Silvestre led the way on Pitt Men’s Study and AIDS Task Force
Anthony “Tony” Silvestre, whose work with the LGBT community was far ahead of its time and made the pioneering Pitt Men’s Study possible, died Sept. 1, 2022 at 75.
Silvestre was one of the founders of the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force and, for three decades, was on the frontlines of AIDS research for Pittsburgh and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania — work that improved how the country did HIV studies and, eventually, other research that required the enlistment of the public in order to succeed.
Charles Rinaldo, professor of infectious diseases and microbiology in the School of Public Health and of pathology in the School of Medicine, received National Institutes of Health funding in 1983 to study this disease that did not have a name or a known cause yet. And he needed someone who could meet and speak with local LGBT community members on their own terms and gain trust and participation in what became known as the Pitt Men’s Study. Pittsburgh had very few AIDS cases at the time and the NIH questioned whether there might be different strains of the disease in different cities.
Silvestre, then working as an LGBT activist in Philadelphia, was the top choice of the Persad Center, a prominent Pittsburgh LGBT organization. Hiring Silvestre “was the best move I ever made in the study,” Rinaldo recalls. “Tony was fantastic. He said: ‘This is how we need to go about communicating with the community and getting them on our side,’ ” and began attending local LGBT community events and meeting with local LGBT bar owners.
“He set up what I believe was the first community development board for one of these studies in the United States,” Rinaldo said — now something required by NIH for such community research. The study also involved meeting personally with study participants answering questions about their lives and health and allowing the study to take blood samples. Silvestre was there for that part of the job as well, at a time when giving the men a positive AIDS test result was tantamount to pronouncing a death sentence.
“We would have gone down the drain as a study if we hadn’t done it right, and Tony taught us how to do it right,” Rinaldo said. Silvestre’s work there continued for decades, even as the study participants’ needs changed with new effects of the disease emerging, and new medications being developed to make the illness livable.
“Tony and I especially had a bond,” based on their Italian heritage and New York origins, Rinaldo added, but they were also different, since Silvestre was a Zen Buddhist. “He didn’t proselytize but it was in his life in the way he dealt with people,” Rinaldo said.
Silvestre led an ad hoc class on meditation at Pitt and his practice helped him found the Pitt Center for Mindfulness and Consciousness Studies. “Tony was a special person, with a very calm demeanor … We followed his lead. He taught me a lot about dealing with the community in the right way, and I bless him for that.”
Silvestre was born on Feb. 26, 1946 in the Bronx’s “Little Italy,” graduating from Cardinal Spellman High School and enrolling at Holy Cross Brothers Seminary/Stonehill College in Massachusetts for three years. He earned his undergraduate degree from Kings College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., his master’s degree from Penn State University in 1974 and his Ph.D. in social work from Pitt in 1992.
His international advocacy and public health work began at Penn State (1971-76), continued with several Philadelphia organizations (1976-83) and brought him to Pitt in early 1984 until his retirement in 2018.
In 1976, he was the founding chairman of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Council on Sexual Minorities, likely the first such state organization in the country. He was U.S. liaison to the World Health Organization (1990-93) and a subject matter expert on HIV for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2002.
Through the years, he served on many expert and advisory panels for the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Allegheny County Department of Health on HIV, alcohol and substance use among gender and sexual minorities, community marginalization and health education and outreach.
But he is perhaps best known in Pittsburgh for his role in forming and running the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force (now Allies for Health and Wellbeing) in its early years. In the process, he supported more than a dozen other state and community groups promoting LGBTQIA-related and HIV-related health messaging for at-risk communities.
In conjunction with his research and teaching in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, he founded the Pennsylvania Prevention Project (now the HIV Prevention and Care Project) there in 1993 to advance comprehensive HIV planning with impacted communities. He also helped create and direct the School of Public Health’s Center for LGBT Research, and was honored by Pitt with the Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award.
He published more than 45 peer-reviewed articles, proceedings and book chapters, and created many state and federal professional reports and presentations as well, much of which can be found at Dickinson College.
His decades of service garnered many community awards: “Outstanding Young Man of America Award” from Advocate Magazine; Pittsburgh’s Lambda Man of the Year Award, the Director’s Advocacy Award from the Lambda Foundation; the Justice Achievement Award from the Thomas Merton Center; and the Founders’ Award from the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force. The city of Pittsburgh declared Sept. 21, 2019 “Dr. Tony Silvestre Day” in honor of his work.
Silvestre’s departmental colleague Sarah Krier took a class from him in 2008 that she eventually co-taught with Silvestre and now handles herself. She remembers Silvestre as “the greatest mentor of my life. He mentored so many people around the world. How did he do it all? How did he change my career? He saw something in me that I didn’t even see myself.”
His classroom demeanor in the course Krier took and teaches, “Human Diversity in Public Health Research Practice and Policy,” was “engaging and funny. His course was way ahead of the time in terms of diversity, equity and inclusion. The two big lessons were that if you want to know something about people, you need to ask them, but you also need to do critical self-reflection about your privilege and your power which you bring to your work. What he learned from the early days of AIDS is that this was essential.”
In the class’s second assignment, he asked students “how you would take care of yourself as a healthcare worker when you got burned out, and he encouraged us to get out of the classroom and learn from outside of academia.”
She also worked for Silvestre in his last decade with Pitt as a research specialist in the HIV prevention and care project in their school, of which she is now principal investigator.
“He led the way for all of us who are passionate about LGBTQ health and well-being,” as “a fierce advocate and an example that we all wanted to follow. … After he said something, it would move the world forward. Community mobilization was his thing and he was the best at it.” In particular, she remembered an e-mail from him that urged: “‘We all need to succeed and there are far too few of us in this work. We all need to support each other to succeed.’
“He was just an incredible force and an incredible man.”
“It is difficult to overstate the impact that his work has had,” noted David Givens, faculty in Silvestre’s department and now co-PI and director of the HIV Prevention and Care Project and co-director of the Center for Mindfulness and Consciousness Studies. “The groundbreaking work they were able to do (in the governor’s council) extending protections to LGBT people in the state was unprecedented at the time.” There and elsewhere, Silvestre was “always trying to press the conversation: Who is not at this table? What’s next? How to make our effort and the efforts of the state more equitable and more inclusive … really pushing for committee members of color, people who identify as trans.
“This perspective and the way that he pushed for better health outcomes … was looking beyond single issues” and tried more broadly “to improve co-morbidities and other health disparities for communities impacted by HIV,” as well as lessen the impact of stigma, of poverty, of drug and alcohol use and other issues. “It is part of the pattern of his life: looking beyond the issue immediately in front of you and looking at how do we improve the communities for the future.”
When Givens tried to throw a retirement party for Silvestre, he recalled, Silvestre turned it into a presentation honoring those who had died of AIDS and outlining the ways in which we still need to help.
The Center for LGBT Research is now “a leader nationally and internationally in this topic,” Givens said, and the Center for Mindfulness, as “an academic lens for that human experience … was just another way he was looking ahead,” aiming to find evidence-based ways to improve overall health and well-being. “He saw so many of the opportunities that still lie ahead of us. “
Former departmental colleague Mackey Friedman, now at Rutgers, recalls meeting and working with Silvestre beginning in 1990: “I found him to be incredibly warm and welcoming and interested in harnessing all the talent locally to make the conditions better for people who are dealing with HIV. He was a tremendous individual with seemingly unlimited compassion and selflessness, just an incredible human who was always about 25 years ahead of his time.
“This guy had been doing stuff long before the rest of the country caught up,” Friedman added. “He was pushing for LGBTQ-plus equity at very high levels of government, (and with) bottomless charm, very canny strategies, he was able to make things better for LGBTQ-plus folks in Pennsylvania. The organizations that he has helped found continue to be the bedrock and foundation for LGBTQ-plus equity here. He was an absolute visionary.”
Talking to people recently about Silvestre — those who met him once, those who knew him for years — Friedman has found “they all say the same thing: They felt so welcomed in his company. They also felt like he wanted to be right there, right then, talking with them.”
He is survived by his husband Michael Sutherland, sister Angelina, 10 nieces and nephews and 10 great-nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held in Pittsburgh at a future date. Memorial gifts are suggested to the Thích Nhất Hạnh Foundation, 2499 Melru Lane, Escondido, CA 92026
— Marty Levine
Ray Cristina helped guide a wide variety of Pitt’s publications
Ray Cristina, a top editor and writer for Pitt’s News and Publications department (1977-1990) who shepherded half the University’s print materials from idea onward in the days when a central office handled them all, died in late August 2022.
