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December 03, 2014

Faculty celebrated at endowed professorship installations

Mark Bils

man wearing medalWhy has income inequality translated into consumption inequality? How has wage stickiness affected hiring in recessions? Have distortions in labor or product markets exacerbated recent recessions? These areas of inquiry are the domain of economist Mark Bils.

Bils was recognized in September, when he became the inaugural Hazel Fyfe Professor in Economics.

An anonymous donor’s bequest honoring the Fyfe family helped create this professorship, named in honor of Hazel Fyfe Gallaher ’46, who was also recognized during the installation ceremony.

“Mark has used his brilliance in statistical analysis to tackle important economic issues, and has become widely respected in his field,” said President Joel Seligman. “I am sure Hazel, who worked as a statistician at Kodak for 30 years, would have approved of this appointment, and I am grateful this anonymous bequest has enabled us to celebrate her legacy.”

While the donor’s bequest was initially intended to only establish one endowed professorship, the value of the commitment allowed the University to create a second professorship in economics. The additional professorship was created in honor of Hazel’s brother, Gordon Samuel Fyfe ’46. The family also created the Fyfe Scholarship Fund for Economics Majors.

“Mark’s work is consistently described as ‘paradigm shifting,’” said Gloria Culver, interim dean of the School of Arts & Sciences. “His research has spanned many areas, producing an even broader and more significant impact. As highly regarded as he is in his field, he is equally—if not more—valuable as a University community member, through his teaching and leadership.”

Bils earned his doctorate at MIT in 1985 and joined the University faculty in the same year. His research has examined topics such as how wage setting and pricing contribute to business-cycle fluctuations and measuring the importance of new and better consumer products. He has published on the subjects in several journals and has been the associate editor of a number of others, including the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, a position he currently holds.

Sally Norton

woman wearing medalOver the last decade, Sally Norton has been the principal investigator or coprincipal investigator on several National Institutes of Health–funded studies that have examined the communication strategies used by clinicians to discuss end-of-life issues. And she recently led a New York State–funded program to strengthen nurses’ care of hospitalized older adults with serious, life-limiting illness.

The examples represent part of a career that has made her a nationally recognized expert on palliative care and end-of-life issues. In recognition of such work, she was chosen to be the inaugural Independence Chair in Nursing and Palliative Care.

“I am thrilled that Independence Foundation’s philanthropy has enabled the establishment of this endowed professorship,” said Seligman. “It highlights the importance of excellence in nursing and, in particular, the individuals who dedicate their careers to showing incredible empathy at a sensitive time. Sally is truly a leader in this field, and we are so fortunate to have her.”

The Independence Foundation supports organizations that provide direct services and support—in broad areas of cultural and arts programming, legal aid, and health and human resources—to those who would otherwise lack access. Norton’s position is the second professorship the foundation has created for the School of Nursing. In 1989, the school received a $1 million endowment grant from the foundation to create the Independence Foundation Chair in Nursing Education.

“Sally and her team are part of an effort that is helping Rochester gain national recognition for palliative care in the acute-care setting,” said Kathy Rideout, dean of the School of Nursing and professor of clinical nursing. “In addition to her keen intellect and exceptional skills as a researcher, educator, and clinician, Sally brings warmth and compassion to her patients and their families.”

Codirector for research in the Division of Palliative Care in the Department of Medicine, Norton has focused her research on palliative care and end-of-life decision making with an emphasis on the communication processes and practice pattern of care delivery in the acute and long-term care settings. In 2012, she was inducted as a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, which is composed of more than 1,800 of the nation’s top nurse researchers, policy makers, scholars, executives, educators, and practitioners. Selection to the academy is one of the highest honors in the field of nursing.

Gary Morrow

man wearing medalFor the last 40 years, Gary Morrow ’77 (Flw), ’88 (MS) has been an authority in cancer control and survivorship, publishing on topics related to the physical and physiological effects of cancer treatment. Morrow was recognized for his leadership as well as his outstanding service as a physician, scientist, and mentor at a formal installation ceremony in November as the inaugural Benefactor Distinguished Professor.

“It is very easy to focus on the physical effects of cancer, but there are deep, enduring psychological effects that are sometimes not easily seen,” Seligman said. “Gary Morrow’s work in this sense is profoundly important, and he stands among the best in his field. We are proud to have his leadership and delighted to recognize him with this prestigious honor.”

Morrow, a professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Surgery at the School of Medicine and Dentistry, built the Cancer Control Program at the Medical Center. At the time, his efforts made the Wilmot Cancer Center one of only two cancer centers in the country to be chosen by the National Institutes of Health as a hub for the National Community Oncology Research Program, a national network of investigators, cancer care providers, academic institutions, and other organizations. He has also been a leader in attracting more than $40 million in federal grants for cancer control research.

“Gary has often said the two most important words to mentoring are ‘follow me.’ In many respects, we have been following him for decades,” said Mark Taubman, dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry and University vice president for health sciences. “He was one of the first investigators to focus on cancer survivorship and he has built a cancer control program at the Medical Center that has made significant contributions to the quality of life for cancer patients and survivors for decades. It is our good fortune to have Gary at the University.”

Morrow currently directs the Wilmot Cancer Institute’s Cancer Control and Survivorship research program. He has been recognized by colleagues and peers around the country. In 2012, he received  the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s Distinguished Research Mentor Award in 2012.

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