Vanderbilt University honors 15 retiring professors

Fifteen retiring faculty members will be recognized during Vanderbilt’s May 9 commencement ceremony when the university honors their years of service and bestows on them the title of emeritus or emerita faculty.

R. Wilburn Clouse, Ph.D., Professor of Education, Emeritus

Appointed to Peabody College as an assistant professor of library science in 1970, R. Wilburn Clouse has completed a 40-year professional career at Vanderbilt University. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from David Lipscomb University, his master’s degree in economics from Middle Tennessee State University, and his Ph.D. in educational administration from Peabody College (before its merger with Vanderbilt).

Following the 1979 merger of Peabody College and Vanderbilt University, Clouse made the transition to courses concentrating upon organizational dynamics and entrepreneurial behavior. As a faculty member in the Department of Leadership, Policy and Organizations, he has guided dozens of graduate and undergraduate students into productive careers in industry and academia.

As both a Coleman Senior Scholar and a Sam Walton Free Enterprise Fellow, he has been recognized widely throughout the United States for his insights into entrepreneurial training and the establishment of organizational incentives for entrepreneurial behavior. He has served on numerous boards of entrepreneurial organizations and has edited a variety of entrepreneurial journals.

Robert N. Covington, J.D., Professor of Law, Emeritus

Robert N. Covington joined the Vanderbilt Law School faculty as an assistant professor of law in 1961 immediately after receiving his law degree, with Order of the Coif honors, from Vanderbilt. He retired in 2007 as the longest-serving faculty member in the law school’s history. Before coming to Vanderbilt, he earned his bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Yale University. A nationally recognized employment and labor law scholar, Covington has published books and authored numerous scholarly articles and has served on three editorial boards, including his current appointment on the University of Pennsylvania’s Journal of Labor and Employment Law.

Covington received the outstanding teacher award in 1969, chaired the faculty senate, served two terms as faculty adviser to the Vanderbilt Law Review and a term as faculty adviser to the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment Law and Practice. He has been president of the law school’s chapter of Order of the Coif and faculty adviser to the Vanderbilt chapter of Phi Delta Phi. In 1992, Covington received the Thomas Jefferson Award "for distinguished service to Vanderbilt through extraordinary contributions as a member of the faculty in the councils and governance of the University."

Gerald S. Gotterer, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Medical Education and Administration, Emeritus

Gerald S. Gotterer joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 1986 as a professor of medical administration and the associate dean for academic affairs in the school of medicine. A graduate of Harvard College, he received his medical degree from the University of Chicago. Gotter was also awarded a Ph.D. in physiological chemistry from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. After serving on the faculty at Johns Hopkins, he moved to Rush University. At Vanderbilt, he was named senior associate dean for faculty and academic administrative affairs in 1999.

Gotterer facilitated the implementation of the clinician-educator track in the school of medicine, played a key role in modernizing the curriculum, clarified the faculty appointment and promotion processes and was instrumental in creating campus-wide policies for conflict of interest. Last year, the school of medicine named one of its prestigious faculty teaching awards in his honor. His many contributions have enhanced considerably the effectiveness and prestige of the school of medicine and the university.

Matthew I. Gould, Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics, Emeritus

Matthew I. Gould received his bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York in 1963 and his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University in 1967. He joined the Vanderbilt faculty as an instructor in 1966. He has been a member of the Vanderbilt faculty for nearly 42 years.

Gould’s research interests lie in universal algebra and semigroup theory. He has authored or co-authored 39 papers in these areas and made numerous presentations on his research. He has also been an organizer of several conferences, including the International Conference on Order, Algebra and Logics in 2007.

Gould has served on the Graduate Faculty Council, the Faculty Senate and many other committees. He has been the director of undergraduate studies and graduate studies in the Department of Mathematics, as well as the secretary of the faculty of the College of Arts and Science. Gould was also the director of the Vanderbilt Program for Talented Youth. In addition to his Vanderbilt activities, Gould has written four plays, one of which was awarded first place in a nationwide contest.

Daryl K. Granner, M.D., Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Emeritus

Daryl K. Granner received his undergraduate, graduate and medical degrees from the University of Iowa and then joined the faculty. In 1984, he was recruited to Vanderbilt as chair of what was then the department of physiology. When he stepped down as chair 14 years later, the department was ranked number one nationally based on extramural funding for research.

Granner was instrumental in facilitating the transition to modern molecular methods of biomedical research on campus, played a key role in the development of the interdisciplinary graduate program and was instrumental in changing the name of the department to molecular physiology and biophysics. In 1993, he was named director of the Vanderbilt Diabetes Research and Training Center, which he later expanded into the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center. He also led the development of the Vanderbilt-Eskind Diabetes Clinic, which opened in 2005.

Over the last two decades, Granner’s laboratory made a series of seminal observations in the fields of hormone action, diabetes and the regulation of gene expression, many of which challenged the conventional dogma of the time.

