Campus News - October 29, 2001

Notables

The UNM Alumni Association has received an award of achievement for its 2000 homecoming marketing campaign from the American Marketing Association New Mexico chapter. The award was presented recently at the chapter’s 13th annual Marketer of the Year Awards.

Karen Abraham, director of Alumni Relations, said the award is well deserved by the Alumni Association staff who work to distinguish each year’s homecoming with its own theme. The 2000 theme, Lobo Adventure, incorporated elements of Indiana Jones with safari features. Designer Kelly Ketner created the Lobo Louie graphic, which embellished most of the publications.

“Both the planners and the participants had fun with this theme,” Abraham said. “They used their imaginations and had a great time!”

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Arthur H. GuentherResearch Professor Arthur H. Guenther of the UNM Mexico Center for High Technology Materials has been appointed professor emeritus of engineering at New Mexico Tech. Guenther will continue his position at UNM.

He was recently recognized by the New Mexico Tech Board of Regents for his many contributions to New Mexico Tech. Prior to his arrival at UNM, Guenther held senior technical position in both the Department of Defense and Department of Energy in New Mexico. He also served as Science Advisor to three New Mexico governors. Guenther has a long and distinguished career of service to New Mexico from optics to defense to education to technology-based economic development serving in the past as the first legislated science advisor to several governors.

Guenther is the previous chief scientist of the Air Force Weapons Laboratory and held a similar position at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He is a pioneer in laser activities and directed energy.

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Karl Johnson, world famous virologist and adjunct professor with joint appointments in the Biology Department and School of Medicine, was recently awarded the “La Orden de Manuel Amador Guerrero Medal” from Panama.

The medal, named after Guerrero, the first president of Panama in 1903, is the highest honor the country awards in the field of science. It is equivalent to the Medal of Science, which is the highest scientific honor bestowed upon scientists in the United States. The medal was established on the 50th anniversary of Panama’s independence in 1953 and has been awarded to distinguished people in the sciences and arts for almost 50 years.

“I was given the award as a scientist who worked with viruses in their country that affected Panama’s public health,” said Johnson.
Johnson originally went to Panama in 1962, four years after the National Institutes of Health established a small virus lab in Panama to look into tropical diseases. Johnson planned to work at the lab for two years and stayed thirteen. “It’s (Panama) where I got into the first of several viruses that set the course of my career. I worked on other viruses and diseases in Panama before the lab was eventually closed in 1975,” Johnson said. “A number of the people I trained stayed and worked at a place founded by Americans called Gorgas Institute, named after Gen. William Gorgas who cleaned up Havana and the Canal Zone of malaria and yellow fever.

“I went to Panama with Dr. Terry Yates, research; Dr. Jorge Salazar, biology; and Drs. Fred Koster and Brian Hjelle of the Medical School, for a two-day symposium on hantavirus,” Johnson said. “At the end of the symposium, Minister of Health Dr. Fernando Garcia presented me with the medal. It was a complete surprise. I was overwhelmed.”

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