Archive for the ‘Best of’ Category

Baseball’s Mark Marquess registers his 1,500th win

March 10th, 2014
Mark Marquess

Cardinal baseball’s Mark Marquess has won his 1,500th game as coach.

MARK MARQUESS has added to his historic coaching resume with his 1,500th career win. In a game on Tuesday, March 4, the Cardinal broke out for 11 runs on 12 hits to give Marquess the milestone victory with a 11-1 win at rival California’s Evans Diamond.

“It has been great,” Marquess, the Clarke and Elizabeth Nelson Director of Baseball, said with a smile while reflecting on 1,500 wins. “I’ve had a lot of great players go through the program.”

Marquess joins a group of just five other NCAA coaches with 1,500 wins. Among active coaches, only Texas’ Augie Garrido and Florida State’s Mike Martin have more.

It has been 37 years since the Stanford graduate won his first game as the Cardinal’s skipper. He said of that day in 1977, “I can’t remember it. I really can’t. It was a long time ago. When I’m done, then I can look back at it and hopefully I’ve won more than I lose.”

Read more on the gostanford website.

Verghese to receive Heinz Award

February 28th, 2014

verghese-150-13ABRAHAM VERGHESE, professor of medicine and best-selling author of the novel Cutting for Stone, has been selected to receive the $250,000 Heinz Award for Arts and Humanities.

“Dr. Verghese’s widely acclaimed writings touch the heart and inform the soul, giving people of all walks of life a true understanding of what it is to heal the whole person — not just physically, but emotionally,” TERESA HEINZ, chair of the Heinz Family Foundation, said in a news release announcing the annual Heinz Awards in five different categories: arts and humanities; the environment; the human condition; public policy and technology; and the economy and employment.

Verghese is vice chair for the theory and practice of medicine. He is a strong advocate for the value of bedside manner and the physical exam — skills he sees as waning in an era of increasingly sophisticated medical technology.

“As a teacher and a caregiver, Dr. Verghese has shown how the best physicians are those who understand that healing is about more than medicine,” said LLOYD MINOR, dean of the medical school. “As a writer, he has shared this message broadly, reminding us all of the enduring power of the human touch.”

Cutting for Stone was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than two years. Verghese’s first book, My Own Country, a memoir about AIDS in rural Tennessee, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has been published extensively in the medical literature. His writing also has appeared in The New Yorker and The Atlantic, among other magazines.

“In my work as a writer, I have always tried to convey the notion that medicine is a uniquely human, person-to-person endeavor,” Verghese said. “In my view, it is a ministry with a calling.”

The Heinz Awards are given in memory of U.S. Sen. JOHN HEINZ, a Pennsylvania Republican who died in 1991.

The 19th annual awards will be presented April 3 during a private ceremony at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.


Stanford Women’s basketball players recognized for their performance on the court

February 25th, 2014

Chiney Ogwumike, Number 13, and Amber Orrange, Number 33 (Photo: Don Feria)

The past two weeks have brought well-deserved recognition to Stanford women’s basketball senior forward CHINEY OGWUMIKE and junior point guard AMBER ORRANGE.

Last Thursday, Ogwumike received the 2013-14 Capital One Academic All-America of the Year award for Division I women’s basketball.  The awards program, administered by College Sports Information Directors of America  (CoSIDA), selects an honorary sports team composed of the most outstanding student athletes of a specific season.

The All-America announcement makes Ogwumike the first member of the Stanford women’s basketball team to earn the honor. She joins a star-studded list of former Cardinal standouts who also earned it for their respective sports, including ANDREW LUCK (football, 2012), NICK AMUCHASTEGUI (wrestling/at-large, 2011 and 2012), ALIX KLINEMAN (women’s volleyball, 2010), RACHEL BUEHLER (women’s soccer, 2007) and TOMMY VARDELL (football, 1991).

On Monday, Feb. 24, Ogwumike was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for the eighth time this season while Orrange was named one of 22 finalists for the Nancy Lieberman Award.

In addition to being Ogwumike’s eighth Player of the Week honor of the season, it is also the 17th of her career.

Orrange is one of two Pac-12 point guards on the list for the Nancy Lieberman Award, given annually to the top point guard in the nation. Cal’s BRITTANY BOYD is also on the list. This year’s winner will be announced at the Final Four in Nashville.

