LAS Alumni Achievement Award

The LAS Alumni Achievement Award is given to the alumnus or alumna who, by outstanding achievement, has demonstrated the values derived from a liberal arts and sciences education. Nominees must qualify under one of the following categories: outstanding professional achievement; creative achievement; worthy cumulative performance through the years; or recent acknowledgement by community or professional peers.


  • John Anderson
    MS,'69; PhD, '71, chemical engineering

    While his research program was active, John Anderson was one of the world’s leading experts in understanding how small colloidal particles in liquids interact with membranes in the presence of liquid flow and electric fields. Today he serves as the president of the National Academy of Engineering following his retirement from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 2015 and his service on the National Science Board from 2014-2019, which sets policy for the U.S. National Science Foundation. Anderson has been a member of the faculties of Cornell University, Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western Reserve University, and ITT.

  • Lisa Monteggia
    BS, ‘89, microbiology; MS, ’91, biology

    Lisa Monteggia is an internationally recognized leader in the field of neurobiology and psychiatry and serves as the director of the Vanderbilt Brain Institute and professor of pharmacology at Vanderbilt University. Her research focus is understanding psychiatric disorders and their treatments with an emphasis in the field of depression and antidepressant action. She has an extensive track record of service to national and international neuroscience and mental health organizations.

  • Ruben Mesa
    BS, ’91,physiology and nuclear engineering

    Ruben Mesa is the director of the University of Texas Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center and an international expert on myeloproliferative neoplasms, a group of bone marrow disorders that often lead to leukemia. He led the development of the first U.S. guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of bone-marrow malignancies. Mesa has been the principal investigator or co-principal investigator of more than 70 clinical trials and is currently leading the investigation of several other drugs.


  • Eric P. Whitaker

    BS, '78, biology; MS, ʻ81, health education

    Ambassador Eric P. Whitaker devoted his career to public service, serving in various roles with the U.S. Foreign Service and Department of State and as U.S. Ambassador to Niger from 2017 to 2021. Throughout his career, Whitaker served in 11 countries in Africa as well as Croatia, Iraq, and Korea.

  • Larry M. Page

    MS, '68; PhD, '72, zoology

    Currently the curator of fishes at the Florida Museum of Natural History, Lawrence M. Page has dedicated his career to describing and protecting biodiversity, particularly freshwater fishes. He conducted research and taught at the University of Illinois for more than 30 years, publishing more than 200 papers and nine books.

  • Maria C. Carrillo

    BS, '91, psychology

    Maria C. Carrillo is an internationally recognized expert on Alzheimerʼs disease. As chief science officer for the Alzheimerʼs Association, she sets the strategic vision for the Alzheimerʼs Association global research program. Under Dr. Carrilloʼs leadership the Association is the worldʼs largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimerʼs research and an internationally recognized pioneer in convening the dementia science community to accelerate the field.

  • T. Markus Funk

    BA, '91, Germanic languages and literatures; BS, '92, business administration

    T. Markus Funk is a partner in the international law firm Perkins Coie and teaches law at institutions including Oxford University, Northwestern, and the University of Chicago. He was a federal prosecutor, who prosecuted the countryʼs most extensive mob-murder case, and served with the U.S. Department of State. The USDOJ and the State Department awarded Funk their highest service awards.


  • Cheryl Quinn
    PhD, ’91, biochemistry

    Cheryl Quinn has spent her career working with pharmaceutical drug discovery, development, and consulting. She is currently an Independent Consultant for QnA Pharma Consulting, LLC, where she works to discover and develop new drugs or medicines. Quinn looks for new ways to treat diseases. Her focus has primarily been with antifungal and antibacterial medicines, but she has also started researching anti-cancer medicines. Watch a video interview of Quinn.

  • Hye Kyung Timken
    PhD, ’87, chemistry

    After earning her doctoral degree in chemistry at Illinois, Hye Kyung Timken moved on to Chevron Corporation. She is now a Chevron Fellow at the company, and in her position as team leader she works to make products and processes more efficient, cleaner, and safer.  Watch a video interview of Timken.

  • Kelvin Droegemeier
    MS, ’82; PhD, ’85; atmospheric sciences

    Kelvin Droegemeier is director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) at the White House and acting director of the National Science Foundation. In his current position, Droegemeier serves as science advisor to President Donald Trump and coordinates science and technology initiatives across the federal government. Watch a video interview of Droegemeier.

  • Richard Powers
    BS, ‘78; MA, ’80; English

    Richard Powers has written several critically acclaimed novels such as “Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance” and “The Gold Bug Variations,” and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2019 for his most recent novel “Overstory.”  He has remained committed to the Illinois community throughout all his success, and formerly served as a faculty member in the Department of English for two decades teaching creative writing. Powers also served as writer-in-residence throughout his time as a faculty member at Illinois, and held an affiliated faculty appointment in cognitive neuroscience. Listen to a statement from Powers.

