Newly Retired Faculty Celebrated for Longtime Commitment with University

Office of University Advancement | Tue Oct 8, 2019

Former UMass Boston faculty members gathered in the Campus Center Ballroom on October 4 for the 22nd annual Retired Faculty Luncheon. Each year the luncheon brings together former members of the UMass Boston community to recognize newly retired faculty members and learn more about upcoming projects on campus.

Faculty who retired this past academic year include the following:  

College of Education and Human Development
Associate Dean and Professor Felicia Wilczenski

College of Liberal Arts
Spencer DiScala, History
Julie Nelson, Economics
Judith Smith, American Studies
Maria Idali Torres, Anthropology

College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Richard Fleming, Exercise and Health Sciences
Patricia Halon, Nursing
Associate Dean Marion Winfrey

College of Science and Mathematics
John Ebersole, Biology
Peter Fejer, Computer Science
Robert Guimond, Biology
Dennis Wortman, Math

School for the Environment
Associate Dean William Robinson

School for Global Inclusion and Social Development
Dean and Professor William Kiernan

Interim Provost Emily McDermott recognized the faculty members for their contributions to the university over the span of their careers.

“I would like to congratulate all the newly retired faculty, and extend my best wishes to you in this new chapter of your lives,” said McDermott. “Our university is grateful to them—and to all our retired faculty—for all that you have done to advance our public higher education mission.”

Recipients of the 2019 Faculty Career Development Award were also recognized at the event for their independent research work. The recipients are chosen among faculty applicants by the Faculty Career Development Award Committee and will each receive a grant to fund their individual projects.

Travis Johnston, assistant professor of political science, will receive a $3,500 grant to underwrite the completion of his book project, All Politics is National: Perception and Representation in a Partisan Era. The book seeks to unite literatures on the electoral and partisan drivers of congressional action and inaction through examining how members of Congress prioritize their time in office and how those efforts are presented to the public.

Shailja Pathania, assistant professor of biology, will also receive a $3,500 grant to support her project, “The Role of DNA Damage Repair in Suppressing Breast and Ovarian Tumorigenesis,” which addresses the inability of medical science to detect ovarian cancer at an early stage. The Biology Department states that this innovative project will generate data for future grants, offer opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to pursue research, and allow collaborations with faculty in other departments.

“We wish you the best with your research and look forward to learning about your outcomes next year,” said McDermott to the awardees.

At the conclusion of the event, Professor Emeritus Jack Looney ’60 encouraged the audience to support the Endowed Faculty Career Development Fund.

“As a graduate of Boston State College and former faculty member there and here at UMass Boston, I am deeply committed to our public higher education mission,” said Looney. “My wife and I support the Faculty Career Development Fund as a way of helping out the next generation of young faculty.”

If you are interested in supporting the Retired Faculty Career Development Fund, which supports the work of junior faculty, please visit the Endowed Faculty Career Development Award giving page.