UChicago awards recognize professional achievements of five notable alumni

The University of Chicago Alumni Board has selected recipients for its 2016 Professional Achievement Awards, which honor alumni whose achievements have brought distinction to themselves, credit to the University and benefit to their communities.

Recipients will be honored at a dinner on Friday, Nov. 4 at the Drake Hotel. The event is open to the University community. Online registration is required. More information is available on the event page.

Documentary filmmaker Gordon Quinn, AB’65, is a cofounder and the current artistic director of Chicago-based Kartemquin Films, best known for the basketball documentary Hoop Dreams (1994). For more than 50 years, Quinn has been making cinema verité documentaries that focus on how social forces shape real peoples’ lives. His first film, Home for Life (1966), which depicted two seniors’ first months in a home for the aged, was praised by the Chicago Sun-Times’s Roger Ebert, EX’70, as “extraordinarily moving.” Since then Quinn and Kartemquin have told stories revolving around labor strikes, natural childbirth, gentrification, African wildlife tourism, childhood autism and the Big Brother program. Kartemquin’s most recent film, Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (2016), focuses on the immigrant-owned Abacus Federal Savings, the only bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Quinn has won two Emmys for his work, and in 2015 he was recognized with the International Documentary Association’s Career Achievement Award.

Gary Haugen, JD’91, is the founder and CEO of International Justice Mission, a global organization working to combat modern-day slavery, human trafficking and other forms of violence against the poor by rescuing and restoring victims, prosecuting perpetrators, and working with law enforcement and governments to restore broken public justice systems. Previously, Haugen was a human rights attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, where he focused on police misconduct. In 1994, he directed the United Nations’ investigation into the Rwandan genocide, working with an international team to gather the evidence that would later be used to bring those responsible to justice. Haugen has been named a Trafficking in Persons “Hero” by the U.S. State Department, and he has written several books on global injustice and violence.

An expert on American legal history, Lawrence M. Friedman, AB’48, JD’51, LLM’53, has been on the faculty at Stanford Law School since 1968. He is known for his ability to explain legal history to lay audiences and is a leader in the Law and Society movement, a scholarly enterprise that explains legal phenomena in social terms. He is the most-cited law professor in the field of legal history and the author of many books, most recently Impact: The Effect of Law on Behavior (2016). His books History of American Law (3rd edition, 2005) and American Law in the 20th Century (2003) have become classics in legal education. He holds six honorary law degrees and is a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

During the 26 years she spent as executive director of the Hyams Foundation, Elizabeth Smith, AM’71, provided leadership to numerous major initiatives in Boston in the areas of affordable housing, community development, childcare, after-school care, immigrant services and organizational diversity. Under her leadership, the Hyams Foundation became a major player in the fight for racial justice and equality in Boston and Chelsea, adopting an aggressive strategic plan in 2015 that places racial justice and diversity at the heart of its funding and other activities. This plan, in many ways, is a culmination of Beth’s vision for the foundation and the community in which it operates.

Pioneering dermatologist and skin biologist Eugene Van Scott, SB’45, MD’48, started his scientific career at the National Cancer Institute immediately after completing his residency in dermatology. He founded and became the first chief of the dermatology branch at NCI and, among other accomplishments, developed the first effective treatment for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, an achievement that resulted in him receiving the Lasker Award. He’s trained many dermatologists both at NCI and in his subsequent career at Temple University. Along with his longtime collaborator, dermatopharmacologist Ruey Yu, Van Scott founded the entire science of alpha hydroxy acids. These compounds underlie hundreds of prescription and over-the-counter drugs and cosmeceuticals, and formed the basis for Van Scott and Yu’s commercial venture in these areas, NeoStrata. Among many other honors, Van Scott was named a Master in Dermatology by the American Academy of Dermatology in 1998 and received the Dermatology Foundation’s Distinguished Service Medallion in 2004.