  • Yi Gang
    MS, ‘84; PhD, ’86; economics

    Yi Gang is Governor of the People’s Bank of China (PCB), a role in which he is the highest official governing the monetary policy and banking regulations in the country. During his time at Illinois, Yi served as a teaching assistant in economics statistics courses and was also a research assistant. He is the author of “Money, Banking, and Financial Markets in China,” a book which solidified his place as one of the premier authority figures in the Chinese economy. Watch a video interview of Yi.


  • Howard Aizenstein
    BS, ’86, mathematics; MS, ’88; PhD, ’93, computer science; MD ’95

    Howard Aizenstein is an internationally recognized physician-scientist who has made significant contributions to neuroimaging data and uses that data to improve the lives of people with cognitive impairment and depression. He conducts cutting-edge neuroimaging research, cares for patients at the UPMC Benedum Geriatric Center inpatient unit and Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, and supervises students, postdocs and residents. Read more about Howard Aizenstein.

  • Billy Dec
    BA, ’95, economics

    Billy Dec is a two-time Emmy Award winning TV personality, actor, attorney, restaurateur, and the CEO/Founder of Rockit Ranch, a hospitality and entertainment company that owns and operates celebrated restaurants and offers elevated marketing and HR services to clients. He also was a presidential appointee for five years, serving on the White House Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and the White House Bullying Prevention Task Force. Read more about Billy Dec.

  • Hariklia “Lili” Deligianni
    MS, ’86; PhD, ’88, chemical engineering

    As a longtime researcher at IBM, Hariklia Deligianni played a leading role in solving numerous technical challenges in the electronics industry. Deligianni helped introduce electrochemical processes in solder bump technology, now a standard practice for joining silicon chips to packages. She also co-invented the copper electrodeposition process for on-chip interconnects, which revolutionized computer chips and allows computers to run faster. Read more about Hariklia Deligianni.


  • Joanne Chory
    MS, ’80; PhD, ’84; microbiology

    Joanne Chory discovered in 1989 how plants respond to light at the cellular level. It also led to a cascade of other discoveries on plant growth, development, and cellular structure. She is a leader in her own right at the Salk Institute, where she directs the Harnessing Plants Initiative. She and her colleagues hope to develop “super plants” that better sequester carbon dioxide in their roots. Read more about Joanne Chory.

  • Mary Lynn Reed
    MS, ’90; PhD, ’95; mathematics

    Mary Lynn Reed is the National Security Agency's chief of mathematics research. Her work involves breaking codes and designing tools to help intelligence analysts grapple with massive amounts of data. Read more about Mary Lynn Reed.

  • Richard Clarida
    BS, ’79, economics

    Richard Clarida has developed models to predict how the economy reacts when it is hit by shocks. The model he created with several co-authors has been picked up by virtually every central bank in the world. He is vice chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Read more about Richard Clarida.


  • Donald Johanson
    BA, '66, anthropology

    Donald Johanson is known for his discovery of "Lucy," a 3.18 million-year-old female hominid skeleton in Ethiopia. It led to Johanson's extensive contributions to public outreach and research in the field of paleoanthropology. Read more about Donald Johanson.

  • Michael Sofia
    PhD, '84, chemistry

    Michael Sofia led efforts to produce Sofosbuvir, the first drug to cure Hepatitis C. He founded Arbutus Biopharma to combat Hepatitis B, and Arbutus Biopharma is now considered a leading drug discovery and development company in the fight against the disease. Read more about Michael Sofia.

  • David Boger
    MS, '64; PhD,'66; chemical engineering

    David Boger is a world-renowned expert in rheology and is best known for the development of "Boger Fluids," which behave both like solids and liquids depending on how stress is applied to the fluid. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2017. Read more about David Boger.


  • Doris Derby
    MA, '75, PhD, '80, anthropology

    Doris Derby's photography and films of the civil rights movement have had a lasting impact. Her photographs have shown up in galleries, city halls, schools, performing arts centers, and museums across the country, from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. to the Field Museum in Chicago. Read more about Doris Derby.

  • Laura Niklason
    BS, '83, physics; BA, '83, biophysics

    Laura Niklason created a prototype engineered blood vessel in 1997. She wanted to replace Teflon blood vessels, which are susceptible to infection. She aimed to replace them with bioengineered vessels that are basically human tissue. In 2012, an advanced version was used successfully in the first human patient. Read more about Laura Niklason.

  • Sharon Mosher
    BS, '73, PhD, '78, geology

    Sharon Mosher has served as dean of the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin since 2009. It's the largest geosciences academic institution in the country. She is also known worldwide for her research on mountain formation millions of years ago when continents collided. She brought new life to two major geological associations, and she helped spearhead a national initiative to evaluate what undergraduate students in geosciences across the country need to know. Read more about Sharon Mosher.

