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Edward A. Dickson Emeritus Professorship Award Recipients Named 2019-20

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Personnel

2019-2020 Edward A. Dickson Emeritus Professorship Award Recipients Named


To: Deans, Directors, Department Chairs, Faculty, Emeriti Faculty, and Administrators

The Dickson Emeritus Professorship Award is funded from a gift endowment established by the late Edward A. Dickson, Regent of the University of California, to honor outstanding research, scholarly work, teaching, and service performed by an Emeritus or Emerita Professor since retirement.

Three UCLA emeriti professors have been selected to receive the 2019 – 2020 Edward A. Dickson Emeritus Professorship Award, which includes a prize of $5,000: Professor Emeritus Christopher B. Cooper, Saul Winstein Distinguished Research Professor Kendall N. Houk, and Distinguished Research Professor Pamela Munro.

Christopher B. Cooper, Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Physiology, retired in 2016 and has had a distinguished UCLA career as a clinical research physician and a medical educator since 1993. He is one of the world’s preeminent respiratory physiologists focused on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). He founded UCLA’s Exercise Physiology Research Laboratory in 1993 and continued as its director until 2019. Since retirement, he has continued his outstanding contributions to medicine and physiology including, directing the Pulmonary Research Laboratory, establishing the Pulmonary Function Test Reading Center at UCLA, and leading the SPIROMICS multicenter cohort. He has obtained considerable research funding including new NIH funding for a COPD-Heart Failure study and an Early COPD study. Professor Emeritus Cooper has published 52 peer-reviewed research papers, a book chapter, two letters to the editor, four review articles and one editorial since retirement. As a medical educator, Professor Cooper taught the majority of respiratory physiology to UCLA medical and dental students for well over two decades. He co-chaired the Cardiac, Respiratory and Renal Physiology Block for all first year medical students and chaired clinical skills courses for third and fourth year medical students. He has been recalled each year since his retirement to continue these educational activities. As a reflection of his international stature as an investigator and teacher, Professor Emeritus Cooper continues to be invited to address international audiences throughout the world.

Kendall N. Houk, Saul Winstein Distinguished Research Professor in Organic Chemistry, retired after 31 years at UCLA in 2016 and received the unusual extension of the Saul Winstein Endowed Chair that he held since 2009. Professor Houk’s activity since retirement has been at least equal to that of most of his senior colleagues, including over 180 publications in top research journals such as Nature, Science, and the Journal of the American Chemical Society, additionally he is awarded research funding of approximately $900,000-$1,000,000 each year. Professor Houk provides about 60 invited lectures in many countries, teaches about one-half the usual teaching load of a full-time faculty member, and continues active department and university service on committees. Among his research group’s major discoveries following his retirement is the development of methods to follow reactions by molecular dynamics revealing how reactions occur. His collaboration with his UCLA colleagues and investigators from around the world continue to provide major new insights into chemical reactions. Professor Houk continues to teach Modern Physical Organic Chemistry and Ethics in Chemical Research. He has served as the Organic Division Liaison, organized UCLA Research Showcases at American Chemical Society meetings, organized Winstein, Foote, and Roberts lectures, chaired or co-chaired the department’s Distinguished Lecture Committee and Awards Committee, and served on its Diversity, Chemistry Graduate Program, and Mentoring committees. Since 2018, he has served on the University Faculty Research Lecture Committee. Distinguished Research Professor Houk is an internationally famous scholar and a marvelous credit to his department and to UCLA.

Pamela Munro, Distinguished Research Professor of Linguistics is a specialist in the documentation, analysis, preservation, and revitalization of indigenous languages of the Americas. Over the course of her career, she has worked on almost 40 languages, far more than most others in the field of American Indigenous Linguistics. In the eight and a half years since her retirement in 2011, Professor Munro has continued to publish, teach, and engage in community service, at a level that would be worthy of most full-time faculty members. She has published 18 research articles, two popular articles, and one popular book and continues to work on language dictionaries and on the development of writing systems. She also participates regularly in the Zapotexts research group in which they transcribe, translate, and analyze Zopotec documents from the early Mexican Colonial period. She has continued to teach in the Linguistics department — including the graduate field methods course for three years post retirement and an upper division course in American Indigenous Linguistics. Additionally, in every year since her retirement she has directed a graduate seminar on American Indigenous Linguistics. In 2014, Professor Munro was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and in 2019, she taught a course at the biannual Summer Institute of the Linguistic Society of America where she was honored as the Institute’s Hale Professor. She has chaired three graduate committees and served as a member on committees in the Department of History and the American Indian Studies Center. A notable aspect of her professional work has been her co-authorship with indigenous collaborators, long before this was usual. Distinguished Research Professor Munro’s continued professional activities since retirement demonstrate a significant deepening in analytical scholarship, an amazing breadth of research engagement, and continuing extraordinary service to indigenous communities. She serves as a model for all linguists.

Please join me in wishing them all well-deserved congratulations for outstanding contributions to their respective fields since retirement and for serving as powerful examples of intellectual and professional achievement.


Michael S. Levine

Chair, Dickson Emeritus Professorship Award Selection Committee

Vice Chancellor, Academic Personnel