Thursday, May 27, 2021
Office of Strategic Communication

Stanley Perlman, professor of microbiology and immunology and Mark Stinski Chair in Virology, and Michelle Scherer, professor of civil and environmental engineering and Donald E. Bently Professor of Engineering, have been named recipients of the 2021 University of Iowa Distinguished Chair. Although already honored with endowed positions, both will relinquish these positions to accept the University Distinguished Chair.

The award is one of the highest honors bestowed on faculty at the UI. It recognizes tenured scholars of national and international distinction who are making a significant positive impact within the university, state of Iowa and beyond through teaching, research, and/or scholarship.

“The UI Distinguished Chair award provides the university with an opportunity to recognize some of the most exceptional members of our community of scholars,” says Kevin Kregel, executive vice president and provost. “The work Professors Perlman and Scherer have done in their fields has had a tremendous positive impact on the lives of Iowans and the broader community while also contributing to the university’s distinction. We are proud to be able to honor them in this way.”

In addition to support for their professional activities, awardees will hold the title of University of Iowa Distinguished Chair for the duration of their faculty appointment at Iowa. The award was created in 2020 and recognized Corinne Peek-Asa, professor in the College of Public Health, and Caroline Tolbert, professor of political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, during its inaugural year.

Scherer joined the UI in 1998 and is a professor in the College of Engineering. Scherer is an environmental engineer and a leader in discovering new ways to keep water safe by shedding light on fundamental processes in soils and, more recently, leading a campaign to assess Iowans’ exposure to lead in their drinking water.

Scherer has published more than 70 journal articles and is internationally recognized for her work. As departmental executive officer of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering for nearly eight years (2010 to 2018), Scherer led the effort to create the first environmental engineering Bachelor of Science (BS) degree offered in Iowa.

In addition, Scherer helped develop a new, innovative graduate research training program focused on sustainable water development. She has served as a member of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Engineering Scientific Advisory Board and as associate editor of the journal Environmental Science & Technology.