  • Elizabeth Pieroth
    BS, '88, psychology

    Elizabeth Pieroth is the concussion specialist for the Chicago Blackhawks, Bears, White Sox, and Chicago Fire. She is a board-certified neuropsychologist and associate director of the sports concussion program in the NorthShore University HealthSystem, as well as a member of the Brain Injury Association of Illinois Board of Directors and the USA Football Heads Up National Advisory Committee. She created creating "A Step aHead," a joint education program with the Chicago Blackhawks, Athletico, the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois, and NorthShore. Read more about Elizabeth Pieroth.

  • James A. Spudich
    BS, '63, chemistry

    James Spudich proved that out of the 5,000 or so proteins in a cell, you only needed actin and myosin to create movement that was the equivalent of a muscle contraction. Today, scientists around the world use the laboratory procedure that James and his students developed from this research. In another breakthrough, his team's work on actin and myosin helped open up the field of single molecule biology. Read more about James Spudich.


  • David Kranz
    PhD, ’82, microbiology

    David Kranz co-created a technology that makes it possible to fish through millions of mutant molecules to find one that can combat disease. He has also found ways to mobilize the body's immune system to battle cancer. His lab was the first to engineer T cell receptors with a therapeutic potential, and two highly successful start-up companies resulted from this and other work. Read more about David Kranz.

  • Guy Padbury
    MS, ’85, PhD, ’88, biochemistry

    Guy Padbury has played a leading role in getting to market a host of therapeutic drugs that treat everything from bacterial infections, HIV, and heart disease to Parkinson's, osteoporosis, and diabetes. He works for Upjohn pharmaceutical company.Read more about Guy Padbury.

  • Darsh Wasan
    BS, ’60, chemical engineering

    Darsh Wasan has worked as a researcher and administrator at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. He is now vice president of international affairs at IIT and the Motorola professor of chemical engineering. Read more about Darsh Wasan.


  • William F. Banholzer
    MS ’81, PhD ’83, chemical engineering

    William F. Banholzer was looking for variety in his work when he began with General Electric, and that’s what he got. In his career with GE and Dow Chemical, he has worked on artificial diamonds, plastics, solar-powered shingles, lighting, stealth technology, and more. He was also chief technical officer for Dow, one of the world’s largest companies. Read more about William F. Banholzer.

  • Laura Bolton
    BS, ’66, psychology

    Laura Bolton is one of the nation’s leading authorities on wound care. She was a pioneer in occlusive bandages, which hold moisture close to the wound, accelerating healing and reducing pain. She also led the team that created a new and improved version of DuoDERM, the most widely used hydrocolloid dressing. It even works on the most difficult-to-heal wounds. Read more about Laura Bolton.

  • Peter Senter
    PhD, ’81, chemistry

    Peter Senter made some of the earliest breakthroughs in the use of antibodies to target cancer cells without destroying nearby healthy cells. He was also one of the founding members of Seattle Genetics, which developed the drug Adcetris, an important treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the most common cancer among teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19. Read more about Peter Senter.


  • Joel Coats
    MS, ’72, PhD, ’74, entomology

    Joel Coats credits a University of Illinois lab for paving the way to becoming an authority on insect toxicology and the impact of pesticides on the environment. Coats did critical work on synthetic replacements for DDT and the fate of pesticides in the environment. He even found novel ways to use natural compounds to repel insects. Read more about Joel Coats.

  • Stephen J. Elledge
    BS, ’78, chemistry

    Stephen J. Elledge discovered the genes that sense damaged DNA and trigger its repair, his first step toward becoming a leading geneticist at Harvard. He specializes in the DNA repair process, which is crucial to preventing mutations that fuel cancer, and he has also worked on viruses and tumor suppressors. Read more about Stephen J. Elledge.

  • Edna Greene Medford
    MA ’76, History

    Edna Greene Medford was teaching 19th-century African American history when she was invited by the C-SPAN network to do on-air commentaries for their reenactments of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. From there, her work on Lincoln took off, and she became a leading authority on Abraham Lincoln and African American life in the 19th century. Read more about Edna Greene Medford.


  • Douglas Barnes
    PhD, ’79, sociology

    Douglas Barnes has helped coordinate programs for the World Bank that have brought electricity—and light—to remote areas of India and other countries. He then tackled a major health issue by working to bring clean-burning cookstoves to developing countries. Read more about Douglas Barnes.

  • Karl Niklas
    PhD, ’74, paleobotany

    Karl Niklas specialized in paleobotany at Illinois before going on to become an expert on how plants evolved. He was one of the first to extract organic molecules from fossil plant remains, and he went on to probe the physics and chemistry of plant life millions of years ago. Read more about Karl Niklas.

  • David Schmidly
    PhD, ’71, zoology

    David Schmidly studied bats, whales, and other mammals before moving into the top levels of university administration. As president of three major schools, he helped revive academic and athletic programs, and he even brought on board some legendary coaches, such as Bobby Knight. Read more about David Schmidly.


