past recipients



James M. Anderson, MD

As a professor of pathology, macromolecular science and biomedical engineering, Anderson’s 44 years at Case Western Reserve have included research, teaching and service that bridges medicine and engineering. In addition, he has been instrumental in developing cooperative efforts between the School of Medicine and Case School of Engineering—as well as among other universities.  Read more.


Eric Baer, PhD

Professor Eric Baer arrived in Cleveland in the fall of 1962—nearly a half century ago—and within five years launched the nation’s first department of macromolecular science. After chairing that department for 11 years, he spent the next five as dean of what was then known as the Case Institute of Technology. Today he directs the Center for Layered Polymeric Systems, a National Science Foundation Science & Technology Center. Baer’s career includes more than 550 journal articles, more than five dozen graduated doctoral students and multiple awards from national and international professional societies.


Cynthia M. Beall, PhD

Cynthia M. Beall, PhD, S. Idell Pyle Professor of Anthropology, is internationally recognized for her work on the biology of people who live at high altitudes.

She joined the Department of Anthropology at Case Western Reserve in 1976 and immediately began a series of pioneering field studies into the ways in which Andean, Tibetan and East African highlanders respond to and thrive in their stressful native environments. She was the first to thoroughly document the use of different biological pathways by Andean and Tibetan highlanders. Read more


Nathan A. Berger, MD

Professor Nathan A. Berger came to Case Western Reserve in 1983 and within four years the oncology program he developed had secured the prestigious National Cancer Institute Cancer Center designation. In 1995 he became the medical school’s acting dean, and a year later received the permanent position. His seven-year term witnessed dramatic growth in federal grant funding, significant capital projects and an extremely positive review from the national accrediting body for schools of medicine. Today Berger continues an active research portfolio and also leads the Scientific Enrichment and Opportunity Program that provides Cleveland high school students rich summer research experiences to encourage them to consider careers in the health sciences.


Richard E. Boyatzis, PhD

Richard E. Boyatzis, PhD, H.R. Horvitz Professor of Family Business, has been at Case Western Reserve University for more than 23 years, but his distinguished career includes more than 43 years of research that has been published in multiple fields, including medicine, psychology, substance abuse, health, education and a variety of domains within management and organizational behavior.

With appointments in the departments of Organizational Behavior, Psychology and Cognitive Science, Boyatzis has authored more than 125 articles and books. His books have been published in 28 languages, and his work Primal Leadership earned a spot on non-fiction best sellers lists in the United States, Canada, Japan and Spain. Read more



Robert W. Brown, PhD

Professor Robert W. Brown’s passion for educating students has created a legacy of achievement and innovation. He is quick to note that nearly all of his publications, presentations and discoveries involve young people as co-authors; in addition, a dozen of his college advisees have gone on to win graduate fellowships from the National Science Foundation. Brown himself has won the university’s Carl F. Wittke Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and its John S. Diekhoff Award for Graduate Teaching and Mentoring. In addition, he also received the American Association of Physics Teachers’ top award for undergraduate teaching. Brown is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and co-author with some of his students of a 914-page textbook on Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Finally, he is a co-founder of Quality Electrodynamics LLC, which Forbes has designated one of America’s most promising companies.


Claudia Coulton, Ph.D.

Claudia Coulton conducts research with two goals: to identify issues in urban areas and to solve them.

Time and again, her scholarly findings have prompted concrete leadership changes—which in turn have improved the lives of the people she studies.

For example, when the Center for Urban Poverty and Community Development, which she directs, released a report showing Cleveland’s inner-city residents couldn’t get to available jobs in the outer-ring suburbs via public transportation, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority adjusted its routes. And when her research showed the major role disadvantaged neighborhoods play in people’s lives—leading to systemic issues such as lack of access to education, jobs and food as well as income inequality and health disparities—she founded the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership, a 35-city collaboration that develops and supports the use of neighborhood research in local policymaking and community building.  (Read more.)


Robert C. Elston, PhD

Robert C. Elston, PhD, is a celebrated scholar and educator, having earned a distinguished reputation during his 15 years at Case Western Reserve and his accomplished career prior to joining the university.