Peter Hart, who handled the other half of the University’s publications for a dozen years alongside Cristina, recalls his friend as a mentor and “among the best editors I’ve worked with in my 32 years at Pitt. He was equally comfortable talking with a chancellor, with a faculty member or a student. He also was a talented writer, an avid reader, a humorist, a great storyteller, a competitive athlete from tennis to roller skating and an animal lover, particularly horses and dogs. … Ray was someone who genuinely loved life and lived it to the fullest.”
Another colleague, designer Vicki Dinsmore, saw Cristina’s deftness as a liaison between University departments and his own, when everything from recruitment brochures, admissions booklets, special event publications and theater programs needed to be designed or edited and printed. Cristina edited their copy “if they allowed him to,” Dinsmore recalled, and then directed it to a designer.
“He was the portal through which all the material came,” she explained. “He was very knowledgeable, very thorough in what he was doing. Every job was held closely by him and monitored and defined by him, according to the client’s wishes.
“He worked in a really wonderful way,” she recalled. “He knew what the client wanted but he knew what the designer wanted to do. He would sell the designer’s work to the client, would talk to them in his manner and get them to come around. He had his way of softly, gently dealing with them, and they loved it. They really responded to him.” If, she added, the University department held firm, he also had no problem helping the designer to adjust her design.
“He was very much a rock of the department,” Dinsmore said. “He was looked at as a person who understood, who had the good of the client at heart, who had the good of the University at heart.
"He just never promoted himself,” she said. “He was very gentle, very modest, but he knew who he was and what he could do.”
That included teaming with English professor Edwin L. Peterson on the research for his famed book “Penn’s Woods West,” exploring the Allegheny River and Allegheny National Forest together, and later in life taking up ceramics, including enamel work, and penning two self-published novels.
Cristina served in the Navy (1946-48) as an electronic technician’s mate, then began his career as a staff correspondent in the Pittsburgh bureau of United Press Association (1951-54), joining Pitt’s English department as an instructor for a decade afterward (1955-64). In the 1950s, he produced a half-hour documentary for KDKA-TV, a play for WIIC (now WPXI) and both kinds of material for WQED. He spent another decade as director of technical communications for the Western Pennsylvania Hospital (1964-75), where he wrote publications and scripted, edited, directed and even narrated instructional and PR films, before returning to Pitt in the News and Publications department.
On his retirement on March 1, 1990, then-Pitt President Wesley W. Posvar praised Cristina in a letter as a “talented and dedicated member” of the staff, “especially helpful” in the design and production of several prominent reports, which he handled with “characteristic professionalism.”
The senior officer in charge of Cristman’s department, Mary Ann Aug, recalls him today as “a wonderful guy. We were very lucky to have him for all the years we did. Ray was a canny businessman, excellent editor and creative idea guy, and he was very well liked by all of his clients.”
Another departmental colleague, Patricia White, remembers Cristina as a “wonderful friend” but also a colleague whose desk was so clean and orderly one could only marvel, “Where is his work?”
They kept in touch through Cristina’s retirement in Florida. “I’m going to miss those little emails and talks that we had,” White said. He was still pitching book ideas to her in his later years.
“The man was never idle,” she said.
He is survived by his wife, Deanna R. Kratt; sister Shirley Anne Clarke; nieces and nephew Mary Dufek, John Clarke, Patricia Hurst, Kathleen Zumpone and Cristina Clarke; stepdaughter Jane Heffelfinger; step-granddaughters Raegan Heffelfinger and Peyton Heffelfinger and stepson Richard Kratt.
Memorial gifts are suggested to the National World War II Museum, 945 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70130.
— Marty Levine
Li had 58-year ‘impactful’ career at Swanson School
Professor Emeritus Ching-Chung Li, the longest-serving professor in the Swanson School of Engineering’s Electrical and Computer Engineering department at 58 years, died Sept. 3, 2022 at 90.
Department chair Alan George said Li “had a very impactful role for many years” in the school. He was hailed by his department for having “a tireless work ethic, deep principles and a fierce persistence that led him to excel at everything he pursued.”
Born on March 30, 1931, in Wuxi, China, Li grew up in Changshu, China, and earned his bachelor’s degree from National Taiwan University. At Northwestern University he received his M.S.E.E. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering.
He joined the Pitt faculty in September 1959 as an assistant professor and moved up the ranks to professor by 1967. Between 1964 and 2012, he conducted research as a visiting professor or visiting scientist at numerous academic and research institutions, including the Department of Electrical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley (1964); Biodynamics Laboratory, Alza Corporation, Palo Alto, Cal. (1970); Coal Preparation Division, Department of Energy, Pittsburgh Energy Technology Center (1982, 1983, 1985, 1988); Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass. (1988); and Robotics Institute (1999), Advanced Multimedia Processing Laboratory (2006), and Information and Communication Technologies Institute (2012), all at Carnegie Mellon University.
He mentored 28 students at the M.S. level, 37 students at the Ph.D. level, and two at the postdoctoral level. His more than half a century of research saw him involved as a member and committee chair of many professional organizations in his field, and as editor or a member of editorial boards for the Journal of Cybernetics and Information Science, Pattern Recognition, Computerized Medical Imaging and Graphics, Journal of Wavelet Theory and Applications and Current Development in Theory and Applications of Wavelets.
He published more than 250 peer-reviewed papers and numerous edited books. In honor of his scientific contributions, he was recognized as a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, American Association for Advancement of Science and the International Association for Pattern Recognition.
Li also made significant contributions to the promotion of research worldwide, especially in developing countries. He hosted numerous international visiting professors, research fellows and trainees in his laboratory and organized many international research conferences and workshops. He also gave lectures and helped establish research centers, including at the Institute of Information Science at the Beijing Jiaotong University in the 1980s, and the Center for Artificial Intelligence at the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan in recent years.
Li retired in August 2017.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Hanna (Wu); sons William (Shawna) Li and Vincent (Joy) Li; grandchildren Madeleine, Oliver and Noemi Li; and his sister Ching-Mi Sun.
Memorial gifts are suggested to the Angiogenesis Foundation.
— Marty Levine
Chamberlain helped grow Center for Latin American Studies
Bobby John Chamberlain, associate professor emeritus following a 33-year career as a faculty member in the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures, died at 75 on Aug. 7, 2022.
Chamberlain’s arrival at Pitt, recalled Keith McDuffie, who served as department chair for many years, was not just a boon to the department “but for the Center for Latin American Studies and the University Center for International Studies. When he came he gave structure to the program and permanence, which was big.
“He was a nationally known figure at the time I hired him,” McDuffie said. “He had published quite a bit. He’d also taught and we’d had good reports on his teaching” at Michigan State and UCLA.
“He was an excellent teacher and that was supremely important,” McDuffie added. “His generous and very kind approach with students was a key part in his teaching,” in particular as he mentored students from Latin American countries who found Pittsburgh to be “very unusual” territory.
Another emeritus professor in the department, John R. Beverley, remembered Chamberlain as “a cherished colleague for some 40 years. He was the sort of teacher who comes in every day even when the weather is atrocious and the commute from the North Hills long.”
“When he came to Pitt, few universities had programs in Portuguese language and literature,” Beverley said. “By dint of his patient and dedicated work, Pitt now has an undergraduate minor in Portuguese and a series of graduate courses in Brazilian literature that most grad students take as part of their preparation for the Ph.D. Our department decided to move from a Spanish peninsular focus to a Latin American focus in the late 1980s. Brazil is the largest and most advanced country of the region, so it was decisive for both the department in its new orientation and the Center for Latin American Studies to offer that country as an area of study.”
Born in Huntington Park, Calif., on Oct. 30, 1946, Chamberlain earned all his degrees at UCLA, receiving the California Governor’s Award in his field alongside his doctorate in Brazilian and Spanish Literature and Linguistics. He was a two-time Fulbright Scholar conducting research in Brazil.
During his career, his research focused on Portuguese language and Brazilian literature, with a concentration on the prose fiction of Brazilian modernism and post modernism and on contemporary literary theory. He published widely in U.S. and Brazilian journals, as well as seven books, five of them as author, including dictionaries and guides to Brazilian Portuguese literature as well as to the author Jorge Amado.
At Pitt, he served as director of the Portuguese program upon his arrival in 1985, acting chair of his department in 1986-87, director of the Brazilian studies program beginning in 1999, and director of the Center for Latin American Studies’ field trip in Brazil in 1994 and 1997. He also served on the Ph.D. committees of many students. Chamberlain retired in 2018.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Katherine/Kay Giercyk Chamberlain, daughter Katherine Perrotti (Matt), grandchildren Scotlynne and Logan Fennell, Griffin, Brighton and Greenleigh Perrotti, son Robert Parker Chamberlain (Katrina Buches), sister Judith Lynn Baggs (Larry), nephew John Baggs (Veronica) and brother Gerald Parker Chamberlain.
