Annual Faculty awards recognize achievements

Author: Office of the Provost

Shahriar Mobashery, Navari Family Professor of Life Sciences, is the recipient of the 2012 Research Ahievement Award. Recognized for his contributions to some of the greatest challenges of biomedical research, Mobashery is best known for his work on drug-resistant bacteria and diseases of the extracellular matrix. These studies are being applied to cancer metastasis, diabetes, stroke and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a disease of the lungs that kills 100 percent of those afflicted within three years. In particular, he and his colleagues have recently developed therapeutics for stroke and traumatic brain injury that have the potential of greatly reducing damage caused by such events. He has published more than 260 articles and one book, currently holds 13 patents, and has mentored 24 Ph.D. students and approximately 50 postdoctoral associates, many of whom have gone on to have significant careers of their own. For his work in understanding drug-resistant bacteria, he received the Astella USA Foundation Award, the most prestigious award given by the American Chemical Society for medicinal chemists.

Dianne M. Pinderhughes, President’s Distinguished Professor of Africana Studies and Political Science, is the recipient of the 2012 Reinhold Niebuhr Award honoring an individual whose life and writings promote or exemplify the area of social justice in modern life. Her dedication to these issues is further evidenced by her many years of public service to professional associations and civil society, including as president of the American Political Science Association and co-chair of the Civic Engagement and Governance Institute of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. “Pinderhughes is a stellar example of how the social sciences can be used to further discourse and understanding of evocative social issues that too often provoke deep economic and political divisions among the American public. Through her research and teaching, she has persistently presented for consideration issues of inequality, with a focus on racial and ethnic politics and the formation of public policies.”

Holly V. Goodson, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is the recipient of the 2012 Thomas P. Madden Award recognizing exceptional teaching of first-year students. In her 12 years at Notre Dame, she has developed a reputation as an educator who inspires students to think creatively beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries. This is exemplified by her leadership in providing first-year engineering students with an understanding of the more biological aspects of chemistry. Since 2005 she has taught the class “General Chemistry: Fundamental Principles and Biological Processes,” which has grown from 240 students to more than 500 last semester. “The success of this class is a result of her ability to explain challenging concepts to students from diverse backgrounds, her relentless efforts to find new ways to illustrate ideas, and her creation of an environment in which the students know she is dedicated to their success. Her love for science, deep dedication to student learning, and infectious enthusiasm are a dynamic combination in the classroom.”

Margaret R. Pfeil, Assistant Professor of Theology, is the recipient of the 2012 Grenville Clark Award, honoring a person whose volunteer activities advance the cause of peace and human rights. A member of the Notre Dame faculty in the Department of Theology with a joint appointment in the Center for Social Concerns, she specializes in Catholic social thought and the development of moral doctrine. She is co-founder of the St. Peter Claver Catholic Worker House in South Bend and also helps run Our Lady of the Road, a daytime drop-in center. Most recently she launched the Monroe Park Grocery Co-Op to make healthier food more accessible to neighborhood residents while simultaneously providing a market for local producers and farmers. “Few people live the Gospel mandate to walk with the poor with as much integrity.”

Walter J. Nicgorski, Professor in the Program of Liberal Studies and Concurrent Professor of Political Science, is the recipient of the 2012 Faculty Award. Nicgorski came to Notre Dame in 1964 and has played a significant role in all aspects of University life over the course of the ensuing 48 years. He has demonstrated excellence in teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. “During his tenure he has been recognized for his dedication and leadership in mentoring faculty and students and for his exceptional service in several important capacities to the College of Arts and Letters and to the University. In addition, he has had a remarkable professional career in his field of study and has acted as an important representative of the University in his service to the profession.”

Harriet E. Baldwin, Director of Academic Conferences, is the recipient of the 2012 Presidential Award, given to a member of the faculty or administration for distinguished service to Notre Dame over an extended period of time. Baldwin has served the University for more than 30 years, first in the Office of Advanced Studies, then the Center for Continuing Education, and now as director of academic conferences. Because of her superb leadership, creativity, efficiency, grace under pressure and attention to detail, the number of scholarly events at Notre Dame has almost tripled during her tenure. “Her professionalism and commitment have made it possible for Notre Dame to become known nationally and internationally as one of the most hospitable and efficient universities for conferences and symposia, and our academic reputation among peers truly has been enhanced in large part because of her.”

Librarian Sherri L. Jones, recipient of the 2012 Rev. Paul J. Foik, C.S.C., Award for significant contributions by library faculty, has been a role model in providing outstanding service to all members of the Notre Dame community. She has been a generous mentor to many colleagues and an advocate for the needs of students and faculty. “Mindful of the needs of emerging scholars, she has initiated high-impact programs to advance information literacy skills on campus while at the same time pursuing pioneering work in library assessment that has earned her the respect of her colleagues at Notre Dame as well as the library community at large.”

Rev. George A. Rozum, C.S.C., Rector of Alumni Hall, is the recipient of the 2012 Rev. William A. Toohey, C.S.C., Award for Social Justice. As rector, Father Rozum has welcomed students and families to the University for more than three decades and is renowned for knowing the name of every student in his hall. Thirty years ago he began holding Mass in Alumni Hall after each home football game, donating the collections to Holy Cross missionaries at Notre Dame College in Bangladesh. To date, his efforts have generated more than half a million dollars for this cause. “His example of service to the poor has raised awareness of the needs of the people of Bangladesh and contributed to the education of thousands.”

Rev. John E. Conley, C.S.C., Rector of Siegfried Hall, is this year’s winner of the Rev. William A. Toohey, C.S.C., Award for Preaching. Father Conley has been an important and effective pastoral minister at Notre Dame for 24 years, first as Holy Cross’ vocation director and, for the last 15 years, as rector of Siegfried Hall. He also helped lead hundreds of students to develop their faith as a longtime director of Campus Ministry’s confirmation program. A gifted preacher, he has a keen understanding of issues relating to student life and a voluminous knowledge of Notre Dame history, both of which inform his homilies and enable him to make substantial contributions within the Office of Student Affairs. “He is a faithful and enthusiastic proponent of the University’s mission to educate the whole person in mind and heart, and promotes the concept of the Notre Dame family through his preaching of the Word and his active attention to the members of the community.”

Sister Susan Dunn, O.P., Special Counselor in the Office of Vice President for Student Affairs, is the recipient of the 2012 Rev. John Francis “Pop” Farley, C.S.C., Award, given annually to honor distinguished service to student life at Notre Dame. Sister Dunn is a loyal Dominican Sister of Sparkhill who has dedicated the past 11 years to service and ministry through the Office of Student Affairs, first as rector of Lyons Hall and then in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, where she supervised the Career Center, Multicultural Student Programs and Services, and International Student Services and Activities. With unconditional love, she has given personal support to Notre Dame’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and questioning students and served as co-chair of the University’s CORE Council. Additionally, she has helped form students as chaplain for the women’s basketball team and as a member of the initial formation team for the Congregation of Holy Cross. “With her distinguished Brooklyn accent, this ‘nun on the run’ has stood steadfast with students in times of joy as well as great need.”