Yale Bulletin and Calendar

September 29, 2006|Volume 35, Number 4















Five alumni to be honored with
Wilbur Lucius Cross Medals

Five distinguished alumni of Yale University's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences will receive the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal on Thursday, Oct. 12.

This year's medalists are Eva Brann ('51 M.A., Ph.D. '56), Richard Brodhead ('68, M.A. '70, Ph.D. '72), Mimi G. Gates (Ph.D. '81), Lewis E. Kay (Ph.D. '88) and Richard A. Young (Ph.D. '79).

Since the first Wilbur Cross Medal was presented by the Graduate School Alumni Association (GSAA) in 1966, these awards have generally been given at Commencement. This year, the Graduate School and the GSAA decided to shift the celebration to October, allowing the medalists to interact with students and faculty on a substantial intellectual level. Each will present a talk or host a conversation with current graduate students.

Brann, an immigrant from Berlin who earned her Yale master's degree in classics and her doctorate in archaeology, has been a tutor since 1957 at St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland -- a school known for its distinctive "great books" curriculum. She served as dean of the college 1990­1997. She is author of over a dozen books, including "Homeric Moments: Clues to Delight in Reading the Odyssey and the Iliad" (2002), "What Then, Is Time?" (1999) and "Open Secrets/Inward Prospects: Reflections on World and Soul" (2004). In 2005, she was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Medal.

Brodhead became the ninth president of Duke University in 2004 after 40 years at Yale as a student, faculty member and administrator. He began his teaching career as an assistant professor in Yale's English department following graduation and became the Bird White Housum Professor of English, and, later, the A. Bartlett Giamatti Professor of English. He chaired the department for five years before being named dean of Yale College in 1993, a post he held until leaving for Duke. Among other honors, he was the recipient of the University's William Clyde DeVane Medal for Outstanding Scholarship and Teaching in 1979. He is the author or editor of more than a dozen books on Hawthorne, Melville, Faulkner and other American writers, and is considered one of the leading scholars of American literature.

Gates is the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director of the Seattle Art Museum and served as director of the Yale University Art Gallery 1987-1994. At the Seattle Art Museum, she has significantly added to the museum's collections, dramatically increased attendance and launched a major expansion that will open in 2007. She began her Yale career as the curator of Asian art in 1975. As director of the Yale Art Gallery, she expanded the museum's major collections, improved conservation and security, and developed the gallery's educational and social role in the community.

Kay earned his Yale doctorate in molecular biophysics and biochemistry and is now professor of medical genetics, biochemistry and chemistry at the University of Toronto. An innovator in the field of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), he is an expert on both spin quantum mechanics and the capabilities of the instrumentation. His research involves a new technique for identifying the biochemical constituents of complex proteins -- those with molecular weights too high to be analyzed by conventional methods. He is an acknowledged leader in the development and application of new nuclear magnetic resonance methods for determining the structure and dynamical properties of proteins, and has earned a number of prestigious prizes for his scientific contributions.

A member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Young is a leader in the study of gene transcription, the process by which cells read and interpret the genetic instructions embedded in DNA. He has helped develop new technologies, including DNA arrays and state-of-the-art genomic tools, which his lab at the Whitehead Institute has used to study infectious diseases and to map the circuitry of living cells. He has been involved with numerous National Institutes of Health programs, including serving as director of the National Cooperative Vaccine Development Group for AIDS 1988-1997.

Events associated with the Wilbur Cross Medalists will take place during the afternoon of Oct. 12. Brann will lead a round-table discussion on "Student Life/Academic Life" at 2 p.m. in Rm. 208 of the Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall St. At the same time, Kay and Young will be featured in a two-hour symposium on molecular biophysics and biochemistry in the auditorium of the Anlyan Center, 300 Cedar St. Kay will speak on the topic "Seeing the Invisible by NMR Spectroscopy," and Young will discuss "Regulatory Circuitry of Human Embryonic Stem Cells." At 4 p.m., Gates will speak on "Art, Green Space, Urban Vitality: Designing Seattle's Olympic Sculpture Park" in the McNeil Lecture Hall of Yale University
Art Gallery, 1111 Chapel St., and Brodhead will host a conversation with current English department graduate students.

The medals will be conferred at a private dinner at the Yale Center for British Art.

The medal is named for Wilbur Lucius Cross, who was dean of the Graduate School 1916-1930. He wrote definitive works on English literature, revived and edited the Yale Review, and, following retirement from Yale, served as governor of Connecticut for four terms. The medal is the highest honor the Graduate School bestows on its alumni.


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Campus Notes

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