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Commencement 2011

Awards and Honorary Degrees

  • Ursula BurnsUrsula Burns

    Ursula Burns

    Eastman Medal and Commencement Speaker

    Ursula M. Burns is chairman and chief executive officer of Xerox Corporation, which was founded in Rochester and has grown to become the world's leading enterprise for business process and document management. She joined Xerox in 1980 as a mechanical engineering summer intern and forged ahead to amass responsibilities and leadership positions in the intervening decades.

    She spent her early years with the corporation in product development and planning roles. From 1992 through 2000, Burns led several teams, including the office color and fax business, and office network printing business. By 2000, she was named senior vice president of Corporate Strategic Services, heading manufacturing and supply chain operations.She then took on the broader role of leading Xerox’s global research as well as product development, marketing, and delivery.

    In April 2007, Burns was named president of Xerox, expanding her leadership to include the company’s IT organization, corporate strategy, human resources, corporate marketing, and global accounts. At the same time, she was elected a member of the company’s Board of Directors. Burns was named chief executive officer in July 2009 and assumed the role of chairman of the company on May 20, 2010.

    In addition to the Xerox board, she is a board director of the American Express Corporation. Burns also provides leadership counsel to community, educational, and nonprofit organizations, including FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), the National Academy Foundation, the University of Rochester, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the U.S. Olympic Committee, among others. Burns was named by President Barack Obama to help lead the White House national program on science, technology, engineering, and math in November 2009 and was appointed vice chair of the President’s Export Council in March 2010.

    A native of Manhattan, Burns earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Polytechnic Institute of New York University, and a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University

  • John H. BruningJohn Bruning

    John H. Bruning

    Eastman Medal

    John H. Bruning, the retired president and CEO of Corning Tropel Corporation, is a central figure in the development of precision engineering. Early in his career, Bruning helped develop high accuracy interferometry for testing optical surfaces and lenses, which served as the basis for most modern digital interferometers. His work led to a fundamentally new approach to interferometry known as phase measuring interferometry (PMI). This technology helped enable 10 to 100 times greater accuracy in manufactured lens components for optical lithography and other precision optics applications. Bruning’s later work culminated with the invention of excimer laser lithography, which is still used today to manufacture microchips.

    Bruning received a bachelor’s degree from Penn State University and a master’s and doctorate from the University of Illinois, all in electrical engineering. Upon graduation, Bruning started at Bell Laboratories as a member of the technical staff in the optical group.

    In 1984, Bruning left Bell Labs to become vice president and general manager of GCA Tropel. For 25 years, Bruning helped lead Corning Tropel, a manufacturer of precision optical systems and advanced metrology instrumentation for the semiconductor, data storage, and automotive and industrial markets. He served as vice president and general manager, president and CEO, and executive scientist. Founded in 1953 by University scientists, the company was purchased by Bruning and his associates in 1994 and later acquired by Corning.

    Bruning has published extensively and holds 26 patents. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Awards from both of his alma maters, and is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Optical Society of America, and the Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers. In 1993, he received the Optical Society’s David Richardson Medal. In 1996, he was presented the SEMI Award for developments in Deep-UV photolithography and was elected in 1998 to the National Academy of Engineering. In 1997, Bruning served as President of the American Society for Precision Engineering (ASPE) and was responsible for starting the business forum at the annual conference. In 2004, he received the ASPE Lifetime Achievement Award.

  • Eric J. TopolEric Topol

    Eric J. Topol

    Charles Force Hutchison and Marjorie Smith Hutchison Medal

    Eric J. Topol, MD, a Class of 1979 graduate of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry known as one of the nation’s top medical researchers, is the director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute in California, which focuses on individualized medicine. He also is the chief academic officer of Scripps Health, a senior consultant cardiologist practitioner at Scripps Clinic, and professor of translational genomics at The Scripps Research Institute.

    As a clinician and a researcher, Topol has helped advance medicine throughout his career. His work in the genomics of heart attack led to the discovery of two key genes recognized by the American Heart Association as one of the top 10 research advances and by Time magazine as a “Top 10 Medical Breakthrough in 2010.” He administered recombinant tissue plasminogen activator to the first patient in 1984 and pioneered the clinical development of clopidogrel, known as Plavix, bivalirudin, known as Angiomax, and abciximab, known as ReoPro.

    Topol was the first physician to publish concerns about the safety and cardiovascular risk of the drug known as Vioxx, which eventually was withdrawn from the market. He has been a prodigious author with more than 1,000 original peer-reviewed publications. He has edited more than 30 books, including major textbooks on interventional cardiology and cardiovascular medicine. This year, he will publish a new book for consumers, Digitizing Man, which examines individualized medicine and technology. He is the founder and vice chairman of West Wireless Health Institute, which supports the development of wireless health technology.

    Topol received his bachelor of arts with highest distinction from the University of Virginia. After receiving his doctor of medicine with honors at Rochester, he completed his internal medicine residency at the University of California at San Francisco and a cardiology fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. In 1985, he joined the faculty at the University of Michigan, where he became a tenured professor of medicine before going to the Cleveland Clinic in 1991.

