Accolades: MS Society Honors Colette Sheehy as Community ‘Champion’

May 30, 2023 By Dan Heuchert, Dan Heuchert,

The National MS Society honored Colette Sheehy, the University of Virginia’s senior vice president for operations and state government relations, with its Silver Hope Award during its 31st annual Charlottesville Dinner of Champions, held earlier this month.

The society each year selects a community member whose extraordinary contributions to the local community warrant special recognition. Past recipients affiliated with UVA have included President Emeritus John T. Casteen III, former Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Leonard W. Sandridge, Dr. William Petri, President Emerita Teresa Sullivan, former Dean of Nursing Dorrie Fontaine, former UVA head athletic trainer Joe Gieck, and Associate Athletics Director Barry Parkhill. 

Sheehy joined UVA in 1982 as a budget analyst and has taken on increasingly significant roles in University operations over the years. Sheehy now manages UVA’s capital construction program and operation of the buildings and grounds, oversees state government relations, real estate and leasing services, and UVA auxiliary enterprises such as Housing, Dining, the University Bookstore, Parking and Transportation, Printing and Copying Services, and Mail Services.

She also plays an integral role in managing finances, economic development and community outreach at UVA, an institution that serves as the region’s largest employer. In 2021, Sheehy received UVA’s Thomas Jefferson Award for Excellence in Service, the highest honor given to members of the University staff.

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Portrait of Colette Sheehy

Colette Sheehy, UVA’s senior vice president for operations and state government relations, is the eighth member of the University community to receive a Silver Hope Award from the National MS Society. (Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)

Sheehy is a former chair and current member of the Emily Couric Leadership Forum, which recognizes women leaders and provides scholarships to local young women to empower the next generation of women leaders. She is also a member of the board of directors for the Charlottesville Area Chamber of Commerce, and previously served on the board for the Central Virginia Partnership for Economic Development, Virginia Retirement System, Virginia Discovery Museum and Leadership Charlottesville Alumni Association.

Colleagues describe Sheehy, one of UVA’s first female vice presidents, as a role model to women across Virginia who have risen through the ranks to leadership positions. They call her a mentor who has assisted other professionals for decades through leadership development programs at UVA and across the commonwealth.

P&T Director Honored With Lifetime Achievement Award

Rebecca White, who directs UVA’s Department of Parking & Transportation, recently received the International Parking & Mobility Institute’s 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Portrait of Rebecca White

Rebecca White, whose career at UVA Parking and Transportation started as a student bus driver in 1982, plans to retire as director later this spring. (Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)

The institute said the award recognizes those who generously give their time, expertise and passion to advance the work of the parking and mobility industry. In particular, it hailed White for being a “champion” for the Certified Administrator of Public Parking program, which provides a professional certification. It recognizes training and expertise in areas including parking design, finance, revenue control and auditing, parking enforcement, and management.

The credential program was developed by the institute in partnership with UVA.

“You certainly have been a champion for the CAPP program and helping build it into the most respected certification in our industry,” the organization said to White in its award notification. “Over the years we could always count on your volunteering for an assortment of projects, and we knew that having your involvement would benefit our community at large.”

White, a UVA alumna, joined Parking & Transportation as a student bus driver in 1982. She has served as director since 2001, a role that includes responsibility for all permit, transit and facilities operations. She has served on state and national parking and transportation organization boards and has provided consulting services to peer higher education parking and transportation operations.

White plans to retire from the University later this spring.

“Becca White is truly deserving of this honor,” Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer J.J. Wagner Davis said. “We are grateful for her leadership in Parking & Transportation and wholeheartedly agree that she deserves a lifetime achievement award.”

Professor’s Scholarship Among 10 Best Corporate Law Articles of the Year

School of Law professor Cathy Hwang’s paper showing that most empirical corporate governance scholarship is based on bad data has been named one of the top 10 corporate and securities law articles of 2022.

In a poll conducted for the journal Corporate Practice Commentator, Hwang’s fellow academics voted the paper, “Cleaning Corporate Governance,” as one of the top 10 among more than 400 entries.

