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A report on honors, awards, appointments and other outstanding achievements of faculty and staff members.

ACES | campus rec | engineering | FAA | LAS |

agricultural, consumer and environmental sciences

Madhu Khanna, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics, was one of 19 environmental researchers from across North America awarded a Leopold Leadership Fellowship for 2009.

Based at Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment, the Leopold Leadership Program was founded in 1998 to help academic scientists make their scientific knowledge accessible to decision makers. Each year the program selects up to 20 mid-career academic environmental scientists as fellows. They receive intensive communication and leadership training to help them deliver scientific information more effectively to journalists, policymakers, business leaders and the public.

Khanna will join a network of 134 past fellows active in science outreach and working to infuse scientific understanding into public- and private-sector discussions about the environment.

The Leopold Leadership Program is funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

campus recreation

Campus Recreation marketing staff members were recently recognized for their work by the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association. The Creative Excellence Awards are designed to recognize the innovation and creativity of association members and acknowledge their outstanding accomplishments in marketing recreational sports, fitness, facilities and programs.

The Fall 2008 Campus Recreation Guide captured first place in the category of Comprehensive Brochure. It was designed by Eunmi Moon, assistant director of communications, and was written and edited by Erik Riha, lead assistant director of marketing.

In the category of Facility Publication, Campus Recreation Now-N-Then brochure placed second, and the ARC Self-Guided Tour booklet placed third. Both were designed by Mark Stinson, assistant director of communications, and written and edited by Riha.

The Wellness Walls, located at the UI Wellness Center in the ARC, placed third in the Large Scale Signage category. They were designed by Stinson with Riha as project manager.


Two UI professors who developed a new form of lighting were in the spotlight Feb. 24, along with other local entrepreneurs and business people.

Gary Eden and Sung-Jin Park, professors of electrical and computer engineering and founders of Eden Park Illumination, received Innovation Celebration awards at a ceremony at the Forum at Carle in Urbana.

Their technology makes possible microplasma lamps – a low-cost, energy-efficient, lightweight form of lighting.

The ceremony was coordinated by the Champaign County Economic Development Corp., in partnership with the UI Technology Entrepreneur Center, EnterpriseWorks, the Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership and the Singleton Law Firm.

The Federal Aviation Administration presented its Excellence in Aviation Research Award for 2008 to Edwin E. Herricks on Feb. 19 at the UI.

Herricks, a professor of environmental biology in the Environmental Engineering and Science Program in the department of civil and environmental engineering, leads the Airport Safety Program for the Center of Excellence for Airport Technology, supporting the FAA airport technology research and development team’s many high-profile programs for more than a decade. His research and development of bird-radar systems at airports, foreign object debris-detection systems, wildlife-hazard mitigation systems and other critical new technologies are revolutionizing airport safety.

The FAA also presented the DOT FAA Centers of Excellence Student of the Year Award to Phillip Donovan, a UI doctoral student in civil and environmental engineering.

The Center of Excellence for Airport Technology is a research center for airport pavement technology and airport wildlife safety management funded by the FAA and the O’Hare Modernization Program. The center is located within the department of civil and environmental engineering at the UI.

fine and applied arts

Robin McFarquhar, a professor of theater, was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for his fight choreography for the Shakespeare Theatre’s “Romeo and Juliet.”

“The award recognizes and celebrates excellence in professional theatre throughout the Washington metropolitan area,” according to the  Helen Hayes award Web site.

liberal arts and sciences

Scott E. Denmark, the Reynold C. Fuson professor of chemistry, has been awarded the Herbert C. Brown Award for creative research in synthetic methods from the American Chemical Society.

His contributions are detailed in more than 300 publications, but his most seminal is laying the theoretical foundation and exploiting the manifestations of Lewis base activation of Lewis acids, a counterintuitive phenomenon.

Denmark is receiving this award for “his insightful and scholarly analysis of reaction mechanisms” and “his creative approach and rigorous development of novel synthetic transformations of broad utility.”

His research has expanded the utility of weak Lewis acids, such as silicon tetrachloride. “It’s a pathetic Lewis acid,” Denmark says, “and cannot even open an epoxide.” But activate it with a Lewis base, and it becomes able to do things strong Lewis acids can do.

Denmark will present the award address before the society’s Division of Organic Chemistry during the ACS national meeting later this month in Salt Lake City.

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