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image: Class Notes headlineTwo exceptional graduates honored at Reunion
Former President of Bolivia Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, AB'52, and Boston volunteer extraordinaire Thelma Gruenbaum, AB'52, AM'56, received the Alumni Association's highest awards.

PHOTO:  Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, AB'52The Alumni Medal is the Alumni Association's highest honor, recognizing exceptional achievement over an entire career. For Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada, AB'52, receiving the Alumni Medal during a June 2 assembly in Rockefeller Chapel held special meaning. "I'm delighted to be in Rockefeller Chapel," he confessed, "because I wasn't here to receive my diploma." After leaving the College and working in the petroleum industry, Sanchez de Lozada was elected to Bolivia's Congress in 1979; as president of the senate and minister of planning, he developed the 1985 economic "shock therapy" program that brought Bolivia's hyperinflation under control. Elected president in 1993, he implemented economic, social, and political reforms to promote ecologically sustainable development. Privatizing the largest state-owned enterprises, Sanchez de Lozada ensured that each adult citizen received shares in the new companies, which now distribute a yearly lifetime bonus to people over age 65.

During the ceremony, Paul Boeker, former U.S. ambassador to Bolivia, praised Sanchez de Lozada. "Brilliantly successful in his own country, he is universally admired by the leaders of economic and social reform throughout Latin America and the Caribbean," Boeker said. "If there were a free-agency market in presidents, he would be at least president of Argentina, if not Brazil and Mexico." Modest about his own accomplishments, Sanchez de Lozada was quick to praise Chicago, remembering his discovery of the College: "I was amazed to find at last true freedom-where there was no pressure to conform and no pressure to be rebellious."

PHOTO:  Thelma Gruenbaum, AB'52, AM'56The 2001 Alumni Service Medal, honoring a lifetime of service to Chicago, was awarded to Thelma Gruenbaum, AB'52, AM'56, known to generations of students and alumni volunteers in Boston through her work with the Alumni Schools Committee. For nearly 25 years, she has attended countless college fairs, interviewed prospective students, and taught many alumni how to be effective volunteers. Her December parties for students, prospects, and their families are the stuff of local legend. She also was president of the Alumni Club of Boston, an Alumni Cabinet officer, and a longtime phonathon volunteer.

Like Sanchez de Lozada, Gruenbaum was happy to be in Rockefeller, recalling Robert Hutchins's farewell speech, receiving her degrees, and witnessing the graduations of her sister and two of her sons. "And there is one more special memory," she continued, "meeting my husband, Michael, at a performance of Handel's Messiah." Gruenbaum ended by encouraging those in the audience to volunteer for Chicago. "I urge you to follow in the footsteps of all alumni volunteers who have found their work helpful to the University and extremely gratifying." - M.R.Y.

  AUGUST 2001

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