Memorial gifts are suggested to the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation.
Services will be held at a later date.
— Marty Levine
Russian Film Symposium founder Padunov was dedicated to mentoring students
Vladimir Padunov, faculty member in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures who brought to Pitt the international Russian Film Symposium, his pioneering thinking about post-Soviet Russian culture and a lifelong dedication to mentoring students, died June 26, 2022 at 75.
A gathering in Padunov's memory will be held at 4 p.m. Sept. 16, n the Kurtzman Room of the William Pitt Union.
Those who wish to contribute one sentence or photos of Volodia to the memorial slideshow may do so at this link by Sept. 9.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any event questions.
His wife and academic partner, Nancy Condee (director of Graduate Studies in Padunov’s department and the Program for Film and Media Studies in the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences), notes the evolution of his work, first focusing on the culture that was emerging in Russia’s perestroika era as the pair lived in Moscow for several years prior to joining Pitt’s Slavic department and Film Studies program. Padunov served as Film Studies associate director (2002-13) and directed many Slavic and film Ph.D. dissertations. His research (both single-authored and with Condee) appeared in The Nation, New Left Review, and October, as well as in leading Russian journals and the independent Russian newspapers.
When joining Pitt, Padunov in 1990 formed the Working Group on Contemporary Russian Culture — international scholars who held meetings in Moscow, Berkeley and London on contemporary Russian cultural politics, supported by funds from the American Council of Learned Societies, Social Science Research Council and the MacArthur Foundation. They authored a series of working papers in the new field of post-Soviet studies.
“It was formative in the early ‘90s,” Condee says, leading to discussions and debates: “Who to read? What was the politics? We were among the people at the center of what post-Soviet culture would be.”
Beginning in 1999, his Russian Film Symposium brought the Russian liberal and oppositional intelligentsia to Pittsburgh for this annual weeklong event each May. The festival attracted directors, actors and scriptwriters whom it was rare to see in other venues. This year it focused on Ukrainian films, and in the past has also included cinema from Central Asia and other former Soviet states as well.
The symposium drew attention for the breadth of its offering and willingness to broach controversial themes, Condee says. Guests regularly donated media copies to the University library, contributing to what became the largest collections of materials on Russian and regional cinema in the Western hemisphere.
And Pitt doctoral students were at the center of its organization, helping to plan and set up the festival, writing screening notes and introducing the offerings. “It was a kind of practicum for them,” Condee says.
“Volodia,” as Padunov was known, also brought groups of Pitt Ph.D. students to important Russian film festivals and drew younger Russian scholars from provincial cities to the West for the first time.
As a mentor and teacher, she recalls, “he was the toughest of all of us in the department. He set his standards high, and he was insistent that the standards be met. He was a lively interlocutor. He was a very active mentor to both undergraduates and graduate students.” He brought students to Russia repeatedly, not only for its film festivals but also for conferences, she reports. “He trained them not just to be a scholar but a part of the international scholarly community,” Condee says.
Two of Padunov’s former students, now faculty members in Russian studies at the College of William & Mary — Elena Prokhorova and husband Alexander Prokhorov — say he mentored them from the beginning, when they left the Soviet Union in the early 1990s to enter Pitt to this year.
“For both of us, his influence on our lives and careers was just tremendous,” says Prokhorova. Both say Padunov introduced them to their profession, to the life of a scholar and to specific individuals who could help their work and careers.
“He was an unorthodox teacher and mentor and thinker,” Prokhorova recalls. “Paradoxes are what he threw at us. It was not a smooth ride for any graduate student. But if you could take it, it opened up literature or film or whatever you were dealing with.”
“He invented things which never existed before. He opened up new fields,” Prokhorov says.
“It changed our lives,” Prokhorova says. “That’s a scholar. That’s a thinker. He was a challenging presence in everyone’s life.”
In 1990, for instance, he prompted his department to expand teaching assistant duties from language courses to include those on literature and culture. Then, when Prokhorova was a TA, he sat in on all her classes, taking notes and debriefing her after every session. “It was a semester from hell,” she says, “but, after that, teaching became a natural. He had just an incredible amount of investment in us.”
“That kind of mentoring continued for the next 30 years,” says Prokhorov. With Condee, the pair “taught us how to be in the profession. They taught us how to write grant applications. They took us to major conferences. They introduced us to people probably we would never have been able to meet. They made sure that we learned how to network.
“Both of them have a gift for creating an intellectual community around them and keeping the community around,” he added, “In my view this is the greatest tribute to their contribution to the fields” of Slavic Studies and Film Studies.
Padunov’s work, says Prokhorova, marked “the shift from the Cold War model for studying anything Russian, where the political scientists led the way. They moved away from that to looking at Russian and even Soviet cultures as normal, if you will — looking at cultural artifacts, women literature, etc. “
Prokhorov sees Padunov’s work as “a great resource for everybody, translating the love and enthusiasm for visual culture and popular culture” into a field of academic study. Traditionally, scholars focus on high culture and canonical literature, whereas Padunov introduced contemporary Western literary theories to popular cultural studies, he notes.
Pitt emeritus faculty member in history William Chase remembers Padunov as a colleague and friend: “He and Nancy had an astounding network of colleagues in Russia,” Chase says, which greatly enhanced the impact of the film symposium for students and in general. Chase recalls Padunov as being “demanding yet fair. He really was devoted to his students, especially the graduate students; it always impressed me. He was very much committed to students and their success. That commitment really paid off” in the success of those students in their academic fields.
Born June 4, 1947 in a displaced persons camp in Aschaffenburg, Germany, Padunov moved to the U.S. with his mother as a pre-schooler. He earned his BA in English and comparative literature from Brooklyn College in 1968, and his MA (1975) and Ph.D. (1983) from Cornell in comparative and Russian literature. Drafted by the Army, he worked in Thailand as a senior administrative specialist, reassigning or discharging soldiers from the field, then received a fellowship at the Freie Universität Berlin (1975-76), as well as teaching positions at the University of Iowa (1976-78) and Hunter College (1979-85).
In 1984, he and Condee moved to the Soviet Union, supported by U.S. grants from the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) and the Institute of Current World Affairs. They were affiliated with the Gor’kii Institute of World Literature (Moscow) and stayed on to work in a publishing house and eventually with the Kennan Institute of Advanced Russian Studies.
His work, Condee says, “looked at the battles of the liberal intelligentsia in dialogue with the state, what was forbidden and why, what was funded and why and what lay below the surface. He thought of himself as an alternative to often a naive engagement with post-Soviet culture and on the other hand a kind of knee-jerk anti-communism. Between both those poles there are a lot of interesting questions to ask.
“Speaking as his partner,” Condee adds, “we seldom agreed on (Pitt) department policy and that disagreement was ultimately good for us and the department. He was a contrarian by nature. He was unafraid to raise difficult questions. He’s the kind of faculty colleague who is good for administrators. in the sense that he was unafraid of contradictions, of the need to address difficult questions that kept us to a higher standard.”
As for his legacy, she says: “He was a fire starter, a provocateur, and I think that’s one of the reasons for his success. Even with his undergraduates he was not afraid to take a polemical position.
“He was a great partner,” she concludes, “and in that partnership I think other colleagues in our field felt more comfortable moving forward as academic partners. I value that I had this partnership with him.”
He is survived by Condee, two children (Kira and Nikolai), and grandchild Leander Nathaniel Hauser.
— Marty Levine
Bramson made sure research animals got excellent care
Paul Harlan “Cooky” Bramson, whose work in animal procurement and care was a crucial part of Pitt’s biomedical programs for 30 years, died April 24, 2022, at 80 in Murrysville.
Daniel J. Simons, faculty member in neurobiology in the School of Medicine, worked closely with Bramson for 12 years as chair of the University’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.
“Dr. Bramson was a highly knowledgeable, scientifically schooled veterinarian,” Simons said. “For Paul, a program ensuring excellent animal care was a vital component of the University’s biomedical research and teaching activities, missions to which he was deeply committed. Paul’s good nature and abundant personal charm helped him guide Pitt’s animal-related research enterprise through a period of substantial growth and change during which Pitt’s accomplishments in health-related research rose to national prominence.”
