Two Nobel laureates among recipients of UChicago’s 2024 Alumni Awards

Nine alumni honored for their exceptional career and service achievements

Nobel Prize laureates Andrea Ghez and Claudia Goldin are among the recipients of the 2024 Alumni Awards, announced Feb. 19 by the University of Chicago Alumni Association and the Alumni Board.

Ghez, LAB’83, and Goldin, AM’69, PhD’72, will be presented the Alumni Medal—one of the highest alumni honors awarded by the University. Dating to 1941, the award recognizes exceptional career achievement, and Ghez and Goldin are being honored this year for their field-defining research in the fields of physics and economics, respectively. Ghez shared the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physics for her groundbreaking work on supermassive black holes; while in 2023, Goldin was awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for her work on the drivers of gender differences in the labor market.

In addition to the Alumni Medal, this year’s honors will include the Alumni Service Award, the Young Alumni Service Award, the Early Career Achievement Award and the Professional Achievement Award. Profs. John J. MacAloon and Martha C. Nussbaum also will be honored as this year’s Norman Maclean Faculty Award recipients.

Learn more about this year’s honorees, who will be presented their awards during Alumni Weekend on May 16-19:

Alumni Medal

Andrea Ghez, LAB’83, is the Lauren B. Leichtman & Arthur E. Levine Chair in Astrophysics at UCLA. One of the world’s leading experts in observational astrophysics and head of UCLA’s Galactic Center Group, she is best known for her groundbreaking work on the center of our galaxy, which has led to the best evidence to date for the existence of supermassive black holes. She has received the Crafoord Prize in Astronomy from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Bakerian Medal from the Royal Society of London, and a MacArthur Fellowship. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.

Ghez is committed to communicating science to the public and inspiring young girls to get involved in science. Her work has been featured in many public outlets, including a TED Talk, Nova’s “Monster of the Milky Way,” Discovery’s “Swallowed by a Black Hole,” and at the Griffith Observatory.

Claudia Goldin, AM’69, PhD’72, is the Henry Lee Professor of Economics at Harvard University and co-director of the Gender in the Economy working group at the National Bureau of Economic Research. An economic historian and labor economist, Goldin has researched the history of women’s quest for career and family, coeducation in higher education, the impact of the birth control pill on women’s career and marriage decisions, women’s surnames after marriage as a social indicator, the reasons why women are now the majority of undergraduates, and the new life cycle of women’s employment. She has written and edited several books, most recently Career & Family: Women’s Century-Long Journey toward Equity.

Goldin is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society and a fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Society of Labor Economists (SOLE), the Econometric Society, and the Cliometric Society. She received the IZA Prize in Labor Economics in 2016, and in 2009 SOLE awarded her the Jacob Mincer Award for lifetime achievements in the field of labor economics. She received the 2019 BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award and the 2020 Nemmers Prize, both in economics.

Alumni Service Award

Wendy Gonzalez, AB’08, has been a committed and involved alum since her graduation. She served as the class council chair for the Class of 2008 and as the reunion chair for her fifth, 10th, and 15th reunions, leading her class to win the coveted Green Gargoyle Award for their fifth reunion. She has been a class correspondent for the University of Chicago Magazine since 2008 and has cochaired five Participate Chicago and Phoenixphest events in San Francisco. Over the years, Gonzalez has supported the next generation of alumni by sharing her professional experience with students as a panelist at events like Taking the Next Step and Backpack to Briefcase, interviewing prospective students, and connecting with current students or recent graduates to discuss their career paths. She was also active in a variety of on-campus activities while a student and was honored with the Howell Murray Alumni Association Award for her service. 

Gonzalez has worked at Google for more than 15 years. She is a board member of several nonprofit and community organizations, including the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, Manhattan Community Board 4, Greenwich House and

Young Alumni Service Award

Hind Omer Hassan, MBA’19, has served on the board of the Chicago Booth Black Alumni Association, including serving as chair of CBAA’s annual Reconnect brunch. In its first year back after the pandemic, the brunch brought together over 100 Black alumni. In the following year, Hassan helped to increase attendance by more than 50 percent. During her time at Chicago Booth, she was an active member of the Graduate Business Council, a cochair of the African American MBA Association, and an admissions fellow.

Hassan is a manager in the global private equity practice at Salesforce, where she fosters strategic alliances with leading private equity firms. Prior to receiving her MBA, she worked for Citigroup, Standard Chartered Private Equity and global enterprises in Dubai. 