  • Julie Freischlag
    BS, ’76, biology

    Julie Freischlag reached the top of the medical world as the first female chief of surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, rated as the number one hospital in the country. Freischlag specializes in vascular surgery and is one of the few surgeons in the country that can perform thoracic outlet surgery. Read more about Julie Freischlag.

  • Grant Krafft
    PhD, ’80, chemistry

    Grant Krafft has a knack for going against the grain. His maverick attitude led to the surprising discovery of ADDLs—small, globular proteins that are believed to be the culprit behind Alzheimer’s disease. Krafft went on to form his own company to market innovative solutions to the Alzheimer’s mystery. Read more about Grant Krafft.

  • Sidney Ribeau
    AM, ’73, speech communication; PhD, ’79, speech

    Sidney Ribeau left a legacy of success as president of Bowling Green University before taking the post of president at Howard University, the leading institution among historically black colleges and universities. At both Bowling Green and Howard, this grad has built a reputation for creating a sense of community and purpose on campus. Read more about Sidney Ribeau.


  • Linda S. Birnbaum
    MS, ’69, PhD, ’72, microbiology

    Linda Birnbaum, the first woman to head the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, has tackled some of the most serious toxicology issues of our time, from dioxins and PCBs to asbestos and the health risks posed in 2010 by the blown-out oil well in the Gulf. Read more about Linda Birnbaum.

  • Margaret Leinen
    BS, ’69, geology

    The ocean and its effect on climate has been Margaret Leinen’s long-time passion, whether it is in academics, working as assistant director for the National Science Foundation, or helping to lead the most ambitious ocean biogeochemical research program ever mounted. Read more about Margaret Leinen.

  • Richard Powers
    AB, ’78, MA, ’80, English

    Richard Powers, winner of the 2006 National Book Award, the MacArthur “genius” award, the James Fenimore Cooper Prize for Best Historical Fiction, and a host of other accolades, is one of the most important writers today. He also makes his home at U of I as a writer-in-residence. Read more about Richard Powers.


  • Brock Siegel
    PhD, '74, chemistry

    Brock Siegel has been at the center of the genetic engineering revolution for most of his career, helping to map the human genome and working on some of the world's top-selling DNA-analysis instruments. Read more about Brock Siegel.

  • Fred Volkmar
    BS, '72, psychology

    Fred Volkmar is a leader in studying autism and related disorders, conducting major research projects, developing diagnosis guidelines, and writing books that help families, teachers, and others deal with the disorder. Read more about Fred Volkmar.

  • Myra Bluebond-Langner
    AM, '71, PhD, '75, anthropology

    Myra Bluebond-Langner is nationally known for her work with seriously ill children, drawing upon her extensive interviews with families, physicians, and the children themselves. Read more about Myra Bluebond-Langner.

  • Lynn Hartmann
    AB, '70, English

    Lynn Hartmann is one of the nation's most prominent experts in breast and ovarian cancer, working at Mayo Clinic as a researcher, clinician, director, and educator. Read more about Lynn Hartmann.


  • Douglas L. Cole
    PhD, '74, chemistry

    Douglas Cole works at the invisible level, but he has seen highly visible results through the long line of life-changing pharmaceuticals that he has helped to develop. Read more about Douglas Cole.

  • William Edelstein
    BS, '65, physics

    William Edelstein has made key refinements to magnetic resonance imaging over the years, helping to make MRI one of the most vital and effective medical imaging systems. Read more about William Edelstein.

  • Govindjee
    PhD, '60, biophysics

    Govindjee is perhaps the world's most recognized photosynthesis researcher, conducting far-reaching work on one of life's most critical processes. Read more about Govindjee.

  • Carol D. Lee
    BS, '66, teaching of secondary school English

    Carol D. Lee has devoted her career to finding ways to help minority students bloom in the midst of “whirlwinds” such as poverty, negative stereotypes, and a culture of low expectations. Read more about Carol Lee.


  • Rachel Galun
    PhD, '55, entomology

    Rachel Galun, described as a "fearless woman," has been to Africa more than 60 times, fighting tropical illnesses transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks, and tsetse flies. She is a world-renowned expert on blood-feeding insects and helped establish the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi, Kenya. Read more about Rachel Galun.

  • David A. Matthews
    PhD, '71, chemistry

    At the height of the AIDS epidemic, David Matthews became the scientific founder of Agouron Pharmaceuticals—a company that would go on to develop one of the most effective drugs to battle the HIV virus. His technique for drug development became a model for many pharmaceutical companies. Read more about David Matthews.


  • James Benson
    BA, '68, finance

    James Benson scaled Mt. Kilimanjaro and bicycled across the United States through an innovative program that brings disabled and able-bodied athletes together in extraordinary challenges. Benson, a national leader in the insurance industry, founded this trailblazing organization known as T.E.A.M., or The Exceptional Athlete Matters. Read more about James Benson.

