Stanford University

Nine honored with ’07 Cuthbertson, Dinkelspiel, Gores awards

Four professors, three students, one senior fellow and one staff member will be recognized during Commencement Weekend

Four professors, three students, one senior fellow and one staff member will be recognized during Commencement Weekend with the 2007 Cuthbertson, Dinkelspiel and Gores awards.

Cuthbertson Award

In being named this year's recipient of the Kenneth M. Cuthbertson Award for Exceptional Contributions to Stanford University, Christine M. Griffith, associate dean of student affairs and director of the Graduate Life Office, was cited for 27 years of service.

Griffith was recognized for extraordinary dedication and service to the graduate student community, often going "above and beyond the call of duty" to provide an exceptional residential life experience. She also was honored for her quiet leadership and positive "can do" attitude, whatever the task, including—as one member of the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band wrote—going "from two-hour meetings with the Dean of Students to riding on a bus with crazy yelling musicians in colorful ugly clothes without missing a beat." The award also cited her grace, compassion and insight in dealing with students in crisis and students and families in mourning.

Dinkelspiel Award

The Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for Distinctive Contributions to Undergraduate Education, named after the president of the Board of Trustees who served from 1953 to 1958, recognizes distinctive contributions to undergraduate education or the quality of student life. This year's recipients are Donna Michelle Bouley, "Dr. B," associate professor of comparative medicine; William Cheng, a senior majoring in music and English; Larry Diamond, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution; and Ian Whitehead, a senior majoring in mathematics and English.

Bouley was cited for her generosity, creativity and enthusiasm as a teacher—in the classroom and in the lab—giving students insight into the life of a veterinary pathologist; for her commitment to mentoring undergraduates interested in careers in veterinary medicine; for developing the pre-veterinary community at Stanford—establishing the Stanford Undergraduate Pre-Vet Club, organizing meetings with guest speakers from related fields and creating a website that provides information about veterinary schools and the range of career options available in the field; for her invaluable guidance to students as they applied to veterinary schools; and for the many roles she fills at Stanford—veterinarian, scientist, teacher, adviser and mentor.

Cheng was cited for his perceptive teaching, attention to detail and dedication to helping each and every student; for consistently challenging his students by creating a more intense and rewarding learning experience through listening quizzes, essays and additional ear exercises; for sharing his talent as a pianist in performances with the Stanford Symphony Orchestra; for combining exceptional technical and intellectual skills with great passion and imagination in the classroom, in compositions, in performance and in conversation; and for inspiring a love of music in musicians and non-musicians alike.

Diamond was cited for his inspired teaching and commitment to undergraduate education, forging a connection between the Hoover Institution and the undergraduate community; for the example he sets as a scholar and public intellectual, sharing his passion for democratization, peaceful transitions and the idea that each of us can contribute to making the world a better place; for his accessibility, empathy and dedication to mentoring others; for fostering dialogue between Jewish and Muslim students; and for helping make Stanford an ideal place for undergraduates and, as one student explained, "being the kind of teacher that changes lives."

Whitehead was cited for his unwavering dedication to improving academic and extracurricular arts opportunities at Stanford; for sharing his enthusiasm and knowledge of ceramics with the greater Stanford community and building a ceramics community that has grown to more than 400 potters; for working with optimism and ingenuity from his first year on campus to bring a permanent pottery studio to Stanford; for preparing and presenting a "thorough, thoughtful and truly amazing" 16-page operating plan for the Stanford Ceramics Studio; and for his quiet humility and thoughtful leadership that has improved arts opportunities for future students.

Gores Award

The Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching is the university's highest teaching honor. This year's recipients are Mark L. Brongersma, assistant professor of materials science and engineering; Patricia Burchat, professor of physics; James Gross, associate professor of psychology; and Ixchel Samson-Adamek, a doctoral student in the School of Education.

Brongersma was cited for his extraordinary skill in teaching topics that don't easily lend themselves to humor—such as semiconductor doping and E-k diagrams—in ways that leave students smiling, interested and curious to learn more; for his brilliance at making complex concepts clear, prompting one student to write, "With his explanation, now I am sure anyone can write Maxwell equations easily and without memorizing the ugly form of mu and epsilon"; his impressive range as an educator—from his ability to teach a lay audience about the propagation of electronic waves to the successful transformation of a graduate course on electrical properties; for attracting a wide spectrum of students to materials science and inspiring them to pursue their own research; and for his unwavering enthusiasm and deep dedication to his students.

Burchat was cited for her astonishing range as an educator, sharing her passion for physics with graduate students, undergraduates, alumni and even high school students; for lucid, passionate and engaged teaching in formal lectures and her strategy of giving students deep learning experiences and a long-term grasp of essential principles; for her great warmth, dedication and generosity as an adviser and mentor; for innovative contributions to the curricula, extending and improving program offerings in physics and engineering physics; and for teaching that has influenced a generation of particle physicists and helped all students see rainbows differently.

Gross was cited for his tremendous enthusiasm, captivating lectures and humorous examples that have inspired hundreds of undergraduates new to the study of psychology; for his exceptional ability to involve students—in small seminars and large lectures—so everyone feels they benefit from and contribute to the debate; for mentoring each member of the teaching team and inspiring great loyalty and admiration from his colleagues; for his openness as a research adviser, encouraging diverse opinions, listening to counter arguments and never imposing his interpretation on student researchers; and for his patience, kindness and warmth.

Samson-Adamek was cited for the knowledge, professionalism and empathy that she brings to every interaction with students; for her ability to make seamless and comprehensible connections between theoretical principles and the practical framework of classroom experience; for inspiring pre-service teachers to become more attentive, effective and reflective, to improve their instructional practices and to believe in their ability to make a difference; for her passionate advocacy for social justice; and for being—in the words of one student—"our role model, our advocate and our mentor."