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Vanderbilt University honors 13 retiring professors

May. 8, 2009, 9:55 AM

Thirteen retiring faculty members were recognized during Vanderbilt’s May 8 commencement ceremony when the university honored their years of service and bestowed on them the title of emeritus or emerita faculty.

Robert Belton, J.D.
Professor of Law, Emeritus

Robert Belton joined the Vanderbilt Law School faculty in 1975 as director and instructor in the Fair Employment Clinical Law Program. He became an associate professor in 1977 and professor in 1982. Belton received his B.A. from the University of Connecticut in 1961 and his J.D. from Boston University School of Law in 1965. He was assistant counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in New York for five years serving as counsel for plaintiffs in several landmark civil rights cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including the seminal Griggs v. Duke Power Co.

An employment law expert, Belton is co-author of a leading casebook on employment discrimination law, and his treatise Remedies in Employment Discrimination Law was published in 1992. His articles on employment discrimination have appeared in numerous legal journals.

Belton is the recipient of the Clyde C. Ferguson Award from the Minority Section of the American Association of Law Schools, the Napier-Looby Lifetime Achievement Award and the National Bar Association Presidential Award for Scholarship and Teaching. A member of the American Law Institute, he has served on the Executive Committee of the AALS, the Executive Board of the National Employment Lawyers Association and the steering committee of the Gender and Racial Fairness Task Force for the 6th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.

George C. Bolian, M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry, Emeritus

After earning baccalaureate degrees from both Harvard University and the University of Chicago, George Bolian returned to his native New Orleans where he received an M.D. in 1957 from Tulane University.

He served for three years as a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, and served on the faculty of both the University of Washington and the University of Hawaii. While in Washington, he became the first full-time medical director for psychiatry at the Children’s Hospital in Seattle.

Bolian joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University in 1987 and has served in a variety of capacities within the Department of Psychiatry, including residency training director, medical director of the Psychiatric Hospital, division director, vice chair and interim chair. He served as a member of the Medical School Admissions Committee, chaired the Undergraduate Medical Education Committee for 16 years and was elected to chair the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Medical Board.

He is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, as well as a fellow of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and a fellow of the American Orthopsychiatric Association. He is past president of the Hawaii Psychiatric Association and a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in both adult and child psychiatry.

Jon W. Bruce, J.D.
Professor of Law, Emeritus

Jon Bruce joined the Vanderbilt Law School faculty as a visiting professor and became a full professor in 1981. Before Vanderbilt, Bruce spent three years in the Navy Judge Advocate General Corps, two years in private practice and held faculty positions at Oklahoma City University School of Law and Stetson University College of Law. Bruce’s published books include Cases and Materials on Modern Property Law (with Jim Ely), The Law of Easements and Licenses in Land (with Jim Ely), Real Estate Finance in a Nutshell and Land Use Anthology. His articles have also appeared in a number of law journals.

Bruce was chosen by Vanderbilt law students for the Hall-Hartman Award in recognition of outstanding teaching in 2003, 2004 and 2008 and has also taught in Vanderbilt’s summer program in Venice.

Bruce was a Parsons’ Visitor on the University of Sydney Faculty of Law and has twice been a speaker at the National Conference of Law Reviews. He was active in the ABA Section of Real Property, Probate and Trust Law and served as a member of the Multistate Bar Examination Real Property Specifications Review Panel. At Vanderbilt, Bruce chaired the Vanderbilt United Way and Other Giving Campaign and was a member of the University Faculty and Staff Benefits Committee.

James W. Ely, Jr., LL.B., Ph.D.
Professor of Law, Emeritus
Milton R. Underwood Chair in Free Enterprise, Emeritus
Professor of History, Emeritus

James Ely joined the Vanderbilt Law School faculty in the fall of 1973 and was promoted to professor in 1978. Before coming to Vanderbilt, he was on the faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University and practiced law in New York. He received a B.A. from Princeton University, an LL.B. from Harvard University, an M.A. from the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. in history, also from the University of Virginia.

Ely became a nationally recognized scholar in the fields of property and American legal history. Among the 16 books that he authored is The Guardian of Every Other Right: A Constitutional History of Property Rights. In 1999, Ely was named the Law School’s Milton R. Underwood Chair in Free Enterprise. He also held the title of Fed Ex Research Professor at the Law School in 2003. He was a five-time recipient of the Hall-Hartman Outstanding Teacher Award and served three terms as a member of the Faculty Senate. In the broader profession, he served as an editor for the American Journal of Legal History and The Independent Review, and was an officer of both the American Society for Legal History and the Legal History Section of the American Association of Law Schools.

M. Donald Hancock, Ph.D.
Professor of Political Science, Emeritus

Don Hancock, professor of political science, has been a mainstay at Vanderbilt for 30 years since the university lured him from the University of Texas where he had just started a Center for European Studies. He was the founding director of Vanderbilt’s Center for European Studies in 1981 and continued in the post until 2000. He made the center an important resource on campus for others and a source of national and international distinction for the university.