  • William Clark
    PhD, '64, geography

    William Clark is a native of New Zealand. So it is only fitting that this immigrant professor would become one of the world's leading experts on population movement. His research has influenced some of the most critical public policy issues of the day, from busing to illegal immigration. Read more about William Clark.

  • Dennis Houston
    BS, '74, chemical engineering

    Dennis Houston, a small-town boy from Illinois, went on to become a leader in one of the largest companies in one of the biggest industries in the world. Houston is responsible for ExxonMobil's oil tanker fleet, pipeline business, tank farms, and the oil going through the company's refineries. Read more about Dennis Houston.

  • William Wechter
    BS, '53; MS, '54, chemistry

    With nearly 50 patents to his name and after almost 50 years in the pharmaceutical industry, William Wechter's work is not over. He and a close-knit group of fellow scientists founded EncorePharma, a pharmaceutical company that has one of the leading new candidates for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Read more about William Wechter.


  • Susan Avery
    MS, '74, physics; PhD, '78, atmospheric science

    Susan Avery has come a long way since being the first person to receive a doctorate in atmospheric science from the U of I. After doing innovative research on the upper atmosphere, she directed one of the nation's leading interdisciplinary research centers. She currently is interim provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Colorado. Read more about Susan Avery.

  • Mohamed El-Ashry
    MS, '63, PhD, '66, geology

    Mohamed El-Ashry's accomplishments on global environmental issues have been described as "legendary." Among his many efforts, he led a program to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions at a large utility, built an influential think tank, and established the Global Environment Facility, a major funding institution for projects in developing countries. Read more about Mohamed El-Ashry.

  • George W. Parshall
    PhD, '54, organic chemistry

    George W. Parshal did groundbreaking work on chemical catalysts for DuPont, where he also led an effort to develop a safe alternative to ozone-destroying CFCs. But even after retirement, he didn't slow down. He has been advising the U.S. Army in its ongoing effort to safely destroy chemical weapons. Read more about George Parshall.

  • Robert Stuart
    BS, '43, Chemical Engineering

    Robert Stuart was CEO of a Fortune 500 company, the National Can Corporation. But he also managed to find the time and energy to lead and sometimes found dozens of service organizations. He was even founding chairman of a development council that helps minority-owned companies obtain billions of dollars worth of business annually. Read more about Robert Stuart.


  • Arthur W. Galston
    MS, '42, PhD '43, plant biology

    Arthur W. Galston is a pioneering plant biologist, leading breakthroughs in the area of light and plant development. He also shed light on some of the toughest issues in bioethics in our time, beginning with the Agent Orange controversy in the 1960s. Read more about Arthur Galston.

  • Richard E. Heckert
    AM, '47, PhD '49, chemistry

    Fortune magazine has described Richard E. Heckert as "gregarious, relaxed, and unflappable...a 6-foot-3, friendly bear of a boss." With his people-person skills, and managerial and scientific knowledge, he eventually became CEO of DuPont, one of the largest companies in the world. Read more about Richard Heckert.

  • John W. McDonald
    AB, '43, political science; JD, '46, law

    A 1994 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Ambassador John W. McDonald has had a far-ranging career. His skills in multilateral iplomacy have taken him from post-war Berlin and the Middle East to ambassadorships under President Carter and President Reagan. He is also the director for the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy. Read more about John McDonald.


  • Fakhri Bazzaz
    MS, '60, PhD '63, plant biology

    Fakhri Bazzaz is among the nation's most preeminent ecologists. He is Mallinckrodt professor of biology at Harvard whose research has forged the way in the world's ever widening understanding of plant ecology. He was among the first scientists to recognize how rising carbon dioxide levels were affecting the health of natural ecosystems. Read more about Fakhri Bazzaz.

  • Joseph LaPalombara
    AB, '47, AM, '50, political science

    Joseph LaPalombara is considered the country's eminent scholar on Italian politics whose interest in labor unions led him into the field of comparative politics where he made an art of analyzing the relationships between politics and economics. This former high school dropout graduated Phi Eta Sigma, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Pi, and Bronze Tablet from the University of Illinois. He later became Michigan State University's youngest department chair at age 32. Read more about Joseph LaPalombara.


  • Roxanne Decyk
    AB, '73, English literature

    Roxanne Decyk is among the handful of women who have reached the upper echelons of corporate America. As a senior vice president of corporate affairs and human resources at Shell Oil Company, she oversees all U.S. media relations, communications, advertising, government relations, and human resources for this energy giant. Read more about Roxanne Decyk.

  • John Law
    PhD, '57, biochemistry

    John Law is a pioneer in the field of molecular entomology—a discipline that dissects insects, gene by gene, to understand the intricate biological pathways that govern everything from how ants alert each other to anger to how cockroaches produce eggs. Read more about John Law.

  • Clifford Saper
    BS, MS, '72, biology

    Over the past three decades, Clifford Saper has been recognized as one of the world's foremost neuroanatomists for his work in mapping much of the brain's complex circuitry. His neural maps have led to advances in treating obesity, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, and schizophrenia. Read more Clifford Saper.


