Alumni CLASnotes Spring 2006
In This Issue:

CLAS News in Brief

Head of the CLAS

Interim Dean Joe Glover
Interim Dean Joe Glover
Interim Dean Joe Glover may be new in his role as leader of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, but his relationship with CLAS dates back 25 years when he was first hired at UF as an assistant professor of mathematics. Since then, Glover has gone on to serve in the highest ranks of university administration, and he comes to the college having spent six years in Tigert Hall as associate provost for academic affairs.

A native of New York, Glover holds a B.A. from Cornell University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego. He taught at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Rochester before joining the UF faculty in 1982. His career accomplishments as a mathematician include two postdoctoral fellowships from the National Science Foundation and a mentoring award from the McKnight Foundation.

In 1993, Glover was named chair of the UF Department of Mathematics and found his true calling in higher education administration. He answered the next call in 1998 to become CLAS associate dean for faculty affairs. Just four years later he was tapped to serve among the university’s top brass as associate provost for academic affairs, where his responsibilities included student enrollment management and faculty tenure and promotion.

As an associate provost, Glover chaired the Task Force on the Future of the University of Florida, helped develop the university’s current strategic plan, and represented UF on the executive board of the New World School of the Arts. For much of 2005, Glover was second in command of the university as interim provost and senior vice president.

Glover became interim dean of CLAS in January 2007, following the resignation of Dean Neil Sullivan who has returned to the Department of Physics to resume his career in teaching and research. Glover will oversee the college for the next year while a new permanent dean is recruited. To read a message from Dean Glover, see a note form the dean.

Sociology Celebrates 65 Years

Happy anniversary sociology! The UF Department of Sociology celebrated its 85th year of studying the development and structure of human societies on January 26 when faculty, alumni and students gathered at Gainesville’s Savannah Grand to commemorate the department’s long history at the university.

Opening its doors in 1921, the department was first combined with economics under the administration of Lucius Bristol, the first sociology chair. Just five years later, it branched off to become an independent entity. The department awarded its first master’s degree as early as the 1930s, and by the 1950s created its Ph.D. program.

As the years progressed and reputation began to build, so too did noteworthy achievements. Two UF sociologists have served as president of the American Sociological Association, while others have held terms as president of the Southern Sociological Study, the National Council on Family Relations and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

With these notable personas also came two UF buildings named after sociologists. The Beaty Towers are named in memory of Robert Calder Beaty, former UF dean of student personnel and professor of sociology. The newly restored Women’s Gym has also been renamed in honor of Kathryn Chicone Ustler, a UF sociology graduate of the class of 1961.

As the department moves into its 86th year, it continues to grow both nationally and internationally. Areas of specialization include family and gender, aging and the life course, environment and resources, and race and ethnic relations.

“I hope that we continue to be a multifaceted department,” said Chair Connie Shehan, “I believe we are going to become more international and bring even more research into the area of sociology, which already has reached such amazing goals.”

In Memory: Father of UF Chemistry dies at 89

Distinguished Service Professor Harry Hall Sisler died on December 23 at age 89
Distinguished Service Professor Harry Hall Sisler
Distinguished Service Professor Harry Hall Sisler died on December 23 at age 89. During his 29-year career with the university he served in many leadership roles, including dean of CLAS, chair of the chemistry department, dean of the Graduate School and executive vice president of the university under President Stephen C. O’Connell.

Despite his varied experience in university administration, Sisler never lost sight of what mattered most—the students. He told Alumni CLASnotes in 2003, “The most important aspect of the university is the student body, from the undergraduate to graduate level, and what all administrators should understand is their job at the top is to allow the students and faculty to be able to perform their functions.”

Sisler retired in 1985 but continued to be an active part of the UF chemistry community until his death. “Harry Sisler was widely regarded as the ‘father’ of the modern UF Department of Chemistry,” said chemistry professor and former chair David Richardson. “Much of our current success as a department in research and teaching can be traced to the standards he set 50 years ago.”

Oustanding Alumni

L-R: J. David Leander, Albert C. O’Neill, Frank A. Catlett, Patricia W. O’Connor, John W. Sheets and Edwin W. Hickey
L-R: J. David Leander, Albert C. O’Neill, Frank A.
Catlett, Patricia W. O’Connor, John W. Sheets
and Edwin W. Hickey
The fifth annual CLAS Outstanding Alumni Awards were presented on February 3 during a special luncheon at Emerson Alumni Hall. Established in 2002, the award recognizes the achievements and contributions of some of the most successful alumni from the university’s largest college. This year’s recipients include (from left to right): J. David Leander (Ph.D., Psychology, 1971), head of Skagit Neuropharm Consulting and a retired researcher for Eli Lilly and Company; Albert C. O’Neill (B.A., Political Science, 1962), founding partner of Tampa law firm Trenam, Kemker, Scharf, Barkin, Frye, O’Neill and Mullis; Frank A. Catlett (B.A., Geography, 1973), president of Tampa real estate appraisal and consulting firm Trigg, Catlett & Associates; Patricia W. O’Connor (B.A., M.A. and Ph.D., Romance Languages and Literatures, 1953, 1954 and 1962), the Charles Phelps Taft Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Cincinnati; John W. Sheets, Jr. (B.S., M.S. and Ph.D., Zoology, 1975, 1979 and 1983), worldwide vice president of research and development and chief technology officer for Johnson & Johnson medical supply company ETHICON; Edwin W. Hickey (M.S., Geological Studies, 1976), founder of Miami construction company HJ Foundation, Inc. Not pictured: Nora C. England (M.A. and Ph.D., Anthropology and Linguistics, 1971 and 1975), a professor of linguistics and director of the Center for Indigenous Languages of Latin America at the University of Texas.

