Highlights from the latest alumni news columns.
President Barack Obama has nominated Carla D. Hayden, AM’77, PhD’87, to head the Library of Congress. If confirmed Hayden would become both the first woman and the first African American to be the nation’s top librarian. The CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore since 1993, she previously held leadership positions with the Chicago Public Library and the American Library Association.
Rocking the vote
MTV News has hired Wonkette founding editor and New York Times Magazine contributor Ana Marie Cox, AB’94, as senior political correspondent. Cox, who also hosts CBS’s politics podcast The Brouhaha, will help the network bolster its political coverage ahead of the 2016 election.
During his speech at the annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, in February, President Barack Obama recognized the courage of Muslim activist Rami Nashashibi, AM’98, PhD’11, in continuing to pray publicly following the San Bernardino shootings in December. The executive director of Inner-City Muslim Action Network, Nashashibi works to bring social services and arts education to underserved communities across Chicago.
Ian Urbina, AM’97, is a recipient of the 2015 George Polk Award in Journalism for Foreign Reporting. The awards commemorate CBS correspondent Polk, who was killed while covering the Greek civil war in 1948. Urbina, a New York Times reporter, won for his series the Outlaw Ocean, a chronicle of human trafficking, poaching, and other lawlessness on the high seas. For more on Urbina and the Outlaw Ocean, see “Deep Dive,” UChicago Journal, Winter/16.
In February the Quinnipiac University School of Law recognized Lula M. White, AB’60, AM’63, for her part in the civil rights movement with the Black Law Students Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award. White organized protests in Chicago in the 1960s and was one of the Freedom Riders who challenged segregated interstate transit services in the South. “She’s someone on whose shoulders those of us here today, black and white, should stand,” said Quinnipiac professor Marilyn Ford at the award presentation.
The Cleveland Browns have promoted Ken Kovash, MBA’06, to vice president of player personnel. Formerly the Browns’ director of research, Kovash now uses his analytic abilities to help run the team’s scouting program. Before joining the Browns in 2013 Kovash was senior analytics manager with the Dallas Cowboys, where he led one of the first analytics departments in the National Football League.
Turning a page
Lisa Lucas, AB’01, has been appointed (pdf) executive director of the National Book Foundation, which presents the annual National Book Awards. Lucas, most recently the publisher of literary magazine Guernica, assumed her new role on March 14 with a goal of engaging as many people as possible with contemporary US literature. “The focus for me is inclusivity—and that’s everyone: That’s regional, that’s racial, that’s socioeconomic,” she told NPR. “Everyone is either a reader or a potential reader.”
Elizabeth Kelley, AM’91, is in charge of a $2.5 million Chicago Transit Authority project to put more public art in 10 train stations and a bus station. Kelley, the CTA’s public art administrator, is commissioning work from local artists that will reflect the neighborhoods surrounding each stop. “We are seeking artists who make compelling, provocative, interesting work that seems like it would be a good fit,” she told the Chicago Tribune.
Pacific Standard magazine named Sean Dickson, AB’09, one of its “30 Top Thinkers Under 30” for his work in improving access to health care. As a manager with the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors Dickson advocates for more affordable HIV/AIDS medications. He has been an outspoken critic of Turing Pharmaceuticals and its former CEO, Martin Shkreli, after the company raised the price of an anti-parasitic drug commonly used by patients with compromised immune systems from $13.50 to $750 a tablet.
Michael P. Steinberg, AM’81, PhD’85, has been chosen (pdf) as president of the American Academy in Berlin, effective August 15. Founded in 1994, the academy is focused on strengthening intellectual, cultural, and political ties between the United States and Germany by hosting American scholars and artists and offering public events in Berlin. Steinberg is the vice provost for the arts and a professor of history, music, and German studies at Brown University.