Thomas R. Harris, M.D., Ph.D., Orrin Henry Ingram Distinguished Professor of Engineering, Emeritus; Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Emeritus; Professor of Chemical Engineering, Emeritus; Professor of Medicine, Emeritus

Thomas R. Harris holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M University and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Tulane University. He joined the Vanderbilt faculty as an assistant professor of chemical engineering in 1964 and later received his medical degree from Vanderbilt.

Harris’ focus is lung circulation, and he has published more than 230 papers, chapters, proceedings and abstracts. He is currently the director of the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center in Bioengineering Educational Technologies. Harris served as director of the biomedical engineering academic program for 10 years and as chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering from its establishment in 1988 until 2007, increasing faculty members from five to 17, increasing undergraduate and graduate student enrollments and increasing external research funding from $1 million to $10 million.

Harris is a past national president of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) and of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). His honors include selection as the Whitaker Lecturer and Research Award winner for the BMES; Fellow of the AIMBE; Theo C. Pilkington Outstanding Educator Award, Biomedical Engineering Division of ASEE; Distinguished Service Award, BMES; and Inaugural Fellow, BMES.

Paul H. King, Ph.D., Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Emeritus; Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Emeritus

Paul King joined the Vanderbilt faculty as an assistant professor of engineering in 1968. Within a semester, he became one of the founding members of the newly authorized degree program in biomedical engineering. King has held appointments in mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering, as well as in orthopedics, rehabilitation and anesthesiology. He was the director of the Division of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Anesthesiology.

King developed and taught many of the current offerings in biomedical engineering. His current field of expertise is design of biomedical engineering devices and systems; he has taught and published in this area (including a textbook) since 1991. He initiated a national biomedical engineering design workshop which has been offered yearly since 2002. His required senior design course has been adopted and modified for use at a number of other universities. He is on the editorial board for the International Journal of Engineering Education and is the book review editor for the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology newsletter. King is also in demand for forensic services involving medical device and process failures.

Frederick K. Kirchner, M.D., Associate Professor of Medical Education and Administration, Emeritus

Frederick K. Kirchner joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 1975 as an assistant professor of urology after completing his residency at Vanderbilt. A graduate of Dickinson College and Cornell Medical College, he completed his internship at the University of Vermont. In 1988, he was appointed associate dean of graduate medical education in the school of medicine. In 2004, Kirchner’s primary appointment became associate professor of medical education and administration with a secondary appointment as associate professor of urology.

During Kirchner’s oversight of graduate medical education, there was continuous growth in programs and trainees. Kirchner worked with residency programs directors and staff to develop, refine and administer the institutional infrastructure supporting the administrative and educational needs for graduate medical education at Vanderbilt.

Among his many responsibilities was to ensure compliance with all state, federal and accreditation regulations governing graduate medical education. In 2004 report by the Institutional Review Committee of the Accreditation Council, the IRC did not cite a single violation or deficiency. Kirchner’s legacy extends well beyond Vanderbilt and derives from his vision for and influence over training programs currently involving more than 850 residents and clinical fellows.

Gary E. Olson, Ph.D., Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, Emeritus

Gary Olson was recruited to Vanderbilt in 1977 as an anatomy department faculty member and as an investigator in the Center for Reproductive Biology Research. He served both as director and as co-director of the Histology Core Laboratory and the Electron Microscopy Core Laboratories supported by the Reproductive Biology Center Grant.

He has been a member on the editorial boards of several reproductive biology journals and has served as a regular member of the National Institutes of Health Reproductive Biology Study Section and as an ad hoc member of various U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation peer review panels.

His research emphasis is on the cell biology of sperm development, epididymal function, embryo implantation and reproductive nutrition. Olson’s research has received funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; in addition, he has served as a co-investigator on several funded multi-investigator grants supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and private foundations. His research activities have resulted in more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and several book chapters.

Michael D. Plummer, Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics, Emeritus

Michael D. Plummer received his bachelor’s degree from Wabash College and his Ph.D. degree from the University of Michigan. After appointments at Yale University and the City University of New York, he joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 1970. Upon arrival at Vanderbilt, he was drafted to play bluegrass guitar at the Chancellor’s party for incoming freshmen, which led to a gig backing up the winner of the Cheatham County fiddling contest.

Over the years, Plummer has held visiting positions at the Institute for Mathematics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Institut Frkonometrie und Operations Research of the University at Bonn, Otago University in New Zealand, Silpakorn University in Thailand and the University of Southern Denmark, among others.

Plummer’s primary research interest in mathematics is graph theory. He has published more than 100 papers in international journals and co-authored a prize-winning research-level book titled Matching Theory. He was invited to lecture at a United Nations Summer School in Zimbabwe, which identified mathematical talent across southern Africa. Plummer is a foundation fellow of the Institute for Combinatorics and Its Applications and served this international organization as a member of council.

Karl B. Schnelle, Jr., Ph.D., Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Emeritus

Karl Schnelle received the bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering from what is now Carnegie Mellon University. He joined Vanderbilt as an assistant professor of chemical engineering in 1958 and was a member of the chemical engineering department committee that established the Ph.D. in chemical engineering.

