University awards alumni for scholarly and professional achievements

Alumni, faculty recognized for contributions and service to UChicago community

The University of Chicago has a long tradition of honoring distinguished and committed alumni who have shaped the world and strengthened our global alumni community.

This year, the Alumni Association and the Alumni Board have honored 11 alumni for their scholarly and professional achievements by bestowing the Alumni Professional Achievement Awards, Early Career Achievement Awards, Alumni Service Medal and Alumni Service Awards.

The virtual ceremony, held last month, also honored the winner of the Norman Maclean Faculty Award, which recognizes extraordinary contributions to teaching and student life by emeritus or very senior faculty.

Alumni Professional Achievement Awards

Alumni Professional Achievement Award recipients are accomplished luminaries in any professional field. These alumni’s achievements have brought distinction to themselves, credit to the University and real benefit to their communities. This year’s winners are:

Thomas J. Biersteker, AB’72, is the Gasteyger Professor of International Security and Director for Policy Research at the Graduate Institute, Geneva, where he founded and directed its Global Governance Centre. He previously co-directed the Economics and Political Science Program at Yale University, founded and directed the Center for International Studies at the University of Southern California, and directed the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University, in addition to his professorial teaching appointments at these universities.

An internationally renowned scholar on international relations theory and international organizations—particularly the United Nations—Biersteker has taught numerous seminars and courses globally and published widely in these areas. He has authored, co-authored or edited numerous influential books, most notably State Sovereignty as Social Construct (1996), The Emergence of Private Authority in Global Governance (2002), Targeted Sanctions: The Impacts and Effectiveness of UN Action (2016), and Informal Governance in World Politics (forthcoming 2021).

In recent years, his policy reports have contributed to the reform of UN sanctions programs, including the development of “targeted sanctions” as an alternative to “comprehensive sanctions,” which were associated with harmful humanitarian consequences.

Howard Marks, MBA’70, is the co-chairman of Oaktree Capital Management, LLC. Since the formation of Oaktree in 1995, Marks has been responsible for ensuring the firm’s adherence to its core investment philosophy, communicating closely with clients concerning products and strategies, and contributing his experience to big-picture decisions relating to investments and corporate direction.

From 1985 until 1995, Howard led the groups at The TCW Group, Inc. that were responsible for investments in distressed debt, high yield bonds and convertible securities. Previously, Howard was with Citicorp Investment Management for 16 years, where from 1978 to 1985 he was vice president and senior portfolio manager in charge of convertible and high yield securities.

At the Booth School of Business, he received the George Hay Brown Prize, which is awarded annually to the full-time MBA student with the best scholastic record in marketing.

Diana Mendley Rauner, AM’95, PhD’02, learned early from her parents the importance of participating in the community. As a young adult, she spent time volunteering at a settlement house in New York to help teach formerly incarcerated people to read. After witnessing the education inequities in our country firsthand, she realized this was an issue she wanted to focus on long term.

Rauner now serves as president of Start Early (formerly the Ounce of Prevention Fund), a public-private partnership that provides and advocates for the highest-quality care and education for children in poverty from birth to age five. Start Early develops direct center-based and home-based programs and services to children and families, provides professional development tools and trainings, and champions effective public policies and funding.

Prior to joining the Start Early, Diana was a senior research associate at Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago and an associate at private equity firms in San Francisco and Chicago. She and her husband, former Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, are blessed with six children and one grandchild.

Adam Silver, JD’88, was unanimously elected NBA commissioner on Feb. 1, 2014, by the NBA Board of Governors. He presides over a global sports and media business built around four professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, Women’s National Basketball Association, NBA G League and NBA 2K League.

Silver was named Executive of the Decade by Sports Business Journal and has been ranked No. 1 on the publication’s annual list of the 50 Most Influential People in Sports Business. He was also named to Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, Fortune’s World’s 50 Greatest Leaders, and The Bloomberg 50, Bloomberg Businessweek’s list of 50 people who defined global business. Additionally, Silver has earned Sports Executive of the Year honors at the Sports Business Awards, and was named Executive of the Year by Sports Illustrated.

