor


Dr. Mary Naylor, the Marion S. Ware Professor in Gerontology in the School of Nursing, will serve as chair of the newly created Long-Term Quality Alliance (LTQA), a group comprised of the country’s leading health, consumer, and aging advocates. The mission of the alliance is to ensure that the 10 million Americans needing long-term services and supports receive the highest quality of care in whichever setting the care is delivered, including in home and community-based settings such as assisted living facilities and adult day care.







Design Award for Skirkanich Hall

Skirkanich Hall

Skirkanich Hall, home to Penn’s bioengineering department in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, has received the 2010 Institute Honor Award for Architecture from the American Institute of Architects.

Designed by the firm Tod Williams Billie Tsen Architects and dedicated in 2006, Skirkanich Hall features a five-story open atrium with laboratories on either side and functions as a new entry and connector for the buildings.

The AIA jury, when making the award, said of Skirkanich Hall: “a thoughtful use of materials, genius in vertical circulation, solid programmatic resolution … both delicate and dramatic, all in all a beautiful project.”

“Skirkanich Hall reflects Penn’s tradition of excellence in contemporary design that addresses the physical and historical context of its surrounding buildings,” University Architect David Hollenberg said. “It is a distinguished addition to the Penn campus and will now be nationally recognized with this honor from the AIA.”





Outstanding Paper Award: Dr. Pappas


Dr. George Pappas, the Joseph Moore Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering and deputy dean for research at the School of Engineering and Applied Science, has been awarded the 2009 George S. Axelby Outstanding Paper Award from the IEEE Control Systems Society for the paper “Approximation Metrics for Discrete and Continuous Systems.” The award is given to a paper published in the past two years in the IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, and is based on originality, potential impact on the theoretical foundations of control, importance and practical significance in applications.






$40,000 Grant: Annenberg Center
The Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts received a $40,000 challenge grant from the William Penn Foundation. This one-for-two grant must be reached by June 30, 2011 with $80,000 in new or increased gifts to the Annenberg Center’s Annual Fund. This fund provides essential operating support to the institution and allows for the continuation of the Center’s mission—innovative programming in theatre, jazz, world music and dance as well as programming for children. The overall goal of the challenge grant is to help the Center build its current donor base in order to ensure the future financial stability of the organization.

Best of College A Cappella
Tracks from two student a cappella groups, Off The Beat and Penn Masala, were selected to be on Varsity Vocals’ BOCA (Best of Collegiate A Cappella) 2010 CD. Out of hundreds of submissions from around the world, only 20 tracks were chosen. The CD will feature the OneRepublic’s “Tyrant” performed by Off the Beat, a co-ed modern rock a capella group and the track “Lovestoned/Ya Ali” by Justin Timberlake, performed by Penn Masala, a Hindi a cappella group.

Exemplary Legal Writing: Professor Roosevelt


Penn Law Professor Kermit Roosevelt has been announced as 2009 honoree for Exemplary Legal Writing by the Green Bag, a law journal dedicated to good legal writing. The award recognizes Professor Roosevelt in the news and editorial category for his essay “Justice Cincinnatus: David Souter—a dying breed, the Yankee Republican,” which was published in Slate on May 1, 2009. Professor Roosevelt clerked for Justice Souter during the 1999-2000 term. The honorees were selected by the journal’s board of advisors, which includes distinguished members from the state and federal judiciaries, private law firms, the news media and academia.





2010 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Involvement Awards

On January 21, the fifteenth annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Interfaith Program and Awards Commemoration took place in Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall, with a keynote address, performances, and the presentation of the Community Involvement Awards and the MLK Community Education Award in honor of Dr. Judith Rodin.

In honor of the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s recognition that community service is essential to the struggle for equality, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Symposium on Social Change Executive Committee of the University of Pennsylvania presented these awards which honor members of the Philadelphia community whose active service to others best exemplifies the ideals Dr. King espoused. This year’s community involvement awards were given to the following:

MLK WInners
The 2010 MLK Community Involvement Award recipients (left to right): G. Anthony Moore, Joel Fine from PCVPC, U. Tara Hayden and Samuel Adelsberg.

Samuel Adelsberg—Mr. Adelsberg has served as co-chair of PRISM (The Program in Religious, Interfaith, and Spirituality Matters). He has played a significant role in promoting non-violence and combining religious beliefs with positive social action. He was a part of the Fox Leadership Alternate Spring Break Team—Reaching out to the Nation—New Orleans. This team of Jewish and Muslim students gutted houses by day and created a vibrant interfaith dialogue that has been carried back to campus. Mr. Adelsberg is a senior majoring in philosophy, politics and economics.

U. Tara Hayden—Ms. Hayden’s commitment to nonviolence, racial equality and expanding the opportunities of West Philadelphia residents has been a source of inspiration to those who know her and a benefit to her community. Ms. Hayden is one of the co-founders of the Philadelphia Area Research Community Coalitions, which combines community interests, faith based organizations, non-profit health organizations and academic institutions. Ms. Hayden was a key player in connecting violence prevention researchers and PARCC in a successful interdisciplinary proposal to the Centers for Disease Control. Ms. Hayden currently works as the associate director of PennMarch in the School of Medicine.

G. Anthony Moore—For the past 33 years, Mr. Moore has volunteered his time to work with community organizations and neighborhood associations in North Philadelphia including town watch activities and sponsoring annual Christmas events for neighborhood children. For the past 10 years he has served on the Board of Directors for Quality Community Health Care, an agency that provides affordable medical and dental services for North Philadelphia residents.

Philadelphia Collaborative Violence Prevention Center (PCVPC)—PCVPC’s primary vision and goal is to promote non-violence in the communities of West and Southwest Philadelphia. It is one of two Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funded Urban Partnership Academic Centers of Excellence on Youth Violence Prevention. The center opened in 2006 and since that time has worked to bring together academic and community partners to address issues of youth violence. PCVPC recognizes that meaningful and sustainable reductions in youth violence are best attained through collaborative partnership that give community stakeholders the power and decision-making ability to design, implement and disseminate their own efforts. 

MLK Community Education Award in Honor of Dr. Judith Rodin

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Education Award in honor of Dr. Judith Rodin, Penn President 1994-2004, is presented to staff, students or residents who demonstrate significant contributions in community service through the advancement of education and educational opportunities in West Philadelphia.


This year’s recipient is Cory Bowman. Mr. Bowman has been instrumental in transforming existing public schools into university-assisted community schools throughout the local neighborhoods. Currently, seven university assisted community schools function as centers of education, services, engagement and activity for over 6,000 students, parents and community members. His commitment to improving the quality of education for children is unparalleled. Mr. Bowman has been working with the Netter Center for Community Partnerships since 1992.


Almanac - January 26, 2010, Volume 56, No. 19