  • Constantine Curris
    AM, '65, political science

    Constantine Curris has served as past-president of Clemson University, the University of Northern Iowa, and Murray State University. He is currently serving as president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, where he advocates for more than15 million students and three-quarter million staff and faculty. Read more about Constantine Curris.

  • Daniel R. Reedy
    AM, '59; PhD, '62, Spanish

    Daniel R. Reedy has directed more than 40 doctoral dissertations in his specialty field of Spanish-American literature and Latin American studies. His contributions to the Library of Congress' Handbook of Latin American Studies have influenced scholars worldwide. Reedy's ongoing and pivotal role in the Kentucky Foreign Language Conference is widely acknowledged as vital and indispensable. Read more about Daniel Reedy.

  • Phillip Sharp
    PhD, '69, Chemistry

    Phillip Sharp founded the world's oldest independent biotechnology company, Biogen. Biogen is a global leader in developing drugs for health care through genetic engineering. In 1993, Dr. Sharp was the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of introns, which led to a landmark discovery in understanding how biological information is organized. Read more about Phillip Sharp.


  • Philip Horwitz
    MS, '55; PhD, '57, chemistry

    Philip Horwitz developed a "chemical separations" technique that is used worldwide in such diverse applications as analyzing the lunar surface to cleaning up nuclear wastes. His technique reduced, by a factor of more than 100, the amount of radioactive wastes that has to be disposed of in geologic repositories. Read more about Philip Horwitz.

  • Seemon Pines
    MS, '49, PhD, '51, chemistry

    Seemon Pines made it possible to commercially synthesize a staggering number of life-enhancing therapeutic drugs, such as cortisone. His work not only eased the suffering of millions but also rewrote the definition of what is achievable in chemical synthesis. Read more about Seemon Pines.

  • Eugene Hamilton
    AB, '55, general curriculum

    The Honorable Eugene Hamilton, chief judge of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia and social welfare advocate, has created domestic violence units, streamlined adoption systems, and been a foster parent to more than 40 children. Read more about Eugene Hamilton.


  • Ed Cupp
    PhD, '69, entomology

    Ed Cupp is a professor and head of the Department of Entomology at Auburn University. He developed an environmentally safe model to control and possibly eradicate river blindness—a disease transmitted by the black fly. Read more about Ed Cupp.

  • James H. Davis
    BS, '54, psychology

    James Davis is professor emeritus of psychology at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He analyzed the process groups go through in reaching consensus and how different combinations of talents and interests influence their performance. His research has influenced business practices and Supreme Court decisions. Read more about James Davis.

  • Carol Stack
    AM, '68, PhD, '72, anthropology

    Carol Stack is a cultural anthropologist. She wrote All our Kin and Call to Home, two books that examine the family structure and return migration of African-Americans. Her work opened the way for research on families and social structure in American communities. Read more about Carol Stack.


  • Ann Cyphers
    AB, '72, anthropology

    Ann Cyphers holds the position of senior research scientist at the Institute for Anthropological Research of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. In 1994, Cyphers unearthed the 10th colossal head found in San Lorenzo.

  • Jean Driscoll
    AB, '91, speech communication, MS, '93, rehabilitation

    Jean Driscoll set a world record after winning eight Boston Marathons and works with University of Illinois student-athletes with disabilities.

  • Walter L. Robb
    MS, '49, PhD, '51, chemical engineering

    Walter L. Robb played a pivotal role in bringing computed tomography (CT) scanning and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) into common use as medical diagnostic tools.


  • Clayton F. Callis
    MS, '46, PhD, '48, chemistry

    Clayton F. Callis is the retired director of environmental operations at Monsanto Company and current consultant with Chelan Associates. His pioneering applications of nuclear magnetic resonance methods to the study of phosphorus compounds were of fundamental scientific importance and of great significance to Monsanto, a major producer of phosphorus-containing compounds, such as detergents.

  • Helena B. Lopata
    BS, '46, AM '47, sociology and philosophy

    Helena B. Lopata is professor emerita of sociology at Loyola University and director emerita of the Center for the Comparative Study of Social Roles. She studies social roles including groundbreaking research on housewives, families, and widowhood. A longtime scholar of Poland and Polish Americans, she has been honored by the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences in America and the Polish American Historical Association.

  • Arvarh E. Strickland
    AM, '53, education, PhD, '62, history

    Arvarh E. Strickland is professor emeritus of history at the University of Missouri, Columbia. He is one of the first two African Americans to earn a doctorate in history at U of I, the first black member of faculty at UM-Columbia, and the first black president of Phi Alpha Theta, the professional fraternity for historians. He established the Black Studies Program at UM-Columbia.


  • Stewart K. Dan
    AB, '62, political science

    Stewart K. Dan is the NBC News Midwest Bureau chief and an award-winning news producer for NBC News' "Today" and "NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw." He has received two EMMYs and the National Association of Professional Communicators Gabriel Awards in 1988 and 1989.