Star Struck

LBV 1806-20 as compared to the sun.
LBV 1806-20 as compared to the sun.
What do Emmitt Smith, Bob Vila, Faye Dunaway and a burning ball of gas located 45,000 light years from Earth have in common? They are all “Gator stars.” The newest illustrious figure on the list, LBV 1806-20, is a fiery behemoth five times brighter than the sun which was discovered by UF Astronomy Professor Stephen Eikenberry in 2004. As the biggest and brightest star in the universe yet known to science, the star was added to the Guinness Book of World Records this January. The previous record was held by Pistol Star, which was discovered in 1997 by Don Figer of Baltimore’s Space Telescope Science Institute. Eikenberry and the star will appear in the 2008 edition of the Guinness book series.

A Year in Logic

In the field of mathematics, logic has entered a new phase of increased applications with other parts of math. On May 5–11, the UF Department of Mathematics will draw to a close its Special Year in Logic—a series of activities devoted to opening new lines of communication between the area of logic with the rest of the mathematical sciences—with the International Conference on Set Theory of the Reals. The event is free and open to the public.

Throughout the 2006–2007 academic year, the math, philosophy and computer and information science departments have held weekly talks spanning a wide variety of topics in logic. Math has also hosted five major conferences, including the 2007 annual meeting of the Association for Symbolic Logic, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Mathematics Chair Krishnaswami Alladi said the Special Year in Logic is the sixth and final installment of a series of themed annual events focusing on different areas of interest in the field.

“The department has several internationally recognized research groups and the topics for each of the special years were based on the areas of our strengths and traditions,” he said. “Each special year featured international conferences on the latest advances, training workshops for students and young researchers, and lectures throughout the year by eminent researchers. The special year program has invigorated the research atmosphere in the department, brought us increased visibility and recognition, and helped in the placement of our graduate students.”

For more information on the Special Year in Logic, visit www.math.ufl.edu/~jal/logicyear/.

Religion in the New South

From its sweet peach cobblers to its enthusiasm for major league baseball, Atlanta is often thought of as an all-American city. But a sudden boom in Latin immigrants in the past two decades, particularly since hosting the 1996 Summer Olympics, is spicing up the city’s distinctly Southern flavor.

With a growth rate of 995 percent, Atlanta has the fastest growing Latino population among the nation’s 20 largest metro areas according to the U.S. Census Bureau. A new $450,000 grant from the Ford Foundation will allow UF researchers to explore the role religion plays in shaping the lives of these immigrants.

“Since nontraditional destinations like Atlanta have few pre-established immigrant networks, religious organizations are crucial to the adaptation, survival and well-being of new immigrants,” said Political Science Professor and Chair Phillip J. Williams. “When Latinos are able to form new churches or join pre-existing ones, they begin to join the community.”

Williams and Associate Professor of Religion Manuel Vasquez will spend the next three years studying how religion and culture have a hand in generating, mediating and resolving inter-group conflicts. They are especially interested in identifying whether religious and civic organizations have been successful in bridging divisions and fostering understanding across cultural and racial lines.

The new study builds on the team’s previous research in South Florida, where they examined the migration experiences and religious lives of Guatemalans, Mexicans and Brazilians—discovering that changes in the U.S. immigration climate following Sept. 11, coupled with their own economic and social vulnerability, has made it difficult for these immigrants to sustain strong transnational ties.

“The key challenge facing Latino immigrants seems to have shifted to securing their survival in the United States in what has become an increasingly hostile environment,” Williams said. “In response, we would like to explore how Atlanta’s Euro-Americans, as the dominant majority, and African-Americans, as the settled internal minority, see Latino immigrants and how Latino immigrants respond to these perceptions with their own forms of self-identification.”

Williams hopes the new findings will provide alternative ways to frame the national discussion on immigration.

Trailblazers in U.S. Education

Black Women in the Ivory Tower 1850–1954
As the first complete educational and intellectual history of black women in the U.S., Black Women in the Ivory Tower 1850–1954 chronicles the stories of the first black American women to gain access to higher education. Written by first-generation college graduate Stephanie Y. Evans, an assistant professor of women’s studies and African American studies at UF, this important new book reveals how women like Anna Julia Cooper—who was born enslaved but went on to earn a doctoral degree—fought for the right to attend college against great odds and ultimately changed the face of American education.
University Press of Florida, 2007

 

 

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