Seven faculty members to be honored at convocation as Distinguished University Professors

President Barbara R. Snyder today announced the seven faculty who will be honored Wednesday at Fall Convocation as Case Western Reserve University’s newest Distinguished University Professors.

“These individuals are leaders in every way—as teachers, scholars and dedicated contributors to our university,” Snyder said. “We are privileged to have them on our campus, and delighted to recognize them as part of our formal celebration of the start of the academic year.”

The recipients are: Eric Baer, engineering; Nathan A. Berger, medicine; Robert W. Brown, physics; Paul Giannelli, law; Lynn Landmesser, medicine; Gary Previts, accountancy; and Philip L. Taylor, physics.

The designation of Distinguished University Professor represents the highest honor that Case Western Reserve bestows upon a member of the faculty. It is a permanent title that acknowledges full-time, tenured professors with exceptional records of teaching, scholarship and service.

“The nomination and selection process is itself inspiring,” said Provost and Executive Vice President W.A. “Bud” Baeslack III. “I am grateful to all of those who took the time to chronicle the achievements of their colleagues, as well as those involved in selecting the final honorees.”

This year’s Distinguished University Professors are:

Eric Baer, D.Eng., Herbert Henry Dow Professor of Science and Engineering, Case School of Engineering
Professor Eric Baer arrived in Cleveland in the fall of 1962—nearly a half century ago—and within five years launched the nation’s first department of macromolecular science. After chairing that department for 11 years, he spent the next five as dean of what was then known as the Case Institute of Technology. Today he directs the Center for Layered Polymeric Systems, a National Science Foundation Science & Technology Center. Baer’s career includes more than 550 journal articles, more than five dozen graduated doctoral students and multiple awards from national and international professional societies.

Nathan A. Berger, MD, Hanna-Payne Professor of Experimental Medicine, School of Medicine
Professor Nathan A. Berger came to Case Western Reserve in 1983 and within four years the oncology program he developed had secured the prestigious National Cancer Institute Cancer Center designation. In 1995 he became the medical school’s acting dean, and a year later received the permanent position. His seven-year term witnessed dramatic growth in federal grant funding, significant capital projects and an extremely positive review from the national accrediting body for schools of medicine. Today Berger continues an active research portfolio and also leads the Scientific Enrichment and Opportunity Program that provides Cleveland high school students rich summer research experiences to encourage them to consider careers in the health sciences.

Robert W. Brown, PhD, Institute Professor, Physics, College of Arts and Sciences
Professor Robert W. Brown’s passion for educating students has created a legacy of achievement and innovation. He is quick to note that nearly all of his publications, presentations and discoveries involve young people as co-authors; in addition, a dozen of his college advisees have gone on to win graduate fellowships from the National Science Foundation. Brown himself has won the university’s Carl F. Wittke Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and its John S. Diekhoff Award for Graduate Teaching and Mentoring. In addition, he also received the American Association of Physics Teachers’ top award for undergraduate teaching. Brown is the co-author with some of his students of a 914-page textbook on Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Finally, he is a co-founder of Quality Electrodynamics LLC, which Forbes has designated one of America’s most promising companies.

Paul Giannelli, Albert J. Weatherhead III and Richard W. Weatherhead Professor, School of Law
Professor Paul Giannelli’s articles have made him one of the world’s leading experts on evidence. The United States Supreme Court has cited his work seven times, while the National Academy of Sciences referenced six of his articles in its 2009 work, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward. Giannelli has authored or co-authored more than a dozen books and has led or contributed to several American Bar Association projects relating to standards for forensic science practices and the handling of judicial issues. He also has served on every single law school standing committee—several of them more than once.

Lynn Landmesser, PhD, Arline J. & Curtis F. Garvin Professor, School of Medicine
Professor Lynn Landmesser is, quite simply, a legend in the area of developmental neuroscience. She has served as the editor of every major neuroscience journal and also as president of the Society for Developmental Biology. In addition, she also has participated on the governing boards of three separate institutes at the National Institutes of Health and the scientific review board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Finally, she has chaired the medical school’s department of neurosciences for more than a dozen years.

Gary Previts, PhD, E. Mandell de Windt Professor of Management, Weatherhead School of Management
In more than three decades at Case Western Reserve, Professor Gary Previts has established himself as one of the world’s leading experts on the history of accounting as a practice. He is the founder and editor of the journal Research in the Accounting Profession, and is a member of the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession. In 2010, he received the outstanding educator award from the American Accounting Association; three years earlier he received the Gold Medal for Distinguished Service from the American Institute of Certified Accountants. Currently serving as chair of the accountancy department—for the second time—he also held the position of Weatherhead’s Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies for more than a dozen years.

Philip L. Taylor, PhD, Perkins Professor of Physics, College of Arts and Sciences
The impact of Professor Philip L. Taylor’s work can be summed up by one number: four. That is how many scientific phenomena bear his name. From the Nielsen-Taylor effect detailed in 1985 through to the Hamaneh-Taylor model introduced in 2009, his research has deepened the world’s understanding of thermoelectricity, liquid crystals and the nature of different systems in stasis and flux. Professor Taylor has authored and co-authored more than 200 papers published in peer review journals and also has mentoring of more than 50 doctoral and postdoctoral students. He is a Fellow of both the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

If you intend to participate in the faculty procession at Fall Convocation, please register online.

Faculty marching in the academic procession do not require tickets for themselves, but all other guests should reserve tickets online or through the Severance Hall box office at 216-231-1111.