Early Career Achievement Award

Arjun Kapoor, AB’19, is a partner of crossover fund Kinetic Partners, where he leads the firm’s investments in enterprise software businesses across public and private equities. Prior to joining Kinetic, Kapoor worked across the tactical opportunities and growth equity funds at the Blackstone Group, where he helped lead investments in several software companies, including Snowflake, Vectra AI, Cvent and Diligent Software. While a student, he founded Scala Computing, where he served as CEO for three years. Since its inception in 2015, Scala’s technology has been adopted by many of the largest hyperscalers in the world, and the business has secured strategic partnerships with Cadence, Keysight Technologies and Amazon Web Services.

At UChicago, Kapoor was a recipient of the Stamps and Presidential Scholarships. Kapoor currently serves on the boards of Scala Computing and Kura Labs, a nonprofit providing free vocational training in the software development methodology DevOps to underprivileged youth in New York City. For his commitment to volunteer work and service, he also received the Congressional Award Gold Medal.

Rebecca Shi, AB’08, is the founding executive director of the American Business Immigration Coalition, a bipartisan coalition of 1,200 CEOs, retired CEOs, the donor class, employers and business associations across the country. ABIC’s mission is immigration reform to grow the economy, create jobs and keep families together as well as delivering business support to hard-hitting national, state, and local campaigns that benefit the undocumented. ABIC understands the necessity of Right-Left coalitions and alliances to achieve concrete victories, which have included winning driver’s licenses, in-state tuition, health care equity, and access to justice for immigrants across red, purple, and blue states, as well as inclusive Paycheck Protection Program and small business community navigator recovery programs in Washington.

Shi immigrated from China when she was 10 years old and graduated from the University of Chicago with high honors as selected graduation speaker. She has worked as a leader and organizer in the immigrant rights movement for 12 years, in part because her mother had a final deportation order for 19 years. She was honored as one of the 2013 “20 in Their 20s” by Crain’s Chicago Business and as an Asian American community leader in 2021 by the City of Chicago. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times, Texas Tribune, Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune and Politico, among other publications. She has testified before Congress on immigration multiple times.

Professional Achievement Award

Clifford Ko, AB’87, SM’89, MD’91, is vice chair of surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, where he is also chief of colorectal surgery and the Robert and Kelly Day Professor of Surgery. Ko is a leading expert in the implementation and study of health care quality and improvement. He oversees surgical quality improvement programs used in more than 4,000 hospitals in 15 countries to evaluate and improve patient care across a variety of areas, including cancer, diabetes, and emergency medicine. His research investigates interventions to improve outcomes related to health care disparities, rural care, safety net settings, and other areas. He has published more than 500 peer-reviewed studies, 25 book chapters, and two books. Ko lectures worldwide, sits on several national and international advisory committees, and has consulted with ministries of health to improve quality of care.

Since 2007, Ko has been director of quality (Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care) at the American College of Surgeons. Embodying the UChicago idea of growing knowledge from more to more, he is undertaking a part-time Ph.D. program at the University of Cambridge.

Lisa Lucas, AB’01, is the senior vice president and publisher of Pantheon and Schocken Books at Penguin Random House. Previously, Lucas was the executive director of the National Book Foundation for five years. Before that, she served as the publisher of Guernica, a nonprofit, online magazine focusing on writing that explores the intersection of art and politics with an international and diverse focus. She has also served as director of education at the Tribeca Film Institute, on the development team at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and as a consultant for the Sundance Institute, San Francisco Film Society, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and Reel Works Teen Filmmaking.

Lucas is an active member of the Alumni Club of New York City and volunteered for the Alumni Careers Network while she was in the College. She also serves on the literary council of the Brooklyn Book Festival.

Teresa A. Sullivan, AM’72, PhD’75, is president emerita of the University of Virginia, where she is also University Professor. A demographer and sociologist with eclectic interests, Sullivan has written about the labor force, immigration, consumer bankruptcy and the U.S. Census. She has previously held faculty positions at the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Chicago and the University of Michigan. The author or coauthor of seven books and more than 100 articles and chapters, she has won five awards for teaching and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She shared the 1990 Silver Gavel Award of the American Bar Association and the 2000 Writing Award of the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers with her coauthors on two books on consumer bankruptcy. Most recently, she chaired the National Academies panel to evaluate the quality of the 2020 U.S. Census.

Sullivan has combined administrative posts—often as the first woman to hold them—with her teaching and research interests. Among other positions, she served as vice president and graduate dean at the University of Texas and then executive vice chancellor for academic affairs of the University of Texas System. She was provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Michigan before joining the University of Virginia.