Poet Maureen N. McLane, PhD’97, in New York City. (Photography by Jason Smith)


Highlights from the latest alumni news columns.

McLane verses the competition

Poet Maureen N. McLane’s (PhD’97) third collection, This Blue (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), was shortlisted for the National Book Foundation’s 2014 National Book Award for poetry. Also a critic and author of the memoir My Poets (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), which was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography, McLane is a professor of English at New York University.

Cultural leader

Julie Burros, AB’86, has been named chief of arts and culture for the City of Boston, Mayor Marty Walsh announced in September. Burros, who oversaw a revised Chicago Cultural Plan as director of cultural planning since 2000 for the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, will be Boston’s first cabinet-level arts official in more than two decades. When she’s sworn in this December, Burros will oversee nine employees of the Boston Arts Commission and Boston Cultural Council and an annual budget of $1.3 million.

Paleo president

Members of the Paleontological Society voted University of Cincinnati professor Arnold Miller, PhD’86, as president-elect. Miller will serve consecutive two-year terms as president-elect, president, and past president. A former editor of the journal Paleobio­logy, Miller teaches paleontology, geology, and environmental studies and also serves as adjunct curator of invertebrate paleontology at the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History.

Exercised about diet

Kim Williams, AB’75, MD’79, chief of cardiology at Rush University Medical Center, assumes the presidency of the American College of Cardiology in January after serving as president-elect in 2014. Williams advocates a plant-based diet free of animal products, which he adpoted in 2003 in a successful effort to reduce his cholesterol level. He wrote an essay on the subject in July in Med Page Today that prompted debate among readers and was covered in the New York Times’s blog on health, Well. “Anything someone does to move away from the Standard American Diet,” he told the Chicago Tribune, “will make a huge difference in terms of diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and heart disease.”

An advocate for AIDS care

John Peller, MPP’00, became president and CEO of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago in September. Working with the organization since 2005, Peller led its state lobbying efforts as vice president of policy, and most recently served as interim president and CEO. An advocate for affordable access to HIV medications, Peller’s efforts have included the HIVHealthReform.org project, which educates patients about the Affordable Care Act.

Home for the humanities

Chicago Humanities Festival artistic director Matti Bunzl, PhD’98, will leave the position after the annual event concludes November 9 to become director of Vienna’s Wien Museum. A Vienna native, Bunzl became the festival’s artistic director in 2010 and has served on the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he has been a professor of anthropology, history, and German, since 1998. The Wien Museum, which has multiple locations in Vienna, includes collections and exhibitions about the city’s history, art, fashion, and culture.

Crossing academic borders

R. Scott Appleby, AM’79, PhD’85, has been appointed founding dean of the University of Notre Dame’s Donald R. Keough School of Global Affairs. A professor of history and a scholar of global religious movements, Appleby has been a Notre Dame faculty member since 1994. Previously director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, Appleby will lead the first new college or school at Notre Dame in nearly a century. The Keough School’s research will focus on international development, peace, human rights, and governance.