2013 Alumni Awards
The 2013 alumni awardees have impacted both the University of Chicago and the global community. The 14 recipients include a Nobel Laureate, a global economist, a video game developer, a renowned statistician, and a philanthropist working to rid the world of a curable disease.
They are your fellow club members, friends you made while at the University, and alumni you admire for their great accomplishments or deeds. View the 72nd Annual Alumni Awards Ceremony and hear the awardees express their gratitude for the University of Chicago.
Awards were presented in the following categories: Alumni Medal, Alumni Service Medal, Alumni Service Awards, Norman Maclean Faculty Awards, Professional Achievement Awards, Public Service Awards, Young Alumni Service Awards, and Howell Murray Student Medals.
James Watson Cronin, SM'53, PhD'55
Professor Emeritus, Departments of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and Physics, and the College, University of Chicago
Professor James Cronin has made extraordinary contributions to science, to the University of Chicago, and to humanity. He shared the Nobel Prize in physics in 1980 for showing that the laws of nature operate differently on matter and antimatter; a discovery which opened an entirely new research direction for particle physics. More recently, Cronin led the effort to build the Auger Observatory in Argentina. The Pierre Auger collaboration aims to track down the mysterious source of rare but extremely powerful cosmic rays that periodically bombard Earth. Auger has become the most successful cosmic ray observatory ever and has inspired more than 400 scientists in 19 countries to explore this frontier of knowledge. He is a dedicated professor, winning the Quantrell Award for Undergraduate Teaching.
Young Alumni Service Award
Lauren Henry, AB'05
Since graduation, Lauren Henry has served her alma mater and classmates through the Alumni Schools Committee, class council and reunions, and acted as president for both alumni club boards in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Henry is credited with helping strengthen the Alumni Club of Pittsburgh and epitomizes what it means to be a University ambassador through her leadership in recruiting and interviewing promising students. She has demonstrated her commitment to enhancing the volunteer experience through her service in advance of and at Volunteer Caucus events and is a proven collaborator willing to serve as an ad hoc committee member or share her experiences with other club presidents. As a reader for the Metcalf Internship Program, Henry assists in fulfilling the career ambitions of current College students.
Evan Trent, AB'02, MBA'06
Evan Trent’s zeal for supporting students’ career goals has helped guide them to success in uncertain times. Trent played a key role in the launch of UChicago Careers in the Arts and the UChicago Careers in Business programs, serves as a mentor to many UChicago students, and has spent countless hours interviewing Metcalf internship applicants and prospective students through the Alumni Schools Committee. Since his time as a student at Chicago Booth, Trent planned, organized and conducted workshops for hundreds of undergraduate students interested in careers in consulting. His commitment to the arts extends beyond service; evidenced by his gift creating and supporting the Logan Center Cabaret Series, which gave nearly 100 students the opportunity to perform in front of 1,300 audience members.
Alumni Service Award
Nancy Parra, AM'66, PhD'73
Nancy Parra is recognized as a visible advocate for the University of Chicago, specifically in her service to the Alumni Club of Houston, the Alumni Board of Governors, and the Visiting Committee to the Division of the Humanities. During her decade-long involvement with the Houston club, members saw a marked increase in club events and alumni participation. Parra also worked closely with the Chicago Booth School of Business in planning the Business Forecasting Luncheons, averaging 400 participants. During her tenure on the Alumni Board of Governors, Parra was instrumental in the creation of the Student Externship Program, impacting the student experience and promoting alumni service.
Reuben Sandler, SM'58, PhD'61
Reuben Sandler, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Intelligent Optical Systems, has leveraged his expertise in corporate and innovation management in his role as chair of the Visiting Committee to the Physical Sciences Division. His fundraising prowess sets him apart; he has helped raise nearly $9M for the Division to reach its $10M goal for the Magellan Telescopes. Access to the telescope and increased funding helped drive recruitment of elite scholars, positioning the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, as well as the PSD as a leader in the developing area of research on exoplanets.
