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LAURELS: Charles Hess named distinguished professor emeritus

By Dave Jones on April 7, 2011 in University

The Emeriti Association selected Charles E. Hess as the 2010-11 distinguished professor emeritus. He was formally recognized as such during the Chancellor’s Emeriti Luncheon.

He stepped down from regular teaching in 1994 — he is a professor in the Department of Environmental Horticulture — but has never stopped working for his profession, his college and the university community.

Throughout his retirement, he has worked tirelessly for the development of international collaborations and programs. Since 2006, he has served as chair of the U.S. Agency for International Development-National Academies Review Panel for the Pakistan-U.S. Science and Technology Cooperative Program.

In addition, he has served the UC Davis administration in several capacities, most recently as interim vice chancellor of the Office of Research. Before that, he chaired the Department of Nutrition while it was in transition from 2007 to 2009.

He facilitated the move of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Western Human Nutrition Center from San Francisco to UC Davis, and he served as a special assistant to the chancellor in 2003-04.

Hess has a long history of promoting the welfare of retirees through his service as the first chair of the Retiree Center Advisory Committee and as a former president of the Emeriti Association. He was a member of the UC President’s Task Force on Post-Employment Benefits and a team leader on the Retiree Health Work Group.


Brian Kolner, professor of applied science, is a new fellow of the Optical Society of America, elected for his work on “conceiving and developing the optical time lens and for contributions to the understanding of low-frequency noise properties of femtosecond solid state lasers.”


The Society for Range Management has bestowed outstanding achievement awards upon Cooperative Extension specialists Rob Atwill and Ken Tate, international leaders in the science and management of surface-water quality on rangeland.

Atwill, a UC Davis veterinary medicine extension specialist, is director of the Western Institute of Food Safety and Security. Tate, based in the Department of Plant Sciences, holds the Russell L. Rustici Endowed Chair in Rangeland Watershed Sciences.

“Drs. Tate and Atwill compiled an unequaled record of collaborative research leading to a better understanding of surface water pollution on rangelands and practices that ameliorate pollution,” said Cooperative Extension Specialist Mel George, himself a worldwide leader in rangeland management, who nominated the pair.

“Between them they have published more than 200 peer reviewed reports over the past decade. Together they have worked with public and private land managers and regulatory agencies to understand the fate and transport of surface water pollutants and to implement practices that reduce these pollutants.”


The North American Neuro-opthalmology Society presented its 2011 distinguished service award to John L. Keltner, professor and director of Research and Faculty Development at the UC Davis Health System’s Eye Center.

Given by the organization’s executive board, the award is the highest honor for members of the society, recognizing sustained and substantial service to the North American Neuro-ophthalmology Society and to the field of neuro-ophthalmology.

Keltner is an internationally known neuro-ophthalmologist who provides highly specialized consultations in the diagnosis and treatment of complex and unexplained neurological abnormalities that affect visual pathways.

He is co-director of the Optical Coherence Tomography and Visual Field Reading Centers and is involved in two related trials for patients with multiple sclerosis. He has been a pioneer in the treatment of ocular cancer and its effects on the visual system.


The FBI recently presented director’s awards to Lt. Nader Oweis, a lieutenant with the UC Davis Police Department, and Jerry Street, emergency coordinator for the UC Davis Health System, for their help in developing the Northern California Hospital Cyberterrorism Seminar. It took place Aug. 5 on the Davis campus, drawing more than 300 participants, including nearly 90 hospital executives.

Speakers included representatives from the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, along with cyber security professionals and experts in medical equipment security. The seminar acknowledged that health care institutions are being targeted more frequently, for the theft or manipulation of electronic data, including patient financial and medical records, or for other malicious intent, such as disrupting computer systems.

The Police Department and the health system co-sponsored the seminar with the FBI and Homeland Security.


Gov. Brown has appointed Ashby Wolfe, a resident in the Department of Family and Community Medicine since 2008, to the California Health Care Work Force Policy Commission.

The commission maintains a set of standards to determine funding eligibility under the Song-Brown Health Care Work Force Training Act, and establishes criteria to be used by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development for executing contracts with training institutions. The commission reviews the applications and makes recommendations for the awarding of contracts.

In addition, the commission periodically reviews and designates priority geographic areas to address the distribution of health care services where medical needs are not being met. This process has divided the state into roughly 541 medical service study areas.


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


Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,