Silver also served as NBA deputy commissioner and chief operating officer for eight years. Before joining the league in 1992, Silver was a litigation associate at the New York law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore, where he concentrated on media and antitrust cases. He also served as a law clerk to Federal District Court Judge Kimba Wood in New York City.

Early Career Achievement Awards

The Early Career Achievement Award winners similarly demonstrate outstanding achievements and recognize professional achievement or creative leadership in any field by alumni aged 40 or younger. This year’s winners are:

Emile Cambry Jr., LAB’98, AB’03, is a business professor, filmmaker and social entrepreneur. He gained experience in investment banking for J.P. Morgan Chase and has taught at North Park University. He also founded BLUE1647, a technology and entrepreneurship incubator.

Cambry has produced films that have been licensed by HBO, Cinemax and Showtime. He is a co-founder of the Chicago International Social Change Festival, which showcases films that heighten public consciousness.

He has also been named to such lists as Ebony’s Power 100The Root 100 and the Tech 50 from Crain’s Chicago Business. Additionally, he was awarded the Dewey Winburne Community Service Award at the South by Southwest conference.

Joshua Motta, AB’06, is the CEO and co-founder of Coalition, a cyber insurance company that provides comprehensive coverage for risks posed by the increasing digitized world. He is a technology innovator and entrepreneur with experience in both the public and private sector. 

Prior to Coalition, Motta was instrumental in the growth of the web performance and security company Cloudflare, where he led special projects. Both the Wall Street Journal and the World Economic Forum have recognized Cloudflare for its innovations in networking and internet technology.

Motta also spent over five years as an investor, quantitative analyst, and advisor in the hedge fund, private equity and banking sectors, including positions at Goldman Sachs and Francisco Partners.

Alumni Service Medal

The Alumni Service Medal is awarded for extended, extraordinary service to the University. This year’s winner is Michael H. Silverman, MD’73. Born at Chicago Lying-In Hospital, Silverman has gravitated back to Hyde Park repeatedly throughout his life: sledding down the Midway as a child, swimming at Promontory Point during high school and—in his most important formative experience—attending and graduating from the Pritzker School of Medicine.

After establishing his career as a pharmaceutical clinical research physician, he returned again, visiting the campus to attend reunions (co-chairing his 45th) and to mentor students at Pritzker and in the Biological Sciences Division. He joined the Alumni Council of the University of Chicago Medical and Biological Sciences Alumni Association (MBSAA) in 2008 and became chair of the Chicago Partners Committee in 2011. He has served as both vice president (2013-15) and president (2015-17) of the MBSAA.

In 2009, Silverman joined the Division of the Biological Sciences and the Pritzker School of Medicine Council. He became a founding member of its nominating sub-committee in 2014 and was instrumental in revising the Council’s mission statement to align with new University-wide standards for advisory councils.

Silverman is doubly-board certified in internal medicine and was named a Fellow of the American College of Physicians in 1983. He is the co-author of approximately 100 peer-reviewed research publications and presentations.

Alumni Service Awards

The Alumni Service Awards are given for outstanding service to the University, recognizing the achievements of individuals working on behalf of the University through service in alumni programs, on advisory committees and through efforts made to ensure the welfare of the institution. This year’s winners are:

Hernando Bunuan, MBA’07, has been a dedicated alumni volunteer of the University since graduating from the Booth School of Business. Service leadership has been central to his relationship with Chicago Booth, given the lasting experiences he received from his early days as a Leadership Effectiveness and Development (LEAD) facilitator and in classes with faculty such as Prof. Harry Davis.

Bunuan’s early post-graduation experiences with Booth included serving as an MBA recruiting captain at Barclays in London, as well as an interviewer for prospective full-time MBA students. In 2011, he joined the UK alumni board as a committee member. In 2013, he helped launch what is now the Chicago Booth Angels Network as a deal committee member. The same year, he became the UK Alumni Club President for Chicago Booth.

Over the next several years, he helped bring a more inclusive and coordinated engagement between alumni and the different Booth departments, both on the London campus and in Chicago. In conjunction with his professional interests, Hernando mentored Booth startups involved in the Global New Venture Challenge for several years. In 2019, he co-chaired the launch of the Alumni New Venture Challenge in Europe.

