May 28, 1998
Vol. 17, No. 17

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    Alumni awards: Recognizing dedication, achievement, service to society

    The country's foremost historian of American religion, a world-renowned authority on African gorillas, the doctor who led Physicians for Social Responsibility to the Nobel Peace Prize, and an anti-fascist Jewish writer who is now a member of the German parliament will be among the University alumni honored this year at the Alumni Assembly.

    The event, which is open to the public, will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 6, in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. The following awards will be presented.

    The Alumni Medal Created in 1941, the Alumni Medal is awarded to recognize 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 the value of the medal is defined by its recipients, it has been given sparingly.

    Martin Marty (Ph.D.'56), the preeminent authority on religious life in America today, has been called the Thomas Jefferson of the theological world because of his Jeffersonian diversity of talents and his ability to unify these talents around an overarching commitment to the common good.

    As the Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Divinity School and in the Humanities, and as a member of the Committee on the History of Culture, Marty taught for nearly four decades, mentored more than 100 doctoral students and inspired many more. He is the author of 50 books, including a National Book Award winner and several classics in American religious history, and thousands of scholarly articles, reviews and essays.

    During the past decade, Marty founded and led the Fundamentalism Project, an interdisciplinary public-policy study that brought together 80 experts on seven religious traditions from five continents. The project resulted in five pioneering volumes of case studies and analytical essays that quickly became the standard works in comparative political religion. He now heads the Pew Public Religion Project, an initiative to promote greater awareness of the role that religion can play in renewing American democratic life.

    Marty's numerous awards include the Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1995), the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion's Career Achievement Award (1996) and 57 honorary degrees. In 1996, he was the first recipient of the Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion, named in his honor by the American Academy of Religion. In 1997, he was among the first recipients of the National Medal of Humanities, presented by President Clinton in a White House ceremony.

    This year the University established a major new research institute for public religion in his name. The Martin Marty Center will research the role of religion in public life and culture.

    The University Alumni Service Medal The University Alumni Service Medal was established in 1983 to honor a lifetime of achievement in service to the University.

    Robert Halperin (Ph.B.'47), a Life Trustee of the University, has for more than two decades been a leader in alumni and development activities in Northern California, heading the Bay Area effort that raised more than $25 million for the Campaign for the Next Century.

    He has served the University in numerous capacities, among them as member of the Physical Sciences Visiting Committee, where his expertise as vice-chairman of Raychem Industries benefited the University. He was a national chairman of the College Fund from 1990 to 1996, creating the Class Agent volunteer structure that has become the cornerstone of College Fund efforts, and since 1996 he has served as National Chair for the President's Council.

    In the early 1990s, Halperin helped to create the University-affiliated ARCH Development Corporation. As a member of its Board of Directors, he has led efforts to transfer technology from Argonne National Laboratory and the University to the corporate world.

    The Professional Achievement Citations The Professional Achievement Citations were established in 1967 to recognize alumni who have brought distinction to themselves, credit to the University and benefit to their communities through their vocational work.

    Thomas Campbell (A.B.'73, A.M.'73, Ph.D.'80), a Stanford professor and a fourth-term Republican congressman, has been called one of the 10 brightest members of Congress by the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call. His legislative efforts have been instrumental in the preservation of more than 5 million acres of public lands, and he has also worked to ensure that immigrant children have access to public education.

    Gertrude Himmelfarb (A.M.'44, Ph.D.'50), professor emerita of history at City University of New York, is one of the world's foremost historians of Victorian England. A member of the Presidential Advisory Commission on the Economic Role of Women, she was named the Jefferson Lecturer by the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1991.

    Stefan Heym (A.M.'36), an anti-fascist Jewish writer and member of Parliament in Germany, came to the University in 1935. During the following two decades, he became editor of Das Deutsche Volksecho, the most influential German-American newspaper in the United States, and wrote several best-selling novels, among them Hostages and The Crusaders, that showed American audiences the reality of Hitler's Germany.

    Vivian Paley (Ph.B.'47), an internationally known author and lecturer and for many years a teacher at the Laboratory Schools, has worked to help parents and educators understand the importance of play, social development and loving family support to young children. The only kindergarten teacher ever to be awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, Paley has also received an Erikson Institute Award for Service to Children.

    William Shack (A.M.'57), one of the nation's leading scholars in the field of anthropology and an influential academic administrator, has made major contributions to anthropology through his research as an Africanist focusing on urban anthropology, particularly in Ethiopia. In 1986 he was awarded France's Chevalier l'Ordre National du Merite, an honor held by only one other social anthropologist.

    David Watts (A.M.'77, Ph.D.'83), a professor at Yale, is the world authority on the behavior of Africa's mountain gorillas and a leader in protecting and preserving them. He has made several trips to Rwanda to keep the Karisoke Research Center operating between directors and to work on behalf of gorilla conservation, particularly following the death of Dian Fossey, when he acted as the center's director (1986-87).

