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Alumni Award Winners 2008

Alumni Service Medalist. With the October 2003 opening of Alumni House, Katharine Bensen, AB’80, who worked to establish it as the first permanent home for the U of C’s Alumni Association, added another feat to a long list of ways she has served the University community. Benson, vice president of Chicago’s Conlon Public Strategies, was president of the Alumni Board of Governors (2000–02) and chaired its Alumni Center Task Force, which surveyed alumni to determine the need for the center, helped select the site, and solicited donations. In addition to being a member of the University’s Women’s Board since 1995, she chaired it from 2004 to 2007 and led its projects committee, which awards grants for faculty support, cultural institutions and the arts, student life, and community outreach; and she has headed the Chicago-area alumni club and her class reunion committees. The winner of the 1994 Young Alumni Service Citation, Bensen also has served on the College and Student Activities Visiting Committee.

Distinguished company: During June’s Alumni Weekend University President Robert J. Zimmer was flanked by a dozen award-winning Chicago alumni. Front row (from left): Adamson, Brooks, Dresselhaus, President Zimmer, Hackett, Bensen, Winston, Shulman, and Fitch. Back row: Hoover, Mendoza, Stevens, and Sjaastad.

Alumni Medalist. Mildred S. Dresselhaus, PhD’58, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist whose groundbreaking research in condensed-matter physics earned her the 2008 American Physical Society Buckley Prize, received the Alumni Association’s highest honor, the Alumni Medal. (See “Glimpses.”)

Norman Maclean Faculty Awards. Cellular immunologist Frank W. Fitch, MD’53, SM’57, PhD’60, the Albert D. Lasker professor emeritus of pathology and the Ben May Institute, joined Chicago’s faculty in 1957. As the institute’s third director, Fitch oversaw its growth into a collection of Iaboratories working in multiple areas of cancer research. A teacher and a mentor who encouraged students to think creatively while still abiding by scientific rigor, Fitch has also served as the editor in chief of the Journal of Immunology and as president of the American Association of Immunologists.

Larry Sjaastad, AB’57, AM’58, PhD’61, professor emeritus in economics and the College, is an expert on the economics of human migration, trade policy, and exchange rates. In his 42-year career at Chicago, Sjaastad advised 139 graduate students, including many international students. Dedicated to introducing Chicago-school economics to foreign nations, he spent several years as a visiting scholar in Latin America, Australia, Europe, and Asia. Upon his 2004 retirement, former students, colleagues, and friends presented him with “The Larry Sjaastad Letters,” a collection of expressions of gratitude and well wishes.

Young Alumni Service Citations. Michael Mendoza, AB’96, MD’01, a clinical assistant professor of family medicine at the U of C Medical Center, regularly offers career guidance to Pritzker students and spends much of his time providing primary care at the South Shore’s Chicago Family Health Center. Active in the San Francisco alumni club while completing his residency, Mendoza cochaired his fifth and tenth College reunion committees and served for four years on the Alumni Schools Committee. As a student, he founded a chapter of the Alpha Phi Omega coed service fraternity.

As a second-year, James Stevens, AB’04, cofounded the Chicago Society, a student-run group whose purpose is to discuss issues of global importance. While earning his law degree at Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University, Stevens chaired the local Alumni Schools Committee and was active in the Cleveland alumni club. He also has volunteered for the Alumni Careers Network and the Jeff Metcalf Fellows Program, and is an adviser to the Alumni Board of Governors’ Students to Alumni Committee.

Alumni Service Citations. Now retired in Berkeley, CA, former chief of psychiatry at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center Robert K. Adamson, SB’45, MD’48, has served on the Medical and Biological Sciences Alumni Association Council, the Biological Sciences Division Awards Committee, and the Alumni Senate, where he was a member of the Advisory and Cross councils. Chair of his medical-school class, Adamson is a member of the University’s Harper Society, which recognizes those who have made cumulative gifts of $1 million or more.


Maclean winner Frank W. Fitch.

In 1975 Merilyn McGurk Hackett, PhB’45, who has served on the Women’s Board, Alumni Cabinet, Council of the GSB, and Visiting Committee on the College and Student Activities, raised nearly $1.6 million in alumni contributions through an innovative matching-gift program. She also chaired the all-campus reunions of 1965 (the University’s 75th anniversary) and 1966, as well as 1969’s all-campus Alumni Party, and she helped to establish the GSB’s Women’s Business Group.

Public Service Citation. After September 11, cofounder of commercial real-estate firm Bennett and Kahnweiler Associates Marshall Bennett, AB’42, helped establish a coalition of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian business leaders to end violence in the Middle East. Called the Chicago Ten, the group creates jobs and markets in the region and in 2003 endorsed a Manifesto for Peace. A real-estate pioneer, Bennett serves on the boards of such organizations as the Weizmann Institute of Science, East-West Institute, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, and Ravinia Festival; he cofounded the Albert Einstein Peace Prize and is an honorary adviser for OneVoice, a movement dedicated to ending extremist violence in Israel and Palestine.

Professional Achievement Citation. Social critic David Brooks, AB’83, began dissecting American societal trends in the Weekly Standard, of which he was a founding editor, in 1995; he joined the Standard after nine years at the Wall Street Journal as editor of the book-review section, international correspondent, and op-ed editor. In 2003 he moved to the New York Times, where he comments on American politics and foreign policy, among other topics. A frequent commentator on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer and NPR, he has been a contributing editor at Newsweek and the Atlantic Monthly and is the author of the Times best seller 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).


Sjaastad receives a Maclean.

President of Colgate University since 2002, Rebecca Chopp, PhD’83, has seen the school’s undergraduate applications rise, doubled the endowment, and opened a new library and information-technology center and an interdisciplinary science center. A scholar of religion and culture, as well as of American higher education, Chopp came to Colgate from a post as Yale Divinity School’s dean and Titus Street professor of theology; before that she spent 15 years at Emory University, where she served as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. She is 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.

After working at Citibank and as a buyer and analyst for two large retailers, Gary Hoover, AB’73, started his first business: the bookstore chain BookStop, which he sold seven years later to Barnes & Noble. In 1990 he began business-research company Hoover’s, Inc., purchased by Dun & Bradstreet in 2003. Most recently, Hoover established RoadStoryUSA, a roadside interactive museum. The author of Hoover’s Vision (2001), about the liberal-arts approach to entrepreneurship, he also mentors students and entrepreneurs. Hoover was a founding contributor to the University of Chicago Center in Paris, and in 2002 the University named Hoover House in the Max Palevsky Commons in his honor.

Lee Shulman, AB’59, AM’60, PhD’63, president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, has published more than 100 works on contemporary education and pedagogy, including Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law (2007). A professor of educational psychology and medical education at Michigan State University for 19 years, Shulman founded the Institute for Research on Teaching. In 1982 he joined Stanford as the first Charles E. Ducommun professor of education (now emeritus). Winner of 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.

The chair of Chicago’s Department of Physics from 1989 to 1995, Roland Winston, SB’56, SM’57, PhD’63, is best known for his contributions to nonimaging optics with his invention of the Winston concentrator, a device that efficiently concentrates light from faint sources and is used in many solar-power installations. His particle-physics experiments have enhanced understanding of the subatomic particles muons and hyperons, and he has also contributed to theoretical physics and astrophysics. Winston became a founding faculty member at the University of California, Merced, in 2003, leading its efforts in renewable-energy research.—R.E.K.