Alumni Service Medal
Eva Fishell Lichtenberg, LAB'49, AB'52, AM'55, PhD'60
For more than half a century, Eva Fishell Lichtenberg has demonstrated her commitment to the University in a myriad of ways, including endowing a College scholarship, attending all of her class reunions, helping organize the Emeriti Alumni Group and several reunions, and serving on the University of Chicago Women’s Board, formerly on the Alumni Board of Governors, the Visiting Committee to the Department of Music, the Visiting Committee to the College, and currently on the Visiting Committee to the Humanities Division. A product of the University of Chicago, Lichtenberg was educated by the institution from high school through her doctorate studies. Lichtenberg is credited for her thoughtful approach in identifying the needs of current students to ensure their overall experience – from curriculum, student life, and extracurricular activities – showed growth and revitalization. She has taken her civic duty beyond the scope of the University, serving as member and president of the Women’s Association and trustee of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis, vice-president of the local chapter of the American Jewish Committee as well as member of its national Board of Governors, and being a Holocaust refugee herself, a supporter of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Professional Achievement Award
Agustín Carstens, AM'83, PhD'85
Governor, Banco de Mexico
Agustín Carstens, a global economist, has spent his career working to understand the roots of financial crisis in both emerging and industrialized economies and the limits of public intervention and policy. During the last 10 years, Carstens has been deputy managing director at the International Monetary Fund (2003 – 2006), Mexico's finance minister (2006 – 2009) and Governor of his home country's central bank, Banco de México (2010 to present). One of his major achievements has been to help steer clear the Mexican economy, by avoiding contagion, through the world financial crisis that started in 2007 and is still ongoing in many latitudes. He is a member of the board of the Bank for International Settlements, member of the steering committee of the G20 Financial Stability Board (FSB), chairman of the FSB Standing Committee on Assessment of Vulnerabilities and Co-chair of the FSB Regional Consultative Group for the Americas. In these roles, he has been an active contributor in the reform process on the international financial architecture, in particular after the eruption of the crisis. The academic rigor and technical tools he acquired during his years at University of Chicago have been essential in confronting the policy challenges he has faced throughout his career.
Alexander Seropian, SB'91
While a student at the University of Chicago, Alex Seropian partnered with Jason Jones, EX'94, to found Bungie. Bungie grew to become the best-known Apple Macintosh game developer before being bought by Microsoft in 2000. Seropian and Jones developed the Halo video game series, which has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide. They revolutionized the gaming industry by pioneering the concepts of building an online community and using plot and complex characters to create more compelling gameplay, and while instituting technical contributions like gaming physics – nearly a decade or more ahead of the rest of the world. Seropian went on to found Wideload Games, based on a new flexible business model that others in the industry later adopted. Wideload Games was acquired by Disney Interactive Studios, where he became vice president of Game Development. In 2012, Seropian formed Industrial Toys and shifted focus to mobile games.
Nate Silver, AB'00
Founder and Manager, FiveThirtyEight.com
Nate Silver is a leading statistician in the worlds of politics and sports, correctly predicting the results of the primaries and the presidential winners in two elections and developing PECOTA (Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm). PECOTA influenced baseball as a method to predict player performance, career development, and seasonal winners and losers. He currently runs a political website, FiveThirtyEight.com, and has written for ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, New York Times, Huffington Post, and Vanity Fair. Silver recently released the New York Times Best Seller, “The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail – But Some Don’t” that highlights his methodology that comes down to one thing – data. He has been named to Time Magazine’s Most Influential People List and Rolling Stone’s 100 Agents of Change.
Public Service Award
Sandeep Ahuja, MPP'06
CEO & Co-Founder, Operation ASHA
A vision of a Tuberculosis-free world is the driving force behind the work of Sandeep Ahuja. In 2005, Ahuja co-founded Operation ASHA (OpASHA) with Shelly Batra to address the global pandemic of tuberculosis greatly affecting those at poverty level. The non-profit organization provides health and economic benefits to disadvantaged communities at the grassroots level; implementing programs to help ensure patients remain on their regimen, educating communities to eliminate the stigma associated with the disease; training local semi-literate residents to work in treatment centers, creating 186 full time jobs so far, and educating communities to eliminate the stigma associated with the disease. Today, OpASHA provides TB treatment and services to 6.1 million people in eighty-six Indian states and two provinces in Cambodia and is expanding to other countries in Southeast Asia and Africa. Prior to founding OpASHA, Ahuja served as additional commissioner of Customs for the Government of India. He was an expert in Export Promotion Programs and authored a book on this subject. During his tenure at the University of Chicago, he was awarded the Harris Fellowship and selected as a McCormick Tribune Community Leadership Fellow.
