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LAURELS: Kosta Papamichael in a different spotlight

By Dave Jones on November 8, 2013 in University

The outgoing president of the Illuminating Enginering Society recently recognized UC Davis’ Konstantinos “Kosta” Papamichael for outstanding service and leadership, particularly his role in creating the society’s new publication, “Recommended Practice for Daylighting Buildings.”

“There was a need for this,” Papamichael said of the publication, which came out in September and is considered the authoritative reference guide for architects, engineers and lighting designers.

“Fenestration (the design and disposition of windows and other exterior openings of a building) and daylight harvesting technologies have come so far, and daylighting should be the first step of the lighting design process in any building project, especially those focusing on energy efficiency and sustainability,” said Papamichael, chair of the IES Daylighting Committee.

He received the Presidential Award from Chip Israel at the society’s annual meeting.

Papamichael, a professor of environmental design, is one of the world’s foremost authorities on daylighting. As co-director of the California Lighting Technology Center, he has led the development of smart windows and skylights, daylight sensor breakthroughs, and advanced algorithms for electric lighting control systems and fenestration controls.

His work on daylight harvesting has resulted in three patents and past recognition from the IES for significant advancement in the art and science of lighting.


The American Leadership Forum’s Mountain Valley Chapter recently honored Chancellor Emeritus Larry Vanderhoef as an “exemplary leader.”

The chapter presented two such awards at a Nov. 6 dinner, to Vanderhoef and Brice Harris, chancellor of California Community Colleges and former chancellor of the Los Rios Community College District.

Vanderhoef, a senior fellow in the American Leadership Forum, stepped down in 2009 after 15 years as chancellor — one of the longest stretches for any university leader in the nation. He was the UC Davis provost and executive vice chancellor for 10 years before becoming chancellor.

“Larry is a quiet, introspective person, but he was always willing to do what must be done to lift UC Davis," said alumnus Tom Stallard (bachelor’s degree, 1968, and law degree, 1975), who nominated Vanderhoef for the leadership award.

Stallard is a former president of the law school’s alumni association and a former member of the UC Davis Foundation board of trustees. He is vice mayor of Woodland, a former member of the Yolo County Board of Supervisors — and the recipient of the “exemplary leader” award himself in 2012.

“It was (Vanderhoef’s) leadership that got the Mondavi Center built, now a cultural icon of our region,” said Stallard, recalling Vanderhoef’s promise at his 1994 inauguration to build a performing arts center.

The Mondavi Center anchors the campus’s new front door: the south entry, where, during Vanderhoef’s tenure, the university also built the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, the UC Davis Conference Center and the Graduate School of Management.

Vanderhoef also presided over the development of several academic buildings, and, perhaps most dramatic of all, the transformation of the relatively small former county hospital in Sacramento into the prestigious UC Davis Medical Center.


Honors for four professors in the Department of Psychology:

• Emilio Ferrer — 2014 Cattell Early Career Research Award from the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology. The society’s coordinating officer, Lesa Hoffman, said Ferrar “has made highly significant impact not only through his methodological works, but also in how he has integrated these contributions to inform the study of trajectories in cognitive abilities, dynamic processes and dyadic interactions.”

• Phil Shaver — 2013 Distinguished Scientist Award from the Society of Experimental Social Psychology.

• Charan Ranganath — Guggenheim Fellowship for his work on brain systems that enable memory-guided behavior, and a visiting professorship grant from the Leverhulme Trust in support of his pending sabbatical at Cambridge University.

• Dean Simonton — 2013 Distinguished Scientific Contribution to Media Psychology from Division 46 of the American Psychological Association; and 2013 Joseph B. Gittler Award for scholarly contributions to the philosophical foundations of psychological knowledge, from the American Psychological Foundation.


Plant sciences professor Jorge Dubcovsky, an internationally acclaimed wheat geneticist, is a new fellow — twice — in the Crop Science Society of America (as one of 11 new fellows for 2013) and the American Society of Agronomy (as one of 17 new fellows for 2013).

Each organization recognized Dubcovsky for major contributions in the areas of wheat genetics, genomic and breeding.


Ruihong Zhang, professor of biological and agricultural engineering, gave a lunchtime address at the California Bioresources Alliance Symposium held recently in Sacramento — and she came away with the symposium’s Achievement Award.

The alliance recognized her for “outstanding research incorporating good science and practicality in seeking solutions to agricultural organic waste problems, by transforming them into useful products.”

Zhang joined the UC Davis faculty in the fall of 1995 and became the director of the university’s Biogas Energy Project in 2006, seeking new methods to convert a variety of organic residues into biogas fuels and other valuable products. This technology moved from laboratory to pilot plant to commercial use in 2012.


Three women from UC Davis — a vice chancellor, a staff member and an undergraduate — received Excellence Awards from the Sac Cultural Hub Media Foundation during its recent fifth annual Exceptional Women of Color conference. The UC Davis Office of Campus Community Relations was a hosting partner.

Excellence Awards went to 22 women in all, recognized for being “on the move in their careers and in the community.”

The UC Davis honorees:

• Adela de la Torre, vice chancellor of Student Affairs, and professor and former chair, Department of Chicana/o Studies — She is an agricultural economist and nationally recognized expert on Latino and Chicana/o health issues.

• Elaine Nakata, analyst, Human Resources, UC Davis Health System — She advocates for diversity in the workplace through hiring (she develops and manages veterans and diversity career fairs) and other employment practices.

• Koui Saechao, fourth-year student in chemical engineering — She likes to challenge herself and aims to help society by improving our environment and our ways of living through engineering.


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Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,