Carnegie Mellon University

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January 07, 2016

Personal Mention

Amir Rahnamay-AzarAmir Rahnamay-Azar, vice president for Finance and Chief Financial Officer, recently participated in the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) CBO Speaks podcast series. In this podcast, he speaks about his experiences with topics related to the challenging and exciting role of chief business officer (CBO). He illustrates the importance of building a team and sharing the entrepreneurship, initiative and commitment of the Finance Division with the financial and strategic leadership of the institution. He also speaks about his early career in higher education and how the role of CBO has changed over the years. Listen to the full podcast.

Rachel AskeyElizabeth MilavecDeanne WeaverCarrie NelsonMembers of the Finance Division were highlighted in the December 2015 issue of Business Officer Magazine, a publication distributed by the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO). Featured in the article "It Takes a Campus" were Rachel Askey (far left), executive director of University Audit Services, Elizabeth Milavec (second from left), AVP for Finance and Controller, and Deanne Weaver (second from right), AVP for Financial Systems. The article discusses how the CMU Finance Division and other universities approach strategic planning through collaboration across the university in order to meet otherwise unreachable goals. In addition, Carrie Nelson (far right), AVP for International Finance, contributed the article “Data Review, Collaboration Help Manage Global Risk.” This article explores the collaboration of the Finance Division with various units across campus and the impact this collaboration has on CMU’s global presence.

Edda Fields-BlackAssociate Professor of History Edda Fields-Black received a Small Arts Initiative grant from the Heinz Foundation. The grant will support her Center for the Arts in Society project “Requiem for Rice,” which is slated to premiere in October 2017 in Charleston, S.C. A collaboration between the Colour of Music, Charleston’s Black Classical Music Festval and the Lowcountry Rice Culture Forum, “Requiem for Rice” uses classical music to honor “those enslaved, exploited and brutalized” on rice plantations. Learn more about the project.

Jay AronsonJay Aronson, associate professor of science, technology and society, authored an op-ed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In “Reducing the harm: the limits of the city’s marijuana decriminalization law,” Aronson claims that, though marijuana decriminalization is a positive move for Pittsburgh, more work needs to be done to ensure that the policy achieves its intended effects, including improved relationships between local law enforcement and the African-American community. The op-ed was based on similar findings from five seniors majoring in ethics, history and public policy, who recently presented their research to Pittsburgh City Council. Read the op-ed.

Lee BranstetterLee Branstetter, associate professor of economics in the Heinz College and Dietrich College’s Department of Social Sciences, recently published an op-ed on In the piece, titled “Is big pharma on drugs?” Branstetter argues that the American pharmaceutical industry would be well-served to accept the data protection rules set forth by the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Read his op-ed.

Adam HodgesAdam Hodges, visiting assistant professor of English at CMU-Q, recently chaired the American Anthropological Association (AAA) Annual Meeting in Denver, where he presented a paper titled “Language and Racism.” Hodges’ research examines the role of language in enacting and perpetuating racism, such as in mainstream media reactions to high-profile cases like the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Learn more about the AAA annual meeting. 

Ruth VojtkoRuth Vojtko, an administrative staff member in the Office of Undergraduate Admission for the past 17 years, retired from Carnegie Mellon on Jan. 4. Vojtko greeted prospective students, families and visitors from the Admission Lobby front desk in Warner Hall with a mix of charm, care and patience. The Admission staff wishes her good health, happiness and success in all of her future endeavors. Vojtko’s colleagues and friends from the campus community are invited to celebrate her retirement at a farewell reception at 3:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 14, in the Admission Lobby.

Billy PorterAlumnus and Tony Award winner Billy Porter, a 1991 graduate of the School of Drama, was named one of three Pittsburghers of the Year for 2015 by Pittsburgh Magazine. “We honor performer Billy Porter for his artistic talent and triumphs, for his ongoing support and promotion of the arts in Pittsburgh and nationally and for returning in 2015 to reprise his Tony Award-winning role in “Kinky Boots” — in the process embracing the city where his journey to stardom began and inspiring audiences and artists to “walk through the door that’s open.” Read the story in Pittsburgh Magazine

Nikhil  BalramAlumnus Nikhil Balram, president and CEO of Ricoh Innovations Corporation, has received a 2015 Industrial Distinguished Leader Award from the Asia-Pacific Signal and Information Processing Association. With over 20 years of experience, Balram is widely hailed throughout industry and academia as an expert and innovator in advanced information and display technologies, and has been an officer of five publicly listed companies. “Having worked with Dr. Balram professionally, I am pleased to see this recognition of his significant accomplishments as a technologist and visionary industry executive,” said Professor Jelena Kovačević, head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the David Edward Schramm professor and professor of biomedical engineering. “This award aptly recognizes his broad contributions to signal and information processing.” Balram is an adjunct professor of electrical engineering at Carnegie Mellon. He received his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from CMU, and has served on the Dean’s Leadership Council, Silicon Valley Advisory Council and Admissions Council. Find out more.

Obituary: Maj. Gen. Thomas C. Brandt, USAF (Ret.)

Tom BrandtMaj. Gen. Thomas C. Brandt, USAF (Ret.), a longtime principal at the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), died Dec. 22. He was 82.

Brandt, who in 1986 became vice commander of the Air Force Electronic Systems Division at Hansom Air Force Base, Mass., was an executive agent for the SEI. He was responsible for the Joint Program Office that oversaw SEI operations. After his retirement from the Air Force in 1989, Brandt became a full-time member of the SEI staff, where he served in a number of roles, including director of program integration. He retired from the SEI in 2009 after 20 years of service.

Prior to joining the SEI, he began his Air Force career after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1956. After the establishment of the U.S. Air Force Academy, he served there as an instructor, assistant professor and associate professor of astronautics.

“He was a charismatic man and a mentor to many young professionals,” said his daughter Cat Brandt Zaccardi, who is team leader of design services at the SEI.

A memorial service is being planned for this month.

Read the full obituary