For the Record

Applause for a pioneer
Janet Davison Rowley, U-High’42, PhB’45, SB’46, MD’48, received the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, at an August 12 White House ceremony. Rowley, the Blum-Riese distinguished service professor of medicine, molecular genetics and cell biology, and human genetics, conducted pioneering research in the 1970s that demonstrated cancer is a genetic disease. Later her discovery of recurring chromosomal abnormalities in leukemias and lymphomas revolutionized cancer treatment. In October Rowley, 84, also receives the $500,000 Peter and Patricia Gruber Genetics Prize.

Med Center CEO resigns
James Madara, chief executive of the Medical Center since 2006, announced his resignation, effective October 1. Madara, who will also step down as dean of the Biological Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Medicine, will remain on the faculty. Department of Medicine chair Everett Vokes will serve as interim dean and CEO during a national search for Madara’s successor.

The power invested in Schmid
Mark A. Schmid took over July 6 as the University’s vice president and chief investment officer. Schmid comes to the University from Boeing, where he oversaw $65 billion in retirement assets. He manages the University’s endowment and a staff of 14.

Put them on the board
The University’s board of trustees has four new members. Timothy M. George, AB’74, MBA’75; Thomas A. Reynolds III; Steve G. Stevanovich, AB’85, MBA’90; and Mary A. Tolan, MBA’92, were elected to five-year terms at the board’s June 4 meeting. Stevanovich also serves on the advisory board to the master of science program in financial mathematics, and George is also on the Chicago Booth board’s advisory council.

As a 2009 Searle Scholar, chemistry assistant professor Greg Engel has received $300,000 to support his research over the next three years. Engel, who studies how protein structures direct energy transfer and drive reactivity inside photoenzymes, is one of 15 recognized nationwide by the Searle Foundation. Meanwhile, astronomy and astrophysics assistant professor Michael Gladders received a $100,000 grant as a 2009 Cottrell Scholar, which honors scientific research and dedication to teaching. Gladders is building the largest-ever catalog of distance groups and galaxy clusters.

Fulbrights abound
Thirty Chicago students received Fulbright fellowships for 2009–10, more than at any other U.S. university. Of the 30—up from 20 a year ago—13 earned Fulbright U.S. Student Program fellowships, awarded to graduating seniors and graduate students and funding 12 months to study or to teach in a foreign country. In addition, 18 PhD students received Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award fellowships for six to 12 months of dissertation research in foreign languages or area studies in a non-Western nation.

First fellow
The American Chemical Society (ACS) has named Donald Levy, vice president for research and national laboratories, to its inaugural class of fellows. Levy, the Albert Michelson distinguished service professor in chemistry, joins a class of 162 that the ACS will recognize at its fall 2009 annual meeting.

Foster’s innovation
Ian Foster has been reappointed director of the Computation Institute, a position he has held since 2006. The Arthur Holly Compton distinguished service professor in computer science, Foster develops tools for grid and other high-performance computing.

A dogma-eat-dogma world
Chicago ranked eighth in the August 20 U.S. News & World Report ranking of national universities. Harvard and Princeton tied for the top spot. The magazine described the University as a place of “spirited debate that pries open old dogmas and penetrates conventional wisdom.” U.S. News also named the Medical Center among the best hospitals in the country. In the annual survey, the Medical Center earned top-50 rankings in 11 specialties, up from ten last year. Eight of those programs were ranked in the top 30, including the sixth-ranked digestive-disorders program.

Gubernatorial alumni
Five alumni have been selected to serve three-year terms on the Alumni Board of Governors, effective July 1. Christopher Darnell, AB’92; Gary Hoover, AB’73; Nina Huang, MBA’04; Michael Ilagan, AB’88, MBA’92; and Greg Miarecki, AB’94, JD’97, were approved by the University board of trustees at its June meeting.

Energetic partnership
Argonne National Laboratory is part of the Clean Energy Partnership between Turkey’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. The agreement includes training Turkish officials in Argonne’s tools for long-range energy usage, developing renewable energy, and reducing carbon emissions.

Putting the ‘lab’ in collaboration
The University’s Strategic Collaborative Initiatives (SCI) program has awarded $216,000 to support new and continuing joint research projects between Fermilab and the University. The three proposals receiving grants examine ultra–high-energy cosmic rays, dark energy, and holographic noise. The SCI selected the projects based on the benefits of collaboration and their long-term potential.

Let’s get biophysical
Tobin R. Sosnick has been named director of the Institute for Biophysical Dynamics, a research center that focuses on the interaction between biological and physical sciences. Sosnick, a professor in the biochemistry and molecular-biology department, is also a senior fellow at Chicago’s Computation Institute. His research focuses on synergistic studies of protein and RNA folding and design.

Lab Schools pull up a chair
Longtime trustee John W. Rogers Jr. has been named chair of the Laboratory Schools board of trustees. Rogers, U-High’76, is an executive cochair of the Lab+ Campaign. Founding chair and chief executive officer of Ariel Investments, he served as cochair of President Barack Obama’s inauguration committee. He sits on the board of the Ariel Education Initiative, which helped build Ariel Community Academy, a public elementary school in Kenwood.

A century of social service
Hundreds celebrated the centennial of the School of Social Service Administration June 4 in the Palmer House Hilton’s grand ballroom. The gala raised $250,000 for research, leadership development, and community-engagement activities.

What triggers food allergies?
Chicago and Northwestern have won a $433,100 grant to investigate the origins of food allergies. Funded by the EPA’s Science to Achieve Results program, the collaborative effort will search for ways to better assess potential allergic reactions to pesticides produced in genetically engineered plants. The research examines why certain antibodies react to foods and allergens, which will help determine how food triggers allergic responses.

On the way to the Forum
Cooper Harriss, AM’98, has been named managing editor of the Religion and Culture Web Forum, the Martin Marty Center’s site for discussing religious scholarship and its relationship to culture. A Divinity School PhD candidate, Harriss is the former managing editor of Ethics: An International Journal of Moral, Legal, and Political Philosophy. In 2006 he was the Gerald Brauer Seminar Fellow, and he was the Martin Marty Dissertation Fellow in 2008–09. Harriss also is a regular contributor to the Marty Center’s Sightings.

Coffee clash
A proposal from the Humanities Division to convert the Classics Café’s back room into a seminar space prompted a spirited response. Faculty members David Wellbery and Eric Santner circulated a petition in July against the idea. The petition, which argued that the closing would “eviscerate a singular milieu of humanistic conversation,” attracted 792 signatures as of August 24. The dean’s office said in August that a decision about converting the back room has been put on hold.

Return to top