May 29, 2008
Vol. 27 No. 17

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    Alumni Medalist Dresselhaus will speak at Reunion Convocation; other alumni to receive honors for service

    The 2008 Alumni Awards will be presented at the Alumni Convocation at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, June 7, in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, during the annual Alumni Weekend.

      Mildred Dresselhaus

    Mildred Dresselhaus

    Mildred Dresselhaus (Ph.D.,’58), an internationally known physicist who has done groundbreaking research in condensed-matter physics and worked tirelessly to draw women to science and engineering, will receive the 2008 Alumni Medal and deliver the convocation address.

    Other members of Chicago’s alumni community, who will be honored at convocation for their service to the University and to the communities in which they live and work, also are featured here. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

    The Alumni Medal

    Created in 1941, the Alumni Medal recognizes achievement of an exceptional nature in any field, vocational or voluntary, covering an entire career. It is the highest honor the Alumni Association can bestow. Because its recipients define the value of the medal, it has been given sparingly. The medal is awarded to no more than one person each year and need not be awarded on an annual basis.

    Dresselhaus, an institute professor and professor of physics and electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has served in leadership positions for the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Institute of Physics, as well as a stint in the Department of Energy.

    She also has received numerous honors, including the National Medal of Science in recognition of her contributions to condensed matter physics research and for promoting the recruitment of women into the fields of physics and engineering.

    Dresselhaus has spent much of her research career studying carbon nanotubes and the electronic properties of graphite. For this work, she received the 2008 Buckley Prize of the American Physical Society.

    She has been a pioneer in the use of lasers for experiments involving magneto-optics and has performed important research on superconductivity.

    A role model as a scientist, administrator and teacher, Dresselhaus has been an advocate for women in the traditionally male-dominated fields of science and engineering. When she began teaching at MIT, women comprised only 4 percent of the undergraduate student body. She successfully encouraged the university to adopt equal academic standards for applicants, which had successful results. The number of women undergraduates is now more than 45 percent. She worked to increase the number of female science and engineering faculty, first at MIT and then nationally as president of the American Physical Society.

    Her research, advocacy and mentorship have earned her wide respect in the scientific community. In the words of one colleague, Dresselhaus is a “remarkable human being of incredible generosity who has provided enormous service to the scientific community and is always available to help a colleague or student. We can all feel proud that Millie is a graduate of Chicago.”

    Alumni Service Medal

    Katharine Bensen (A.B.,’80), whose most celebrated achievement as a member of the alumni community is the creation of the Alumni House, has served the University since graduating. In 1994, she received the Young Alumni Service Citation for her efforts, and has led several University groups, including the Alumni Board of Governors, the Women’s Board, the Alumni Club, UC2MC (University of Chicago Club of Metropolitan Chicago), and her class reunion committees.

    As a leader on the Women’s Board, Bensen has headed its Projects Committee, which awards grants in the areas of faculty research and support, cultural institutions and the arts, quality of student life, and community outreach at the University. She also has served on the College and Student Activities Visiting Committee.

    To establish the Alumni House, Bensen surveyed board and volunteer leaders to determine their needs for an alumni center, interviewed administrators, raised consciousness of what Alumni House could accomplish, helped select the site and solicited donations.

    Alumni Service Citation

    Over a half-century, Robert Adamson (S.B.,’45, M.D.,’48) has demonstrated, as one colleague puts it, “unparalleled support and loyalty to the University” and a “commitment to excellence in science and medicine.”

    Adamson’s contributions to the University include service on the Medical and Biological Sciences Alumni Association Council and the Biological Sciences Division Awards Committee. As a member of the Alumni Senate, he has served on the Advisory Council and Cross Council.

    Adamson also has been a generous financial supporter, having made cumulative gifts of $1 million or more.

    Merilyn Hackett (Ph.B.,’45) has been an advocate of the University, having served on the Women’s Board, Alumni Cabinet and the Visiting Committee on the College and Student Activities. She chaired several all-campus alumni events throughout the 1960s, and in 1975, while serving as vice chair of the Special Gifts Committee, Hackett led an effort to raise $1 million in alumni contributions to be matched by University Trustee Robert Anderson (U-High,’35, A.B.,’39), and his wife Barbara (E.X.,’38). As a result, alumni giving rose 56.6 percent from 1974, with gifts totaling nearly $1.6 million.