Elston is currently the chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. During his career, Elston has mentored more than 40 graduate and 40 postdoctoral students in his tenured positions at Case Western Reserve, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and the Louisiana State University Medical Center in New Orleans—at the last of which he initiated the creation of master's degree and doctoral programs in both biometry and human genetics. Read more


Stanton L. Gerson

In 1983, professor Nathan Berger hired Stanton Gerson, fresh out of his fellowship at University of Pennsylvania, to join the School of Medicine's Division of Hematology Oncology. The next year, when Gerson’s interest turned to gene therapy, he formed a research partnership with professor Richard Hanson. Berger and Hanson went on to become Distinguished University Professors, and Gerson joined their ranks when he is awarded the permanent, honorific title.
Read more about Gerson's achievements.



Paul Giannelli

Professor Paul Giannelli’s articles have made him one of the world’s leading experts on evidence. The United States Supreme Court has cited his work seven times, while the National Academy of Sciences referenced six of his articles in its 2009 work, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward. Giannelli has authored or co-authored more than a dozen books and has led or contributed to several American Bar Association projects relating to standards for forensic science practices and the handling of judicial issues. He also has served on every single law school standing committee—several of them more than once.


Richard W. Hanson, PhD

Richard W. Hanson, PhD, the Leonard and Jean Skeggs Professor of Biochemistry, had a long and distinguished career in biochemistry and served nearly 40 years at CWRU.  Hanson was renowned for his research in metabolism. Hanson received both the prestigious William C. Rose (1999) and the ASBMB/Merck (2006) awards from the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, as well as the Meade Johnson Award (1971) and the Osborne/Mendel Award (1995) from the American Institute of Nutrition for his research in metabolism.

He also received the Maurice Saltzman Award from the Mt. Sinai Foundation, and the 2008 Lifetime Achievement in Diabetes Research Award (with Dr. Satish C. Kalhan) from the Diabetes Association of Greater Cleveland's Dietrich Diabetes Research Institute, for research in diabetes. Read more

Arthur H. Heuer

University Professor and Kyocera Professor of Ceramics

Arthur H. Heuer

With more than 500 publications to his credit, Arthur H. Heuer, Kyocera Professor of Ceramics, is a world-renowned leader in his field. Both the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Louvre have called upon his expertise to characterize the Renaissance ceramics in their collections. Elected to the prestigious National Academy of Engineering in 1990, he has pioneered numerous studies in materials science, including application of electron microscopy to engineering ceramics, development of strong and tough ceramics, biological ceramics and paraequilibrium carburization of stainless steels.

His decade-long collaboration with Swagelok Corporation has led to technological breakthroughs and an endowment for the Swagelok Center for Surface Analysis and Materials (SCSAM), an internationally renowned materials characterization facility. Heuer founded the center early in his career and continues to serve as its director.

Now in his 44th year at Case Western Reserve, Heuer has established a record of success securing research funding, including nearly $10 million in state and federal funding through his collaboration with Swagelok alone. He invariably involves graduate students in his research, having trained 96 masters' and doctoral students and approximately 55 postdoctoral fellows in materials science.

Heuer's research achievements are matched by his contributions to the university as a whole. He initiated the F. Joseph Callahan Distinguished Lecture (formerly the Distinguished Lecture Series) and was instrumental in organizing and planning the university's Year of Darwin.

Heuer was named University Professor in 2001 in honor of his accomplishments in the lab, classroom and university community. He chaired the committee that was tasked with revitalizing the role and developing the honor of Distinguished University Professor. Additional awards include Case Western Reserve's Frank and Dorothy Humel Hovorka Prize in 2008, the 2008 W. David Kingery Award from the American Ceramics Society (ACerS) and the 1997 ASM Gold Medal. He is an external member of the Max Planck Society for Materials Science in Stuttgart, Germany, and in 2010, he was named a fellow of the Materials Research Society (MRS). Heuer is also a visiting professor at Imperial College in London.

M.C. "Terry" Hokenstad Jr., PhD

M.C. "Terry" Hokenstad Jr., PhD, is the Ralph S. and Dorothy P. Schmitt Professor at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, and a professor of global health in the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

In a career spanning more than four decades, Hokenstad is recognized as a worldwide leader in social work education and research, with a special focus on global aging. His cross-national research projects have examined innovations in elder care and pension policies in countries throughout the world. He has lectured and led workshops at 57 universities in 23 different countries. Read more


Eva Kahana, PhD


As a renowned scholar on elderly care issues, Eva Kahana has won countless awards from national and international organizations. Yet the news that she had been named one of Case Western Reserve’s Distinguished University Professors took her entirely by surprise.