Rich Henderson, associate vice chancellor for Finance Management in Health Sciences, remembered being the first “ ‘gray suit,’ as he liked to call me,” working in Bramson’s department beginning in 1991. “We quickly developed a great working relationship and a solid friendship. He was a kind and caring man, and he did everything that he could to help the employees in the department. The University was lucky to have a man like Paul working here for close to 30 years.”
“As a friend and veterinary colleague, I watched as Paul managed the University of Pittsburgh biomedical animal research program from the level of a mom and pop store upon his entry to the University in the early 1980s to one of the largest NIH-funded institutions in the country,” recalled Ed Klein, clinical associate professor emeritus of the medical school.
“Some of his major accomplishments included the planning and structural design of numerous new animal housing and use facilities, achieving full institutional credentialing in the Association for the Advancement and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (the gold standard in independent accreditation of biomedical research institutions internationally) and helping develop and refine an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee in 1985.”
Bramson, continued Klein, “was a staunch advocate and defender of all who worked under him, knowing most of his 100-plus employees by name and personally interacting with them as often as possible. While spending a career ushering Pitt into the forefront of biomedical research excellence, he remained a humble and genuine person, constantly working to better the lives of both the animals and personnel under his charge.”
Bramson was born Dec. 29, 1941, in Brooklyn, N.Y. He attended Colorado State University and the University of Illinois, where he got his veterinary doctorate as well as a master’s degree in biology and reproductive physiology.
Beginning in 1978, he worked at the Bushy Run Laboratory of Carnegie Mellon University for several years before moving to Pitt, where he was involved with animal procurement for Thomas Starzl’s pioneering liver transplant surgeries as well as the design of the animal housing in Pitt’s Biomedical Science Towers.
Prior to his retirement, he was the longest president of the Three Rivers Branch of the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science.
He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Toni Sue (Trout); children David (Kristen) Bramson and Heidi (Russ) Winslow; grandchildren Emily, Lucas, Ryan (Jessie) and Cody; brothers Robert (Ruth) and Philip (Kay); sister Ginger (Jimi) and many nieces and nephews.
Memorial gifts are suggested to the Pittsburgh Zoo Docent Program or the Murrysville Emergency Shelter Team, c/o Municipality of Murrysville, 4100 Sardis Road, Murrysville, PA 15668.
— Marty Levine
Nursing’s Evelyn Perloff ‘was ahead of her time’
Evelyn Perloff, School of Nursing professor emerita who was the pioneering developer of the Health and Psychosocial Instruments database — now providing information about more than 225,000 behavioral and psychosocial measurement tools supplied to hundreds of libraries around the world — died May 26, 2022 at 101.
When Dean Jacqueline Dunbar-Jacob joined the nursing school as a faculty member in 1987, Perloff was teaching research methods to undergraduates and had already been building the database since 1985, with a grant from the National Institutes of Health.
“She was very, very invested in it, and it was really a novel project,” recalled Dunbar-Jacob. “Finding psychosocial instruments to use for research projects was very challenging at the time. What she was building really served an incredible need. She was ahead of her time, for sure.”
Perloff’s degrees had all been in psychology: a B.A. from the University of Cincinnati in 1942 and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Ohio State in 1946 and 1951. “As a psychologist, she was very committed to accuracy in measurements, making sure you had valid inputs, making sure you knew what they measured,” Dunbar-Jacob said. “Her commitment in building this database was to make that an easier process and more accessible for people doing research.”
The database not only helped psychosocial researchers in many fields, Dunbar-Jacob said, but encouraged research in the school, which had not been as much of an emphasis prior to 1971, when Perloff began her teaching career at Pitt. She had already been on the faculty at Purdue, Kendall College, Northwestern and Ohio State, beginning in 1948.
“Her work really addressed multiple fields and continues to go on,” remarked the dean.
Perloff’s published articles and book contributions focused not only on her field and her research interest but on home health care, ethics in academic program evaluation and the status of women in the mid-20th century. She also lectured throughout the country and served on many School of Nursing administrative committees and on dozens of master’s and doctoral committees for students.
Her career outside academia began with a research focus as well, working as a research technician for the Air Force (then part of the Army) during World War II and as a researcher, research psychologist and visiting scientist for such varied concerns as the American Institutes for Research, the Prince George’s County Board of Education in Maryland and the American Psychological Association. She was also a lecturer at Winchester-Thurston School during her time at Pitt.
Perloff was born in New York City and raised in Philadelphia, marrying her husband, Robert Perloff (who died in 2013), in 1946.
She is survived by her three children, Richard, Linda and Judy, six grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.
Memorial gifts are suggested to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, P.O. Box 515, Northampton, MA 01061-0515.
— Marty Levine
Dunkelman worked behind the scenes for trustees and Nordenberg
Robert E. Dunkelman, former secretary of the Board of Trustees and special assistant to Chancellor Mark Nordenberg, died May 12, 2022, at 91.
In his eulogy, Nordenberg remembered Bob Dunkelman as “a very special person — a highly accomplished professional who touched countless individuals in positive ways — through his work, through his community service and just by being who he was, a warm and wonderful human being.”
Born in Wilmerding, Dunkelman earned his degree in industrial engineering from Pitt in 1954, worked for Westinghouse and served in the Army. But he spent the bulk of his career, 44 years, at Pitt beginning in 1958, first as budget director, then as vice provost for resource management and interim senior vice chancellor for business and finance, before attaining his final positions in 1992. “That list of positions, standing alone, is impressive,” Nordenberg said. “Far more important, though, was the good he did and the respect he earned in each of them.
“He quickly proved himself to be knowledgeable, helpful, capable and completely trustworthy. From those early interactions, then, we built a productive working relationship and a strong friendship, with my feelings of admiration and affection for Bob growing with each passing year.”
When Dunkelman retired in 2002, he was named secretary emeritus of the corporation and the Board of Trustees, a unique honor in the history of the University.
His other service to Pitt included working as executive secretary to the University's presidential search committee (1990-1992) and chairing the senior vice chancellor for business and finance search committee. He was an administrative liaison to the University Senate’s benefits and welfare, budget policies and organization and procedures committees.
“I was one of many people whom Bob coached when being introduced to this world” of central administration and the Board of Trustees, recalled Randy Juhl, now distinguished service professor emeritus in the School of Pharmacy. In 2002, he became part of the University's senior leadership team as vice chancellor for research conduct and compliance.
Dunkelman, he said, set the tone and tenor of the Board of Trustees’ business, since much of the work goes on in committees prior to the public board meetings. “Bob Dunkelman played a huge role behind the scenes in that,” fielding trustees’ phone calls about the propriety of participating in certain aspects of Pitt policy when their own business interests overlapped, for instance. “Bob handled this kind of thing with aplomb. He was a very gregarious, outgoing individual and always had his eye out for things we should be aware of” — down to the proper seating for board members at social events.
“He was a consummate professional who touched a lot of people's lives. He was one of the good guys,” Juhl said.
Dunkelman and his wife, Barb, Juhl added, “were just a tremendous team together — just delightful to be around” at University functions.
Thanks to Dunkelman’s deep integrity and character, remembered Arthur Ramicone, who retired as senior vice chancellor and chief financial officer in 2018, “you could always trust Bob to deal with things unemotionally. He was always consistent. He was always a gentleman.
“These are high-powered individuals” on the board, Ramicone said. “You have to gain their trust and they have to respect you, too. Bob was very effective with that. He did a wonderful job of helping me navigate board politics. Bob would reach out to the board members individually.”
Dunkelman would also help trustees learn about the nonprofit world, the worlds of research and fundraising, Ramicone added. “Bob would help both internally and externally bridge that gap. Not everybody is able to do that.”
Chancellor Emeritus Nordenberg also noted that, when he was a new dean in the School of Law in the mid-1980s, Dunkelman helped him find his bearings in that position.
“Everyone agreed that Bob never sought the limelight but was very content to work behind the scenes to advance Pitt’s interests,” he said in his eulogy. “Those of us who knew and liked Bob liked everything about him. … I see an unbroken pattern of Bob always doing the right thing and always doing it in the right way and always building good will along the way. That is an amazing legacy — one of which Bob could rightfully be proud and one that brought honor to his family and to his University.”
He is survived by his wife of almost 56 years, Barbara; daughter Missy Udekwu; granddaughter Lily Udekwu, and nieces and nephews.
Memorial gifts are suggested to the Shadyside Presbyterian Church or the Swanson School of Engineering.
— Marty Levine
GSPIA’s Dunn was a multidisciplinary renaissance thinker
Professor Emeritus William N. Dunn, a 50-year teacher and researcher at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, died May 16, 2022 at 83.
