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Geophysicist Zoback to receive 'exceptional service' award

Mark Zoback, professor of geophysics, will receive the Kenneth M. Cuthbertson Award for exceptional service to Stanford University at graduation ceremonies on Sunday, June 14.

Zoback was cited for "breathing new life into the honor code and fundamental standard," and for his "exemplary leadership" of the Committee of 15, the group charged with formulating a new judicial charter for Stanford after several previous attempts to modify the 1969 version had failed.

The revised charter, which sets out disciplinary procedures for enforcing campus behavior codes, was drafted by the committee, but had to be ratified by the president and the faculty and student senates before it could be implemented, a two-year-process that ended in the spring of 1997. Zoback, an expert on stress in the earth's crust, proved he could dissipate tension along human faultlines, fellow committee members said in nominating him. They noted his exceptional efforts to reach out to students, faculty, staff and alumni in order to make sure every group had input into the committee's proposal.

The revised charter streamlined the judicial process so that cases brought against students are resolved in a more timely manner and with fellow students involved in adjudicating them.

Zoback's down-to-earth style, fairness and good humor set a productive tone for their meetings, fellow committee members said. Members of the student senate recalled his stamina to work with them through marathon meetings, even on weekends.

Zoback received his doctoral degree from Stanford in 1975 and came back first as a consulting professor. A recognized leader in earth stress measurement, he was offered tenure in the geophysics department in 1984 and has been most often in the news for his research related to earthquakes. He became involved with the honor code in a major way in 1993 when, as chair of the geophysics department, he required dozens of students to retake the final exam in a course where there were reports that some students who had been permitted to take the exam early had shared information with others.

The university service award was created in 1981 to honor Cuthbertson, a Stanford vice president for development who retried in 1977. He was the first recipient of the award, which is open to all members of the university community.


By Kathleen O'Toole

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