Highlights from the latest alumni news columns.
John Grunsfeld, SM’84, PhD’88, will be inducted into the US Astronaut Hall of Fame on May 30. A five-flight veteran, Grunsfeld has spent more than 58 days in space and has performed eight space walks to service the Hubble Space Telescope, earning him the nickname “The Hubble Repairman.” Being an astronaut is “the biggest honor,” Grunsfeld told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s such a tremendous privilege to be able to represent humankind in our quest to explore space.” Retiring from NASA in 2009, Grunsfeld taught physics and astronomy at Johns Hopkins University before rejoining NASA in 2012 as associate administrator of the science mission directorate.
Teacher of the year
Geoffrey Aladro, AB’06, has been named the 2016 Francisco R. Walker Miami-Dade County Teacher of the Year. Aladro, who worked with the Neighborhood Schools Program while attending the College, teaches history at Frank C. Martin International K–8 Center. Recognized for his engaging lessons and imaginative assignments, Aladro “meets [students] right where they are,” wrote one parent in her recommendation letter, “and then pulls out the best in them and helps them to see the best in themselves.”
The High Museum of Art in Atlanta has named Kirsten Pai Buick, AB’85, as the 2015 recipient of the David C. Driskell Prize. The award honors early- to midcareer–scholars or artists for significant contributions to African American art or art history. Buick, an associate professor of art history at the University of New Mexico, has been recognized for writing extensively and passionately on African American art and advancing scholarship of the lives and work of many African American artists.
A curated collection of home goods from e-tailer Of a Kind, founded by Claire Mazur, AB’06, and Erica Cerulo, AB’05, is now available at 350 Target stores across the country. Launched in 2010, Of a Kind collaborates with independent designers to offer limited edition clothing, accessories, and decor through its website, and publishes stories on each designer featured. Following suit, Target is including information about the designers as part of in-store displays.
Marc A. Kastner, SB’67, SM’69, PhD’73, has become the first president of the Science Philanthropy Alliance, a coalition of nonprofits focused on increasing funding for basic science research. Kastner, the Donner Professor of Science and former dean of science at MIT, will lead the alliance in its mission to grow annual giving for basic science by $1 billion within five years. “While philanthropy can never replace federal support for basic research,” said Kastner, “its role has always been key to progress in science, and that role is now growing.”
Top role at Rollins
Grant H. Cornwell, AM’82, PhD’89, has been elected president of Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, effective July 1. Cornwell, currently president of the College of Wooster in Ohio, “is a national and international champion of liberal education, an education especially tuned to Rollins’ mission of global citizenship and responsible leadership,” said Rollins Board of Trustees chair David Lord in announcing the appointment.
Constandinos Himonas, JD’89, has been confirmed to the Utah Supreme Court by a unanimous vote in the state senate. For the past decade, Himonas was a district court judge in Utah. “I am confident he will serve with integrity, intelligence, and great respect for the significant responsibility of the position,” said Governor Gary Herbert.
Stories by two alumni authors are on their way to a theater near you. Parkes+MacDonald and Black Bear Pictures have acquired a spec script by Melissa London Hilfers, JD’98, about a lawyer who works to overturn a murder conviction brought to public attention by a popular podcast, then discovers that she has a personal connection to the case. And Sony Pictures has hired Spider-Man screenwriter David Koepp to adapt The Themis Files (Bot Bot Publishing, 2015), Sylvain Neuvel’s (PhD’03) debut novel. The story follows a UChicago physicist’s quest to reassemble a mysterious, giant robot she found as a girl.
Nancy Rotering, JD’90, has entered the 2016 Democratic primary race to represent Illinois’s 10th Congressional District. Currently the first woman mayor of Highland Park, Illinois, she could face Representative Bob Dold (R) in the general election. “I am running for Congress to fight for educational opportunities for our students and economic fairness for all Americans,” said Rotering in a statement.