Several Recognized at University of Evansville Purple Tam Ceremony

Posted: Friday, March 1, 2019

The 2019 Purple Tam Ceremony was held in Neu Chapel at University of Evansville on February 28. The event recognizes those who have achieved full professorship.

Honored during the event were Margaret Atwater-Singer, Lora Becker, Young Choul Kim, Christopher M. Pietruszkiewicz, Gerald Seaman, Ying Shang, Joyce Stamm, Garnet Ungar, and Patricia Vilches. Heidi Strobel and Dennis Malfatti were unable to attend the February 28 ceremony and received their tams at an earlier date. 

Historians of academic regalia trace the widespread use of “caps” to Oxford University in England, where the conferring of a cap on a graduate was likened to the Roman practice of using a cap to grant freedom to servants. Academic headwear signified freedom for scholarship and inquiry, and the velvet tam came to be associated particularly with doctoral degrees. The purple velvet tams given to UE’s full professors recognize the unique contributions of these individuals to the University’s mission.

Professor Margaret Atwater-Singer, University Library, received her master’s from Rutgers University and her bachelor’s degree from Kean College of New Jersey. Professor Atwater-Singer joined the University in 1997 and came to us from Condé Nast Publications, Inc. where she worked as an assistant librarian. Professor Atwater-Singer has reviewed a multitude of publications, made dozens of presentations, and has also been awarded various scholarships including but not limited to Wheeler Fund Awards, a Faculty Innovation Instruction Grant, and several Alumni Research and Scholarly Activity Fellowship grants. Overshadowing all that she has undertaken is the Libraries’ massive renovation project. She contributed to its success at every level, from initial planning in the project Working Group, through logistical planning for stacks management and provision of service before, during, and after renovation, staff training and supervision, and coordination with a host of constituencies who had an interest in the success of the project. In addition to all of the endeavors relating directly to the Libraries’ renovation project, Professor Atwater-Singer continues her engagement in other fundamental services of the University Libraries, including her contribution to the Research Assistance Program, and offering on-demand research assistance.

Lora Becker, Department of Psychology, earned her PhD and master’s degrees from the State University of New York (Binghamton), and the bachelor’s from Wright State University (Dayton, Ohio). Becker joined the UE faculty in 1999 coming from Binghamton University where she was an instructor of psychology. Since joining the University, Becker has written numerous research articles and posters and has won many grants including but not limited to the Ball Brothers Venture Grant the Mead Johnson Nutritional Grant, Global Scholar, numerous UExplore Research Grants, ARSAF grants and ADVANTAGE Undergraduate Research grants. She has also taken on several director positions at UE including the Neuroscience Program, the Summer Reading Program, the Major Discovery Program and the Academic Assessment Committee. She is currently on the Pre-Professional Advisors Committee, the Institutional Care and Use Committee, the Berger Award Committee, and is co-coordinator for the Crick Lecture series for Cognitive and Neural Science. She has also served on the General Education Steering Committee, the Faculty Senate Executive Board, Institutional Diversity Council, and the Strategic Plan Oversight Committee to name just a few. The second recipient of the Eykamp Prize for extraordinary contributions by UE faculty to the University, she was also awarded the Mentor of the Year award from Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (or FUN). Nationally she served as president of Nu Rho Psi, the honor society for neuroscience, overseeing the first Indiana chapter of the organization established at UE and is now treasurer of FUN and serves on the Board of Phi Kappa Phi, the largest interdisciplinary honors society.

Young Choul Kim, Department of Law, Politics, and Society, received his PhD from Texas Tech University (Lubbock), and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul. Kim joined the UE faculty in 2004 and came to us from Texas Tech where he was a graduate instructor of political science. Since 2013, Kim has served as the director of the International Studies Program and also holds the distinction of being the Austin S. Igleheart Endowed Chair in Political Science. Kim has won numerous grants and awards, including but not limited to the Ridgway Faculty Excellence Award, the Global Scholar Award, the Research Grant Award of the ASIANetwork Student-Faculty Fellows Program provided by the ASIANetwork Freeman Foundation and the TriState Global Enterprise in Asia Project Grant. Kim has numerous publications and a multitude of conference presentations and professional activities. Kim serves or has served the University in many areas including the International Programs Committee, the External Study Abroad committee, the Faculty Senate and the Academic Services Committee to name just a few. Kim is a member of the American Political Science Association, the Indiana Political Science Association, the Korean Political Science Association, and the Indiana Academy of the Social Science to name a few.

Dennis Malfatti, Department of Music, received his DMA from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, his master’s from Pennsylvania State University and his bachelor’s (summa cum laude) from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. Malfatti joined the UE faculty in 2007 and came to us from Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia, where he was director of choral activities and assistant professor of music. Malfatti has been the conductor of the Evansville Philharmonic Chorus, is the founder/conductor of the Evansville Bach Singers, and is currently serving as the president of the Indiana Choral Directors Association. Under Malfatti’s direction, the UE University Choir has been recognized through invitations to perform for the American Choral Directors Association Central Division Conference in 2016 and for the Indiana Music Education Association Conventions in both 2010 and 2013. Also under his leadership, University of Evansville was the only college/university in Indiana chosen to send choral singers to participate in the 2017 National Collegiate Honor Choir. In both 2011 and 2016, Malfatti led concerts at Carnegie Hall in New York City with a conglomerate of choirs from around the country and professional orchestra. Twice he was chosen from an international pool of candidates as a participant in the conducting master class at the Oregon Bach Festival led by renowned conductor Helmut Rilling. In 2018 his article on the music of Handel was a featured cover article in the Choral Journal, and, in 2013 he was the recipient of the “Educator of the Year Award” from the Arts Council of Southwest Indiana.

