Three faculty and three alumni of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences have been named recipients of 2013 University of Connecticut Alumni Association Faculty & Alumni Awards. Given annually as part as Homecoming Week, the awards recognize the outstanding achievements of University faculty, alumni, and friends in a variety of categories, ranging from academic and professional excellence to university service and volunteerism.
Richard Piacentini MSc’84, executive director of the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, PA, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award. Among Piancentini’s many achievements is its recognition of Phipps as an international leader in sustainable architecture and operations. He launched a $52 million overhaul that included the construction of LEED-certified structures, sustainable landscapes, and one of the greenest buildings in the world, a net zero energy and water facility designed to meet the Living Building Challenge. In 2012 the conservatory took home the bronze in the International Green Awards’ Most Sustainable NGO Category. Piancentini’s most recent of many honors include leadership awards from the International Living Future Institute and U.S. Green Building Council and the Service Award from the American Public Gardens Association, of which he is past president and treasurer.
Natalie Florea Hudson ’02 (CLAS), Ph.D.’07, associate professor in the Department of Political Science and director of the Human Rights Studies Program at University of Dayton, will receive the Graduate of the Last Decade award. Hudson studies international security, international organization, and the gendering of conflict and conflict resolution. Her book, Gender, Human Security and the UN: Security Language as a Political Framework for Women (Routledge, 2009), examines the organizational dynamics of women’s activism in the United Nations system and how women have come to embrace and been impacted by the security discourse in their work for rights and equality. She is a co-author of Global Politics (McGraw-Hill, 2013) and numerous journal articles and book chapters, and has served as a consultant for the European Union and the UN.
Myles Martel ’65 (CLAS), president, founder, and CEO of Martel & Associates, will receive the University Service Award. Martel has found prominence nationally and internationally as a communications advisor to legislators, ambassadors, and business leaders. He served as an advisor to Ronald Reagan and counselor to the White House Office of Communications; published six books on leadership communication; and delivered the Andrew W. Mellon Fund Lecture at Oxford University. But much of Martel’s impact has taken place behind the scenes, often in service to his alma mater. He has given generously of his time and money, including contributions to the Alumni Association and the Veterans Memorial. He established the biannual Martel Lecture in Leadership and Public Opinion, a series designed to appeal to a broad audience that reflects his professional expertise in communication and leadership. He also served as the first chair of the CLAS Alumni Advisory Board, playing a key role in its formation.
Kathleen Segerson, Philip E. Austin Professor of Economics, will receive the Distinguished Professor Award. Segerson is an environmental economist who studies the incentive effects of alternative environmental policy instruments, including applications in groundwater contamination, hazardous waste management, land use regulation, and climate change. She’s also taken part in projects related to ecosystem services and to marine species protection. Her many accomplishments include: member of the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources of the National Academy of Sciences, handling editor for the journal Conservation Biology, co-editor and associate editor of the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and an associate editor of the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.
Bernard Goffinet, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, will receive the Faculty Excellence in Research and Creativity in the Sciences award. Goffinet studies the evolutionary biology of bryophytes, which include mosses, liverworts and hornworts, reconstructing their relationships and patterns in morphological transformations from analyses of genetic and genomic data. He also researches the evolution of lichen-forming fungi, in particular those fungi that exhibit dual personalities, associating with either green algae or cyanobacteria. Goffinet also serves as director of UConn’s Biological Research Collections, publishes widely, and organizes conferences and symposia.
Samuel F. Pickering, Jr., professor of English, will also receive the Distinguished Professor Award.Pickering has enjoyed a long and varied career, earning degrees at Sewanee, Cambridge, and Princeton; teaching on Fulbrights in Jordan and Syria; living in Britain and Australia; and, for the past 35 years, teaching English to UConn students. He is author of 26 books and hundred of articles on widely varying topics, from 18th-century children’s literature to Australian travel to teaching. His collections of familiar essays offer his take—or “untake”—on things. “Reading Pickering,” a reviewer wrote in Smithsonian magazine, “is like taking a walk with your oldest, wittiest friend.”
Recipients will be honored at the Alumni Association Awards Celebration on Friday, October 11 at the UConn Storrs Campus, and the following day at the UConn Homecoming Game at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.