R. Lawrence (Larry) Liss, AB'63, MAT'65
Former Executive Director, Academic Games Leagues of America
Larry Liss' work with students has spanned more than four decades and impacted more than 100,000 students, grades 4-12. He helped translate his own experience as a student-athlete while playing basketball at the University of Chicago into the Academic Games Leagues of America (AGLOA), helping students become “thinking kids” by improving their academic and problem-solving skills, their logical thinking, and their lives. The non-profit organization blends the principles of physical sports competition with the rigor of academic subject areas. Liss' “abiding belief that education in America can be fun as well as life-changing” guided his personal and professional choices. Liss retired as assistant director of Information Systems for the West Palm Beach School Board, but continues to serve as the director of the Palm Beach Academic Games League and on the AGLOA Board of Directors.
Paul Yingling, AM'98
Retired Lt. Colonel, United States Army
Retired United States Army Lieutenant Colonel Paul Yingling is considered a true scholar-warrior. During his second Iraq tour in 2006, he was one of the first army officers to implement a successful counter-insurgency strategy. His peers credit him with helping to turn around the Iraq war, reduce civilian and military casualties, and allow the US to transition control to Iraqi authorities. His ground-breaking essay "A Failure in Generalship," published in the Armed Forces Journal, set him apart as a scholarly vanguard calling to attention faults in leadership with analysis and thoughtful solutions, thereby creating a lasting impact on the intellectual and professional standards of the military. Yingling is currently a high school social studies teacher, guiding the intellectual and moral development of his students.
Norman Maclean Faculty Award
Harry L. Davis
Roger L. and Rachel M. Goetz Distinguished Service Professor of Creative Management
For more than 50 years, Harry L. Davis has made a lasting impact on generations of students through his work creating innovative educational programs including Leadership Exploration and Development (LEAD). The first core leadership program of any top-rated MBA program in the country, LEAD has been replicated by institutions across the nation, and is a hallmark of the Chicago Booth experience. Davis also developed the New Product Laboratory offering students the opportunity to apply theories to real-world situations, and helped Chicago Booth pioneer its first international campus in Barcelona. Davis served as the school’s deputy dean from 1983 to 1993, and is recognized for his influence of blending humanities and business. Former and current students cherish the countless hours spent in his office, fondly referred to as "The Treehouse," where Davis carefully "curates conversations, knowing when to let it drift and when to refocus it and how to encourage each participant to reflect on something more personal."
Professor Emeritus of Business Administration, Chicago Booth
Marvin Zonis is regarded as a true leader who inspires students and colleagues alike to think out of their comfort zones and not follow consensus as a safer option. He has taught and inspired generations of students in the College, the Department of Political Science, the Committee on International Relations, the Committee on Human Development and at ChicagoBooth. He was the first professor at Chicago Booth to teach a course on the effects of digital technologies on global business, and students credit his “Politics in Interdependent Economies” course as one of the most salient ways to understanding today’s emerging markets. A leading authority on the Middle East and former director of the University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Zonis has spent the last 50 years studying the volatile mix of Islam, terrorism, and the Middle East. He also consults to corporations and professional asset management firms throughout the world, helping them identify, assess, and manage their political risks in the changing global environment. Zonis is credited by his students for teaching them how to think, not what to think. As one student puts it, “he demonstrates the nexus between rational, analytic approaches and emotional, personality-driven actions and impact.” More important, Zonis is seen by his students as a philosopher friend who leaves people entertained, enlightened and inspired after every encounter.
Howell Murray Alumni Association Award
Named in honor of Howell Murray, PhB 1914, the Howell Murray Alumni Association Awards were first given in 1961 to recognize students graduating from the College for their outstanding contributions to extracirricular programs on campus. The 2013 award recipients are:
Denver Hughes Barrows
Douglas Everson Jr.
Malini Bhavani Kartha
Julia M.H. Sizek
Vasanth Stefan Subramanian
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