His student and colleague for 44 of those years, GSPIA Professor Emeritus Kevin Kearns, recalled Dunn as one of the first people he met at Pitt, a mentor who influenced him to stay on to pursue his Ph.D. here, an ever-supportive colleague “and a dear friend.”
“He opened the door to a career that was more rewarding than I could have imagined,” Kearns said. “We talked frequently, we shared ideas and we were actively engaged together in faculty governance.”
Dunn’s work “has been phenomenal,” Kearns said. It has more than 20,000 citations on Google Scholar, and his book, “Public Policy Analysis: An Integrated Approach” is the most widely cited book of its kind. It is now in its 7th edition and has been translated into five languages. “He really left a huge mark on the field itself.
“We use the term multidisciplinary a lot, but Bill really exemplified that,” he added. “He was a real renaissance thinker in his ability to draw upon different fields, and people in the different fields recognized his work as well.”
As a teacher, in Kearns’ early years, Dunn “was outstandingly well prepared for every class,” with syllabi that might run to 30 pages. “He was especially gifted in working with doctoral students and mentoring them in their research and early in their careers.” A number of younger faculty have remarked to him, Kearns said, how important Dunn was to their early scholarly development, “and what a welcoming voice he was as they joined the University.”
As friends, Kearns recalled, “we were with each other through good times and bad and he was always one of my greatest cheerleaders and supporters. As a colleague, he was just so helpful and inspirational.”
Born in Monterey Park, Calif., Dunn enlisted in the U.S. Army after high school and earned a diploma in Russian language from the Defense Language Institute in Monterey. He then joined the Peace Corps, receiving a certificate in African Studies and French from the Peace Corps Training Program at the University of Massachusetts.
Dunn earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California–Santa Barbara, and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Claremont Graduate University, then joined the Pitt faculty in GSPIA. His scholarly worked ranged across public policy analysis, research methods and public administration.
“He was an interdisciplinary and globally respected scholar,” noted a memorial notice from his school, “broadly interested in the application of logic and reason to policy analysis, decision making and public discourse. He collaborated with and was admired by accomplished scholars in fields such as political science, philosophy of science, economics, sociology, public health, systems theory and business.”
At GSPIA, he served twice as associate dean and was also director of the doctoral studies program. He published 100 works, from books, edited volumes and book chapters to articles and government reports. He was called upon for consultation by the offices of the presidents of the U.S and of Macedonia (where he was the founding director of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Public Policy and Management in Southeast Europe), the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the National Science Foundation and General Motors.
He also held affiliate faculty appointments at the University of the West Indies, the University of Bologna, the American University College of Skopje, and the University of Southern California.
He received the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring; the Donald T. Campbell Award for methodological innovation in policy studies; the Aaron Wildavsky Best Book Award; and the Alisa Brunovska Award for Teaching Excellence in Public Administration. He was also a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration.
Dunn retired in 2020.
B. Guy Peters, Maurice Falk Professor of Government in the Department of Political Science, has known Dunn since 1984, collaborating on several research papers in recent years.
“He was a super colleague, just one of the best I’ve worked with,” Peters said. “He was smart and very cooperative. Even if he didn’t like your ideas he would tell you in a constructive manner.”
Dunn and Peters were recently planning a book together on so-called wicked problems — those for which there are no clear solutions and multiple causes. They were going to examine how best to use the wicked problems concept, since “we both felt it may be overused,” Peters explained. He is still deciding whether to go through with it: “It doesn’t seem as much fun to go forward without Bill. He has been so central to GSPIA for several decades. It will leave a hole in the school. It’s a real loss for the University.”
Dunn is survived by his wife, Marianne; his children, Mark (Debbie) Dunn, Jennifer (Jeffrey) Bond, Ian (Marisol) Bush, Alexander (Alison) Dunn, Elizabeth (Thomas) Dunn-Taylor and Melissa (Robert) Mulholland; his brother-in-law James French; and his grandchildren Jakob Dunn, Makayla Mulholland, Maryn Hilliard, Anastasia Andrejchak, Julian Dunn, Hillary Bush, Ian Bush, Adam Dunn, Natalie Dunn, Ainsley Bond, Aiden Bond, Olivia Kailey, Bennett Kailey, Leonie Taylor, Lilly Taylor, Liam Taylor, Nicole Cummings and Courtney Quealy.
Memorial gifts are suggested to Pittsburgh Soccer in the Community, which gives children in at-risk communities access to tuition-free soccer programs, at www.pittsburghsoccer.org\donate.
— Marty Levine
Joan Hoffman served as the welcoming face for three chancellors
Joan C. Hoffman, for 30 years the face and voice of the chancellor’s office under Chancellors Wesley Posvar, J. Dennis O’Connor and Mark Nordenberg, died May 7, 2022 at 90.
“Joan Hoffman was a one-of-a-kind wonderful person,” Nordenberg recalled. “She treated everyone with kindness and welcomed visitors to the chancellor’s office with a warm human touch. In fact, she was so nice that many of the people who came to see me probably would have preferred to stay in the reception area talking to Joan. She was the first point of contact for many University guests, and she left them all with an extraordinarily positive impression of Pitt.”
Referencing a quote often attributed to Maya Angelou — “People will forget what you said, and people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” — he added: “Joan Hoffman made everyone feel good about themselves and about the University of Pittsburgh.”
Reynolds Clark, Nordenberg’s chief of staff and vice chancellor for community initiatives, remembered how “she finally decided to take early retirement — at age 80.” One of her other duties was screening the chancellor’s mail, creating a log and drawing the chancellor’s attention to things that needed more immediate response.
“Whether it was a high-ranking elected official, a member of the Board of Trustees or a student who was there,” Clark said, “she treated everybody in a positive and professional way. I think that is a real testament to her. She had a high standard of professionalism with everybody.”
And she loved her job, he added. He remembered running into her after her retirement, as she walked near her residence in Oakland just a few blocks from her old office. “Pitt was truly her professional home and, in her late years, her personal home.”
Hoffman was a graduate of St. Justin High School in Mt. Washington and a member of Pitt’s class of 1954, earning a bachelor's degree in psychology. She joined the chancellor’s office as an administrative assistant in 1981 and retired in 2012.
She is survived by children Kurt (Patti) Hoffman, Paul (Michelle) Hoffman, Gail (Richard) Kepple and Stacy Hoffman; grandchildren James and Robert Hoffman; and cousin Cathy (Terry) O'Brien.
Memorial gifts are suggested to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
— Marty Levine
Psychiatry’s Peter Fabrega ‘was always a student’
Psychiatry Professor Horacio “Peter” Fabrega Jr., whose interest in medical anthropology led him to author or co-author books on culture and psychiatric diagnosis, the evolution of sickness and healing, and disease and social behavior, died Feb. 21, 2022, at 88.
“He was always a student, and an intellectual one,” recalled his long-time colleague, Loren Roth, emeritus distinguished service professor of psychiatry. “He enjoyed analysis of our world, the events of the day and other people. He certainly was a commentator, and that was often with a cross-cultural bent,” thanks to his early upbringing in Panama before coming to the U.S. for boarding school at age 13.
In his office stacked with books on every wall, floor to ceiling, as Roth remembered it, Fabrega could be somewhat reserved. He might listen to a group discussion for many minutes and say nothing, or very little, “and it was very difficult to know what he was thinking. Then he would make an extremely incisive statement. He was a thoughtful listener. And when he talked, people listened.”
A group of forensic psychiatrists from Pitt (including Fabrega, although he was not a forensic psychiatrist) in 1985 spent three weeks touring the then-Soviet Union and China under Roth, and Roth remembers in particular their last moments in Asia: “This was during a time in China when the atmosphere was still, shall we say, restrictive, and our Chinese guides wanted to be perfect,” he said. “When the bus was finally leaving … Peter was uncomfortably late. The Chinese guide we had panicked. She knew that things would probably not be good for her if we missed our plane.”
It turned out that Fabrega was late merely because he could not tear himself away from the country: “He was out talking to people or he got stuck in something that he thought was artistically interesting,” Roth said.
Born Jan. 6, 1934, Fabrega got his initial degree from the University of Pennsylvania and earned his medical degree at Columbia University in 1960, interning at St. Luke’s Hospital in New York City and spending his residency at Yale Grace New Haven Hospital. His interest in psychiatry stemmed from his stint with the U.S. Army medical service, where he served as an officer at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
His academic career began in 1969 at Michigan State University, after which he joined the Pitt faculty in 1977. He also opened a private practice.