Hancock loves European politics: He wanted to write about it, share his insights with students and build institutions that would allow others to study the subject. During Hancock’s 44-year career, he has written or edited nine books and 19 articles. He also chaired the Department of Political Science for two years.

Students love Hancock’s courses. This semester, his classes were particularly full as students understood that this might be the last time they could take a course from Hancock, and they did not want to miss that chance. Fortunately, he will continue to be an important part of the Vanderbilt community because he will continue his research on campus.

Carl G. Hellerqvist, Ph.D.
Professor of Biochemistry, Emeritus

Carl G. Hellerqvist received his Ph.D. in chemistry at Stockholm University in 1968 and his filosofie doktor docent degree in carbohydrate chemistry and molecular biology, in 1971. He held the position of assistant professor of organic chemistry at Stockholm University before moving to Johns Hopkins University as a visiting assistant professor and research scientist. He joined the Vanderbilt faculty as an assistant professor of biochemistry in 1974 and was promoted to associate professor in 1982 and to professor in 1999.

Hellerqvist has published approximately 85 articles while a faculty member at Vanderbilt, many dealing with his primary expertise as a glycobiologist, and two being listed as “citation classics.” He holds 14 patents. He also developed two biotechnology companies, CarboMed, for which he was director/consultant from 1989 to 2001, and AngioPath, Inc., for which he served as director and chief scientific officer from 2000 to 2006.

Hellerqvist is a long-time member of the Society for Glycobiology and served as the society’s secretary from 1987 through 1993. He has presented more than 100 invited lectures. He has taught courses in biochemistry and has served on department and university committees. Hellerqvist’s service to the institution and his contributions to the broad area of research have been substantial.

Alexander R. Lawton III, M.D.
Professor of Pediatrics, Emeritus

Alexander R. “Sandy” Lawton III served for 28 years as the Edward Claiborne Stahlman Professor of Pediatrics and director of the Division of Immunology and Rheumatology in the Department of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. A magna cum laude graduate of Yale University, he obtained his medical education at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, graduating in 1964 and completing his pediatric residency at Vanderbilt University Hospital. He returned to Vanderbilt in 1980.

At Vanderbilt, he contributed original scientific research in human immunodeficiency that has had a significant impact on the lives of affected children. He is the author or co-author of 74 primary research articles and more than 70 invited reviews or book chapters. Lawton’s work has been continuously funded by the NIH for many years, and, as a result of his scholarship, he has been elected to membership in the American Pediatric Society, the American Association of Immunologists and the American Society for Clinical Investigation. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Pediatrics and the Subboard of Pediatric Rheumatology and serves as a member of the Subboard. He has served on the editorial boards of Clinical Immunology and Immunopathology, the Journal of Immunology, the Journal of Clinical Investigation, and the Journal of Clinical Immunology.

Samuel R. Marney, Jr., M.D.
Associate Professor of Medicine, Emeritus

Sam Marney completed his undergraduate, graduate and medical degrees at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. He arrived at Vanderbilt in 1960 to begin an internship and subsequent residency. He then served two years in the U.S. Air Force before returning to Vanderbilt.

By 1968, he had been appointed to the full-time faculty of the School of Medicine, but he continued to improve his training and expertise as a clinical investigator at the Veterans Administration hospital in San Diego and as a visiting investigator at the Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, Calif. His work reflects an outstanding expertise in the study of asthma and of asthma and allergy immunotherapies and preventive techniques. His work on anaphylaxis and inhaled antigens is well known. Under his supervision, the Allergy Clinic at Vanderbilt has become an active venue for the diagnosis and therapy of adult allergic disorders.

Marney has been named a fellow of the American College of Physicians (1975), the American Academy of Allergy (1980), and the American College of Allergy and Immunology (1990). He has also served as an officer of local academic societies concerned with allergy and immunology. He has served on university committees and lectured regularly to residents and graduate students. He co-directed courses and was the co-founder of an elective in clinical immunology.

Richard L. Oliver, Ph.D.
Professor of Management, Emeritus

Richard L. Oliver earned his Ph.D. in 1973 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and held faculty positions at the University of Pennsylvania and Washington University in St. Louis before joining the faculty of the Owen Graduate School of Management in 1990. From 1994 to 2006, he held the Valere Blair Potter Chair in Management at the Owen School.

Oliver’s research interests include consumer psychology with a special focus on customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and post-purchase processes. In 1992, he was named a fellow of the American Psychological Association for his extensive writings on the psychology of the satisfaction response. He is the author of Satisfaction: A Behavioral Perspective on the Consumer and co-editor of Service Quality: New Directions in Theory and Practice. He has published numerous articles in the major marketing journals, as well as in selected psychological outlets. Since 2003, he has been a member of the Economics/Business list of, comprising the top one-half of one percent of all publishing researchers in the economics and business areas.

