2015 Distinguished Alumni Awards

Joseph Gardella, Postdoc '82
Diane Parry, PhD '89
Don Reese, BS '73 (MD '77)
Kirk Ririe, BS '05

On Monday, April 20th, the Department of Chemistry honored four former students as our 2015 Distinguished Alumni.

Professor Joseph A. Gardella, Jr. received his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh and completed postdoctoral research in Physical Chemistry at the University of Utah working with Ted Eyring in 1982. He then joined the faculty at University at Buffalo, State University of New York, where he is now a Distinguished Professor and the John & Frances Larkin Professor of Chemistry. Joe’s research interests are in quantitative analysis and surface chemistry, broadly applied to the study of environmental effects at polymer surfaces and tissue engineering with synthetic biomaterials. He is also director of the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Partnership (ISEP), which brings together the University of Buffalo, 21 public schools, the Buffalo Museum of Science, and Buffalo State College to increase hands-on learning in science classes.

Diane B. Parry obtained her PhD in Physical and Analytical Chemistry at the University of Utah with Professor Joel Harris in 1989, followed by postdoctoral research with Mike Philpott at IBM's Almaden Research Center in San Jose, CA. She has worked at the Procter & Gamble Company for 26 years, leading many disciplines within Research & Development including supply chain innovation, process design, consumer understanding and formula design. Diane is currently a Research & Development Associate Director; her Department includes Chemists, Physicists and Engineers and stretches across six countries. Diane is also the President of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy.  She has been involved in FACSS and SciX for more than ten years, including as the Governing Board Chair in 2006, and started organizing sessions on “Analytical Chemists Easing World Poverty” in 2010.

Don L. Reese, MD received his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Utah in 1973. He then attended medical school at the University of Utah, earning his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1977. He completed a dermatology residency at the University of Minnesota in 1981. In 1983, Don started his own private practice in dermatology, working in the field until his recent retirement. Don and his wife Rebecca have been champions of undergraduate teaching and research at the U. They have generously endowed a scholarship in science teaching with the College of Science and a chemistry scholarship through the Ragsdale Fund. Their contribution to the Thatcher Building established the Department’s advanced undergraduate laboratories.  Don and Rebecca are also founding members of the Curie Club.

Kirk M. Ririe pursued a broad education in chemistry, engineering, languages, and communication, receiving his B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Utah in 2005. He founded Idaho Technology, Inc. in 1990, to develop products with a firm commitment to eliminate disease through smart thinking and product innovation. Kirk’s latest invention, the FilmArray® System and Respiratory Panel, a user-friendly PCR system for the point-of-care diagnostic market, received FDA clearance in 2011 with the ability to test for dozens of different organisms simultaneously in under an hour.  In 2012, Idaho Technology changed its name to BioFire Diagnostics, Inc. The FilmArray technology drew the attention of bioMérieux, a world leader in the field of in vitro diagnostics, who acquired BioFire in 2014.  BioFire was then split into two subsidiaries of bioMérieux, with BioFire Diagnostics focused on the FilmArray and BioFire Defense focused on supporting the U.S. Government and defense industry. Kirk serves as CEO of BioFire Defense.