He is survived by his wife Joan, daughters Andrea and Michele; and three grandchildren.
Memorials gifts are suggested to the ALS Association, Western Pennsylvania chapter, 416 Lincoln Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15209.
— Marty Levine
Kruper developed dental school’s behavioral sciences department
Emeritus Professor Donald Curtis Kruper, first chair of the behavioral sciences department in the School of Dental Medicine, died on Feb. 21, 2022.
Kruper earned his Ph.D. in psychology from Pitt. At the dental school, he started and developed his department, retiring in 1991.
During his tenure, he was instrumental in establishing the Dental Fears Clinic Evaluation and Treatment Center, which offers dental care to people whose fear of dentistry might otherwise keep them away from seeking and receiving such care. The clinic encompasses faculty members from anesthesiology, behavioral sciences, pharmacology and physiology.
He also was crucial to the creation of the Behavioral Sciences Group (now Behavioral, Epidemiologic and Health Services Research Group) of the International Association for Dental Research.
Before joining the dental school, Kruper oversaw a primate research laboratory involved in brain studies, which was affiliated with Montefiore Hospital, across from Salk Hall.
He was born in 1929, grew up in Smithton, Pa., and attended high school in Connellsville before joining the Navy, where he served as a hospital corpsman from 1948 through 1952.
He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Winnie; daughter Martha (Straw); sons Thom (Melinda) and Curtis; stepchildren Craig (Becky) and Mark (Vera) Shafer; grandchildren William, Madeline, Timothy, Rusty, Riley, Mahala, and Clay; and nieces and nephews James, Jay, Judy, Sally, William, Maryellen, Dean, Reed and Todd.
Memorial gifts are suggested to the White Elephant, 601 N. La Canada, Green Valley, AZ 85614.
— Marty Levine
Gruener helped design and run Pitt’s family law clinic
Harry J. Gruener, a top family practice lawyer who was instrumental in designing and implementing Pitt’s family law clinic and teaching students the skills to represent its low-income clients, died March 11, 2022 at 77.
“He was a teacher through and through,” said David Herring, School of Law faculty member and founding director of the school’s clinical legal education program, which includes the family law clinic.
Gruener first joined the school as an adjunct faculty member, teaching its large family law course, which was required of students but not exactly their favorite subject, Herring recalled. “He got rave reviews from his students. Harry viewed it as a kind of performance, engaging them as part of a large class.”
When the family law clinic started, Gruener was hired full-time in 1990 for that work. Each semester he took eight to 10 students downtown to help prepare and represent clients in divorce proceedings — clients who could not otherwise afford lawyers.
Gruener, Herring said, taught “much more than the law — it was human relationships, how to interview somebody, how to deal with the judge’s questions. That’s what he offered the students.
“We were good friends and would often talk about his teaching and how he was preparing,” Herring said. “He just lived and breathed this stuff.”
Overall, Herring added, “Harry was just such a positive person. He was always upbeat and he had a high sense of adventure. He knew how to have fun,” from golfing — where he still kept coaching Herring toward a better game, he said — to his red Corvette, coaxing Herring off the street, if Gruener passed by, to lunch in another part of town. “He was just a joy,” Herring said.
Gruener was born and raised in West View and graduated from North Hills High School. He earned his B.A. and J.D. degrees from Pitt and began his career as a civil trial lawyer in state and federal courts, eventually concentrating on family law for more than two dozen years. He founded the law firm Goldberg, Gruener, Gentile, Horoho & Avalli and was a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, serving as president of the Pennsylvania Chapter in 2000 and 2001. He was a member and former chairman of both the Pennsylvania Bar Association Family Section and Allegheny County Bar Association.
He was also a member of the advisory committee responsible for guiding the 2005 legislative amendments to the Pennsylvania divorce code.
At Pitt, Gruener was clinical associate professor of law and associate director of family law curriculum. He received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the graduating law school classes in 2005 and 2012 — a rare distinction — and in 2009 was awarded the School of Law Distinguished Alumni Award. He also earned the Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award in 2013.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Christine (Larson); children Gretchen Busquets (Miguel) and Rachel Kress (Paul); and grandchildren Marisa and Talia Busquets and Catie and Jay Kress.
Memorial gifts are suggested to Animal Friends, 562 Camp Horne Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15237.
Engineering’s Vallejo helped mentor many international students
Luis Vallejo, a 37-year professor of civil and environmental engineering known for bringing students to Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering from his native Colombia, mentoring students from all over the world and helping them gain a career, died March 18, 2022.
“He changed my life,” said Sebastian Lobo-Guerrero, who was a student at the end of his bachelor’s degree program at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá when Vallejo was invited to teach there. Vallejo chose Lobo-Guerrero to participate in a National Science Foundation grant back at Pitt.
“I had no clue about where Pittsburgh was in the world,” Lobo-Guerrero recalled. But two weeks later — after Vallejo convinced Lobo-Guerrero’s professors that he could finish his bachelor’s degree 2,500 miles away — Lobo-Guerrero was here: “He gave me all those chances and I ended up doing both my master’s and Ph.D. under him. We ended up publishing 18 to 20 papers together. He had adopted me to his family.”
Vallejo eventually helped Lobo-Guerrero join the engineering company where he has worked for the past 16 years, which led to the presidency of the city’s geotechnical engineering society.
“He really helped a lot of people from Colombia to find a way into Pitt,” Lobo-Guerrero said. “He influenced an entire generation of geotechnical engineers in Pittsburgh today. Everyone is always appreciative, not only for his technical content, but for the personal connection. That’s what made him so unique.”
Through the years, Lobo-Guerrero recalled, “He was always asking about every student that he had. He helped me a lot to recruit people for the company that I work for. It just shows the kind of person he was. … If anything I have to remember from his life, it was the service he was doing to others. We literally traveled the world when I was at Pitt — he was always encouraging students to get involved” with conferences and other scientific meetings.
“When you come to this country as an outsider,” he continued, “you are very happy about the opportunity you have … but you don’t always understand about the culture. Before diversity and inclusion was a thing, he was already a king of that,” helping students from Nigeria, Malaysia, Japan and elsewhere to acculturate.
Vallejo earned his civil engineering degrees from Washington State University (BS, 1982), Michigan State University (MS, 1984) and the University of Wisconsin (Ph.D., 1977). Joining the University faculty in 1983 as assistant professor, he retired as emeritus professor in 2018.
He was a nationally recognized expert in geotechnical engineering with expertise in slope stability and the application of fracture mechanics and fractal theory in soil mechanics. He published numerous journal papers, several books, 34 technical publications in book format and 123 refereed conference proceedings. He taught more than half a dozen different courses here, mentored 12 PhD and 30 master’s students, and was a member of the editorial board of the international journals “Engineering Geology” and “Geomechanics and Engineering” and associate editor of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ “Journal of Geotechnical and Geo-environmental Engineering.”
He received the Morada al Sur award from the State of Nariño, Colombia, for contributions to education and technology; the award for superior performance from the Office of Surface Mining, U.S. Department of the Interior; and the Lilly Endowment teaching fellowship for excellence in teaching.
He served on the University Senate at Pitt, the annual promotion and tenure review committee in the Swanson School and as undergraduate coordinator in his department
N. Catherine Bazán-Arias, another one of Vallejo’s students, called Vallejo one of “the gurus of geotechnical engineering during my years at Pitt,” who “taught me the importance of looking beyond what is visible to understand the dynamics behind soil-structure interaction (where) so many critical parameters lie hidden from sight.”
After finishing her undergraduate degree in structural engineering here in 1992, Bazán-Arias was convinced by Vallejo and a few of his colleagues to remain here for graduate school. She was from Mexico, and it was important that she and Vallejo shared a language and “cultural resonance,” she said: “Being a Latina in engineering was relatively unique in the United States and also in geotechnical engineering. His technical expertise and his willingness to share his knowledge … finally provided me the path to focus my structural background.”
He also helped her learn to deal with setbacks, such as a graduate test in which a machine malfunctioned. “I learned that day that panicking is not a really good option and a mentor who can coach a mentee through the experience is the best. To provide me the confidence and the calmness to address complexities in a highly complex field is what I remember most.”
Radisav Vidic, Vallejo’s department chair, recalled his colleague as someone “who cared about students a lot. He was very willing to go out of his way accommodating students.”
He was also, Vidic said, “a top notch expert. He made significant contributions to this profession … He was a real gentleman and a thoughtful person who considered the well-being of the department, and he was dedicated to our students to help them master the topics he was passionate about.”
