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Friday, May 27, 2022

The first two professors have been chosen for the UF Foundation’s brand-new Preeminence Term Professorships.

Chemical engineer Fan Ren and pathologist Mark Atkinson were both given $25,000 after being selected from a pool of UF faculty nominated by their colleges’ deans.

UF spokesman Steve Orlando said this is the first time the award has ever been given, and the university’s goal is to announce two recipients yearly.

“It’s a way to acknowledge the great work these professors have been doing and help them continue that work,” he said.

He said the award was created by the UF Foundation, the fundraising and gift-fund management branch of the university. The money awarded was from private donations to the university.

According to a news release, Ren and Atkinson can use the money to hire research assistants, buy equipment, attend special trainings, travel, collaborate on work and promote their research.

The idea was to connect these awards with UF’s preeminence in the state, Orlando said. Gov. Rick Scott titled UF a preeminent university earlier this year and called for it to become a top 10 public university in the nation.

Atkinson oversees a team of doctors and researchers focused on determining the causes of diabetes and how to prevent it, according to a news release.

Ren leads a UF team working on creating sensors that detect chemical and biological signs indicative of health issues like kidney disease and breast cancer.

Hans Rojas, a 20-year-old UF marketing junior, said because the university is involved in so much research, it’s important to reward its professors for hard work.

“Those professors are doing research for bettering the lives of humans,” Rojas said. “The award does nothing but encourage continued good research.”

A version of this story ran on page 5 on 10/9/2013 under the headline "Prominent professors awarded $25,000 by UF Foundation"

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