Former director of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory to receive Alumni Medal from UChicago

The University of Chicago Alumni Association and the Alumni Board of Governors announce that leading physicist, Edward C. Stone, SM’59, PhD’64, will be awarded the Alumni Medal at the 74th Annual Alumni Awards Ceremony at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 6, 2015, in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn Ave.


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 the University, to their professions and to their communities, across five different categories. This year’s 14 alumni award recipients include a visionary in the media industry, a renowned mathematician, a pre-eminent psychologist and a benefactor of the arts in Chicago.

The awards ceremony, which is free and open to the public, is a highlight of the University of Chicago’s Alumni Weekend. The 2015 alumni award recipients include:


Edward C. Stone, SM’59, PhD’64, Alumni Medal
Edward C. Stone is the David Morrisroe Professor of Physics at the California Institute of Technology and vice provost for Special Projects. He was director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory from 1991 to 2001, and since 1972, he has served as the chief scientist for the Voyager Mission. From 1985 to 2009, he was a member of the Board of Directors of the California Association for Research in Astronomy, which is responsible for building and operating the W. M. Keck Observatory. Stone is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophi­cal Society, the past president of the International Academy of Astronau­tics and past vice president of COSPAR. He also serves on the board of the W. M. Keck Foundation. Among his numerous scientific awards and honors, Stone received the National Medal of Science in 1991.


Louis Gordon Crovitz, AB’80, Professional Achievement Award
Louis Gordon Crovitz is a visionary in the media industry at a time of rapid change. He is the former publisher of The Wall Street Journal, where he led the transformation to digital from print publishing and where he writes the weekly “Information Age” column. He is also co-founder of Press+, a software service that enables hundreds of news publishers around the world to generate digital subscription revenues.


David Eisenbud, SB’66, SM’67, PhD’70, Professional Achievement Award
David Eisenbud is a professor of mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley, and director of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. Eisenbud’s mathematical interests range widely over commutative and non-commutative algebra, algebraic geometry, topology and computer methods. His contributions include research, mentoring students, writing influential texts and creative leadership in the mathematics community.


Paul Ekman, EX’52, Professional Achievement Award
Paul Ekman, professor emeritus in psychology at the University of California, San Francisco, is the researcher and author best known for furthering our understanding of nonverbal behavior, encompassing facial expressions and gestures. A pre-eminent psychologist and co-discoverer of micro expressions with Friesen, Haggard and Isaacs, Ekman was named by TIME Magazine in 2009 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.


Harvey Levin, JD’75, Professional Achievement Award
Harvey Levin is an American television producer, lawyer, legal analyst and celebrity reporter. He is the founder of entertainment news website Prior to this, Levin worked in various legal roles in the entertainment industry. He has been in front of the camera as a legal reporter and host of The People’s Court.


Paul Beaver, AM’75, PhD’76, Public Service Award
Paul Beaver is a conservationist who is best known for his work in the Amazon and the protection of habitat and the social dimensions of conservation. He founded Amazonia Expeditions in 1981, one of the most respected Amazon tour companies in Peru. His company has become a vital member of the indigenous communities, constructing a clinic and school as well as creating a foundation to provide scholarships.


Howard Gottlieb, PhD’47, Public Service Award
Howard Gottlieb is general partner of Glen Eagle Partners, Ltd., a family private investment firm. He is a major contributor to the extended community in Chicago, serving on several trustee boards, and is credited for helping shape the landscape of the arts in the city. As an accomplished violinist, much of his work has focused around music.


Juri Taalman, SB’63, Public Service Award
Juri Taalman is a partner at the law firm of Brignole, Bush & Lewis, following ten years of international experience, which included serving as the American Bar Association’s liaison to the Republic of Estonia. When Estonia gained independence, Taalman was instrumental in its development of both legal and commercial structures as the special advisor to the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Estonia.


Kathleen Abbott, AB’95, Alumni Service Award
Kathleen Abbott received the Young Alumni Award in 2005 for her service to the Bay Area Alumni Cub, and has continued to be a strong leader even as she transitioned from San Francisco back to Chicago. She held many different leadership roles for the Chicago Club, and has been a great mentor to the current board members as well as students through the Student Alumni Committee.


Christopher Rupright, AB’86, Alumni Service Award
Christopher Rupright has been noted as an alumnus who leads by example, and who takes action without seeking recognition for his efforts. He and his wife have put the University at the center of their philanthropic goals and have taken a holistic approach, from interacting with prospective students, parents and peers; sitting on the Visiting Committee on the College and Student Activities and in many other ways.


Sean Ahmed, AB’06, Young Alumni Service Award
Sean Ahmed started “Go Maroons” with several classmates during their undergraduate studies. As sports editor of the Maroon newspaper, Sean was able to leverage his close ties to the athletic teams and find a way to fill a gap in delivery of information to alumni, parents and friends, who weren’t able to watch the teams on game days, through his broadcast and commentary.


Gahan Christenson, AB’03, Young Alumni Service Award
Gahan Christenson has been a consistent leader in the alumni community in the Washington area, where she is a trial attorney for the federal government. Alumni in the D.C. area look to Christenson as a source of information for all things UChicago-related, allowing for robust and innovative programming for community members.


Leo Kocher, MBA’87, Norman Maclean Faculty Award
Leo Kocher was hired in the fall of 1979 as a faculty member in the University of Chicago’s Department of Physical Education and Athletics. At UChicago he has served as an assistant football coach, taught in the Physical Education curriculum and has been the head coach of the Intercollegiate Wrestling Program for his 35 years with the University.


William C. Wimsatt, Norman Maclean Faculty Award
William C. Wimsatt is the Peter B. Ritzma Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and is on the Committee on Evolutionary Biology and the Committee on the Conceptual Foundations of Science. Wimsatt teaches and publishes work centered on the philosophy of the inexact sciences and the study of complex systems. He is recognized for his ability to help students contextualize problems that are otherwise too “messy” to be tractable within any one academic field, using an interdisciplinary lens.