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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 20, 2010

UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences names 2010 alumni fellows

Five alumni of the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) will be named 2010 Alumni Fellows at a Sept. 23 awards ceremony. The award is given to alumni by the college to recognize its most accomplished graduates.

While on campus, fellows typically meet with students and faculty and make a presentation. Linda Maxson, dean of the college, initiated the Alumni Fellows program in 1999 with funds from the endowed UI Alumni Association Dean's Chair in the Liberal Arts and Sciences, which was created through a gift from the UI Alumni Association.

"The gift from the Alumni Association has made it possible to bring more than 60 of our distinguished alumni to campus," Maxson said. "Our students especially benefit from their return. Today’s students are able to see what they can achieve, and at the same time, we can recognize our graduates for their outstanding accomplishments."

The 2010 Alumni Fellows are: Samuel L. Becker (B.A., 1947, M.A., 1949, Ph.D., 1953, communication and theatre); Solomon Bililign (Ph.D., 1991, physics); Scott Dunn (B.M., 1975, music, M.D., 1981); Fred W. Raths (M.S., 1952, Ph.D., 1954, chemistry); and Eric S. Rabkin (Ph.D., 1970, English).

Several of the alumni fellows will deliver public lectures and performances when they visit campus.

On Tuesday, Sept. 21, Dunn will guest-conduct the UI Symphony Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. in the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union.

On Wednesday, Sept. 22, Dunn will conduct a Center for New Music concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Riverside Recital Hall, 405 N. Riverside Dr.

On Thursday, Sept. 23, Bililign will present a lecture, “Research and Education in Geosciences – the Need for an All-Inclusive Interdisciplinary Approach to Address Problems of Global Significance,” at 2:30 p.m., Room 301, Van Allen Hall.

Also on Thursday, Rabkin will present "The Nature of Character: Science Fiction Speaks of the Soul," at 3:45 p.m., Room 304, English-Philosophy Building.

On Friday, Sept. 24, Dunn will give a talk about John Adams' “Road Movies” for violin and piano, and perform the piece with Tricia Park, first violinist of the Maia Quartet, at 5 p.m. in the University Capitol Centre Recital Hall.

Becker earned a B.A. in 1947, an M.A. in 1949, and a Ph.D. in 1953 from the UI in communication and theater. Since joining the faculty in 1950, he has had a profound influence on the discipline of communication studies, both through his own scholarship and the many graduate students he mentored who became leaders in the field. He has written numerous books, monographs, articles and book chapters on a variety of topics. Becker was chair of the Department of Communication and Theatre Arts from 1968 to 1982, and was named UI Foundation Distinguished Professor of Communication Studies in 1982.

Bililign earned a Ph.D. in physics at the UI in 1991, and is a professor of physics at North Carolina A & T State University after joining their physics department in 1993. A leader in the field of atmospheric chemistry and physics, Bililign is an advocate for international research collaboration between American and African scientists. He directs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-Interdisciplinary Scientific Environmental Technology Cooperative Science Center, a project devoted to atmospheric science and weather-related research involving researchers from eight institutions. He is a member of the Ethiopian Physics Society and the National Society of Black Physicists, working to attract underrepresented groups to the environmental sciences.

Dunn studied piano performance at the UI, earning a B.M. in 1975. He earned his M.D. from the UI in 1981 and received board certification in eye surgery and became a fellow in the American College of Surgeons. He continued to study music and began his professional music career with a solo recital in Los Angeles in 1991. Earning his Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music in 1996, he made his Carnegie Hall debut as a solo pianist in 1999. Since then, he has worked professionally as a conductor, pianist and orchestrator, serving as associate conductor of the L.A. Philharmonic’s Hollywood Bowl Orchestra since 2007.

Rabkin earned his Ph.D. in English at the UI in 1970. Named the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1990, Rabkin is a trailblazer in the study of science fiction and fantasy. His research interests also include graphic narrative, culture studies, literary theory, composition and humanities computing. Rabkin received the 2010 Science Fiction Research Association Pilgrim Award for lifetime contributions to science fiction and fantasy scholarship, a fellowship from the American Council for Learned Societies, and research funding from the American Philosophical Society.

Raths studied chemistry at the UI, earning his M.S. in 1952 and Ph.D. in 1954. He began his professional career at Dow Chemical and moved to Buckman Laboratories in 1958. Raths and his colleagues obtained 16 patents, many of them for the production of organic, sulfur-containing compounds for use as fungicides and pesticides. He retired from his position as vice president of operations at Buckman Laboratories in 1991. To honor his graduate advisor and mentor, Raths and his wife, the late Bonnie Raths, endowed the Ralph Shriner Graduate Fellowship Fund in the Department of Chemistry in 2000.

STORY SOURCE: CLAS Office of External Relations, 240 Schaeffer Hall, Iowa City, Iowa, 52242-1409

MEDIA CONTACTS: Esther Baker, CLAS, 319-335-2818,