Richard Garwin, SM’48, PhD’49

Richard Garwin, SM’48, PhD’49, receives the Presidential Mdal of Freedom. (Michael Reynolds/EPA/Newscom)


Highlights from the latest alumni news columns.

Presidential recognition

In November physicist Richard Garwin, SM’48, PhD’49, was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A student of Enrico Fermi, Garwin has made contributions to US defense and intelligence technologies, nuclear technology, magnetic resonance imaging, and more. He directed the applied research division of IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center and taught at Harvard, Columbia, and the University of Chicago. Garwin received the National Medal of Science in 2002.

Local hero

Samer Attar, SB’98, MD’02, was named a Chicagoan of the Year for spending two weeks volunteering as a doctor in war-torn Aleppo, Syria, in June. Working in the city’s last hospital (which has since been destroyed), Attar treated bombing and gunshot victims and provided other critical medical services. An orthopedic surgeon of Syrian descent, he told Chicago magazine, “When I look back, I don’t want to say that I wasn’t there for the Syrian people … for a heritage and a culture and a people who have been a part of me.” The trip was his third medical mission to the country.

Coming soon

The movie adaptation of Before I Fall, a young adult novel by Lauren Oliver (née Laura Schechter, AB’04) will be released March 3 by Open Road. The story follows high schooler Samantha Kingston, who miraculously gets seven chances to relive the day of her death and discover what was really important in her life. The novel, Oliver’s first, was published by HarperCollins in 2010.

Maroon representation

Republican Todd Young, MBA’02, was elected Indiana’s junior senator in November, previously serving in the US House of Representatives. He joins alumni senators Bernie Sanders, AB’64 (I-Vermont), and Amy Klobuchar, JD’85 (D-Minnesota). US Representatives Mike Quigley, AM’85 (D-Illinois), and Sander Levin, AB’52 (D-Michigan), won reelection and were also sworn in with the 115th Congress in January.

Her dark side

Ballet Nebraska company artist Genevieve “Vivi” DiMarco, SB’12, played the colead role of Odile, the evil Black Swan, in the company’s production of Swan Lake last fall. “For me, it is not difficult to play someone like that because she is necessary to the story, and for the story to have power, the evil has to be just as believable as the good,” she told the Omaha Reader. Now in her fifth season with Ballet Nebraska, DiMarco also serves as the company’s marketing coordinator.

Rising star

HarperCollins Children’s Books senior editor Andrew Harwell, AB’08, was named Publishers Weekly’s 2016 PW Star Watch Superstar. Harwell was recognized for his dedication to the children’s book industry and for several successful acquisitions, including the Asylum series by author Madeleine Roux. Harwell is also an author himself; his debut middle-grade novel, The Spider Ring (Scholastic, 2015), was named an International Literacy Association Children’s Choice.

Putting down his pen

In December economist and writer Thomas Sowell, PhD’68, announced his retirement from the nationally syndicated column he had written for 25 years. The column, known for explaining economics and public policy issues in “plain English,” as Sowell described it, appeared in more than 150 newspapers. “I write a weekly column,” he once said, “except when I’m really revved up. Then I write two or three.” Sowell, currently a senior public policy fellow at the Hoover Institution, has taught economics at various universities and in 2002 received the National Humanities Medal for his scholarship.

University leader

On July 1 Sara Ray Stoelinga, AB’95, AM’01, PhD’04, will become the next president of Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and the first female president in the university’s 170-year history. An expert on urban education and school reform, Stoelinga currently serves as the Sara Liston Spurlark Director of the Urban Education Institute at UChicago.