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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

PEMBROKE PROFESSORS: College of Arts and Sciences honors three senior faculty

Three senior faculty members in the College of Arts and Sciences at UNC Pembroke were named recipients of the first Pembroke Professorships.

With 79 years at the University between them, they are: Dr. Jose D’Arruda of the Chemistry and Physics Department, Dr. John Bowman of the Sociology and Criminal Justice Department and Dr. Laszlo Zsilinszky of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department.

(From left): Dr. Laszlo Zsilinszky, Dr. Jose D’Arruda and Dr. John Bowman

(From left): Dr. Laszlo Zsilinszky, Dr. Jose D’Arruda and Dr. John Bowman

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The Pembroke Professorship is the College’s most distinguished faculty award, Dean Martin Slann said during the award announcement on September 15. He called it “a momentous occasion.”

“Faculty members who have distinguished themselves over a very long period of time deserve recognition,” Dr. Slann said. “There are many more than three people on the faculty of the college who deserve this award, but this is just the beginning.”

The recipients received a plaque and a $1,500 stipend. The Pembroke Professorship Award was underwritten by a grant from Progress Energy, the large electric utility headquartered in Raleigh, N.C.

Dr. William Gash, interim provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, congratulated the first Pembroke Professors.

“These are truly outstanding teachers and scholars with long and distinguished records of service to the University,” Dr. Gash said. “It is wonderful to get together and celebrate them on so special an occasion.”

Dr. Slann said it will be an annual event.

“The award recognizes a sustained record of outstanding work in the classroom, high quality scholarship and valuable contributions to the University and community,” Dr. Slann said. “Our plan is to make this an annual celebration of our faculty.

“At UNCP, we believe in celebrating outstanding individuals,” he said. For their assistance in making this award possible, we thank the generous people at Progress Energy and the enthusiastic support of our Office for Advancement.”

Dr. Jose D’Arruda joined the faculty in 1969 to teach physics. He chaired the department for 23 years and launched UNCP’s major in physics. He won a Distinguished Service Award from the N.C. Science Teachers Association in 2000, the UNC Board of Governor’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2007 and the 2009 Outstanding Educator Award by the North Carolina Science, Mathematics and Technology Education Center. Thirty years ago, Dr. D’Arruda established the Region IV Science Fair, which he continues to organize today. He also organized the recent Robotics Olympics and Science Olympiad competition between physics students at UNCP and Tomsk University in Russia.

Dr. John Bowman joined the University in 1979. He was twice awarded the University Teaching Award (1995, 2002). Dr. Bowman is a past department chair and a 20-year member of the American Indian Studies faculty. He served two terms in the Faculty Senate, chaired the Student Affairs Committee and Campus Wellness Committee and served on the SACS Steering Committee, Native American Resource Center Advisory Committee and the Faculty Council for Research and Sponsored Programs. Currently, Dr. Bowman is chair of the Traffic Control Board. An interest in Asia has led him to assist in the founding of UNCP’s Asian Studies minor. Dr. Bowman has traveled extensively in Asia and served as a visiting professor at two Chinese universities. In the community, he has served as chair of the Red Springs Arts Council since 1984 and eight years on the board of St. Joseph of the Pines.

Dr. Laszlo Zsilinszky joined the faculty in 1998. He was the 2006 winner of the Adolph L. Dial Award for Outstanding Research. Dr. Zsilinszky, who speaks Hungarian, Slovak and Czech, earned a degree in mathematics from the Comenius University in Slovakia. He earned a doctorate in set-theoretic topology from the University of South Carolina. He has published 40 papers in leading academic journals. In 2007, Dr. Zsilinszky’s solution to the 40-year-old problem about Baireness of product spaces was published in Fundamenta Mathematicae, the most prestigious journal for topology. He collaborates with colleagues from across Europe and is regarded as one of the top individuals in the field internationally.

“The Pembroke Professorship is an ideal, and it is a lifetime achievement,” Dr. Slann concluded. “One quarter of our faculty have fewer than four years at UNCP, and the Pembroke Professorship is something for them to aim for.”

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