The paper, published in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, is co-written with law professors Jens Frankenreiter of Washington University in St. Louis, Yaron Nili of the University of Wisconsin and Eric L. Talley of Columbia University. With data gathered by dozens of law students and scholars, the paper makes available its collection of three decades’ worth of corporate charters for thousands of public companies.

By examining the new dataset, the team found that scholars’ reliance on a preexisting set of corporate governance data had been misplaced.

Portrait of Cathy Hwang

Law professor Cathy Hwang’s article on corporate governance was one of the 10 best in her field published in 2022. (UVA Law photo)

“We demonstrate that several of the most heavily relied upon datasets suffer from inaccuracies so extensive as to call into question some of the landmark insights in the field” of empirical corporate governance research, the authors write in their introduction.

The new database, the CCG dataset, offers a clearer picture of the power dynamics that control corporations and what that might imply in terms of profit potential, valuation and long-term prospects, among other business factors, according to Hwang.

Corporate Practice Commentator is a set of journals featuring articles written on all aspects of corporate law. The articles poll began in 1994. Past polls have also recognized professors Michal Barzuza, Quinn Curtis, George S. Geis, Edmund W. Kitch and Paul G. Mahoney.

Hwang, who joined the law faculty in 2020, is the Barron F. Black Research Professor of Law and directs the school’s John W. Glynn Jr. Law & Business Program. Her research and teaching focus on business law, including mergers and acquisitions, corporate contracts and corporate governance.

Records Office Wins National Recognition for Quality of Its Program, Service

UVA’s Records & Information Management Office received the 2023 Program Excellence Award from the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators.

The association annually selects one winner from among its members to recognize outstanding, innovative and successful government archives and records management programs or initiatives.” The award recognizes collaborative team or government programs for developing and implementing products or programs that enhance goals of government records management and preservation.

“This is a remarkable achievement for the professionals in our Records & Information Management Office,” Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer J.J. Wagner Davis said. “Having a records management team that provides guidance and services to effectively manage University records and information enables employees to focus on their most important work.”

UVA won for its overall records management program, which is led by University Records Officer Caroline Walters and supported by her colleagues, Electronic Records Manager Jessie Graham and Senior Records Management Analyst Anita Vannucci.

The UVA office was created following a 2008 initiative that recommended the University create a more structured and better resourced program for ensuring proper handling, storage and destruction of records in compliance with state laws and UVA policies and regulations.

“Under Caroline’s leadership, the University now has a records management program that is worthy of national recognition,” Gary Nimax, UVA’s assistant vice president for compliance, said. “I appreciate their ability to both comply with the Virginia Public Records Act and provide excellent customer service to our schools and departments.”

UVA’s records team will receive the Program Excellence Award in July.

McIntire Center Selects Virginia Evans for IT Leadership Award

The Center for the Management of IT at UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce has selected Virginia Evans as the recipient of its IT Leadership Award. The award, presented May 12 at the school’s annual CMIT Knowledge ∞ Continuum conference, recognizes IT professionals who are innovators, pathfinders and problem-solvers.

Evans recently retired from the University after a 30-year career that included roles in Finance, the UVA Medical Center, the Darden School of Business and UVA Information Technology Services. She stepped down in December from her role as UVA’s chief information officer, which she held since 2014, then served as special assistant to the chief operating officer through April.

Portrait of Virginia Evans

Virginia Evans, who recently retired from the University after a 30-year career, received the IT Leadership Award from the Center for the Management of IT at UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce. (Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)

The CMIT IT Leadership Award emphasizes Evans’ contributions as CIO for the University. Her tenure was marked by rapid and continuous change and improvement in UVA’s IT infrastructure, security, policies and practices. It includes unexpected challenges such as the urgent need to move 4,200 courses online during the 2020 spring semester upended by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Evans also was credited for making IT service more responsive and developing a roadmap to make research computing more robust.

UVA Researcher Receives Prestigious Lectureship Named for UVA Researcher

Brant Isakson, a professor of molecular physiology and biological physics and member of UVA’s Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center, has received the American Physiological Society’s 2024 Robert M. Berne Distinguished Lectureship.

