Ruth Holland Waddell, AB’44

Ruth Holland Waddell, AB’44. (Photo courtesy Amy Waddell)


A selection of UChicago alumni whose names are in the news.

Grand honor

The Grand Canyon Music Festival’s 40th anniversary season, which took place in September, was dedicated to Ruth Holland Waddell, AB’44, an Arizona-based artist and longtime festival attendee. Waddell, who often painted the canyon, died August 24 (see Deaths). After starting a master’s degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Waddell set aside her own art to raise her children and support her husband, sculptor John Henry Waddell, EX’49, and the other artists who studied and worked at the Waddell Studio in Cornville, Arizona, near Sedona. In the mid-1990s she began to paint again. She worked primarily with pastels, taking inspiration from nature and the people around her.

Surgeon and leader

M. Wade Shrader, MD’99, was elected the 2023–24 president of the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine. A pediatric orthopedic surgeon, Shrader is the Freeman Miller Endowed Chair of Cerebral Palsy at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware. He is also a professor of orthopedic surgery and pediatrics at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. His research focuses on pain management, hip conditions, gait disorders, and family dynamics. Shrader’s work treating children with cerebral palsy and similar developmental disabilities is driven by his personal experience as the father of two children with cerebral palsy.

New at the Newberry

On December 1 Astrida Orle Tantillo, AM’90, PhD’94, joined the Newberry Library, Chicago’s public humanities reference library, as its 10th president and librarian. Tantillo, who earned her degrees from the John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought, had been professor of Germanic studies and history at the University of Illinois Chicago. She also served as dean of UIC’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences from 2012 to 2022. Under her leadership, the college increased the size and diversity of its student body and built new partnerships with Chicago cultural institutions. Tantillo will use this expertise to draw new audiences to the Newberry.

Unpublished Becker

A collection of economics professor Gary S. Becker’s (AM’53, PhD’55) previously unpublished papers was released in August by the University of Chicago Press. The Economic Approach: Unpublished Writings of Gary S. Becker was coedited by three of the Nobel laureate’s students and colleagues: Julio J. Elías, AM’01, PhD’05, professor of economics at the University of CEMA, Argentina; Casey B. Mulligan, PhD’93, professor in the Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics; and Kevin M. Murphy, PhD’86, the George J. Stigler Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Economics at Chicago Booth. In these writings Becker analyzes topics including preference formation, rational indoctrination, income inequality, addiction, and family. They provide new insight into his personality and process.

Mitchell Scholar

On November 18, Tommy Hagan, AB’21, was awarded a George J. Mitchell Scholarship. The scholarship, sponsored by the US-Ireland Alliance, supports leadership, community and public service, and academic excellence by funding one year of postgraduate study in Ireland or Northern Ireland. Hagan will use his time in Ireland to expand the REAL Youth Initiative, which he codirects. An organization with fiscal sponsorship from Illinois Collaboration on Youth, REAL Youth advocates for prison abolition, builds consciousness and community among currently and formerly incarcerated young people, and develops comprehensive community reentry programs.

Person of the year

John V. Prunskis, AB’77, was named the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture’s 2023 Person of the Year on December 2. The Chicago-based museum works “to preserve, perpetuate, showcase, and celebrate the history, culture, and achievements of the Lithuanian nation and people worldwide.” Prunskis, born in Chicago to Lithuanian immigrants, was recognized for his career as a pain physician, businessman, and professor, as well as for his service as honorary consul of Lithuania. The cofounder of Illinois Pain and Spine Institute and the Regenerative Stem Cell Institute, he is currently clinical professor of anesthesiology at Chicago Medical School and chief medical officer of DxTx Pain and Spine. In 2014 he received the Knight of the Order of Merit from the president of Lithuania.