Campus News in Brief

President Cohon wins 2011 National Engineering Award

Carnegie Mellon President Jared Cohon was awarded the 2011 National Engineering Award from the American Association of Engineering Societies. The association gives this award to individuals who strive toward excellence in engineering education, the improvement of the profession, and the development of public policies.

Cohon exemplifies these requirements through his career. He has served as the dean of Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. In 1973, he began his teaching and research career in the department of geography and environmental engineering at Johns Hopkins. Cohon also served as assistant and associate dean of engineering and vice provost for research at Johns Hopkins.

He has authored, coauthored, and edited over 80 professional publications focusing on topics relating to environmental and water resource systems analysis. He has worked on water resource problems in the U.S., South America, and Asia, as well as issues relating to nuclear waste shipping and storage.

Outside of the academic realm, Cohon served as a legislative assistant for energy and the environment in 1977 and 1978 under former New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. He was also appointed to the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board in 1995 and served as its chairman in 1997.

Professor writes memoir on survival and being a scholar

Edith Balas, a Carnegie Mellon professor of art history, survived numerous trials throughout her life; these include living through the Nazi death camp Auschwitz, handling the disappearance of her husband after falling into disfavor with communists, and facing the recurrence of breast cancer five times.

In her new book published by the Carnegie Mellon University Press, Bird in Flight: Memoir of a Survivor and Scholar, Balas describes her past of enduring harsh circumstances and evolving into what she calls a “professional survivor.”

Balas grew up in the Transylvanian city of Cluj, but her childhood abruptly ended in 1944 when Germany occupied Hungary. Her family was deported to Auschwitz, but she managed to escape the atrocities of the camp. She hopes for her book to allow young people to understand the reality of Auschwitz and anti-Semitism in the world.

Upon her return to Cluj, Balas married a young diplomat named Egon Balas. However, in 1952, Egon fell from favor in Romania’s Communist regime and was arrested. When Egon was finally released from prison, the couple immigrated to the United States. In the U.S., Egon became a famous mathematician and Edith an art historian and specialist. She has taught at Carnegie Mellon for over 30 years.