SAS Chairs

Edwin and Lenore Williams Professor of Romance Languages: Dr. Alonso

Dr. Carlos Alonso has been appointed the Edwin B. and Lenore R. Williams Professor of Romance Languages. Dr. Alonso received his B.A. in Spanish Literature from Cornell University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Spanish Literature from Yale University. Before coming to Penn this year, he served as Professor and Chair of Spanish at Emory University. He has authored and edited several books and published dozens of articles and reviews. His most recent book, The Burden of Modernity: The Rhetoric of Cultural Discourse in Spanish America, was published by Oxford UP in 1998. In addition to writing prolifically, Dr. Alonso has lectured and delivered papers throughout the world. He is a member of several professional organizations, including the Modern Language Association of America, the Latin American Studies Association, and the Society for Philosophy and Literature. Dr. Alonso also finds time to serve as a senior consulting editor for the Latin American Literary Review, a member of the Radio Committee of the Modern Language Association, a member of the MLA Division Committee on Twentieth-Century Latin American Literature, and an editor of PMLA.

The Edwin B. and Lenore R. Williams Chair in Romance Languages was created through a bequest of Edwin B. and Lenore R. Williams. Dr. Williams, a lexicographer and top Spanish scholar, served as chairman of the Department of Romance Languages, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and Provost of the University. Dr. Williams' many accolades include membership in the Hispanic Society of America and three honorary degrees. Penn recognized his contributions to the University by naming the new humanities and language building, Williams Hall, in his honor. Mrs. Williams, a native of Reading, Pennsylvania, was an active member of University life for more than sixty years, beginning with her marriage in 1921 to Dr. Williams. She was a founder of the Faculty Tea Club and was an honorary board member of the Penn Women's Club until her death in 1984.

James M. Skinner Professor of Science: Dr. Yodh

Dr. Arjun Yodh, professor of physics & astronomy, has been appointed the James M. Skinner Professor of Science. Dr.Yodh received his Ph.D. and M.S. in Physics from Harvard University, and completed his undergraduate education at Cornell University. He came to Penn in 1988 from AT&T Bell Labs, where he had spent two years as a postdoctoral research associate. His interests include aspects of chemical, condensed-matter and optical physics. Most of his experiments are oriented towards lasers and the unique spectroscopies these tools offer. He has been researching the following areas: diffusing light probes of complex fluids and biological tissues; colloids and colloidal assembly; nonlinear optical spectroscopy of solid-solid interfaces; and femtosecond vibrational spectroscopy of adsorbates on metal surfaces. He has published dozens of articles in many prestigious journals and received numerous honors and awards. Dr.Yodh was an Office of Naval Research Navy Young Investigator (1991-94), an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow (1991-94), and a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator (1990-95).

The James M. Skinner Chair of Science was established in 1967 by Mrs. Florence Sayre Skinner to recognize a distinguished scholar for his or her contributions to science. She generously created a trust that would support, in perpetuity, one chair in the sciences from her estate. Since her death in 1974, exceptional professors of science from the School of Arts and Sciences have occupied the chair.

PAACH Director

Dr. Karen Su has been named director of the Pan Asian American Community House (PAACH), located in ARCH, and assistant director of the Asian American Studies Program.

Dr. Su's specific responsibilities include identifying and developing effective and innovative strategies to increase Penn's efforts to advise students on academic and professional issues; strengthening the Asian American Studies Program; organizing conferences, symposia, and other public events on topics of political, social, and cultural importance for Asian American communities; and providing resource and research materials concerning Asian American political, cultural and community concerns. She is also be responsible for helping to recruit and retain Asian American students, expanding alumni relations, and increasing Penn's local and national linkages with Asian American communities and organizations.

"We are absolutely delighted to welcome a colleague of Dr. Su's extraordinary disciplinary breadth and administrative depth as the inaugural director of PAACH," said VPUL's Dr. Valarie Swain-Cade McCoullum, .

Prior to joining Penn this fall, Dr. Su was a visiting assistant professor in the Asian/Pacific/American Studies Program at NYU. She also taught English and Ethnic Studies at Mills College in California. She took her B.A. from Mount Holyoke, her M.A. from Stanford and her Ph.D. in English with a concentration on Asian American literature from Berkeley.

"I believe that PAACH will be a vital part of the campus as a resource center not only for Asian American students, but for the whole Penn community to learn more about the essential role that Asian Americans have played in the history and culture of this country. I want to make it a priority for PAACH to develop programs that play critical roles in forming closer ties between Penn and the Asian American communities," said Dr. Su.

House Dean: Harrison College House

Harrison College House has a new House Dean this fall--Richard Robert Haavisto. Mr. Haavisto has spent the past ten years at Penn in various roles. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology, writing his dissertation on the social geography of Bufumbira, Uganda.

Since 1974, Mr. Haavisto has taught courses on African societies and cultures, ethnography, ethnicity, race and gender, and cultural anthropology at Penn and CCP. He has also taught at Rutgers, Stanford and the Université Nationale du Rwanda. From 1990-91, he was a research assistant at the University Museum, working on the refurbishment of the African Gallery.

In 1994, he received Fulbright and Wenner-Gren Fellowships to conduct ethnohistorial fieldwork in Uganda. Mr. Haavisto also has extensive experience with the Peace Corps--acting as a consultant in Burundi in 1983 where he prepared a five-year Country Management Plan. For the past two years, he has served as a graduate associate in the Perspectives in the Humanities program in Harrison College House.

Almanac, Vol. 47, No. 9, October 24, 2000