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  March 5, 2001

Five Faculty Named as Distinguished Professors

Four professors from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and a department head in the School of Business Administration have been selected as Board of Trustees Distinguished Professors.

The program, designed to honor some of UConn's top professors each year, was proposed in the University's Strategic Plan in 1995 and created by the Trustees in 1998. It permits the chosen professors to use for life the title Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor, the highest academic title a UConn professor can attain. No more than 5 percent of active faculty can hold the title at any one time. Retired faculty may use the title but are not included in the 5 percent limit.

Last year, the first year the award was presented, six professors were selected as distinguished professors.

During their meeting Feb. 22 in the Lewis B. Rome Commons, the trustees unanimously approved the nominations of Carl David Benson, professor of English; Robert K. Colwell, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology; Ruth Millikan, a philosophy professor; Steven L. Suib, professor of chemistry; and Jack Veiga, who has headed the Department of Management in UConn's business school for 20 years.

Between them, the group has produced hundreds of books, papers and journal articles Each is well known in his or her respective field.

"Collectively and individually, these professors have produced work that is recognized the world over," said Chancellor John D. Petersen. "They have contributed vast amounts of knowledge to humankind through their research, and their teaching skills have helped produce hundreds of men and women who contribute daily to making the state and country a better place."

Benson, currently a visiting professor at Harvard University, is internationally recognized as a first-class medievalist of English and European literatures. His work on the Medieval Troy Tradition is regarded as a pioneering piece of scholarship and is now a standard reference work.

Considered one of the most distinguished Chaucer scholars in the country, Benson was recently elected to the board of trustees of the New Chaucer Society.

Colwell, who has served as president of the American Society of Naturalists and as vice president of the Ecological Society of America, is widely known for his empirical and theoretical studies on community structure, evolution and co-evolution, ecomorphology, systematics and the measurement of biodiversity. He recently received the UConn Alumni Association's Award for Faculty Excellence in Research and, in 1998, received a Chancellor's Information Technology Award for a database he developed to keep track of thousands of rain forest species.

Millikan, whose work, Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories, is widely considered to have revolutionized the field of contemporary philosophy, opened a completely new field of research - now often called bio-semantics - which has become one of the dominant approaches to the study of meaning and mental content. She has been president of the Society for Philosophy and Psychology and served on its executive committee. She also has served on several committees of the American Philosophical Association.

Suib, an international figure in the field of zeolite synthesis, has provided scholarly leadership in the development of entire subtopics in the field of inorganic solid state chemistry. During his 20 years at UConn, he has written more than 250 papers, received 17 patents, and co-authored a book. Currently, he is U.S. regional editor of Microporous and Mesoporous Materials, the leading journal in the field.

Veiga, a professor and head of the management department, was recently named the Northeast Utilities Chair in Business Ethics, and is a member of the Academy Management Journal Hall of Fame. His work on career stages continues to be cited as one of the most important contributions to career management literature nearly two decades after its appearance.

Veiga has served as interim dean of the School of Business Administration and as acting associate dean. He also has been a recipient of the Fleet Bank Graduate Teacher of the Year award.

Richard Veilleux