    Hackett served on the Council of the GSB for two years and helped establish the Women’s Business Group at the GSB. She received an honorary M.B.A. from the GSB in recognition of her service.

    Young Alumni Service Citation

    Michael Mendoza (A.B.,’96, M.D.,’01) has served the University admirably in both volunteer and professional capacities. Mendoza, Clinical Assistant Professor in Family Medicine, spends about 80 percent of his time working at the Chicago Family Health Center, providing primary care to underserved South Shore residents.

    He served on the Alumni Schools Committee for four years, and, while completing his residency in San Francisco, was active in the San Francisco Alumni Club. As a student, he volunteered at community clinics and student orientation, was a teaching assistant and founded a chapter of the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity. This year, he was chosen as the keynote speaker at the 2008 Gold Humanism Honor Society induction.

    James Stevens (A.B.,’04) began his service to the University while a political science student in the College. In his sophomore year, he co-founded the Chicago Society, a student group bringing alumni, faculty and students together to consider issues of global importance. While working toward a law degree at Case Western Reserve University, Stevens chaired the Northeast Ohio chapter of the Alumni Schools Committee and was active in the Cleveland Alumni Club. As a volunteer for the Alumni Careers Network, Stevens reads applications and conducts interviews for the Jeff Metcalf Fellows Program and is an adviser to the Alumni Board of Governors’ Students to Alumni Committee.

    Professional Achievement Citation

    The social critic David Brooks (A.B.,’83), a best-selling author and columnist for The New York Times, has made prolific and extraordinary contributions to the field of journalism.

    As a Chicago undergraduate, Brooks displayed his talent for social commentary and incisive humor as a staff writer for the Chicago Maroon. Upon graduation, he became a police reporter for the Chicago City News Bureau. After subsequent stints at a number of publications, including the Washington Times, Brooks began his nine-year tenure at the Wall Street Journal, where his posts included editor of the book review section, international correspondent and op-ed editor.

    In 1995, he joined the Weekly Standard as a founding editor, commenting on American societal trends and setting the stage for the position he assumed in 2003: op-ed columnist for The New York Times. He also is a commentator on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and the author of two widely acclaimed books of social commentary: Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There (2000) and On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (And Always Have) in the Future Tense (2004). Brooks has served as a contributing editor at Newsweek and the Atlantic Monthly and as an analyst on NPR’s All Things Considered and The Diane Rehm Show.

    Rebecca Chopp (Ph.D.,’83) is a pivotal figure in the field of higher education and a renowned scholar of religion and culture. Chopp currently serves as the 15th president of Colgate University. Under her leadership, Colgate’s undergraduate applications and fund-raising have increased significantly, and the school recently opened an integrated library and information technology center, and an interdisciplinary science center.

    Chopp received her doctorate from the Divinity School and began her professional career as an assistant professor of theology at her alma mater. In 1986, she joined the faculty of Emory University, where she spent the next 15 years. From 1998 to 2001, she served as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, overseeing strategic planning for several key areas. Prior to her arrival at Colgate, she held the position of dean and the Titus Street professorship of theology at Yale University’s Divinity School.

    She currently serves on the boards of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the National Survey of Student Engagement and the Presidential Advisory Council for the NCAA.

    She also has served on the executive committee of the Annapolis Group, the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Foundation for Teaching, and the Council of Information and Library Resources.

    Cultural entrepreneur Gary Hoover (A.B.,’73) has helped revolutionize how the world learns and shares ideas and information. Growing up in Anderson, Ind., he concluded that one of the best ways to make a positive impact was to create (and deliver) an innovative product or service.

    At the age of 12, he began subscribing to Fortune magazine, and his eighth-grade term paper was written on the life of Marshall Field. Hoover also fell in love with big cities and the idea of the “life of the mind.” Over his parents’ serious doubts, he became the first person from his high school to attend Chicago. “Since I knew I was going to immerse myself in business and loved it, I did not want to study business in school. I knew I needed a liberal arts education.”