— Marty Levine
Trucco had 30-year career as Magee pathologist
Retired pathology faculty member Giuliana Trucco, a 30-year Magee Women’s Hospital pathologist (1986-2015), died March 5, 2022 at 72.
Rohit Bhargava, now division chief at Magee, recalls their time as colleagues: “She was wonderful — one of the sweetest people you will ever meet, always calm and friendly. An excellent pathologist, a fine diagnostician, with error-free reports. She had a good eye.”
Whether in her practice as a surgical pathologist doing breast and gynecological pathology, particularly cytopathology, or instructing residents in pathology one-on-one, he said, “She was wonderful. Everyone loved her.”
Born in Torino, Italy, on Sept. 1, 1949, Trucco earned her M.D. from the University of Torino in 1976, and completed residency training in gynecology, with a clinical focus in infertility, at UPMC. In medical school, she met her husband of more than 45 years, Massimo Trucco. She completed her fellowship training at Magee.
She is survived by her husband and children Sara Trucco (Tatum Tarin), Matteo Trucco (Christine Trucco), Elisa Trucco (Nicole Fava); her mother Maria Lanzetti Scansetti; and her grandchildren Luca, Lorenzo and Lucia Tarin, Paige and Claire Trucco and Ayden and Greyson Fava-Trucco.
Memorial gifts are suggested to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
Paradise’s research on tonsillectomies and ear tubes was groundbreaking
Jack L. Paradise, a professor emeritus of pediatrics and otolaryngology whose innovative, rigorous and lengthy studies have prevented decades of children from undergoing needless tonsillectomies and ear tube surgery, died on Dec. 20, 2021, at 96.
“He was such a large contributor to both the institution and the community, not only locally but nationally, with the kind of impact we would all dream of,” said John V. Williams, faculty member in pediatrics and microbiology & molecular genetics. “There are a lot of physicians who are great researchers. There are a lot of physicians who are great clinical doctors. There are not that many who are great at both. Jack was. He set a model for people.”
As Paradise’s department noted in its memorial, his studies “were marked by clarity, elegance of design and adherence to clinical epidemiological principles and shed evidence-based light on broad areas of primary health care for children that previously had been clouded by uncertainty and controversy and characterized by conflicting and often divergent practices.”
Paradise earned his MD from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and undertook his residency and fellowship training in Salt Lake City, Baltimore, and Rochester, Minn.
In the 1950s, before joining Pitt, he teamed with other physicians to start a coal miners’ clinic in a small industrial town in Ohio. The Bellaire Clinic gave miners and their families access to free, full health care funded by the mineworkers’ union. The clinic received a 1967 federal grant to become the first Neighborhood Health Center in the U.S. outside an urban setting.
By 1966, Paradise was volunteering as a pediatrician at Pitt’s Cleft Palate Center, where he noted the association of cleft palates with ear infections and hearing loss, prompting early detection and treatment of the condition.
His research was groundbreaking even as a fellow, when he was able to dislodge the then-prevailing idea of the origins of colic in infants — that it was caused by mothers’ emotional state. Overall, his research focused on the management of otitis media with effusion — ear infections involving fluid build-up — and tonsil and adenoid disorders.
In 1970, he joined the Pitt faculty and became director of the Children’s Hospital outpatient department. There he began a series of pioneering decades-long studies — the first examining a question he first encountered as a practicing physician: Did severe throat infections lead to future illness and necessitate tonsillectomies or adenoidectomies? Finding no need for such widespread operations, Paradise’s findings led to an almost 80 percent reduction in pediatric tonsillectomies in the U.S. by the end of his study period.
Paradise then undertook another large study on the question of whether tympanostomy-tube placement was necessary in kids with persistent ear infections involving fluid accumulation. These ear tubes had been used with the intention of preventing impairments in speech, cognitive and psychosocial development, but no significant differences between ear-tube recipients and those who went without them were found, prompting pediatric physician associations to recommend alternative interventions.
From 1971 to 1991, Paradise was division chief for Ambulatory Pediatrics and medical director for the Ambulatory Care Center at Children’s Hospital, developing programs for teaching, clinical service and research in general pediatrics. He worked to organize community pediatricians into researchers, and developed interdisciplinary research teams that included ear, nose and throat specialists and those focused on infectious diseases, behavior, communication disorders, reading, psychology, epidemiology, biostatistics and audiology.
Even past his retirement, which came in 2006, Paradise was still active in three studies looking at the use of antibiotics in children with acute ear infections, the length of therapy for that condition, and the use of tympanostomy tubes when that condition recurs. All were published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), most recently in May 2021.
“We submitted a paper yesterday that he helped us analyze,” marveled Alejandro Hoberman, who knew and worked with Paradise since Hoberman’s arrival at Pitt in 1989. Hoberman now serves as the Jack L. Paradise Distinguished Service Professor of Pediatrics, and Clinical and Translational Science, a chair created in 2000 by Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
Paradise was known as the oldest living NEJM contributor, but Hoberman corrects that notion: “According to the editor, he wasn’t the oldest, but he was the best.
“He was the main reason I came to Pittsburgh, to work with him,” Hoberman recalled. “He was my mentor and guided me in every research step I took in my life. He was known for his elegant and sophisticated study designs and always trying to answer the right clinical questions. At every step of the way, he didn’t take shortcuts — the best interest of research participants was paramount to him.
“He was undeniably the best mentor for research assistants and fellows,” Hoberman continued. “I tried to model everything I learned from him. In my mind, his ideas and his writing should be an example for clinical researchers to follow.”
Hoberman described Paradise as soft-spoken and caring, dedicated to helping the most underserved children at Children’s Hospital. Paradise would sit with parents of children in his research studies and urge them to decide on their participation based on what is best for their own children. “I’ve known him for 32 years. I believe doing the right thing is what I learned from him.”
Paradise received the 1994 Research Award of the Ambulatory Pediatric Association; was elected in 1995 as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; and in 1998 was the first recipient of the Jack Paradise Investigators Award from the Pittsburgh Pediatric Society. He also received the Robert Ruben Research Award of the Society for Ear, Nose, and Throat Advances in Children in 1999, and that same year was named Pennsylvania Pediatrician of the Year by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
When John Williams was an intern at Children’s Hospital (1994-1995), he was able to watch Paradise in action as a physician every week.
“He was a model of patience and just a marvelous clinical teacher,” Williams recalled. “He taught me how to do ear examinations and remove ear wax, which sounds simple but is actually difficult to do without tormenting the child.”
He watched Paradise instruct the child’s parent to have the child lie down for the procedure. Then Paradise pulled out a custom otoscope head he had invented — still called the Paradise — which combined a magnifying glass and a small loop for wax removal. “He made it look effortless and fast with minimal discomfort for the child,” Williams said. “And I thought, that’s the gold. That’s my standard.
“A lot of our current trainees are benefiting from his impact and they don’t even know it,” Williams concluded. “We should remember our history — he is a big part of our history here in Pittsburgh and in pediatrics.”
— Marty Levine
Guggenheimer mentored hundreds in 55 years at dental school
James Guggenheimer, a 55-year professor in the School of Dental Medicine who conducted pioneering research in oral medicine and oral pathology, died Jan. 27, 2022, at 85 — having retired just the month before.
“He was one of the trailblazers who tried in the early sixties and seventies to make the connection between oral health and systemic health in diabetes and other medical issues,” such as oral cancer and smoking, said Bernard J. Costello, the school’s dean.
Guggenheimer joined the school in 1966, spending his years in the Department of Diagnostic Sciences. “He was obviously committed to Pitt and was your consummate clinical scholar,” said Costello. “He was your eminent scholar who worked very well with people.
“He was always asking questions and questioning what we thought was the case,” Costello added, including an early examination of the necessity of opioid pain medication. He recalled Guggenheimer as “a very invested teacher in teaching high-level clinical thinking. … He would engage with students in a way that made them feel he wanted to understand them.”
Guggenheimer was a mentor to “hundreds of students if not thousands” through the years, Costello estimated, and treated many patients in school clinics through the decades.
He also often chaired the school’s promotion and tenure committee. “He was very particular with policy and procedures,” Costello said, and contributed much to the University in his “gentlemanly, fair, honest way.”
Guggenheimer was honored with a plaque at the school upon his retirement, which was “a bit unusual,” Costello noted. “The faculty members felt very strongly” about recognizing his service to the department. “It’s one way for people to remember his impact and all the things he brought to our institution.”
He received the University’s Dental Educator of the Year award and his school’s Award of Appreciation.
