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June 8, 2010

2010 Cuthbertson, Dinkelspiel, Gores awards honor faculty, students and staff

Ten members of the university community will be recognized at Commencement with Cuthbertson, Dinkelspiel and Gores awards. The awards honor individuals for exceptional contributions to Stanford, for distinctive contributions to undergraduate education and for excellence in teaching. Two professors, the vice provost for undergraduate education (who also is a professor of materials science and engineering), the dean of freshmen and undergraduate advising, two lecturers, two graduate teaching assistants and two graduating seniors will receive the awards on Sunday, June 13, at the Commencement ceremony.

Cuthbertson Award

John C. Bravman, the Freeman-Thornton Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and the Bing Centennial Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and H. Craig Heller, the Lorry I. Lokey/Business Wire Professor of Biology and Human Biology, each will receive a Kenneth M. Cuthbertson Award for Exceptional Contributions to Stanford University.

The award, which was established by members of the faculty in 1981, was named after one of the early architects of Stanford's long-term financial planning and fundraising program.

Bravman, who is leaving Stanford after Commencement to become the president of Bucknell University, was honored "for transforming the undergraduate experience at Stanford during his 11 years as vice provost for undergraduate education."

The award cited Bravman's "tireless service as ambassador to our students and their parents, visiting with them on campus and traveling millions of miles to meet them around the world."

The citation commended Bravman "for his invaluable role during the Campaign for Undergraduate Education and the Think Again outreach programs, inspiring alumni, parents and friends to support undergraduate programs and financial aid."

The award also honored Bravman "for the many ways, as the inaugural dean of Freshman Sophomore College, he showed students that he cared, from serving up barbecues, baked goods and DVDs to providing lightning-fast responses to their emails" and "for 35 years of working to make Stanford a better place for all."

Heller was honored "for almost four decades of extraordinary leadership at Stanford, including serving as chair of the Department of Biology, director of the Program in Human Biology, chair of the Faculty Senate and Associate Dean of Research, just to name a few of his many roles."

The award commended him "for being Stanford's director of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Undergraduate Science Education Program for almost 20 years, providing invaluable support to undergraduate research, curriculum and faculty development; outreach for high school students; and summer internships for science teachers."

Heller also was honored "for being a superb teacher, perceptive adviser and inspirational mentor to many" and "for never turning down a request for help from student or colleague."

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 to the quality of student life. The 2010 winners are:

Julie C. Lythcott-Haims, associate vice provost for undergraduate education and dean of freshmen and undergraduate advising. Lythcott-Haims was honored "for her vision and efforts to create a more unified and allied undergraduate student body, developing a sense of class identity among students that has generated a stronger affiliation and connection to Stanford through their alumni years."

The award commended "her leadership in strengthening and extending Stanford's program of academic advising for incoming students" and cited her "for going above and beyond the call of duty, immersing herself in the lives and activities of many students and student groups and helping them in ways that fundamentally shaped their lives."

The award also honored Lythcott-Haims "for exemplifying the Stanford spirit and creating the atmosphere that defines the undergraduate experience."

Jennifer Lynn Wolf, a lecturer in the School of Education and in the Program in Human Biology, and director of the undergraduate minor in education. Wolf was honored "for the role she played in creating and directing the undergraduate minor in education" and "for her leadership in developing an Honors College program for juniors in human biology, thus introducing them to research early in their undergraduate careers."

The award commended her for "patient mentoring and unparalleled support to students conducting honors research" and "for being such an engaging lecturer that a student who 'historically found myself counting minutes in lecture classes' lost all track of time."

The award also honored Wolf "for encouraging students to take risks and reflect on their experiences, transforming the way they think about the world."

Alisha Tara Tolani, a senior in human biology. Tolani was honored "for her commitment and the creativity of her efforts to promote student well-being and mental health."

The award commended Tolani "for her contributions to a healthy student community through an astonishing range of academic and extracurricular endeavors, including serving as the ASSU executive co-chair of undergraduate health and wellness, resident assistant at West Florence Moore Hall, research assistant at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and peer counselor at the Bridge."

She was honored "for being a founding member of the student Coalition to End Violence Against Women" and "for her sensitivity and attentiveness to student needs and her dedication as their advocate."

The award also cited Tolani "for making Stanford a safer and more comfortable home for all students."

Karen Patricia Warner, a senior in human biology and political science. Warner was honored "for her initiative and leadership in various roles at the Haas Center for Public Service, FACE AIDS and Dance Marathon, demonstrating a deep commitment to public service and social justice."

The citation commended her "for expanding opportunities for students to engage in public service and inspiring more of them to work for the public interest" and "for always looking for ways to improve her service to the community and, in turn, ways the Stanford community can better contribute to the public good."

The award also cited Warner "for making the 2009 Stanford Service Summit a great success, bringing people from all corners of the university together to shape the future of service at Stanford," and "for understanding the complexities of community service and working to do the right thing for the right reasons."

Gores Award

The Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching is the university's highest teaching honor. The 2010 winners are:

Sheri D. Sheppard, a professor of mechanical engineering, co-director of the Center for Design Research and associate vice provost for graduate education. Sheppard was honored "for great understanding of the challenges faced by graduate students and her willingness to create strategies to address them" and "for being a role model as Stanford's first woman faculty member in mechanical engineering, mentoring women graduate students and inspiring them to follow in her footsteps."

The award commended her "for transforming the introductory engineering course 'Statics' from an unpopular requirement into a dynamic learning experience" and "for affecting engineering education nationwide through her efforts to understand pipeline and pathways issues and modernize engineering education."

The award also honored Sheppard "for being a great listener, a source of patient encouragement, and a trusted and revered colleague to students and faculty."

Glenn Lee Katz, a lecturer in civil and environmental engineering. Katz was honored "for his dedication to the success of the relatively new Architectural Design Program" and "for encouraging students to think independently and develop their own theories."

The award commended "his willingness to go out of his way to address students' questions, advance their knowledge and instill a love for architecture and design."

Katz also was honored "for his reassuring use of the collaborative 'we' and 'let's' when working with students – after errant mouse clicks have turned a roof upward or a floor below terrain – exemplifying remarkable patience and teaching skill," and "for his boundless enthusiasm, prompting one student to proclaim: 'Stanford would be a better place with more lecturers like Glenn Katz.'"

Andrew Bensley Adams, a teaching assistant and doctoral candidate in computer science. Adams was honored "for designing and teaching 'Image Processing for Photography and Vision,' a new course at Stanford that proved wildly popular with students," and "for his impressive ability to explain difficult concepts, his creativity in developing assignments and exam questions, and his unfailing cheerfulness under pressure."

The award commended Adams "for developing a revolutionary courseware package that enabled students to write their first 'Hello, Nokia' program in hours rather than days" and "for support for students that goes well beyond the classroom."

He also was honored "for his exceptional teaching skills, prompting a faculty colleague to write: 'I felt like I was watching a budding Mozart.'"

Sara E. Brownell, a teaching assistant and doctoral candidate in biology. Brownell was honored "for her passion for science education and her efforts to communicate the value and implications of scientific research to the public."

The award commended her "innovative approach and contributions" to the development of the course The Brain and the Immune System, which "teaches students how to synthesize primary research in neuroimmunology and communicate it to a lay audience."

Brownell also was honored "for founding Biocore Explorations to provide undergraduates in the core biology classes with opportunities to access research labs and interact with graduate students and post-docs through small interactive classes" and "for masterful teaching, underscoring her belief that the responsibility to educate is paramount in every scientist's education and career."




Kathleen J. Sullivan, Stanford News Service: (650) 724-5708,

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