  • Ernest L. Eliel
    PhD, '48, chemistry

    Ernest L. Eliel is the W.R. Keenan Professor of Chemistry Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He wrote the landmark paper introducing concept of stereochemistry, which led to detailed studies of conformational analysis of flexible ring systems. He also pioneered use of modern spectroscopic techniques to study such systems and published the definitive texts on both subjects. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and recipient of many research and teaching awards.

  • Martin Gibbs
    PhD, '47, plant biology

    Martin Gibbs is the Abraham S. and Gertrude Burg Professor Emeritus at Brandeis University. His early work with the Atomic Energy Commission laid the foundation for understanding several fundamental pathways of carbon metabolism in plants, work that earned him membership in the National Academy of Sciences. As editor-in-chief of Plant Physiology for 30 years, he has changed the direction of the field toward more biochemical approaches.

  • Welton I. Taylor
    AB, '41, general curriculum, MS, '47, PhD, '48, microbiology

    A retired professor and consultant in clinical microbiology, Welton I. Taylor developed new methods in the 1960s for the detection of Salmonella and Shigella, bacteria that caused widespread illness and death throughout the world. Methods were adopted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to assure safety of food products. Seminal work determined the efficacy of antibiotics for treatment of clostridial infections such as tetanus, gas gangrene and botulism.


  • Charles J. Graham
    AB, '50, AM, '51, PhD, '55, political science

    Charles J. Graham, the president emeritus of St. Cloud State University, championed the value of a liberal arts and sciences education throughout career as university faculty member, department chair, academic dean, president and state system official in Wisconsin and Minnesota. He is the former president of St. Cloud State University and Hamline University.

  • Robert M. Nowak
    PhD, '56, chemistry

    Robert M. Nowak is president and CEO of the Michigan Molecular Institute, a private, not-for-profit research institute dedicated to science education and the spawning of new technological developments. He worked 37 years for Dow Chemical Company, rising from position of chemist to that of director of the Central Research Department and chief scientist. At a time when the fundamental nature of polymer-based materials (plastics) was changing, Nowak's supervision of Dow's research agenda enabled the company to remain an industry leader.


  • James P. Collman
    PhD, '58, chemistry

    James P. Collman is the Daubert Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University. He is one of the founders of the field of bioinorganic chemistry, which uses metal atoms in biological molecules. He developed the synthetic analogE approach to studying metalloproteins and clarified the mechanisms underlying the reactions of molecules containing metal-carbon bonds. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1983, he was named California Scientist of the Year.

  • Robert W. Doubek
    AB, '66, political science

    Robert W. Doubek is an international consultant for PADCO Co. He co-founded the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, Inc., and coordinated passage of the act of Congress authorizing land for a Vietnam veterans memorial in Washington, D.C. He initiated a fundraising rive that raised $7 million from 500,000 donors in two years, and directed the memorial's design competition which attracted 1,421 entries.

  • P. David Romei
    AB, '80, philosophy

    P. David Romei is chairman of the board of the Birmingham Regional Arts Commission, legislative adviser on arts and culture to the state senate of Alabama, and member of the State Council on the Arts. He conducted a study of the Birmingham arts scene, commissioned by the mayor and city council, which led to legislation providing stable and equitable funding for the city's arts community. He is a published poet and award-winning photographer.


  • Lucius Barker
    AM, '50, PhD, '54, political science

    Lucius Barker is the William Bennett Munro Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and president of the National Political Science Association. He is a leading scholar in judicial process/constitutional law and African-American politics and founding editor of the National Political Science Review, the annual scholarly publication of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists.

  • Frank Pitelka
    AB, '39, ecology, ethology, and evolution

    Frank Pitelka is professor emeritus of integrative biology and associate director of the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at the University of California at Berkeley. As one of first scientists to explore animal social behavior in an ecological context, he developed a series of models that became one of the cornerstones of the sub-disciplines of behavioral ecology and sociobiology.

  • Susan Welch
    AB, '65, MA, '66; PhD, '70, political science

    Susan Welch is Dean of College of Liberal Arts and professor of political science at Penn State University. As a scholar of urban and ethnic politics and women in politics, she applied quantitative methods to examine the political consequences of different types of electoral reform. Her book, American Government, is widely recognized for its coverage of minorities and women in political life.


  • Robert S. Dietz
    BS, '37, MS, '39, PhD, '41, geology

    Robert S. Dietz played a leading role in two important developments in the earth sciences: the establishment of plate tectonics as a new paradigm and the recognition of the importance of meteoric impacts on Earth and on the terrestrial planets. He is now professor emeritus of Geology at Arizona State University. He's the only scientist to receive both the Walter H. Bucher Medal of the American Geophysical Union and the Penrose Medal of the Geological Society of America.