    At the Cleveland Clinic, Topol chaired the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine for 15 years, a period during which U.S. News and World Report ranked it No. 1 for 11 consecutive years. He also served on the faculty of Case Western Reserve University as a professor of genetics. He was founder and provost of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. He has been elected to the Institute of Medicine.

  • Esther M. ConwellEsther Conwell

    Esther M. Conwell

    Honorary Doctor of Science

    Esther M. Conwell ’45 (MA) is a research professor of chemistry and physics at the University of Rochester. Once denied a job as an engineer because of her gender, Conwell was awarded a 2009 National Medal of Science by President Barack Obama for promoting women in science and for helping launch the computer revolution by explaining how electrons flow through the impure semiconductors used in transistors, for example. Conwell’s is the first Medal of Science ever awarded to a University of Rochester faculty member.

    Conwell’s research earned her an uncommon triple membership in the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Engineering, among the highest honors a scientist or engineer can receive. Conwell is the only member of the University of Rochester faculty to hold such a distinction. She also received the 2008 American Chemical Society Award for Encouraging Women into Careers in the Chemical Sciences, and in 2002 was named one of The 50 Most Important Women of Science by Discover magazine.

    Among many other awards that Conwell has received during her distinguished career are the Achievement Award of the Society of Women Engineers, honorary doctorates from Brooklyn College and Geneseo, and the Edison Medal from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers—the first woman recipient in the 93 years of the award. The University of Rochester has honored Conwell with a Susan B. Anthony Lifetime Achievement Award and a Dreyfus Senior Faculty Mentor Award.

    From 1946 to 1951, Conwell taught at Brooklyn College. She also spent a year as a visiting professor at l’École Normale Supérieure, University of Paris in 1962, and a semester at MIT in 1972 as the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor. Conwell started teaching at the University of Rochester as an adjunct professor in 1990 and became a full-time professor of chemistry in 1998 after retiring from Xerox. Before beginning her academic career, Conwell spent 47 years as an industrial scientist, working at Bell Telephone Laboratories, GTE Laboratories, and Xerox Corporation.

    Conwell received her BA from Brooklyn College in 1942, earned a master of science degree in physics at the University of Rochester in 1945, and received a PhD from the University of Chicago in 1948. She has authored or coauthored several books, more than 270 scientific publications in chemistry, biophysics, and physics and holds several patents.

  • Jay T. LastJay Last

    Jay T. Last

    Honorary Doctor of Science

    Jay T. Last ’51 is considered one of the “fathers” of Silicon Valley. In 1957, he was one of the group of eight who founded the Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation. At Fairchild, he worked on developing the first commercial silicon planar transistors and directed the research and development group that produced the first integrated circuit chips. These devices are the lifeblood of the modern computer. Fairchild helped establish Silicon Valley as a center for technological innovation and entrepreneurialism and is credited with inventing the technology that drives the computer industry today.

    In 1961, Last left Fairchild to start Amelco Semiconductor as a division of Teledyne, Inc. A few years later, he became the vice president of technology for the parent company in Los Angeles, overseeing the technical interaction of Teledyne’s steadily increasing number of divisions.

    As Last was working in Silicon Valley, he also pursued his passion for art collecting. He began acquiring African Art in the early 1960s. An interest in fruit-box labels in the 1970s sparked a passion for color lithography—a method of mass printing—that would lead to his amassing about 135,000 printed items. In 2006, he announced his plans to donate to The Huntington Library the entire collection, and he also provided funds to support a curator of lithographic history and ephemera.

    Last’s interest in the history of lithography extends to his own independent scholarship. He is the author of The Color Explosion: Nineteenth-Century American Lithography and the coauthor, with Gordon McClelland, of five other books focusing on California themes.

    He is a founder and member of the board of directors of the Archaeological Conservancy, a national nonprofit organization established in 1980 to preserve archaeological sites in the United States.

    In 1999, Last received the Hutchison Medal from the University of Rochester, and he won the 2005 Maurice Rickards Award from the Ephemera Society of America for his important contributions to the field of ephemera studies. In 2007, he received the Newman Award for the outstanding book of the year for The Color Explosion.

    Last received a BS in optics from the University of Rochester in 1951 and a PhD in physics from MIT in 1956.

  • Philippe M. FauchetPhilippe Fauchet

    Philippe M. Fauchet

    The William H. Riker University Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching

    Philippe M. Fauchet is the Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and chair of the department in addition to being a professor of optics, biomedical engineering, materials science, and physics, and a senior scientist at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics.

    Since joining the faculty in 1990, he has brought three large multi-investigator grants to the University and has graduated 30 PhD students from five departments. Before coming to Rochester, Fauchet was on the faculty at Princeton and Stanford Universities and was one of the originators of Princeton University’s Center for Photonics and Opto-Electronic Materials.

