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Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

October 5, 2004
Susan Beasy Latto, UMD Director of Public Relations (218) 726-8830
James P. Riehl, Dean, UMD College of Science & Engineering 218 726-6397
Jamie Proulx, University of News Service, (612) 624-8038

UMD Dean James Riehl Receives McKnight Presidential Leadership Chair

Newly Created Chair Recognizes Extraordinary Scholarly Achievements
and Leader and Mentor Roles

Photo of James Riehl.

The University of Minnesota and the McKnight Foundation have established the McKnight Presidential Leadership Chair, a newly created chair to recognize the significant contributions of outstanding leaders at the University of Minnesota.

James Riehl, dean of the UMD College of Science and Engineering is one of five recipients of this award. Dean Riehl will be honored for his award by the U of M Board of Regents at 9 a.m. Friday, October 8, in the UMD Kirby Student Center Ballroom B, 3rd floor.

The other recipients are from the U of M, Twin Cities campus. They include: Frank Cerra, senior vice president for health services; Charles Muscoplat, vice president for agricultural policy and dean of the College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences; Deborah Powell, dean of the Medical School; and Steven Rosenstone, dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

Recipients were chosen for their leadership qualities at the university, their ability to inspire others in their work and their commitment to establishing the university as a world-class institution of research and learning.

"This award recognizes the contributions of unique and gifted leaders among our deans and executive officers," said university President Robert Bruininks. "They have been recognized not only for their extraordinary scholarly achievements but also for their role as respected leaders and mentors."

The McKnight Leadership Chairs are funded through a gift of $15 million from the McKnight Foundation that was made in 1999. Besides the McKnight Leadership Chairs, it has been used for McKnight Presidential Chairs, Professors and Fellows, to attract and retain top faculty at key stages in their careers.

Background Information on UMD Dean James P. Riehl:

James P. Riehl grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and received a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Villanova University, and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Purdue University in 1975. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Virginia, he joined the faculty in Chemistry at the University of Missouri-St. Louis where he progressed through the academic ranks, being promoted to Professor of Chemistry in 1991. In 1992 he was awarded the St. Louis Award of the American Chemical Society for his "outstanding contributions to the chemistry profession". In 1993 he accepted the position as chairman of the Department of Chemistry at Michigan Technological University, and in 2000 he was appointed to his current position as Dean of the College of Science and Engineering and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Minnesota Duluth. He has also held visiting faculty positions at Kings College, London, and the University of Leiden, The Netherlands.

Dr. Riehl is the author or coauthor of more than 90 research publications. He has lectured extensively throughout the United States, and has presented numerous seminars describing his research in Europe and Japan. He is recognized by the international scientific community as an expert in the use of optical spectroscopy to probe the structure of so-called "chiral" molecules. These are molecules which may occur in non-superimposable mirror-image forms. Almost all biological molecules and pharmaceuticals are chiral, and an understanding of the relationship between chiral molecular structure and biological function is of fundamental interests to chemists and biologists. Dr. Riehl's special area of expertise is the measurement and interpretation of the luminescence from chiral molecules. This research area has resulted in productive international collaborations with scientists in the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, Poland, and Japan. His recent research efforts have been assisted by funding from the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health.

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