Behind Orrange’s leadership, the Stanford women’s basketball team has captured its 14th straight Pac-12 regular-season title following this past weekend’s sweep of USC and UCLA.

Stanford’s team, with the Pac-12 Tournament’s top seed already in hand, finishes the regular season at Maples Pavilion this weekend, hosting Washington Thursday at 8 p.m. and Washington State Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Both games will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Network.



Law Professor Gould appointed to state labor board

February 20th, 2014


William B. Gould IV

William B. Gould IV (Credit: Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News)

WILLIAM B. GOULD IV, professor emeritus at Stanford Law School, has been appointed as a member and chair of California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB). The appointment, made this week by Gov. JERRY BROWN, is effective March 18.

“I welcome the challenge of the governor’s appointment,” Gould said. “In the coming weeks and months, I look forward to meeting other board members, the general counsel, ALRB staff throughout our state, stakeholders and elected officials, and members of the public. I shall do the best that I can to give back to California, which has given so much to my family and to me.”

A prolific scholar of labor and discrimination law, Gould has been a highly influential voice on worker-management relations for more than 40 years. Before arriving at Stanford Law School in 1972, Gould was an attorney for the National Labor Relations Board and the United Auto Workers. He served as chairman of the National Labor Relations Board from 1994 to 1998.

A member of the National Academy of Arbitrators since 1970, Gould has arbitrated and mediated more than 200 labor disputes, including the 1992 and 1993 salary disputes between the Major League Baseball Players Association and the Major League Baseball Player Relations Committee.

Gould is a critically acclaimed author of 10 books and more than 60 law review articles. His work includes a historical record of the experiences of his great-grandfather in Diary of a Contraband: The Civil War Passage of a Black Sailor, and his own story, Labored Relations: Law, Politics and the NLRB: A Memoir. Gould’s most recent book is Bargaining with Baseball: Labor Relations in an Age of Prosperous Turmoil.

—ANJALI ABRAHAM, Stanford Law School

Stephen Boyd elected to National Academy of Engineering

February 18th, 2014


Stephen Boyd (Photo credit Joel Simon)

Stephen Boyd (Photo: Joel Simon)

STEPHEN P. BOYD, a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford, has been elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

According to the NAE, membership honors outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice or education” and to the “pioneering of new and developing fields of technology,” among other acts of professional distinction.

The NAE cited Boyd for his contributions in applying the methodology of convex optimization to machine learning, signal processing, circuit design and other applications. In mathematical optimization, an algorithm is used to adjust variables to optimize an objective. Most optimization problems are difficult to solve, even with powerful computers. But convex optimization problems can be solved using special mathematical properties.

Boyd and colleagues have helped identify many specific applications in which convex optimization can be used to solve practical problems in areas such as statistical modeling and machine learning, automatic control, image processing, engineering design, supply chains and finance.

A professor in the Information Systems Laboratory at Stanford, Boyd holds courtesy appointments in the departments of Management Science and Engineering and of Computer Science and is a member of the Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering.

The NAE has just 2,250 members in the United States and 214 foreign associates. Boyd is the 110th School of Engineering faculty member to join this prestigious body.

TOM ABATE, Stanford Engineering


Give her a hand

February 13th, 2014

Hand-photo LYDIA-MARIE JOUBERT, an electon microscopist and senior scientist at Stanford’s Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine, won the People’s Choice Award in the illustration category of the 2013 International Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge.

Her illustration — a hand covered with Pseudomonas bacteria — is titled Human Hand Controlling Bacterial Biofilms. It began as a photograph, as the journal Science explains in its latest issue: “While attending a conference at Gregynog Hall in Wales, Joubert photographed a 1.5-meter-high human hand that reaches out of the soil in the hall’s gardens, sculpted by British artist FRANCIS HEWLETT. Then she overlaid micrographs of cultured biofilms, which had been stained with molecular probes to indicate the health of the cells. Those colored green are resistant to antimicrobial treatment — only a rare few are red, indicating that they have been vanquished.” Covering the hand are Pseudomonas bacteria. This item was posted on the Medical School’s news website.