Christopher M. Pietruszkiewicz is the 24th president of the University of Evansville and professor in the Department of Law, Politics, and Society. Pietruszkiewicz began his academic career at George Mason University School of Law as an adjunct professor of law. Later, he joined the faculty of the Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center, where he served as the J.Y. Sanders Professor of Law and vice chancellor for Business and Financial Affairs. For the last six years, he served as dean and professor of law at Stetson University College of Law. Prior to entering academia, Pietruszkiewicz served as a trial attorney in the Tax Division of the United States Department of Justice where he received the Outstanding Attorney Award. He was an attorney/adviser for the United States Department of Education where he received the Assistant Secretary’s Award for Team Distinction and the Deputy Secretary’s Award for Service. Pietruszkiewicz was a member of the Standards Reviews Committee of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar and previously served as a member of the ABA’s Data Policy and Collection Committee, including a term as chair. He served as president of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools, as deputy corporate compliance officer/secretary, and as a member of the Board of Trustees. Pietruszkiewicz was also a member of the Audit Committee of the Law School Admission Council, a member of the Nominating Committee, chair of the Investment Committee, a liaison to the Finance and Legal Affairs Committees, and a member of the Board of Trustees. In addition, he served on the Florida Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism, the Legal Education Committee of the Florida Bar Vision 2016 Commission, the Florida Bar Special Committee on Legal Education, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. An expert in tax law, Pietruszkiewicz co-authored treatises – Mastering Income Tax and Corporate Reorganizations, published numerous law review articles, presented widely on the subject, and held various leadership positions with the ABA’s Section of Taxation, including vice chair of the Individual Income Tax Committee and Special Features Editor of ABA’s News Quarterly. Pietruszkiewicz was an NCAA and high school basketball official and worked with Special Olympics Virginia and Special Olympics Louisiana. He earned a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree at the University of Scranton, a Juris Doctor (JD) at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, and a Master of Laws (LLM) in taxation at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC.

Gerald Seaman, Principal at Harlaxton, earned his PhD in French at Stanford University in 1992. He joined the University of Evansville faculty the next fall and was granted tenure and promoted to the rank of associate professor in 1999. He was named Mortar Board Professor of the Year in 2000 and was a Fellow in the Center for Teaching Excellence. He was chair of the Department of Foreign Languages from 1997-2000 and program coordinator for World Cultures 101 in 1996-1997. He served on several committees, including Admissions and Standards and the Patricia H. Snyder Concert and Lecture series. He was a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Sigma Iota, and Phi Beta Delta, and taught at Harlaxton in the summers of 1998-2000. After UE, he was associate dean of faculty and associate professor of French at Lawrence University, in Appleton, Wisconsin, where his portfolio included off-campus programs, faculty mentoring, teaching development, and undergraduate research. Next, in 2006, he became vice president and dean of faculty and was promoted to the rank of professor of romance and classical languages, with tenure, at Ripon College, Wisconsin, where he also served as interim president in 2011-12. At Ripon, he was PI or co-PI on grants totaling nearly $3 million and, as interim president, raised $13 million in 9 months during the silent phase of the Imagine Tomorrow capital campaign. He is co-editor (with Patricia Vilches) of Seeking Real Truths: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Machiavelli (Brill, 2006) and author of nearly 30 scholarly articles, chapters, and book reviews. He has presented, led roundtables and chaired sessions at the American Conference of Academic Deans, AAC&U and the National Institute for Chief Academic Officers (Council of Independent Colleges) where he has also served as mentor to new CAOs. He has been principal, chief executive, and Scholar in Residence at Harlaxton College since 2014.

Ying Shang is the first female dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. She earned her PhD and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame, and her bachelor’s in control engineering from Shangdong University. Her research areas include discrete-event systems, max-plus linear systems, and hybrid systems with applications in queueing networks, manufacturing systems, and transportation networks. She was the department chair of electrical and computer engineering at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville from 2015-2018. During Shang’s term as the department chair, she fostered faculty growth in teaching and research, improved communication, secured ABET accreditation, established industrial partnerships, and created a process of launching entrepreneurial incubator/accelerator for startups to help Southern Illinois. Shang also served as faculty advisor for the Society of Women Engineers Student Chapter at Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville and initiated the first annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering event at the university.

