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Mentors: Summer 2020

Demystifying Mars 

Ken Coles

While the first human mission to Mars may be more than a decade away, IUP associate professor and planetarium director Ken Coles is giving the average person a closer look at the planet now. Coles teamed up with Ken Tanaka of the US Geological Survey’s astrogeology team and Phil Christensen of Arizona State University to create The Atlas of Mars: Mapping Its Geography and Geology, released by Cambridge University Press last year. The result of eight years of work, this publication replaces a NASA Mars atlas that was 40 years old.

Intended for scientists and lay space enthusiasts alike, the new atlas explores the planet’s geology and geography, including prominent features such as Valles Marineris, a canyon system more than four times larger than Earth’s Grand Canyon, and Olympus Mons, a volcanic mountain more than twice the height of Mount Everest. The atlas also examines changes in the planet’s environment over time, as well as current debates and outstanding questions in Mars research.

“It’s still a case of the blind man and the elephant when it comes to Mars,” Coles said. “Remote sensors on robotic spacecrafts are helping, but we’re still putting the pieces together.”

A member of IUP’s Geoscience Department since 2004, Coles discussed the atlas at the Ninth International Conference on Mars at Caltech in July 2019. 

Crème de la Crème 

Charles McCreary

While leading students on a study-abroad experience in Nancy, France, last summer, IUP associate professor Charles McCreary (right) was honored with the city’s gold medal. That visit marked the 30th anniversary of McCreary’s first trip with the Nancy program in 1989, four years after it was established. He has coordinated the program since 2004. In its coverage of the award, a local newspaper recognized McCreary as “one of the most ‘Nancified’ Americans” and a “son of [French region] Lorraine forever.” McCreary has been a member of the French faculty, now within IUP’s Foreign Languages Department, since 1986.

Professor on Loan

In January, Steve Hovan, longtime chair of IUP’s Geoscience Department, took a temporary position as a rotator with the National Science Foundation. In this role, he will make recommendations on which grant proposals NSF should fund. Hovan has twice received NSF awards for his research, which has focused on relationships among atmospheric circulation, oceanic currents, and global climate change. Rotators are expected to stay with NSF between one and four years. “I’m not retired,” Hovan said. “I’m just on loan.” Named IUP’s Distinguished University Professor in 2007, he has served on the faculty since 1993.

Faculty Deaths

The following faculty and former faculty members died in recent months:

  • Steven Cord, a professor emeritus who retired from the History Department in 1987 after 25 years of service, died April 20, 2020.

  • Marlin Hartman, a professor emeritus who retired from the Mathematics Department in 1992 after nearly 25 years of service, died July 16, 2020.

  • Olive Holt, a faculty member who retired from the Nursing and Allied Health Professions Department in 1996 after nearly 25 years of service, died June 19, 2020.

  • Lynda LaRoche, a faculty member who retired from the Art Department in 2013 after almost 16 years of service, died January 23, 2020. 

  • Arthur Martel, a professor emeritus who retired from the Economics Department in 2002 after 32 years of service, died November 15, 2019.

  • John Matolyak, a professor emeritus who retired from the Physics Department in 2003 after nearly 37 years of service, died December 31, 2019.

  • Robert Morris, a professor emeritus and former dean of International Studies who retired from the Political Science Department in 1997 after nearly 35 years of service, died November 22, 2019.

  • Muriel Munro, a faculty member who retired from the Special Education and Clinical Services Department in 1994 after nearly 14 years of service, died September 14, 2019.

  • Helmut Paschold, a faculty member in the Safety Sciences Department since 2012, died September 21, 2019.

  • Malcolm Stilson, a Library faculty member from 1966 to 1969, died this year.

  • Marilyn Thomas, who taught in the English Department between 1982 and 1988, died January 29, 2020.

  • Ken Wilson, a professor emeritus who retired from the English Department in 2002 after nearly 40 years of service, died March 20, 2020.

  • Nanci Wilson, a professor emerita who retired from the Criminology Department in 2005 after almost 16 years of service, died March 18, 2020.

  • Edward Wolf, a professor emeritus who retired from the University Libraries in 1992 after 30 years of service, died April 20, 2020. 

  • Geno Zambotti ’57, M’62, a professor emeritus who retired from the Chemistry Department in 1994 after nearly 28 years of service, died February 9, 2020.