Free simulcast of Dallas opera production promises multimedia, interactive experience

February 11th, 2014

Science fiction and poignant family drama combine in Death and the Powers, a visually spectacular opera by MIT Media LAB’S TOD MACHOVER with a libretto by renowned poet ROBERT PINSKY, which will be streamed live from Dallas’ Winspear Opera House to Stanford’s Bing Concert Hall on Sunday, Feb. 16, at noon.

Admission to the simulcast is free and open to the public. Tickets will be available at the door [Online reservations are no longer available].

Billed as the first-ever global, interactive simulcast, the performance will be beamed to10 worldwide locations, from Stanford to Stockholm. Audience members will also experience live, enhanced streaming and interactive moments flashed to their mobile devices through Powers Live, a specially designed, downloadable app created by Machover and the MIT Media Lab.

The added content will provide audience members with the ability to virtually experience the main character’s thoughts and bring the sights and sounds of the live performance in Dallas within reach. Additionally, HD cameras placed throughout the set and on various electronic props will provide a “robot’s-eye view” and a more in-depth perception of the opera. Downloading the app prior to arrival at Bing is strongly recommended.

It will be a wildly different experience from the picnic-on-the-lawn simulcast of San Francisco Opera’s Falstaff that Stanford Live presented at Frost Amphitheater in October. For Stanford Live’s executive director WILEY HAUSAM, however, Death and the Powers is “a perfect fit for Bing and for Stanford” and he was eager to collaborate on the project.


Death and the Powers tells the story of Simon Powers, a powerful businessman (sung by baritone ROBERT ORTH), who wishes to perpetuate his existence beyond the decay of his natural being. Nearing the end of his life, Powers seizes his one chance for immortality by downloading his consciousness into his environment, creating a living version of his mind and spirit, called “The System.” He proceeds to use all his powers to persuade his loved ones to join him there.

The opera was named a 2012 Pulitzer Prize Finalist in Music for both its score and the innovative technology created by Machover and his Opera of the Future Group at the MIT Media Lab. Described by the Wall Street Journal as having “passionate intensity, full-bodied arias in a post-organic world,” Machover’s 2010 work receives its Dallas Opera premiere in this production directed by DIANE PAULUS, designed by ALEX MCDOWELL and conducted by NICOLE PAIEMENT (artistic director of San Francisco’s Opera Parallèle and director of ensembles at UC-Santa Cruz).

Bing Concert Hall has hosted several multimedia events in the past year but “nothing like this has ever been done,” Hausam said. “It’s a unique, interactive performance and a form of media distribution that we’ll be doing more of. We’re working on another new large-scale video project for the 2014-15 season, so stay tuned for more details about that to be announced in the spring.”



Stanford student journalists win James Robinson awards

February 10th, 2014
Kurt Chirbas

Kurt Chirbas

KURT CHIRBAS, a Stanford senior and a staff writer for the Stanford Daily, has received first prize for the 2013 James Robinson Award for Student Journalists. WINSTON SHI, a sophomore, received second prize.

The award was established in honor of the late JAMES ROBINSON, an award-winning journalist who served as editor of Stanford Report.

Chirbas, an English and economics major, has written for the Daily since the fall of his freshman year in 2010.

“In fact,” he wrote in an email after being notified that he’d won the James Robinson Award, “I was assigned my first Daily story before my first day of Stanford class!”

Since then, Chirbas has had stints as news desk editor and managing editor for the Daily and last summer worked for the Sacramento Bee‘s feature and metro desks.

His submission for the James Robinson Award competition was a two-part series of articles on student representation and participation on university committees.

“I was really just inspired by a rhetorical question that Vice Provost of Student Affairs GREG BOARDMAN had asked during an interview for an earlier story: ‘Is student representation on university committees effective?’ Interested in finding out the answer myself, I tried interviewing as many people involved in the committee system as possible: students, administrators, ASSU officials, etc. I learned how it is important for writing to be clear and concise, but also not to flatten or remove complexities.”

Chirbas’ entry was praised for its enterprising reporting and exhaustive research.

“Kurt’s stories were enlightening, even for those of us who have a vague idea of how students participate on university committees,” said ELAINE RAY, director of campus communications, who was one of the award judges. “After exploring the committee structure, he delved deeply into how effectively students were engaged with the work of the committees and how they were communicating that engagement back to their peers. It is clear from his writing that Kurt embarked on the project with no preconceived notions, just a deep intellectual curiosity.”

