The Excelerate Foundation recently presented its inaugural leadership award to Kathleen Socolofsky, assistant vice chancellor and director of the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden.

The San Francisco-based foundation recognized Socolofsky’s efforts in “co-creating” — with her team, UC Davis students and the community — an innovative and transformative model for university and public gardens worldwide.

The foundation, which supports nonprofit organizations that motivate positive social change, gave a grant to the UC Davis Arboetum and Public Garden two years ago.

“Kathleen is ahead of the curve,” said Ernest Lewis, a member of the Excelerate Foundation board. “The Smithsonian, university and college gardens nationwide, as well as the museum and public garden world are taking notice of the power of programs like the UC Davis GATEways Project and Learning by Leading.

"The UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden is onto something and we want to help position them to take what they’ve created to the next level.”

Socolofsky's leadership award came with a $5,000 prize, a small portion for use at her own discretion and the rest for unrestricted use within the organization.

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Distinguished Professor of English Fran Dolan recently received the 2014 John Ben Snow Prize for her book True Relations: Reading, Literature and Evidence in Seventeenth-Century England, published last year.

The prize is given by the North American Conference on British Studies for the best book by a North American scholar in any field of British studies dealing with the period from the Middle Ages through the 18th century.

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Two of the nation’s major music societies recently honored Professor Anna Maria Busse Berger for her research paper “Spreading the Gospel of Singbewegung: An Ethnomusicologist Missionary in Tanganyika of the 1930s.”

The American Musicological Society published the paper last summer in the society’s journal, and subsequently chose the paper for the 2014 Colin Slim Award, for the best article by a senior scholar.

The article also earned the Society for Ethnomusicology’s Bruno Nettl Prize for “outstanding publication contributing to or dealing with the history of the field of ethnomusicology.”

Coupled with her Wallace Berry Award (2006) from the Society for Music Theory, for her book Medieval Music and the Art of Memory, she has now won the top scholarly prize from each of the major music societies in the United States.

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Maestro Christian Baldini has a spot on the Sacramento Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” list for 2014. The list recognizes “young professionals in the region who are making a big difference — in their jobs, in their industries and in their communities.” Baldini is the music director and conductor of the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra and Sacramento’s Camellia Symphony Orchestra.

“As director of two local orchestras, and associate professor of music at University of California, Davis, Baldini has played a large role in expanding the arts in Sacramento,” the Business Journal stated. “With a firm belief that ‘music is a human right,’ he has brought international artists to the local community and expanded the role of music in public schools.

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Two faculty members have been selected as new fellows of the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene:

Shirley Luckhart, professor, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology — Her expertise includes the molecular cell biology and biochemistry of malaria parasite transmission.

Thomas Scott, distinguished professor of entomology — He researches the epidemiology, ecology and evolution of insect transmitted diseases, principally dengue, West Nile fever and malaria.

In selecting fellows, the society recognizes sustained professional excellence in “any phase of tropical medicine, hygiene, global health and related disciplines.”

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Cal Qualset, a UC Davis alum and professor emeritus in the Department of Plant Sciences, recently received the Crop Science Society of America’s Presidential Award.

It recognizes his long dedication to research (in fact, he’s still at it 20 years after his formal retirement), and his long service to the Crop Science Society (he’s a former president and editor-in-chief), the American Society of Agronomy (former president) and the Agronomic Science Foundation.

Since taking emeritus status, he has organized a wheat research farm in Lithuania for a private foundation, and served on numerous international boards and review panels.

He holds two UC Davis degrees: Master of Science in agronomy and Ph.D. in genetics.

He and his team developed and released 28 varieties of wheat, oat and triticale for California farmers. In addition, he organized funded projects in Mexico, Spain, Turkey and Italy.

He served in many administrative roles, including department chair (Agronomy and Range Science) and associate dean (College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences), and director or interim director of the Genetic Resources Conservation Program, Agricultural Sustainability Institute, and Foundation Seed and Plant Materials Service.

Qualset, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, has published more than 350 research papers, reviews and reports.

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The international Irrigation Association recently presented its 2014 Person of the Year Award to Larry Schwankl, Cooperative Extension specialist emeritus in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources.

The award goes to an individual outside of the irrigation industry for outstanding contributions toward the acceptance of sound irrigation practices.

Schwankl retired recently after 28 years with Cooperative Extension, specializing in engineering, design, operation and management of irrigation systems, soil moisture monitoring, and low-volume irrigation.

“Through his well-recognized applied research program, technology transfer efforts and service activities, Dr. Schwankl has dedicated his career to developing, evaluating and promoting water-efficient technologies and irrigation best management practices,” wrote Dana Osborne Porter, associate professor and extension agricultural engineer in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at Texas A&M University.

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Dateline UC Davis welcomes news of faculty and staff awards, for publication in Laurels. Send information to dateline@ucdavis.edu.

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