Joyce Stamm, Department of Biology, earned her PhD from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and bachelor’s with honor from Caltech. Stamm joined the UE faculty in 2005 coming to us from the Claremont Colleges where she was a visiting professor. Stamm has made meaningful contributions to both the biology department and the University during her tenure. Most notably, she has served as president of the Faculty Senate and obtained a $610K grant from the National Science Foundation with Adam Salminen PhD, Department of Mathematics, to co-direct the Science and Mathematics Scholarship Program. Stamm has been awarded numerous UE grants, including UExplore Undergraduate Research Program grants, Alumni Research and Scholarly Activity Fellowship grants, and Arts, Research, and Teaching Projects grants. She has engaged numerous students in undergraduate research, both in the classroom and during the summer, and has published 10 reviewed articles during her time at UE, two with student co-authors. She has also served on many committees and working groups, including the Faculty Senate, the Curriculum Committee, the Fiscal Affairs Committee, the Academic Services Committee, the Institutional Review board and the Connections Strategic Planning Working Group.

Heidi Strobel, Department of Archaeology and Art History, earned her master’s from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and her bachelor’s from Kalamazoo College. Strobel joined the faculty at UE in 2004 after serving as assistant professor of art history at Baker College. In addition to her teaching load, Strobel is also the associate dean of the William L. Ridgway College of Arts and Sciences. She serves as department advisor for internships and is faculty advisor to art history majors and minors. Strobel is the author of several books including The Artistic Matronage of Queen Charlotte (1744-1818): How a Queen Promoted Both Art and Female Artists in English Society and has also written numerous journals, encyclopedia, and dictionary articles. Strobel has also won a number of awards and grants that include the John H. Schroeder Faculty Development Fund award, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art/Yale University Research Support Grant, and the Indiana Landmarks Historic Preservation Education Grant (Wes Peters/Margedant House) and is also the director of the Wes Peters/Margedant House.

Garnet Ungar earned his DMA from the University of Houston, his master’s from the University of Calgary, and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto. In addition to performing regularly in Evansville, Ungar appears throughout the world as piano soloist with orchestra, in recitals and masterclasses at major universities, and on radio broadcasts. Highlights of recent seasons were concerts and lectures at Xinghai Conservatory in China, Kwassui University in Japan, Indiana University, the University of Michigan, the University of British Columbia, the Tanglewood Festival in Massachusetts, the American Liszt Society in New York City, and the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto. His regular visits to Hong Kong include three terms as festival judge, a recital at Hong Kong Baptist University, and a broadcast on Hong Kong Public Radio. He has performed in Switzerland, Sweden, England, Bulgaria, and this spring will tour South America playing eight concerts in five countries. He has released two CDs to glowing reviews, and recently completed a book chronicling the life of American pianist Abbey Simon. Recent service contributions include chairing the department’s Assessment and Recording Studio Committees, serving on the Faculty Senate, and coordinating the piano portion of the Summer Music Camp. Ungar is a member of the American Liszt Society, the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society and the Indiana Music Teachers Association.

Patricia Vilches earned her PhD in romance languages and literatures from the University of Chicago in 1992. The next fall, she became assistant professor of Spanish and Italian at the University of Evansville. In 1998, she was awarded tenure and promoted to the rank of associate professor. While at UE, she received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1998-1999. She served as director of World Cultures, chair of the Faculty Senate (both in 1999-2000) and taught at Harlaxton College (summers 1998-2000). Later, she became associate professor and received tenure at Lawrence University where she was promoted to the rank of full professor in 2014. Since 2014, she has served at Harlaxton College as professor of Spanish and Italian and Scholar in Residence. Her main research subjects include Violeta Parra, the Nueva Canción Movement in Chile, and Salvador Allende. She also studies the transatlantic impact of Machiavelli and Cervantes and the intersections of Machiavelli and Cervantes with nineteenth- and twentieth-century Latin American cultural studies, with a particular focus on the Chilean author Alberto Blest-Gana (1830-1920). She is the author of five books, including Mapping Violeta Parra’s Cultural Landscapes (Palgrave McMillan, 2018), editor and contributor; Blest Gana via Machiavelli and Cervantes: National Identity and Social Order in Chile (Cambridge Scholars, 2017) and Seeking Real Truths: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Machiavelli (Brill, 2006), editor and contributor (with Gerald Seaman). Another book, Negotiating Space in Latin America, is currently under review. In addition, she has published more than thirty scholarly articles, notably: “Cervantes, Lizardi, and the Literary Construction of the Mexican Rogue in Don Catrín de la fachenda.” Open Cultural Studies 1 (2017):  428-441; “Andrés Wood’s Machuca and Violeta Went to Heaven: The Geographical Spaces of Conflict in Chile.” Latin American Perspectives. 43.5 (2016): 45-61; “Monumental Italians: Machiavelli, Giuseppe Rondizzoni and Chilean Independence.” Forum Italicum 47 (2013): 346-363. She is widely recognized in her field and regularly reviews essays under consideration at scholarly journals such as Hispanófila and Revue Romane and book manuscripts for academic publishers such as Palgrave MacMillan. In 2015, she was invited by Professor Javier Guerrero of Princeton University to be a guest lecturer on Violeta Parra in his seminar on “Images in Transition, Poetics and Politics of Contemporaneity” which took place in Santiago, Chile.

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