  • William L. Fash, Jr.
    AB, '76, anthropology

    William L. Fash, Jr. is a professor of anthropology at Northern Illinois University, where he directs the excavation and reconstruction of Copan, a Maya site in western Honduras, currently the largest archaeological exploration in the New World. He developed methods to reconstruct mosaic facades consisting of over 20,000 fragments dating 1,200 years ago.

  • Edwin G. Krebs
    AB, '40, chemistry

    Edwin G. Krebs, a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist, is a senior investigator emeritus of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and professor emeritus in the Departments of Pharmacology and Biochemistry at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is noted for his work in the basic principles, which govern cellular regulation, particularly covalent chemical modification, a mechanism employed in biological systems to control the activities of enzymes and proteins that regulate gene expression.


  • I. Garth Youngberg
    PhD, '71, political science

    I. Garth Youngber is the co-founder and executive director of the Institute for Alternative Agriculture, coordinating this program in non-traditional agricultural policy for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He is also the editor of the institute's Journal of Alternative Agriculture. He received the first MacArthur Foundation Fellowship awarded in agriculture.

  • Emmett Bashful
    AM, '47, political science

    Emmett Bashful is chancellor emeritus, Southern University at New Orleans. He oversaw the growth of the university from one partially constructed building, 15 faculty and 158 freshmen to a campus offering 1,000 different courses and/or sections and servicing some 3,200 students per semester. He was named one of the Ten Outstanding Citizens of New Orleans by the Institute for Human Understanding.

  • Michael H. Masser
    AB, '63, political science

    A composer, Michael H. Masser has been nominated for a Grammy (for "Didn't We Almost Have It All"), a Golden Globe (for "So Sad the Song" from the movie Pipe Dreams), and an Academy Award (for the theme from Mahogany, "Do You Know Where You're Going To").


  • William H. Allaway
    BS, '49, political science, AM, '51, education

    William H. Allaway inaugurated first education abroad program at the University of California, subsequently enabling 17,000 U.C. students to study at 88 host institutions in 33 countries. The program negotiated between U.C. and Leningrad State University was the first direct exchange between a United States university and the former USSR. He was also instrumental in opening up Third World and Pacific Rim countries to student exchange.

  • Robert T. Fraley
    AB, '74, MS, '76, PhD, '79, biology/microbiology

    Robert T. Fraley is the director of the Plant Science Technology Division at Monsanto. He is the senior author on the first publication demonstrating the introduction of foreign genetic material into plant systems. He shared the Monsanto 1986 Charles A. Thomas and Carroll A. Hochwalt Award for innovative basic science of the highest calibre and was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  • Lawrence J. Wilker
    PhD, '73, speech communication (theatre)

    Lawrence J. Wilker is the president of the Playhouse Square Foundation, where he assumed leadership of a $37.6 million capital fund drive to restore and revitalize the Playhouse Square Center, which now ranks behind only New York's Lincoln Center and the San Francisco War Memorial in capacity. He also has had leadership roles in the Shubert Organization, the Eugene O'Neill Memorial Theater Foundation, the Grand Opera House, and the National Endowment for the Arts.


  • R. Byron Bird
    BS, '47, chemical engineering

    R. Byron Bird, the John D. MacAuthur Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, co-wrote monumental textbooks on the transport phenomena and polymer melt rheology. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineers, foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences, and recipient of the National Medal of Science.

  • Nancy Goodman Brinker
    AB, '68, sociology

    As founder and president of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Nancy Goodman Brinker has dedicated her life to research and education on breast cancer. The legislation she initiated in Texas requiring mandatory insurance coverage of screening mammography for women over the age of 35 was a model for other states.

  • William E. Taylor
    AM, '52, sociology/anthropology

    William E. Taylor, a senior archaeologist at the National Museum of Civilization, was formerly chief archaeologist and director of the National Museum of Man (now the National Museum of Civilization, the Canadian equivalent of the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History) and the Canadian War Museum. He is also director of Canada's Social Science and Humanities Research Council.


  • Leon Boothe
    PhD, '67, history

    Leon Boothe is president of Northern Kentucky University. He has been honored for scholarship (diplomatic history) and community service, serving on the boards of the Cincinnati Chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, and the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce.

  • Rolando Hinojosa-Smith
    PhD, '69, Spanish

    Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, the Ellyn Clayton Garwood Centennial Professor in Creative Writing and English at the University of Texas, is an accomplished author. He has written 10 novels with versions in English and Spanish, as well as numerous stories, poems, and essays. He earned Latin America's highest award for fiction, the Premio Casa de las Americas, and is a recipient of the National Award for Chicano Literature. He is one of the few U.S. citizens to be named a member of the Royal Spanish Academy for the Spanish Language.


  • David L. Matlock
    BS, '62, physics

    David L. Matlock is founder of Econics Corporation, a leader in the field of energy optimization, and Prelude Computer Corporation. He is a consultant on financing, developing, and marketing of new products and services.