Faculty Honored

In April, President Lee C. Bollinger named Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic as a University Professor, the highest rank Columbia bestows on faculty. Vunjak-Novakovic, a 12-year veteran of the University community, is the Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering, professor of medical sciences and director of Columbia’s Laboratory for Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering. “She has been a pioneer in the engineering of functional human tissue for use in regenerative medicine,” Bollinger said of Vunjak-Novakovic, adding: “The discoveries emerging from her laboratory have led to new approaches for treating injuries and complex diseases and also have supported the development and evaluation of therapeutic drugs.”

Eight faculty members won Distinguished Columbia Faculty Awards, known as the Lenfest Awards. Established in 2005 with a $12 million gift from then-Trustee Gerry Lenfest LAW’58, Lenfest Awards honor exceptional instruction and scholarship; winners each receive a $25,000 stipend for three years. The 2017 recipients are Elisheva Carlebach GSAS’86, the Salo Wittmayer Baron Professor of Jewish History, Culture and Society; James Curley, assistant professor of psychology; Valentina Izmirlieva, professor of Slavic languages and chair of the Department of Slavic Languages; Matthew McKelway GSAS’99, the Takeo and Itsuko Atsumi Professor of Japanese Art History and chair of Art Humanities; Samuel Roberts, associate professor of history and director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies; Rachel Rosen, assistant professor of theoretical physics; Dustin Rubenstein, associate professor of ecology, evolution and environmental biology; and Oliver Simons, associate professor of Germanic languages.

Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Caterina Luigia Pizzigioni, and Dean James J. Valentini pose with members of the Academic Awards Committee.

Elizabeth A. Povinelli (seated, at left) and Caterina Luigia Pizzigoni (seated, at right), with Dean James J. Valentini and members of the Academic Awards Committee.

Michael Edmonson ’20

The Academic Awards Committee of Columbia College honored the student-nominated recipients of the 2017 Lionel Trilling Book Award and Mark Van Doren Award for Teaching at a ceremony on May 3 in Low Library. Elizabeth A. Povinelli, the Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology, was honored with the 42nd annual Lionel Trilling Book Award for her recent book, Geontologies: A Requiem to Late Liberalism, and Caterina Luigia Pizzigoni, associate professor of history, was honored with the 56th annual Mark Van Doren Award for Teaching in recognition of her “Humanity, Devotion to Truth and Inspiring Leadership.”

The Van Doren Award also was celebrated earlier this year with a gathering of past recipients, students and administrators at the West Midtown studio of Mark Van Doren GSAS 1921’s grandson, Adam Van Doren ’84, GSAPP’89, a painter and filmmaker who teaches at Yale. Among the 13 professors in attendance were Edward “Ted” Tayler, the Lionel Trilling Professor Emeritus in the Humanities; Carol Gluck GSAS’77, the George Sansom Professor of History; and Holger Klein, professor of art history and archaeology. “They all share a common bond — from the first to the last — that they most emulate Mark Van Doren’s intellectual integrity and leadership,” Van Doren said. “And they all share that special something that students have responded to for over 50 years. I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to have them all meet and to celebrate that?”