    He worked in the Graduate School of Business for the late Professor James Lorie to earn spending money and started a handful of campus businesses. Two of his Shorey House “partners” served on the Board of Hoover’s when it went public 29 years later.

    After working as a Citibank securities analyst and serving as a buyer and analyst for two large retailers, Hoover’s first entrepreneurial venture was the pioneering book superstore chain BOOKSTOP. The company was sold to Barnes & Noble seven years after its founding. Next, Hoover began the company that grew into Hoover’s, Inc., one of the world’s leading providers of information about enterprises. Hoover’s went public in 1999 and was purchased by Dun & Bradstreet in 2003.

    Hoover’s current entrepreneurial initiative, RoadStoryUSA, combines learning, playing, dining and shopping. In 2001, he wrote the book Hoover’s Vision—about the liberal arts approach to building enterprises. He spends time mentoring and teaching young people and fellow entrepreneurs worldwide.

    Hoover also is deeply involved in the University community. He has served as vice chair of his class reunion committee and on the Visiting Committee on the College and Student Activities. In 2002, in recognition of his generosity as a benefactor, the University named Hoover House in the Max Palevsky Residential Commons after him. He also was a founding contributor to the University’s Center in Paris.

    As the eighth president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Lee Shulman (A.B.,’59, A.M.,’60, Ph.D.,’63) has informed and influenced contemporary education. His work has illuminated the education of teachers, and many facets of pedagogy, including professional preparation across several fields and the role of a “scholarship of teaching” within higher education. Shulman’s recent publications include a two-volume collection of writings, The Wisdom of Practice and Teaching as Community Property (2004), and Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law (2007).

    A 19-year faculty member of Michigan State University, Shulman founded and co-directed the Institute for Research on Teaching. He played an instrumental role in faculty development and formulation of the medical-school curriculum. In 1982, Shulman joined the Stanford University faculty. He became Carnegie president in 1997, when the foundation moved to Stanford University.

    Shulman has published more than 100 scholarly works and has received numerous honorary doctorates and awards, including the American Psychological Association’s E. L. Thorndike Award for Distinguished Psychological Contributions to Education, the Grawemeyer Award in Education, and a career award from the American Educational Research Association. Shulman is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences.

    Roland Winston (S.B.,’56, S.M.,’57, Ph.D.,’63) has made important contributions to multiple fields within physics. His experiments in particle physics have brought about greater understanding of muons and hyperons, subatomic particles that are essential to understanding fundamental physics.

    Winston, who chaired the Department of Physics from 1989 to 1995, is best known for his contribution in the field of non-imaging optics and his invention of a device now called the Winston concentrator. The device, which efficiently concentrates light from faint sources, was originally designed to be used in high-energy physics but has since found applications in fields as diverse as infrared astronomy and solar energy. Today, Winston concentrators are commercially available and are used in many solar-power installations.

    Because of his pioneering work, Winston was appointed to lead efforts in renewable-energy research as a founding faculty member at the newly established University of California, Merced in 2003.

    Public Service Citation

    The same out-of-the-box thinking that made Marshall Bennett (A.B.,’42) a pioneer in real estate also characterizes his efforts to bring peace to the Middle East. As co-founder and longtime partner at Bennett and Kahnweiler Associates, he helped develop and popularize industrial parks in America. He launched Marshall Bennett Enterprises, a firm specializing in leasing and development, in 1982. He also is co-chair and founder of the Chicago Real Estate School and Marshall Bennett Institute at Roosevelt University.

    After the September 11 tragedy, Bennett and investment banker Talat Othman formed a coalition of business leaders from the Muslim, Jewish and Christian faiths to seek an end to violence in the Middle East. Known as the Chicago Ten, the group focuses on creating jobs, wealth and markets in the region. Bennett is co-founder of the Albert Einstein Peace Prize and is on the honorary board of advisors of OneVoice, an organization devoted to ending extremist violence.

    A native Chicagoan, Bennett has devoted considerable time to the University and has served on the Visiting Committee to the Division of the Biological Sciences and the Pritzker School of Medicine as director of the Brain Research Foundation. He also is a life trustee of the Medical Center Board of Trustees.

    For more information on the awards, visit http://www.alumni.uchicago.edu/awards-criteria.html#ServMedal/.