Portrait of Brant Isakson

Brant Isakson, a professor of molecular physiology and biological physics and member of UVA’s Robert M. Berne Cardiovascular Research Center, received a national award named for Berne. (UVA School of Medicine photo)

The Berne Lectureship is presented each year to an emerging leader in cardiovascular research whose current research is particularly stimulating. This award honors one of the most distinguished members of the American Physiological Society’s Cardiovascular Section, the late Dr. Robert M. Berne – the former chair of UVA’s Department of Physiology – whose research focused on the local chemical regulation of tissue blood flow.

Isakson’s laboratory made the discovery that hemoglobin alpha, a potent nitric oxide scavenger, plays a previously unrecognized role in blood pressure regulation.

He has established an important role for globins in cardiovascular physiology. Isakson’s research has also demonstrated the importance of pannexin-based purinergic signaling in the vasculature, showing their regulation of vasoconstriction, cellular proliferation, intercellular communication and signaling and their contribution to vascular health and disease.

Nursing Professor Earns Fellowship To Develop Assessment Tool for Clinicians

With a new three-year, $450,000 fellowship, nursing professor Virginia LeBaron and her team will expand, refine and test a smartwatch prototype that assesses clinicians’ conversations.

LeBaron, the Kluge-Schakat Associate Professor of Compassionate Care in the School of Nursing, is one of 16 nurse scientists to earn a Betty Irene Moore Fellowship for Nurse Leaders and Innovators in 2023 as part of the program’s fourth cohort.

Portrait of Virginia LeBaron

Nursing professor Virginia LeBaron earned a Betty Irene Moore Fellowship for Nurse Leaders and Innovators for her work on a smart watch that will improve communications between patients and health care providers. (Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)

With the grant, LeBaron and mentor Laura Barnes, a UVA systems and information engineering professor, will further refine, deploy and test the impact of a new smartwatch prototype, called CommSense, that records conversations between patients and providers and assesses the quality of providers’ communication. The resulting assessment aims to help clinicians improve their bedside manner, their care quality and patients’ outcomes, as well as ensure that patients’ pain levels are well managed.

Portrait of Laura Barnes

Engineering faculty member Laura Barnes has mentored LeBaron in developing “CommSense.” (UVA Engineering photo)

“So much of health care rests on how effectively we communicate – about diagnoses, disease processes, treatment options, and what patients and their loved ones can expect,” said Marianne Baernholdt, dean of UVA School of Nursing and fellow nurse scientist who studies quality and safety. “But equally important to the words we use is the tone and manner in which we say them. This technology is powerful, important and much needed, and we are incredibly proud of Virginia’s work in this critical space.”

The Moore Fellowship, funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, recognizes early- to mid-career nursing scholars and innovators with a high potential to accelerate leadership in nursing research, practice, education, policy and entrepreneurship. As a Moore Fellow, LeBaron will also take part in hybrid online and in-person learning with national experts on topics related to leadership, innovation, strategic thinking, entrepreneurship and collaboration.

UVA Researchers Sweep Epilepsy Awards

A journal that publishes epilepsy research has given both of its 2022 young investigator awards to UVA researchers.

Ifrah Zawar and Nadia Adotevi each won Epilepsia Open Young Investigator Awards for their papers published in 2022 in Epilepsia Open, the open-source journal of the International League Against Epilepsy.

The Epilepsia Open Prizes are given to the two best original articles, clinical and basic science, published during the preceding year. They are awarded to the first authors of the manuscripts, provided that they are under 45 years of age, “to encourage these young talented researchers in their pursuit of a successful independent career,” according to the journal.

Zawar, an assistant professor of neurology and National Institutes of Health NeuroNEXT Fellow who is also working on a master’s degree in clinical research, took the clinical award for her article, “Risk Factors That Predict Delayed Seizure Detection on Continuous Electroencephalogram (cEEG) in a Large Sample Size of Critically Ill Patients.”

Adotevi, a postdoctoral researcher working in the neurology lab of Dr. Jaideep Kapur, won the basic science award for “Focal Impaired Awareness Seizures in a Rodent Model: A Functional Anatomy.”

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Dan Heuchert

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