Anatomy of a strength coach

Winston Shi

Winston Shi

Shi, who has not yet declared a major, also has worked for the Daily since his freshman year, serving as an editorial board member, a columnist and a senior staff writer. Currently, he is managing editor of the Opinions section of the Daily. For the James Robinson Award he wrote a three-part series on SHANNON TURLEY, the Cardinal football team’s strength coach.

“Writing, and journalism in particular, brings a certain sense of perspective – you get to see firsthand things you don’t normally get to see. Being at the intersection of so many different paths and characters, all the while telling a fun story – that’s the best part of journalism,” Shi wrote.

Robinson, a graduate of Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, joined the Stanford News Service in 1998 following a distinguished career in daily journalism that included reporting jobs at The Republican (Springfield, Mass.), Hartford Courant, Houston Chronicle and Agence France-Presse.

Under Robinson’s editorship, Stanford Report won a Gold Medal for Excellence from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education in 2002. Robinson, a native of Newton, Mass., died in January 2004 of complications from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He and his family established the award prior to his death.

“James Robinson was an uncommonly gifted writer and a sage observer of the human condition. He used language instrumentally, employing the fewest possible words to convey the greatest possible meaning.  Winston writes much the same way  — and with similar results, ” said COIT BLACKER, a professor in International Studies and a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute. Blacker also is Shi’s academic adviser.  ”I think James would be delighted with Winston’s selection for any number of reasons, but mostly because he would detect in him a kindred spirit.”

In addition to Ray, 2013 award committee included LISA LAPIN, associate vice president for public affairs and director of university communications; BRAD HAYWARD, senior director, strategic communications; and LISA TREI, associate director of communications in the School of Humanities and Sciences.

Chirbas received a $3,000 prize. Shi received an award of $2,000.


Stanford honors former president, provosts in naming new graduate student housing complex

February 9th, 2014

At a ceremony Sunday afternoon,  JOHN L. HENNESSY, Stanford’s president, and STEVEN A. DENNING, chair of the university’s Board of Trustees, were joined by other current and former university officials for the naming of the Donald Kennedy Graduate Residences in Escondido Village.

The five-building complex, named in honor of  President Emeritus DONALD KENNEDY, will include four “houses” named for four former provosts:  WILLIAM F. MILLER the late GERALD LIEBERMAN, the late ALBERT H. HASTORF  and the late JAMES N. ROSSE.

Kennedy, who served as Stanford’s eighth president, was lauded for his contributions to Stanford for more than five decades and beginning the university’s transformation into one of the nation’s top research universities.

In addition to the four houses, which will accommodate 436 individuals, a fifth building, the Donald Kennedy Commons, will provide social and meeting space and other amenities. The  complex is scheduled to open in late summer and fall.


Stanford senior among six college students chosen for Team Oscar

February 6th, 2014

TAYO AMOS, a Stanford senior, is among the college students who will hand gold statuettes to celebrity presenters during this year’s Academy Awards presentation. Amos is one of six winners of the “Team Oscar” competition, which invites U.S. college students to submit a creative short video explaining how they will contribute to the future of movies and to answer a brief essay question on a similar topic.

The winners were selected by actor CHANNING TATUM and Oscars producers CRAIG ZADAN and NEIL MERON and announced Thursday on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. DEGENERES will host this year’s Academy Awards, which air March 2.

“We created this contest last year to give students who are passionate about film the opportunity to set their sights on the future,” Zadan and Meron said in a press release. “We received so many inspiring submissions this year that it made for a difficult choice, but the talent and stories of these six winners really represent what Team Oscar is all about and convinced us that they are a perfect fit for the Oscar stage.”

This may just be the first time the aspiring director, producer and editor gets to hold an Oscar in her hands. In her contest entry film, titled “I Want to Be a Part of the Movement,” she notes that the movie industry is risk-averse, but she hopes to create films in which “real people can connect with stories of human connection to show the beauty of all communities, marginalized or not,” and “show a better world so that we can envision a world of equality.” At Stanford, Amos is pursuing a double major in Science, Technology & Society and Iberian & Latin-American Cultures.

In addition to their appearance on the Oscars, Amos and her fellow team members will visit the academy’s Margaret Herrick Library to see its renowned collections, take in studio tours and meet with filmmakers at Oscar Week events.

The winning videos are available here.