Historian Lyman Van Slyke awarded Lyman Award from alumni association

An annual service award named for former Stanford President Richard Lyman this year goes to a Chinese historian whose leadership of 35 alumni travel/study trips totals more than a year.

Lyman Van Slyke, professor emeritus of history, has been named the 2011 winner of the Richard W. Lyman Award, given annually by the Stanford Alumni Association (SAA) for exceptional service to alumni by a faculty member.

The award recognizes Van Slyke's participation in SAA's Travel/Study program, which provides educational travel to more than 80 countries each year, led by members of the Stanford faculty.

Van Slyke, who joined the Stanford faculty in 1963, has led 35 tours of China and Southeast Asia. As a faculty member, Van Slyke helped establish the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies in Taipei, Taiwan, and directed Stanford's Center for East Asian Studies. He won the Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1984.

"Van has repeatedly shown an inspiring amount of generosity to ensure travelers have a finely tuned, thoughtful and educational trip," said Brett Thompson, director of Travel/Study programs. "He helps us craft each itinerary from scratch and happily speaks off-the-cuff during bus rides, at museums or any other time he has something to share."

Thompson added, "Of particular note is Van's willingness to go back time and time again to the same places to show new sets of alumni travelers the places and people he knows so well. He has led the China Yangtze trip alone a dozen times. And, if one were to count up the hours of his service to Travel/Study alone, it would total over a year."

The Lyman Award was established in 1983 to recognize one faculty member per year whose involvement in SAA programming is considered "above and beyond." Faculty members considered for the award donate time to alumni, go beyond the expectations of university appointments and embody the mission of SAA.

The award provides funds for additions to the permanent collections of the Stanford University Libraries in areas of special interest to each recipient and is presented at an annual faculty appreciation event. That invitation-only event will be held today.

"Time and again, alumni tell us that faculty events and lectures are the single most important thing keeping them connected to Stanford," said Howard Wolf, president of SAA. "This party is a small thank you for the time, dedication and enthusiasm of the 500-plus faculty we work with throughout the year."

Lyman Award winners for the past three years are Al Camarillo, professor of history, the Miriam and Peter Haas Centennial Professor in Public Service and special assistant to the provost for faculty diversity; Rob Dunbar, the W.M. Keck Professor in the School of Earth Sciences and the Victoria P. and Roger W. San Director of the Earth Systems Program; and Buzz Thompson, the Paradise Professor of Natural Resources Law and the McCarty Director of the Woods Institute for the Environment.