December 11, 2008
Vol. 28 No. 6

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    John Birge, the Jerry W. and Carol Lee Levin Professor of Operations at Chicago Booth, received the 2008 Harold W. Kuhn Award for his research that integrates financing and operations decisions faced by a firm.

    The award is presented annually in recognition of an exceptional paper published in Naval Research Logistics, a peer-reviewed journal in operations research, applied statistics and general quantitative modeling.

    Birge was honored for his research “Equity Valuation, Production and Financial Planning: A Stochastic Programming Approach.” The paper was cited because it “presents an extension of a traditional multi-period production planning model, where, in each period, financing and default decisions have to be made in addition to the usual inventory ordering decision, and where uncertainty is explicitly incorporated in the form of a set of possible future scenarios. The objective is to maximize the expected discounted net cash flow to investors in each period.”

    John Cacioppo, the Tiffany & Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor in Psychology, and the College, Nicholas Epley, Professor of Behavioral Science at Chicago Booth, and Adam Waytz, a doctoral student in the social psychology program, have won the 2008 Theoretical Innovation Award from the Society of Personality and Social Psychology.

    The trio was cited for “On Seeing Human: A Three-Factor Theory of Anthropomorphism.” The Theoretical Innovation award recognizes theoretical articles that are likely to generate the discovery of new hypotheses or new ways of thinking about the discipline of social and personality psychology.

    Their research focuses on the conditions in which people are likely to anthropomorphize, or infuse the real or imagined behavior of nonhumans with humanlike characteristics or emotions. The theory also may help explain the tendencies to dehumanize, or treat humans as animals or mindless machines.

    Eugene Fama, the Robert R. McCormick Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at Chicago Booth, is the inaugural winner of the $250,000 Onassis Prize, given in recognition of a lifetime contribution to the study of finance by a leading academic.

    The Onassis Public Benefit Foundation of Greece sponsors the biennial award, named for Aristotle Onassis, the Greek shipping tycoon who died in 1975. Subsequent Onassis Awards will honor achievements in shipping and trade, in addition to finance.

    Pingyang Gao, Assistant Professor of Accounting at Chicago Booth, received the 2008 Competitive Manuscript Award from the American Accounting Association for his research paper, “Disclosure Quality, Cost of Capital and Investors’ Welfare.”

    The award recognizes outstanding research by members who have earned their Ph.D. within the past five years. Gao received his Ph.D. in 2008 from Yale University.

    The National Endowment for the Humanities recently awarded grants to three University faculty members. McGuire Gibson, Professor in the Oriental Institute and Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, was awarded a $200,000 NEH Collaborative Research Grant to publish the five remaining archaeological monographs of the ancient Sumerian city of Nippur. Nadine Moeller, Assistant Professor of Egyptian Archaeology in the Oriental Institute, was awarded a $50,000 NEH Digital Humanities Start Up Grant to develop new digital imaging techniques at the Tell Edfu site in southern Egypt. Matt Stolper, the John A. Wilson Professor in the Oriental Institute and Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, was awarded a $350,000 NEH Preservation and Access Grant to continue the recording of the Persepolis Fortification Archive.

    The British Academy’s prestigious Serena Medal was awarded to Philip Gossett, the Robert W. Reneker Distinguished Service Professor in Music and the College. The medal, endowed after Great Britain’s alliance with Italy in World War I, is given annually for “eminent services toward the furtherance of Italian history, literature, art and economics.”

    Guenter Hitsch, Associate Professor of Marketing in the Booth School of Business, received the 2007 Frank M. Bass Award from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences.

    The award is given to the best marketing research derived from a Ph.D. thesis and published in either Marketing Science or Management Science, two highly regarded journals in the field. It is named the former editor of the Journal of Marketing Research.

    Hitsch’s thesis, “An Empirical Model of Optimal Dynamic Product Launch and Exit Under Demand Uncertainty,” was published in Marketing Science. His research on dynamic decision models is considered a frontier area for marketing. His other research interests include consumer choice and competition, quantitative marketing and industrial organization and the economics and marketing of new products.

    Pacifica Quartet, one of the University’s ensembles-in-residence, was named “Ensemble of the Year” this month by Musical America, a highly regarded professional performing arts organization.

    In receiving the honor, the chamber music ensemble joins elite company. Other recipients of Musical America’s awards this year include Yo-Yo Ma, named Musician of the Year, and Christopher Rouse, named Composer of the Year. The only previous quartets to win the award are the Tokyo and the Emerson string quartets.

    Renowned for its virtuosity and support of contemporary music, the Pacifica Quartet includes violinists Simin Ganatra and Sibbi Bernhardsson, along with cellist Brandon Vamos and Masumi Per Rostad on viola.

    The NASDAQ Award for the best research paper on capital formation presented at the 2008 annual conference of the Western Finance Association was given to Lubos Pastor and Pietro Veronesi, both Professors of Finance at Chicago Booth. Lucian Taylor, a Ph.D. student, was co-author of the paper and shares the award.

    The paper, “Entrepreneurial Learning, the IPO Decision and the Post-IPO Drop in Firm Profitability,” is forthcoming in the Review of Financial Studies. The researchers studied more than 7,000 initial public offerings in the United States through the lens of a new model of the optimal decision to go public. An entrepreneur trades off diversification benefits of going public against benefits of private control, they note, adding that going public is optimal when the firm’s expected future profitability is higher. The model they developed in their winning paper predicts that firm profitability should decline after the IPO and that this decline should be larger for firms with more volatile profitability and firms with less uncertain average profitability.

    President Bush has awarded the prestigious National Humanities Medal for 2008 to Milton Rosenberg, Professor Emeritus in Psychology. Rosenberg was recognized for his contributions as radio show host of “Extension 720” on WGN-AM. He was recognized “for bringing the world of ideas to millions of listeners. Combining a scholar’s understanding and a teacher’s openness, he has made a home in radio for elevated conversation and profound thought.”

    The Eurobank Award for the best research paper presented at the 2008 European Finance Association Conference in Athens, Greece, was awarded to Amit Seru, Assistant Professor of Finance at Chicago Booth.

    Seru’s paper, “Did Securitization Lead to Lax Screening: Evidence from Subprime Loans?” concluded that a mortgage portfolio that meets the ad hoc guidelines for securitization is significantly more likely to default when compared with a portfolio of similar risk that differs only in the likelihood of securitization.

    Seru also received the best paper award at the Mitsui conference on credit risk at the University of Michigan, and the Citibank best paper award at the Centre for Analytical Finance summer research conference held at the Indian School of Business.