Campus: California State University, Los Angeles -- November 17, 2005

Cal State L.A. Chemistry Professor is One of Four Honored with CASE and Carnegie Foundation National Award

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education have named Carlos Gutiérrez (Monrovia, CA resident), professor of chemistry at California State University, Los Angeles, as the 2005 U.S. Professor of the Year. Gutiérrez, one of only four in the nation to be honored today in Washington, DC, was selected from nominations of more than 300 top professors in the United States.

"This prestigious award recognizes the superb dedication, teaching and leadership of Carlos Gutiérrez, who has opened the world of advanced science to students from diverse backgrounds. His graduates overwhelmingly become super achievers, whose successes make the entire University proud," says Cal State L.A. President James M. Rosser.

A nationally-recognized specialist in science education for underrepresented students, Carlos Gutiérrez is the director of Cal State L.A.'s National Institutes of Health (NIH) Minority Access to Research Careers and Minority Biomedical Research Support programs, and faculty coordinator and mentor for its Beckman Scholars program. Gutiérrez, whose Ph.D. is from UC Davis, has served on the National Institute of General Medical Sciences Council, and is a member of the National Research Council Board on Higher Education Workforce and the AAAS Committee on Opportunities in Science.

In his 29+ years at Cal State L.A., Gutiérrez has mentored more than 200 students through National Institutes of Health-funded programs and as a faculty participant in other projects such as the National Science Foundation-sponsored Research Experiences for Undergraduates, and Bridges to the Doctorate programs. Cal State L.A. is an undergraduate research intensive institution whose science students benefit educationally and professionally from year-round participation in laboratory investigations.

"I am very thankful for this great honor, but first and foremost, I have to acknowledge the many wonderful students I have been privileged to teach over the years. And, of course, the high caliber of my colleagues here at Cal State L.A.; their dedication as teacher-scholars has made us a standout university for our exceptional programs in the sciences," says Gutiérrez. "I am pleased to accept this award as recognition of the outstanding work of many Cal State L.A. faculty members and their students over many decades."

Gutiérrez's research straddles the interface between organic, inorganic and biological chemistry and focuses on studying the molecular processes of iron acquisition and transport in bacteria. He has published numerous articles, all with student coauthors. In great part through his effort, the American Chemical Society (ACS) established the Committee on Minority Affairs in 1993, with Gutiérrez serving as its first chair. During his tenure as chair, the Society also established the ACS Scholars Program, a $10 million scholarship program for undergraduates, and the ACS Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students to Pursue Careers in Chemical Sciences. Gutiérrez helped to establish the ACS Scholars Program in 1995, and has been active on its behalf since its inception. This scholarship program has supported the career development of more than 1,400 undergraduates.

In 1996, Gutiérrez was among the first individuals named by the President of the United States to receive the then-newly-established annual Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. The honor was conferred at a White House ceremony. Additionally, he has received a 1999 Scholar-Fellow award from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation; the Quality Education for Minorities in Mathematics, Science and Engineering (QEM/MSE) Network's Year 2000 MSE Giants in Science Award; the 2001 American Chemical Society Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences; and the 2003 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Lifetime Mentor Award. He was one of four CSU faculty members selected for the $20,000 systemwide CSU Wang Family Excellence Award in 2000. In 2002, he was inducted as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He also received an award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the educational film, Antimatter. His campus honors include the President's Distinguished Professor Award; the University's Outstanding Professor Award; the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Cal State L.A. chapter of the national honor society Phi Kappa Phi; the Cal State L.A. Hispanic Support Network Outstanding Educator Award; the Cal State L.A. Associated Students, Inc.'s Outstanding Faculty Award; and was selected by the students of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry as the 2005 Outstanding Professor of Chemistry. Most recently, he was chosen as the 2005 recipient of the HENAAC (Hispanic Engineering National Achievement Awards Corporation) Education Award.

CASE established the Professors of the Year program in 1981 and the Carnegie Foundation became the co-sponsor a year later. This is the third time that Cal State L.A. has been honored with the CASE and Carnegie Foundation awards. Besides Professor Gutierrez's U.S. Professor of the Year Award, Chemistry Professors Phoebe Dea and Thomas Onak were named as California Professors of Year in 1992 and 1995, respectively. TIAA-CREF, one of America's leading financial services organizations and higher education's premier retirement system, became the primary sponsor for the awards ceremony in 2000. Additional support for the program is received from the American Association of Community Colleges and other various higher education associations.

The Carnegie Foundation of the Advancement of Teaching was founded in 1905 by Andrew Carnegie "to do all things necessary to encourage, uphold and dignify the profession of teaching." The Foundation is the only advanced-study center for teachers in the world and the third-oldest foundation in the nation. Its nonprofit research activities are conducted by a small group of distinguished scholars.

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) is the largest international association of educational institutions, with more than 3,200 colleges, universities, and independent elementary and secondary schools in nearly 50 countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. Representing these institutions are more than 38,000 professionals in the disciplines of alumni relations, communications, and fund raising. Additional affiliates include educationally related nonprofit organizations and commercial firms.

Contact: Margie Yu, Public Affairs Specialist, (323) 343-3047


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