“They say that people far away might recognize one’s achievements more readily than those who are next door, so I think it’s very unique when the colleagues you work with day in and day out feel the work you’ve done merits such recognition and nominate you for such a great honor,” said Kahana, the Pierce and Elizabeth Robson Professor of Humanities and Sociology. (Read more.)



Lynn Landmesser, PhD

Professor Lynn Landmesser is, quite simply, a legend in the area of developmental neuroscience. She has served as the editor of every major neuroscience journal and also as president of the Society for Developmental Biology. In addition, she also has participated on the governing boards of three separate institutes at the National Institutes of Health and the scientific review board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Finally, she has chaired the medical school’s department of neurosciences for more than a dozen years.


Chung-Chiun Liu

Liu earned his doctorate in chemical engineering from Case Western Reserve in 1968, following bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the same subject from National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan and California Institute of Technology, respectively.  He then spent a decade on the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh before returning to Cleveland to join the Case Western Reserve faculty as a full professor of chemical engineering.

Now, Liu serves as the Wallace R. Persons Professor of Sensor Technology and Control and director of the university’s Electronics Design Center. His research spans multiple areas, including electrochemical engineering, microelectronic materials and fabrication processes—knowledge he uses to develop miniature electrochemical and biomedical sensors, among other products.  (Read more.)


Maxwell J. Mehlman

When Maxwell J. Mehlman joined the law school in 1984, the last science class he’d taken was a high school biology course—a fact that stands true today, even as Mehlman is one of the most renowned experts on health law and bioethics. His accomplishments in the field, as well as his commitment to CWRU, are so extensive that he was bestowed another title: Distinguished University Professor.
Find out more about Mehlman's career.


P. Hunter Peckham, PhD

P. Hunter Peckham, PhD, Donnell Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Orthopaedics, is a celebrated scholar in the university community and known around the world for his research, which focuses on the use of functional electrical stimulation to restore hand and arm control in paralyzed individuals.

He was instrumental in the creation of the Cleveland Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Center, which studies the application of electrical currents to generate or suppress nerve activity. As the center's executive director, Peckham has built a model of successful research collaboration among scientists, engineers and clinicians from the Cleveland Veteran's Administration Medical Center, Case Western Reserve and MetroHealth Medical Center. Read more


Gary Previts, PhD

In more than three decades at Case Western Reserve, Professor Gary John Previts has established himself as one of the world’s leading experts on the history of accounting theory and practice. He is the founding and continuing editor of the journal Research in the Accounting Regulation (Elsevier). He was a member of the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession, and currently serves on the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board Advisory Council and is an advisor to the Comptroller General of the United States.  In 2010, he received the outstanding educator award from the American Accounting Association; three years earlier he received the Gold Medal for Distinguished Service from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.  He has twice served as chair of the accountancy department and held the position of Weatherhead’s Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies for more than a dozen years.


Alan Rocke, PhD

Alan J. Rocke’s work takes people across centuries and around the world. It showcases the imagination, creativity and dedication of its subjects. And it opens up a world of science that most have never known.

As the Henry Eldridge Bourne Professor of History, Rocke’s work has garnered national and international acclaim, earning him a place among the foremost scholars of the history of the physical sciences. Now his scholarship—along with teaching and university service—have earned Case Western Reserve’s highest honor for its professoriate: the title of Distinguished University Professor.  (Read more.)


Robert F. Savinell

Robert F. Savinell, the George S. Dively Professor of Engineering and a professor of chemical engineering, is an internationally recognized scholar in the field of electrochemistry and a cornerstone for the Case Western Reserve community. His achievements have earned him the university’s top honor for its faculty, Distinguished University Professor.
Learn more about Savinell's history at CWRU.


Philip L. Taylor, PhD

The impact of Professor Philip L. Taylor’s work can be summed up by one number: four. That is how many scientific phenomena bear his name. From the Nielsen-Taylor effect detailed in 1985 through to the Hamaneh-Taylor model introduced in 2009, his research has deepened the world’s understanding of thermoelectricity, liquid crystals and the nature of different systems in stasis and flux. Professor Taylor has authored and co-authored more than 200 papers published in peer review journals and also has mentoring of more than 50 doctoral and postdoctoral students. He is a Fellow of both the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.




























Case Western Reserve University

scholarship and innovation »

Fall convocation opens each academic year with a formal celebration of scholarship and innovation. What better time to name Distinguished University Professors.

»See how to participate in the celebration.