Born in 1936, just after his parents fled Nazi Germany, Guggenheimer was raised in the Bronx and earned his undergraduate biology degree from the City College of New York and doctorate in dental surgery from Columbia, with postgraduate studies that included a fellowship in oral medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine and Philadelphia General Hospital.
He is survived by his wife, Constance, sons Paul, Peter and Gregor, grandchildren Allison and Lucas, nephew Sean Brennan and sister-in-law Gail Brennan.
Memorial donations are suggested to a new fund in Guggenheimer’s honor at the Eye & Ear Foundation, which will offer dental care to head and neck cancer patients, at eyeandear.org, or 203 Lothrop St., Suite 251 EEI, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.
— Marty Levine
Caginalp helped develop math department’s probability course
Gunduz Caginalp, a 38-year mathematics faculty member, died Dec. 7, 2021.
“He was very serious about his teaching,” noted Jon Rubin, Caginalp’s department chair. “He viewed it with high importance. His emphasis was making sure we maintained high standards and that students completing our courses were well trained in mathematics.”
Caginalp taught calculus, courses for math majors and graduate courses across the spectrum. He was heavily involved in developing the department’s probability course.
As a researcher, he first studied applied mathematics relating to physics and materials science. His most influential research, according to Rubin, dealt with differential equation models describing the energy and other properties of boundaries between two different phases (such as liquid and solid) in a material.
“He also made multiple contributions to quantitative behavioral finance,” Rubin said, “which describes various factors that influence valuations of assets. For example, his recent studies on bubbles in cryptocurrency pricing attracted significant attention.”
Caginalp’s departmental colleague Christopher J. Lennard noted that Caginalp was quite active in advocating for various local issues, including maintaining the air quality of Pittsburgh by opposing the opening of a new coking plant and any potential issues that could arise from redevelopment of the Nine Mile Run area, as well as supporting intellectual property rights of Pitt faculty and the establishment of the faculty union.
Born in Ankara, Turkey, Caginalp earned his AB, MS and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University, the last in 1978, and also taught at Cornell, Rockefeller and Carnegie Mellon universities. He published more than 100 papers in physics, materials science and economics/finance journals, including nine with Nobel Laureate Vernon Smith.
He served as the editor of the Journal of Behavioral Finance (1999-2003) and was an associate editor for many journals. He was the recipient of National Science Foundation and private foundation awards.
Caginalp is survived by his wife, Eva, and three sons, Reggie, Ryan and Carey, with the latter of whom he co-authored recent papers.
— Marty Levine
Favorini founded Theatre Arts department and Shakespeare festival
Attilio “Buck” Favorini, who founded the University’s Department of Theatre Arts in 1982 and the Three Rivers Shakespeare Festival (1980-1993), died Jan. 22, 2022.
Favorini joined the Pitt faculty in 1969, having received the Richard Lanpher Fellowship from Yale and graduating with a Ph.D. in the history of theater. In 1971, he became head of the University’s Theatre Arts Division, which by 1982 he had shaped into a department. He was its head and chair for 27 years, including many years as director of graduate studies — another program he had shepherded.
Annmarie Duggan, whom Favorini hired in 2006 to take over as chair, worked with him until his retirement in 2013.
“He was lovely — a great colleague,” she recalled. “He had formed the department, so he brought all the important information with him. I used him as a model. He was really supportive, both as a colleague and then as an emeritus.
“There is a department because of him,” she said. “He was a man who when he thought it should get done, he got it done. He loved all students but … he was so proud of the graduate program. I can’t say enough about how he formed it and how well it worked under him.
“He was passionate about the plays that we did,” she added, which included the Gammage Project, for which Favorini received the 2012 Artistic Achievement award from the Pittsburgh Black Political Empowerment Project. The play explored the death of Jonny Gammage, a black man who died during a 1995 encounter with police in suburban Pittsburgh. The production, for which Duggan designed the lighting, first played on campus and then the August Wilson Center in downtown Pittsburgh.
“I want him to be remembered as a great teacher and a great champion of theater at the University of Pittsburgh,” Duggan said, “and a great champion of all students he crossed paths with.”
During his decades at Pitt, he oversaw the construction or renovation of the Charity Randall Theatre, the Henry Heymann Theatre and the Richard E. Rauh Studio Theatre. He served on many University committees, founding the sustainability subcommittee of the University Senate. He also was academic dean of Semester-at-Sea for the fall 1986 voyage. His Shakespeare-in-the-Schools program served more than 100,000 area students and teachers for more than two decades with performances, workshops and residencies.
Favorini served on the boards of the American Society for Theatre Research, the National Association of Schools of Theatre and the Association for Theatre in Higher Education. He received a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and support from the Public Committee for the Humanities in Pennsylvania.
In 1979, he earned an award for distinguished service to the profession for his decade editing the American Society for Theatre Research journal. Pittsburgh magazine named him Pittsburgher of the Year in the Arts in 1989 in recognition of the Three Rivers Shakespeare Festival, which he directed for 13 seasons.
Favorini published an anthology on documentary theater and his first play, “Steel/City,” written with Gil Elvgren, made several local year-end best lists. He also produced the Jewish Play Festival and Conference on Jewish Playwriting in 1983; his play “In the Garden of Live Flowers,” written with Lynne Conner, won the Kennedy Center David Mark Cohen award in 2002.
In addition, he authored the plays “Hearts and Diamonds” (1980), “Yearbook” (1993), “Rachel Carson Saves the Day!” (2006) and “Lessons from the Birds” (2010) — all of which had Pittsburgh settings and subjects. His productions ran in theaters across the country, from Lexington and Chicago to Los Angeles and Houston, and one was featured on the “Today” show in 1976.
He also worked to keep other local theaters alive, for a time reviving the old Pittsburgh Playhouse, which morphed into the Pittsburgh 99¢ Floating Theatre Festival, which specialized in avant-garde productions. He secured a grant to form the City Theatre Company out of another company that had lost its performance space, hiring Marc Masterson as artistic director for its 11-year run at the University.
He is survived by his wife, Lisa; children Francis Favorini, Marie (Ben Frandzel) Favorini, Anton (Sarah Larson) Favorini-Csorba and Francesca (Luca Nygren) Favorini-Csorba; grandson Jeno Favorini-Larson and sister Cecilia (Robert) Balog and many cousins, a nephew and a niece. ‘
A local memorial is planned for this spring.
— Marty Levine
Schwartz was specialist in 16th-century French language and literature
Jerome Schwartz, a 32-year French faculty member and well-known scholar in early modern French studies, died Jan. 12, 2022.
“I first had the pleasure of reading his 1990 book “Irony and Ideology in Rablelais” while I was a Ph.D. student,” recalled Todd Reeser, chair of the Department of French & Italian. Schwartz’s early work also resulted in the book “Diderot and Montaigne.” “Since then, I have cited his important work in my own scholarship on Renaissance France.”
Born Feb. 10, 1935, in Queens, New York, Schwartz earned his BA, MA and Ph.D. from Columbia University, the latter in 1965. He had already taught at the prestigious Lycée Henri-IV in Paris (1956-1957), where he met his wife, Sandra, who was in France on a Fulbright scholarship.
He joined the Pitt faculty in 1965 — the year his department was founded — and was tenured in 1968. He was promoted to full professor in 1989 and retired as professor emeritus in 1997.
While at Pitt, he brought students from Pitt and other universities to spend the year in Rouen, France (1970-1971), a part of a University program to study French literature, and wrote many articles for scholarly reviews and presented at conferences across the United States.
Schwartz became a specialist in 16th-century French language and literature, and widened the study of French literature from Francophone countries, Sandra Schwartz said. He was involved with analyzing translations “and how often they were mistranslated,” she said, and was very meticulous in his study.
“He became obsessed with one essay that Montaigne wrote,” she recalled, and needed to find out whether a comma or a semi-colon had been used in one spot in the original. That meant traveling to the French library where it was held. She remembers him being greeted with: “You’re the man who traveled all the way here in search of a comma.”
In fact they spent all his sabbaticals in France, doing research, she said.
He was a fine pianist and took a tremendous interest in that study, but pursued painting upon retirement with a particular passion. That created an entire second career, she noted: “For 10 years he painted nonstop. He sold paintings. He won prizes. He belonged to galleries. He had exhibitions.”
The couple’s friend Merilee Salmon, emeritus professor in the history and philosophy of science, recalls him as “a very educated man. He would converse about a lot of things. He was a delight to be with. A great sense of humor. Just a charming man — a wonderful man and a good friend.”
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Sandra Schwartz, and his two daughters, Lena Bennet and Monika Schwartz. A memorial service will be planned in the future.
— Marty Levine