Schnelle has served as chairman of the Division of Socio-technological Systems, the department of environmental and water resources engineering, the Department of Environmental Engineering and Policy Management and the Department of Chemical Engineering and as director of the environmental and water resources engineering program.

He was elected a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and received a Fulbright Chair at the Université de Liège, Liège, Belgium.

In addition to his journal publications, Schnelle is the author of two books: Atmospheric Dispersion Modeling Compliance Guide (with Partha Dey, 2000) and A Handbook for Air Pollution Control Technology (with Charles A. Brown, 2002). A third book, Tower Design and Applications for Separations (with F. Siebert, F. Rukovena, and P. Dey), is to be published in 2009.

Richard G. Shiavi, Ph.D., Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Emeritus; Professor of Electrical Engineering, Emeritus

Richard Shiavi received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Villanova University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Drexel University. From 1965 through 1967, he served as a line officer in the United States Navy.

Shiavi joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 1972. For 20 years, he was also active in biomedical engineering research at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Nashville, studying electromyographic synergy patterns and knee kinematics. He has been a collaborator with the Centro di Bioingegneria of the Politecnico di Milano in Milan, Italy, and served as president of the International Society of Electrophysiologic Kinesiology.

He was a member of the Neurolab Spacelab Mission Science Team that investigated the effect of microgravity on control of the autonomic nervous system. His other current research examines speech correlates of mental state. He wrote book chapters for the Handbook of Pattern Recognition and Image Processing and Gait and Rehabilitation and a textbook titled Introduction to Applied Statistical Analysis. In 1996, Shiavi was appointed a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

W. Anderson Spickard, Jr., M.D.; Professor of Medicine, Emeritus

W. Anderson Spickard, Jr., received his bachelor’s and medical degrees from Vanderbilt. He was appointed a clinical associate at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, National Institutes of Health, and then returned to Vanderbilt in 1962 to complete his residency training as the first Hugh J. Morgan Resident in Medicine. Spickard joined the faculty in 1963. He has held the Chancellor’s Chair in Medicine since 2002.

Spickard was the founding director of Ambulatory Services at Vanderbilt; the Moore County Primary Care Center in Lynchburg, Tenn.; Vanderbilt Occupational Health Service; the Vanderbilt Division of General Internal Medicine; and the Vanderbilt Institute for Treatment of Addiction-VITA. He served as co-director of Vanderbilt Primary Care.

Spickard is a national and international leader in the areas of substance abuse prevention, treatment, education and physician wellness. He was the national program director of the Robert Wood Johnson "Fighting Back: Community Initiatives to Reduce Demand for Illegal Drugs and Alcohol" and served in leadership roles for the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse. In 1999, he founded the Center for Professional Health at Vanderbilt and has served since then as chairman of the Physicians Wellness Committee.

Bobby G. Taylor, B.M.E., Professor of Oboe, Emeritus

Bobby Taylor joined the Blair School’s faculty in 1969. He was one of the founding members of the Blair Woodwind Quintet, one of the Blair School’s finest ensembles. The quality of his playing helped build its reputation. Since 1969, he has also served as the principal oboist of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. This position is typically the second most important position in any orchestra (behind that of concertmaster). His performance there has been a hallmark of excellence, praised by the NSO’s music directors and guest conductors alike.

In recent years, Taylor brought a unique and highly attractive element to the Blair School’s programming through his organization of the annual Appalachian music concert. He grew up with this music as a child, and his personal perspective has been a guiding force in directing this event so effectively.

Taylor has also been one of the Blair School’s most dedicated and successful teachers, giving generously of his time outside the classroom to coaching his students. As a result, his students show dramatic improvement in their playing, in both technical expertise and musical expression.

Patricia A. Ward, Ph.D., Professor of French and Comparative Literature, Emerita

Patricia A. Ward joined Vanderbilt in 1993 and served as department chair for the Department of French and Italian for six years. As director of the W. T. Bandy Center for Baudelaire and Modern French Studies, she was instrumental in changing the name of the center to reflect the growth in its holdings and expanded the collection to include the 1,000-volume private collection of the late Morris Wachs, professor emeritus.

She earned a Ph.D. in comparative literature at the University of Wisconsin and wrote a dissertation in French that was later published as a book titled The Medievalism of Victor Hugo (Pennsylvania University Press, 1975). Her second book, Joseph Joubert and the Critical Tradition: Platonism and Romanticism (Editions Droz, 1980), and her numerous articles deal with topics related to literary theory, literature, history and religion. She looks forward to the publication of her most recent book, Experimental Theology in America: Madame Guyon, Fénelon, and Their Readers (Baylor University Press).

She is known for literally going the extra mile (kilometer) to take students at the Vanderbilt in France program in Aix-en-Provence on excursions to unique and out-of-the-way places. In 2007, she was elected to the Académie des Sciences, Agricultures, Arts, et Belles-Lettres d’Aix.

Media Contact: Missy Pankake, (615) 322-2706