Alumni Award winners include Nobelist James Cronin

Nobel laureate James Cronin, SM’53, PhD’55, will receive the Alumni Medal, the highest honor for a UChicago alumnus, while 13 others will be recognized for their career accomplishments during Alumni Weekend.

Cronin shared the Nobel Prize in physics in 1980 for showing that the laws of nature operate differently on matter and antimatter—a discovery that opened an entirely new research direction for particle physics. More recently, Cronin led the effort to build the Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina. The Auger collaboration has become the most successful cosmic ray observatory and has inspired more than 400 scientists in 17 countries to explore this frontier of knowledge. A professor emeritus in Astronomy and Astrophysics, Physics, and the College, Cronin is also a dedicated professor, winning the Quantrell Award for Undergraduate Teaching in 1994.

The Alumni Medal recognizes achievement of an exceptional nature in any field, vocational or voluntary, covering an entire career. In addition to the Alumni Medal, the University will recognize distinguished alumni and faculty members who have made exceptional contributions to UChicago, to their professions, and to their communities, across six different categories. 

This year’s 14 Alumni Award recipients include a global economist governing the Banco de Mexico, one of the developers of video game franchise Halo, a renowned statistician in both the sports and political fronts, and a philanthropist working to create a tuberculosis-free world.

The University of Chicago Alumni Association and the Alumni Board of Governors will hold the 72nd annual Alumni Awards Ceremony at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 8 in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

The 2013 Alumni Award recipients include:

Alumni Service medal

Eva Fishell Lichtenberg, AB’52, AM’55, PhD’60, LAB’49

For more than half a century, Lichtenberg has demonstrated her commitment to UChicago, including endowing a College scholarship, attending all of her class reunions, helping organize the Emeriti Alumni Group, and serving either currently or previously on the University of Chicago Women’s Board, the Alumni Board of Governors, the Visiting Committee to the Department of Music, the Visiting Committee to the College, and the Visiting Committee to the Humanities Division. 

Alumni service AWARDS 


Nancy Parra, AM’66, PhD’73

Parra is recognized as a visible advocate for UChicago, 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. Parra also worked closely with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in planning the Business Forecasting Luncheons, which average 400 participants. 

Reuben Sandler, SM’58, PhD’61

Sandler, chairman and chief executive officer of Intelligent Optical Systems, has helped raise nearly $9 million as chair of the visiting committee to the Physical Sciences Division to reach its $10 million goal for the Magellan Telescopes. That, in turn, is driving recruitment of elite scholars and positioning the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and PSD as a leader in the developing area of research on exoplanets.

Young Alumni Service Awards

Lauren Henry, AB’05 

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. As a reader for the Metcalf Internship Program, Henry assists in fulfilling the career ambitions of current College students, and is a proven collaborator committed to enhancing the volunteer experience via the Volunteer Caucus. 

Evan Trent, AB’02, MBA’06

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 UChicago students, and has interviewed Metcalf internship applicants and prospective students through the Alumni Schools Committee, as well as conducted workshops for hundreds of students interested in careers in consulting. Trent also contributed support to create the Logan Center Cabaret Series.

Professional Achievement Awards

Agustín Carstens, AM’83, PhD’85

A global economist, Carstens 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. One of his major achievements has been to help steer the Mexican economy through the world financial crisis that started in 2007. He is a member of the board of the Bank for International Settlements, member of the steering committee of the G-20 Financial Stability Board, chairman of the FSB Standing Committee on Assessment of Vulnerabilities and co-chair of the FSB Regional Consultative Group for the Americas.

Alexander Seropian, SB’91

While a UChicago student, Seropian partnered with Jason Jones, X'94, to found Bungie. Seropian and Jones developed the Halo video game series, which has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide, and revolutionized the gaming industry. Seropian went on to found Wideload Games, which 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

Silver is a leading statistician in the worlds of politics and sports. He runs a political website,, and has written for ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, The 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. He has been named to Time Magazine’s most influential people list and Rolling Stone’s 100 Agents of Change.

Public Service Awards

Sandeep Ahuja, MPP’06

In 2005, Ahuja co-founded Operation ASHA 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. OpASHA provides TB treatment and services to 6.1 million people in eight Indian states and two provinces in Cambodia and is expanding to other countries in Southeast Asia and Africa. 

R. Lawrence (Larry) Liss, AB’63, MAT’65

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 into the Academic Games Leagues of America, helping students become “thinking kids” by improving their academic and problem-solving skills, their logical thinking, and their lives. Now retired, Liss serves as the director of the Palm Beach Academic Games League and on the AGLOA board of directors. 

Paul Yingling, AM’98

The retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel is considered a scholar-warrior. During his second Iraq tour in 2006, he was one of the first army officers to implement a successful counter-insurgency strategy, and he is credited with reducing civilian and military casualties. His ground-breaking essay, “A Failure in Generalship,” published in the Armed Forces Journal, called to attention faults in leadership, thereby creating a lasting impact on the intellectual and professional standards of the military. 

Norman Maclean Faculty Awards

Harry L. Davis, the Roger L. and Rachel M. Goetz Distinguished Service Professor of Creative Management

For more than 50 years, Davis has made a lasting impact on generations of students through his work creating innovative educational programs including Leadership Exploration and Development. 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.” 

Marvin Zonis, Professor Emeritus of Business Administration at Chicago Booth

Zonis, a leading authority on the Middle East and former director of the University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, has taught and inspired generations of students in the College, the Department of Political Science, the Committee on International Relations, and the Committee on Human Development and at Chicago Booth. Students credit Zonis for teaching them how to think, not what to think. As one student said, “he demonstrates the nexus between rational, analytic approaches and emotional, personality-driven actions and impact.”