UChicago Alumni Awards

The Magazine is delighted to present the 2024 Alumni Award recipients. A celebration of their achievements is planned for Alumni Weekend, May 16–19, 2024.

Alumni Medal

For achievement of an exceptional nature in any field, vocational or voluntary, covering an entire career

Andrea M. Ghez, LAB'83

“Her impact on astronomy, and on science in general, extends far beyond the confines of the research laboratory. Within our profession, she has been an active contributor to advancing and planning the agenda for astronomy and astrophysics in the future. Beyond the profession, she is an inspired teacher and public lecturer, who has freely given her time to share her scientific insights, experiences, and advice with students and the public at large. I have witnessed firsthand the power that such a successful and approachable female scientist can carry for inspiring other, especially younger, women to follow in her footsteps.”

Claudia Goldin, AM'69, PhD'72

“Claudia Goldin embodies the spirit of lifelong learning that defines Chicago, tirelessly and enthusiastically embracing efforts to dissect and shed light on puzzle pieces of our economic history and why they matter today. Her pioneering research has drawn attention to, and deepened society’s understanding of, important and wide-ranging topics like the economics of emancipation, the importance of education and human capital, the changing role of women in the US economy, and economic inequality. She has made an indelible impact that spans well beyond the field of economics.”

Professional Achievement Award

For outstanding achievement in any professional field

Clifford Y. Ko, AB’87, SM’89, MD’91

“He has achieved more in his career than most would hope to accomplish—as a researcher, educator, innovator, and leader. He has impactfully contributed to advancing the evaluation, research, improvement, and quality of care in the surgical community in this country and worldwide. He often credits attending the University of Chicago for his success, saying that his Hyde Park roots are what helped him learn how to think and to think critically and comprehensively.”

Lisa Lucas, AB’01

“One theme I’ve noticed through Lisa’s career and life: accessibility. She wants everyone, no matter who they are, to access the arts, and she enjoys being a vehicle to doing so. Clearly the written word has helped Lisa enjoy a successful career, but it’s clear that it also feeds her soul, as she sees books as a way to build community.”

Teresa A. Sullivan, AM’72, PhD’75

“Her intellectualism is evident in her scholarly record, which continued to grow even once she was in senior university administration. Her intensity is evident in her successful administrative career, both as provost at two of the country’s greatest universities, and then finally as president of the University of Virginia during a stormy time in its history. Her presidency showed her passionate dedication to maintaining the character of intellectual life.”

Early Career Achievement Award

For professional achievement or creative leadership by alumni who have graduated within the last 20 years

Arjun Kapoor, AB’19

“Despite his record of professional success, Arjun carries himself with humility and gratitude. He would attribute his success not to the level of achievement he has netted throughout his life but rather to the hard work and values instilled by his family, as the son of first-generation small-business owners, and to the life of the mind instilled by the University.”

Rebecca Shi, AB’08

“Becca knows how to dream. She also knows how to budget. There are many bright young people heading nongovernmental organizations, but few pass what is sometimes called the Velveteen Rabbit test. Becca is always real. Her work is real. Her results are real.”

Alumni Service Award

For outstanding service to the University

Wendy Gonzalez, AB’08

“Soon after graduating, Wendy moved to San Francisco and seemed to be behind the scenes in every facet of [alumni] club life and University programming in her new hometown. Her commitment is dogged and apolitical: she’s organized Harper Lectures, shared actively within the alumni community about her work, and opened the door for future UChicago graduates, delivering a hefty dose of Maroon pride in the communities she is part of.”

Recent Alumni Service Award

For service to the University by alumni who have graduated within the last 15 years

Hind Omer Hassan, MBA’19

“I was impressed by Hind’s ability as a bridge builder. As an active member and leader of the Chicago Booth Black Alumni Association, she joined the Diversity and Inclusion Fundraising Committee. She seized on this fundraising initiative as a means to deepen our engagement within the Booth community and to demonstrate that diversity and inclusion is a cause that our alumni care a great deal about.”

Norman Maclean Faculty Award

For extraordinary contributions to teaching and student life by emeritus or very senior faculty

John J. MacAloon, AM’74, PhD’80

“The successes of MAPSS are a direct result of John’s vision, determination, and gumption. They grew out of John’s conviction that work toward a master’s degree is every bit as valuable—to students and to the University—as study for a bachelor’s or doctorate. MAPSS students are not segregated from doctoral students in courses taught only to them but participate fully in the graduate curriculum. MAPSS’s successes grew out of John’s commitment to interdisciplinary study, a commitment he shares with the University.”

Martha C. Nussbaum

“Nussbaum is that rarest type of academic whose work reaches both her scholarly colleagues and the general public. Drawing on her knowledge of ancient thought and modern science, literature and history, jurisprudence and moral philosophy, she transforms our understanding of human life. Her advocacy for justice for the marginalized, her defense of the value of education, and her analyses of the place of emotion in political life make hers a crucial voice at this moment in history, and one that will be relevant for generations to come.”

All photos courtesy the award recipients. 

These excerpts from the awardees’ nominations have been lightly edited. Find awardees’ complete biographies and nominate someone for a future award.