    The Public Service Citations The Public Service Citations honor those alumni who have fulfilled the obligations of their education through creative citizenship and exemplary leadership in service that has benefited society and reflected credit on the University.

    Christine Cassel (A.B.'67) has earned a national reputation in the medical community through her outstanding service to the public interest and advocacy for causes that protect human health and society. During the 1980s, Cassel was the visionary leader of Physicians for Social Responsibility, organizing the educational campaign on the medical effects of nuclear war for which PSR won the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize.

    Abbott Lipsky (Ph.B.'34) has devoted his time to several causes in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, particularly in the areas of education and civil rights. He served as the first chairman of the Cedar Rapids Civil Rights Commission, working to integrate women in to many previously all-male community organizations, and he was an elected member of the National Citizens Committee for the Public Schools.

    Robert Weissbourd (J.D.'79), vice president of Shorebank Corporation, works to strengthen Chicago neighborhoods by investing in entrepreneurs, real estate and community organizations, and to help market institutions understand the benefits of returning to the inner city. The success of his efforts has inspired institutions across the nation to invest in the inner city.

    Arnold Wolf (A.A.'42) has committed his life to building a better society through creative leadership in both religious and secular arenas. Described as a "lightning rod" for the discussions shaping U.S. and international Jewish communities, Rabbi Wolf has taken leadership roles on issues ranging from Middle East peace to social justice in Chicago. He was the first official Jewish representative to the World Council of Churches Assembly.

    The Alumni Service Citations Created in 1983, the Alumni Service Citations are awarded for outstanding volunteer work on behalf of the University through service in alumni programs, on advisory committees, and through efforts made to insure the welfare of the institution.

    Richard Bechtolt (A.M.'50, Ph.B.'46), chair of his class's 50th reunion in 1996 and a founding member of the Class Agent program, played an important role in devising and fine-tuning the current structure for the Alumni Association's Board of Governors. Bechtolt, who was awarded the Alumni Service Citation in 1997, has chosen to receive it this year as he joins his wife on campus for her 50th Reunion.

    Mary Grimshaw (A.B.'38), a Laboratory Schools graduate and a member of the Women's Board, has made immeasurable contributions to the Oriental Institute, where she has been an exemplary donor and volunteer.

    William Naumann (M.B.A.'75), a past president of the Alumni Association (1992-94), has used his organizational and management skills to consolidate and focus new initiatives for the Alumni Association and its Board of Governors.

    Walter Pozen (A.B.'53, J.D.'56), Visiting Professor in the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, set a fundraising record as chair of the Centennial Campaign in Washington, D.C., and has brought nationally recognized public figures to the University to meet with faculty and students.

    C. Robert Tully (A.B.'43, M.B.A.'46), a long-term member of the College Visiting Committee, has been an active volunteer since 1969, serving as a corporate contact and also raising support for the school.

    The Young Alumni Service Citations The Young Alumni Service Citations, awarded for the first time during the University's Centennial, acknowledge outstanding volunteer service to the University by individuals age 35 and younger.

    Lisa Boulden (A.B.'91, A.M.'92), a member of the Young Alumni Task Force for several years, engineered the creation of the University of Chicago Mayoral Internship Program, a paid six-month internship for students in the College.

    Lisa Diane Magnas (A.B.'88), chair of the New York Metropolitan Alumni Schools Committee and past president of the New York City Alumni Club (1995-98), created many new opportunities for the club and quadrupled volunteer participation.

    Howell Murray Student Medals The Howell Murray Awards were first given in 1961 to recognize graduating students for their outstanding contributions to extracurricular programs on campus. The awards were named in honor of Howell Murray (Ph.B.'14) a distinguished alumnus and Trustee of the University.

    The winners of the Howell Murray Awards are:

    Siddesh Bale, chief executive officer of the Model United Nations Conference of the University of Chicago X; Jennifer Costello, captain of the women's varsity basketball team and president of the Women's Athletic Association; John Fitzgerald, president of the Order of the "C"; Heather Johnson, a leader in Habeus Corpus, Psi-Chi National Honor Society for Psychology and the Maroon Consulting Group; Christopher Kang, the first student to be elected Student Liaison from the Student Government to the University's Board of Trustees; and Rabya Khan, president of the Muslim Students Association.

    Also, Robinder Khemani, Secretary-General of the Model United Nations at the University of Chicago; James Klausen, an active member of the Womyn's Union, Queers and Associates and the HIV/AIDS Awareness Program; Rhodes Scholar Kirsten Parker, president and co-founder of the campus chapter of Amnesty International; Melissa Sharp, captain of the women's varsity cross-country and track teams; Sara Wolfson, an active member of University Theater; and Jennifer Wu, co-founder of Amnesty International on campus and one of three students who led the revival of the Chicago yearbook.

    The assembly will also include the presentation of the Norman Maclean Faculty Awards, which recognizes the contributions of emeritus or very senior faculty members, to D. Gale Johnson and Zena Sutherland (see story on page 4).