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SUNY Board of Trustees Appoints Stony Brook University Professor Mark Aronoff to Distinguished Rank

SUNY Board of Trustees Appoints Stony Brook University Professor Mark Aronoff to Distinguished Rank

“Father of Morphology” recognized with highest faculty designation

STONY BROOK, N.Y., November 30, 2010 — The State University of New York Board of Trustees approved the appointment of faculty member at Stony Brook University – ***image1***Mark Aronoff, Professor in the Department of Linguistics – to distinguished rank, as recommended by campus colleagues and SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. The rank of Distinguished Professor is the University’s highest faculty designation.

This year, the Board appointed three SUNY faculty members to Distinguished Professor rank and one faculty member to Distinguished Teaching Professor rank.

“SUNY has conferred its highest faculty honor upon more than 850 current and retired professors from across the system,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “These honors recognize the extraordinary achievements of our teachers, scholars and mentors, and are a testament to the State University’s commitment to excellence.”
Professor Aronoff is a distinguished leader in the field of Linguistics. He is often referred to as the “father of morphology,” because he almost single-handedly created the field of morphology within a modern framework, arguing that morphology (the study of the internal structure of words) involves more than just the interaction of syntax and phonology, as had previously been thought.  Aronoff made this argument in his MIT dissertation, later published as Word Formation in Generative Grammar, 1976. His research since then has continued to bolster this position through books such as Morphology by Itself, 1994, the edited book Morphology Now, 1992, and the textbook What is Morphology?, 2004 (with Kirsten Fudeman). 

In recent years, Professor Aronoff has been one member of a team of four linguists studying an emerging Bedouin sign language. This important work sheds light on how languages begin and thus, also on how language intersects with human cognition.

Professor Aronoff has served the profession of Linguistics in many capacities, most prominently as editor of Language, the journal of the Linguistic Society of America, and as the Society’s President.  He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the Linguistic Society of America, among many other honors.
“Teaching at Stony Brook is the only real job I have had in my life,” said Professor Aronoff. “It is especially gratifying to have others acknowledge the value of this work.”

“It is with great pride that we recognize the brilliant scholars and teachers whose service to the community and to SUNY merit the distinguished ranking,” said Board Chairman Carl T. Hayden. “The Board joins with the recipients’ families and campuses in celebrating their academic, service, research and teaching accomplishments.”
“I could not be more pleased to have my friend and colleague receive this very well-deserved honor,” said Eric W. Kaler, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Stony Brook University. “Mark’s career at Stony Brook has been exceptional.  It is rare for a faculty member to be both a distinguished scholar and a dedicated servant to the University.  His work in advancing the role of undergraduate education here has been as extraordinary as his academic achievements, and we are truly fortunate to have him as our colleague.”

Since the program’s inception in 1963, SUNY has appointed 856 faculty to distinguished ranks, as follows, including these most recent appointments: 279 Distinguished Professorships; 259 Distinguished Service Professorships; 316 Distinguished Teaching Professorships; and 2 Distinguished Librarian Professorships. For more information about SUNY’s faculty award program,please click here.
The Distinguished Professorship is conferred upon individuals at SUNY’s state-operated campuses who have achieved national or international prominence and a distinguished reputation within the individual’s chosen field. This distinction is attained through significant contributions to the research literature or through artistic performance or achievement in the fine and performing arts. The candidates’ work must be of such character that the individuals’ presence will elevate the standards of scholarship of colleagues both within and beyond the individual’s academic field. It must also be of such quality that students and scholars on other SUNY campuses could and do benefit by lectures and seminars, or other appropriate presentations the faculty members might bring to them. Appointment constitutes a promotion to the SUNY’s highest academic rank and is conferred solely by the SUNY Board of Trustees. The expectation is that individuals so appointed will be accorded such support as is appropriate to the individual’s academic endeavor, consistent with the resources of the campus, including a salary above the mean salary for full professors.

Professor Aronoff lives in Port Jefferson.

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