Oliver is the recipient of the James A. Webb Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Dean’s Teaching Excellence Award and the Dean’s Award for Research Productivity. He has also served on the Vanderbilt University Promotion and Tenure Review Committee (PTRC).

David E. Ong, Ph.D.
Professor of Biochemistry, Emeritus

After earning his Ph.D. in biochemistry at Yale University in 1970, David Ong served as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Professor Bob Brady in the Department of Biochemistry at Vanderbilt. Three years later, he joined the laboratory of Frank Chytil, professor of biochemistry. Chytil’s laboratory had just discovered CRBP, a retinol (vitamin A) binding protein. Ong rapidly discovered the retinoic acid binding protein CRABP, which led to publications in Nature and in Science. Ong received his first NIH R01 grant in 1977 and his second in 1983. That same year, he and Chytil shared the Osborne and Mendel Award from the Nutrition Foundation.

In November of 1975, Ong was appointed to the faculty as a research assistant professor and, in 1981, was promoted to research associate professor, one of the first at Vanderbilt. In 1984, influenced by Chytil and Leon Cunningham, then chair of the Department of Biochemistry, Ong was promoted to associate professor and, in 1987, to professor. He has been a much-admired teacher on the Vanderbilt campus and has served the university in many roles. The contributions of David Ong to research in the area of vitamin A biochemistry have been recognized worldwide.

William P. Smith, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology, Emeritus

After receiving his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and serving as a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University, Bill Smith came to Vanderbilt as an assistant professor of psychology in 1965. He attained the rank of professor in 1977 and has contributed greatly to the development of the Department of Psychology over the course of his tenure.

Smith is a social psychologist whose areas of interest are social comparison and interpersonal influence, social conflict and negotiation, and intergroup relations. For the past 25 years, Smith has been the only social psychologist in the department. For this reason, he has played a critical role as a teacher of this core area of psychology, teaching introductory social psychology classes at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In addition, his seminars on topics such as group structure and process, and stereotyping and prejudice have been critically important curriculum additions.

At the departmental level, Smith has served as director of graduate studies and as chair. He has also served as an associate dean and acting dean of the Graduate School and on a number of university committees or councils.

James D. Snell, Jr., M.D.
Professor of Medicine, Emeritus

James D. Snell, Jr., received his M.D. from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1958. Internship and residency in internal medicine at Vanderbilt preceded pulmonary research and service as chief resident in medicine at Vanderbilt. After a pulmonary fellowship at New York Hospital, he began his faculty career at Vanderbilt as an instructor in medicine in 1963.

In collaboration with Drs. Goodwin and Roger Des Prez at the Veterans Administration Hospital, Snell helped establish a strong clinical fellowship program. After being appointed director of the Division of Pulmonary Medicine in 1969, he successfully competed for a Pulmonary Academic Award from the NIH to modernize the clinical division, revise pulmonary curriculum and recruit new faculty. His establishment of a medical intensive care unit and his direction of it for 10 years not only brought the practice of critical care medicine to Vanderbilt, but also established research into critical care.

In 1983, he began serving as interim chairman of the Department of Medicine. He spent 10 years as the director of ambulatory care programs and another 10 as compliance and corporate integrity officer for the Medical Center. He has served on 37 hospital and university committees and has an impressive history of public service as well.

Taylor G. Wang
Centennial Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Emeritus
Centennial Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Emeritus
Professor of Applied Physics, Emeritu

Taylor Wang earned his doctorate in solid-state and quantum fluid physics at UCLA in 1971. He worked until 1988 at the California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. On April 29, 1985, Wang served as a payload specialist on the space shuttle Challenger as the first ethnic Chinese scientist-astronaut. During this mission, Wang observed the dynamic behavior of compound spheroids. His findings have been applied to his ongoing research with Harvard Medical School on “Encapsulation of Living Cells for the Functional Cure of Diabetes.”

Wang has received the Llewellyn J. Evans Outstanding Scientific Award, the Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal and the Space Flight Medal from NASA, the Educational Award from Vanderbilt University and the Asian American Engineer of the Year Distinguished Science and Technology Award. He was recognized on Oct. 11, 1985, with “Taylor G. Wang Recognition Day” in Washington, D.C. In 1988, Wang joined Vanderbilt University as a Centennial Professor.

Wang is a fellow of the Acoustical Society of America and has served as president of the Association of Space Explorers–USA, a member of the National Research Council Committee on the Space Applications Board and Sigma Xi, a board member of the Committee of 100, and a member of the Physics Advisory Council at UCLA. He has published more than 200 journal articles, one book, and four textbook chapters and holds 28 patents.

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