Amy Carbone, AB’83, is an attorney specializing in commercial litigation, now retired. Her past firm affiliations include Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP and Levin McParland Phillips Leydig & Haberkorn.

Carbone is a trustee and vice chair for the Adler Planetarium and sits on the Board of Managers for the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago. She is an executive committee member and nominating and governance committee chair for both organizations.

Until recently, Carbone was a longstanding member of the College Advisory Council for the University of Chicago. She currently sits on the board of governors for the Smart Museum of Art (University of Chicago) and is a board member of the Old Masters Society (Art Institute of Chicago).

Young Alumni Service Awards

The Young Alumni Service Awards acknowledge and encourage service to the University by alumni aged 35 and younger. This year’s winners are:

Kathleen Austin, AM’11, has over a decade of experience in the financial services industry, developing expertise in the areas of digital transformation and strategic, cross-functional implementations. She has a passion for business strategy at the intersection of people and technology. Currently, she is coordinating a global data quality initiative for C&IS Business Services at Northern Trust.

She attributes her unique, integrative approach to managing corporate initiatives to her background in the social sciences, which honed her ability to understand the patterns of interactions that underscore business strategy and operations. In order to design the process and implement the technology, one must first understand the people.

Austin is a graduate of the MA Program in the Social Sciences (MAPSS), which cultivates strong analytical skills and the ability to adapt quickly in an ever-changing world—both of which she has found to be invaluable throughout her career. She returned to the MAPSS Alumni Association to expand programming for both current students and established alumni, most notably with the Annual Career Conference, Spring Break Externship Program, and the new Evening Perspectives: A Lecture Series for the Intellectually Curious. She is also president of the MAPSS Alumni Association and volunteers with Habitat for Humanity-Chicago.

Dustin Popiel, AB’13, has been an active member of the University of Chicago community since his first year on campus. Dustin was a volunteer mentor in the educational nonprofit Moneythink, teaching weekly at Woodlawn Charter and Hales Franciscan high schools his first two years on campus before taking on an administrative role with the organization. As a student, Dustin also volunteered at a local community development bank, organized service events with the Calvert House, and co-designed a summer basketball camp for high school student-athletes from South Chicago.

Now a vice president with the merchant bank BDT & Company, Popiel has lived in Chicago, London and New York, and is an active member of each city’s alumni community. Since 2016, Dustin has served on the London or New York Regional Council, supporting Career Advancement’s objectives in these regions. Between formal events, Dustin has enjoyed connecting alumni with promising undergraduate students focused on advancing their knowledge in a specific field via a cohort-based program he is piloting. Philanthropically, Dustin has supported the University through two personal interest areas: international Metcalf internships and research in Biological Sciences.

Norman Maclean Faculty Award

Named in honor of Prof. Norman Maclean, PhD’40, the critically acclaimed author of A River Runs Through It who taught at UChicago for 40 years, this award recognizes extraordinary contributions to teaching and student life within the UChicago community. This year’s winner is Robert T. Michael, the Eliakim Hastings Moore Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the Harris School of Public Policy.

As the founding dean of Harris—serving from 1989 to 1994 and 1998 to 2002—Michael’s leadership and advocacy were crucial to the school’s formation and early growth. Still actively involved as a professor emeritus, Michael has taught more than 50 courses during his 40 years at the University—including ones on economic theory; economics of child and family policy; poverty, inequality and education; and leadership in Chicago.

A renowned scholar, Michael’s research examines issues that include parental investment in children, and on adolescent and adult sexual behavior in the United States. He has written on the causes of divorce; the reasons for the growth of one-person households; the impact of inflation on families; the measurement of poverty; the consequences of the rise in women’s employment for the family, especially children; teenage fertility; sexually transmitted disease; and abortion.

In addition to his primary scholarship, Michael has worked at NORC at the University of Chicago, where he served as CEO for five years. He was also the project director of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) Program, where he helped design and conduct longitudinal studies that provided remarkable insight into childhood development and the challenges facing youth in Great Britain.