Accolades: Judaic Studies Expert Peter Ochs To Receive Lucas Prize

Picture of Sunset View From Rotunda

(Photo by Sanjay Suchak, University Communications)

The University of Tübingen’s Faculty of Protestant Theology has announced that this year’s Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize will go to Peter Ochs, an emeritus professor of modern Judaic studies at the University of Virginia, citing “his services to the dialogue between Judaism, Christianity and Islam.”

The award will be presented May 9 in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

Portrait of Professor emeritus Peter Ochs

Professor emeritus Peter Ochs earned one of the top prizes in religious studies for his work on scriptural reasoning and interreligious dialogue. (Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)

“Ochs has significantly contributed to the development and dissemination of the Scriptural Reasoning method,” the school noted in its announcement.

Scriptural reasoning pursues the goal of reconciliation between followers of Christianity, Judaism and Islam through joint reading and discussion of the respective holy texts, promoting understanding and acceptance of the respective religious traditions. “For Ochs, this mutual understanding is the basis of interreligious reconciliation,” the award announcement said. 

Ochs was Edgar M. Bronfman Professor of Modern Judaic Studies from 1997 until 2021 and was elected professor emeritus in 2022. He is a co-founder of the Society for Scriptural Reasoning and of the Children of Abraham Institute, which are committed to dialogue among members of the Abrahamic religions. He has been noted for numerous influential publications in the fields of Judaic studies, Jewish philosophy and theology, post-modern philosophy, and interreligious dialogue and peacebuilding.

In addition to his broad and interdisciplinary scholarly activities, Ochs has been active in policy advocacy for the U.S. State Department on the topics of religion and foreign policy, and religion and violence.

“In his work, Ochs not only provides a theoretical framework for interreligious understanding, but also actively works to achieve this goal in practice,” the announcement said.

The Dr. Leopold Lucas Prize annually goes to individuals whose academic work has made a major contribution to greater tolerance and better relations between people and nations and has helped to promote a philosophy of tolerance. It honors the memory of the Jewish rabbi and scholar Dr. Leopold Lucas, who died at Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1943. The prize was endowed by his son, Franz D. Lucas, in 1972.

Computer Science Chair Elected to Computing Research Association Board

Portrait of Sandhya Dwarkadas

Sandhya Dwarkadas, who came to UVA in July to chair the Department of Computer Science in the School of Engineering, was elected to the board of directors of the Computing Research Association. (UVA Engineering photo)

Sandhya Dwarkadas, the Walter N. Munster Professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, has been elected to the board of directors of the Computing Research Association. Her term begins July 1.

The Computing Research Association unites industry, academia and government to advance research and education in computing by helping to broaden the scope of research and its impact on society; cultivating strong, diverse talent in the field; and being a trusted source of information for policymakers and the public. CRA also promotes an equitable and socially responsible computing research community.

Although newly elected as a director by a vote of the association’s members, Dwarkadas is not new to the board. She was appointed in 2022 to represent the Committee on Widening Participation in Computing Research, which she has served as a board member since 2010 and as co-chair from 2019 to 2022.

Dwarkadas came to UVA Engineering in July 2022 from the University of Rochester, where her tenure included chairing the Department of Computer Science in the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences for six years. She held the title of Albert Arendt Hopeman Professor of Engineering and professor of computer science with a secondary appointment in electrical and computer engineering.

Dwarkadas received her bachelor’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India and her Master of Science and doctorate from Rice University. She is a fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

UVA’s Top Youth Guardian Earns National Certification

Carri Burgjohann, who manages UVA’s Office of Youth Protection, recently achieved the top certification in the field of higher education youth protection, earning designation as a Certified Praesidium Guardian.

To earn the certification, Burgjohann demonstrated knowledge about specific steps to prevent sexual abuse by employees, volunteers or youth program participants, as well as understanding effective responses if an allegation or incident occurs. 

This distinction is managed by Praesidium, an organization focused on risk management of sexual abuse of vulnerable populations. 

To become a Certified Praesidium Guardian, Burgjohann completed a pre-workshop assignment that included six hours of online training; attended an immersive workshop experience amounting to 20 hours of learning, discussion and application of abuse risk management skills; and completed a post-workshop “impact project” to demonstrate her abuse-prevention knowledge by putting it into practice in a tangible way at UVA.

Ride Like A Cavalier, UVA License Plates Are Available from the Virginia DMV
Ride Like A Cavalier, UVA License Plates Are Available from the Virginia DMV

Over the past three years, Burgjohann has built UVA’s Office of Youth Protection from the ground up. The University annually hosts thousands of participants in youth programs, activities, and events, both on Grounds in Charlottesville and on campus at UVA’s College at Wise, as well as in settings as varied as K-12 schools, farms, research labs and even radio stations.

In the past two years, more than 1,800 people have completed youth protection training through UVA’s office.

UVA Health Honored Nationally for High-Quality Heart Imaging

UVA Health’s Heart & Vascular Center is one of just 46 facilities recognized nationally for their longstanding commitment to excellent heart imaging with echocardiograms, which use ultrasound waves to examine the heart’s structure and function.

The Adult Echocardiography Lab at the UVA Heart & Vascular Center has received the 25-Year Silver Accreditation Milestone from Intersocietal Accreditation Commission Echocardiography, which accredits more than 2,800 health care facilities in the United States and Canada. UVA Health is one of just two health providers in Virginia to earn the 25-year accreditation award.

“Accreditation from the IAC highlights our ongoing commitment to quality improvement and evidence-based care,” said Dr. Jamieson Bourque, a UVA Health cardiologist and director of the Echocardiography Laboratory. “I want to thank all the members of our echocardiography team for their hard, sustained work to produce excellent imaging that is invaluable for us to provide the best care for our patients.”

Picture of UVA Hospital
The Heart & Vascular Center at UVA Health is one of 46 facilities recognized nationally for its excellent use of echocardiography. (UVA Health photo)

At UVA Health, echocardiograms are performed by registered cardiac sonographers and read by one of UVA’s specially trained cardiologists. UVA Health offers three types of echocardiography:

  • Transthoracic echocardiography: This test produces images from an ultrasound probe placed on the chest wall to look for abnormalities in the heart’s physical structures, including the chambers and valves.
  • Stress echocardiography: Compares images from a patient’s heart at rest to their heart immediately after exercising.
  • Transesophageal echocardiography: Uses ultrasound images from within the esophagus directly behind the heart to evaluate the heart structure and valves in high detail.

Media Contact

Dan Heuchert

Assistant Director of University News and Chief Copy Editor, UVA Today Office of University Communications