Kim A. Wilcox has stepped down as provost of Michigan State University to work for the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa. Peter McPherson, a former Michigan State president, is chair of the board of that nonprofit organization.
John C. Cavanaugh will step down as chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to lead the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. He has been chancellor since 2008.
Allen L. Sessoms, president of the University of the District of Columbia since 2008, was dismissed by the university's Board of Trustees last month. The board exercised a "no cause" termination of his contract, which was set to expire next August.
Carl R. Woese, a professor of microbiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 1964 who made a discovery that changed scientists' thinking about taxonomy, died in Urbana, Ill., on December 30. He was 84. He and his colleagues wrote two papers, published in 1977, that reported that certain microbes, now known as archaea, were as distinct from bacteria as plants and animals are. Before that, the tree of life had two main branches: bacteria and everything else. Afterward, archaea was added as a third main branch.
Rita Levi-Montalcini, a former neurologist at Washington University in St. Louis who won a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1986, died in Rome on December 30. She was 103. She and a colleague were honored that year for discovering chemical tools the body uses to direct cell growth and build nerve networks. Their discovery furthered the study of the causes of cancer, dementia, and other diseases in which those processes go awry.
Frank J. Macchiarola, chancellor and past president of St. Francis College, died on December 18. He was 71. He was president for 12 years, beginning in 1996, and had previously been chancellor of New York City's public-school system and a dean of Yeshiva University's law school.