    In 1998, Fauchet created the Multidisciplinary Center for Future Health and served as its founding director until December 2004. In the 1990s, Fauchet created and ran the Femtosecond Laser Facility at the University of Rochester’s Center for Optoelectronics and Imaging. More recently, he spearheaded the integration of the University of Rochester’s research efforts in energy, with the aim of creating a permanent Energy Research Institute. That initiative won the University funding from the National Science Foundation to create a graduate program in solar energy.

    Fauchet has 30 years of experience in nanotechnology and nanoscience, especially silicon photonics, silicon quantum dots, optical biosensors, electroluminescent materials and devices, optical interconnects, solar cells, and ultrathin membranes. His research on porous Si and nanoscale Si and their applications has led to nearly one hundred invited publications, plenary or invited presentations at international conferences, and seminars at universities or research laboratories.

    Fauchet received an IBM Faculty Development Award in 1985, an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award in 1987, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in 1988, and the 1990–1993 Prix Guibal & Devillez for his work on porous silicon. He is the author of over 400 publications, has edited 11 books, and holds several patents. He was elected a Fellow of the Optical Society of America, the American Physical Society, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Materials Research Society, and the International Society for Optics and Photonics, and he serves on various boards for industrial and governmental entities.

    Fauchet received a PhD in applied physics from Stanford University in 1984, an MS in engineering from Brown University in 1980, and his electrical engineer’s degree from Faculté Polytechnique de Mons, Belgium, in 1978.

  • Jonathan BaldoJonathan Baldo

    Jonathan Baldo

    Edward Peck Curtis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

    Jonathan Baldo has taught in the humanities department at the Eastman School of Music since 1983. In 2000, Baldo was awarded a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, which enabled him to take a year’s leave of absence to write a book on the rising national consciousness in Elizabethan England as reflected in Shakespeare’s plays.

    Baldo’s first book on Shakespeare, The Unmasking of Drama: Contested Representation in Shakespearean Tragedy, was published in 1996. He has also published numerous articles and reviews in publications such as English Literary Renaissance, Shakespeare Quarterly, Renaissance Drama, Modern Language Quarterly, and Journal of the Kafka Society of America. His second book, Memory in Shakespeare’s Histories: Stages of Forgetfulness in Early Modern England, will be published later this year by Routledge in their prestigious Studies in Shakespeare Series.

    Baldo has presented papers throughout the United States, Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom, including at the Shakespeare Association of America, the Northeast Modern Language Association Conference, and the World Shakespeare Congress. On four occasions he has won the open submission competitions held by both the International Shakespeare Association and the Shakespeare Association of America. Other awards and honors include a Bridging Fellowship from the University of Rochester in 1990, the University Junior Faculty Award in 1989, and a Tuition Fellowship from Northwestern University’s School of Criticism and Theory in 1983.

    Baldo has invented interesting courses, ranging from Shakespeare to Hitchcock, and he cofounded the cluster of Film Studies with the humanities department. His in-depth knowledge and expertise, enthusiasm for his subjects, imaginative teaching style, intellectually stimulating classroom discussions, and his dedication to students outside the classroom have earned him a reputation as one of the best professors at Eastman. Respected and admired by his students both as a person and as a teacher, Baldo has distinguished himself among world-class musicians by receiving high praise for his non-music courses.

    Baldo received his bachelor of arts degree in English from Yale University and a PhD in English from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Before joining the Eastman faculty, he was a lecturer in the English department of the University of Florida, Gainesville.

  • Eleana KimEleana Kim

    Eleana Kim

    The G. Graydon Curtis ’58 and Jane W. Curtis Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Nontenured Member of the Faculty

    Eleana Kim, assistant professor of anthropology, is a rising scholar and an inspiring teacher, admired for her ability to help students to become deeply engaged. Her first book, Adopted Territory: Transnational Korean Adoptees and the Politics of Belonging, published by Duke University Press this past fall, explores the history of Korean adoptions for the past half-century. The book reexamines the experience of an estimated 200,000 South Korean children adopted into white families in western countries. The ethnography is the first to trace the emergence of a distinctive transnational adoptee community in the age of the Internet and globalization.

    Kim was awarded a prestigious American Council of Learned Societies fellowship for research on a second book about the environmental and political transformation of the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Beginning this July, Kim will spend a year interviewing environmentalists, politicians, local residents, and others to turn the militarized border between North and South Korea into a green belt of peace.

    Kim is admired for her skill at guiding discussions of challenging material, her respect for students, and her accessibility. She has developed innovative methods for incorporating social media and other new technologies into teaching and last year, organized an innovative mini-research conference for undergraduates. She is frequently sought out by students for letters of recommendation and career counseling and currently is advising two of the department’s three senior honors theses.

    Kim has taken a lead role in the design of the anthropology department’s curriculum and is now the department’s director of undergraduate studies. She is helping to develop interdisciplinary programs and serving on several dissertation committees in the Graduate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies.

    Kim completed her master’s degree and doctorate in anthropology at New York University and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles, before coming to Rochester in 2007. She is a frequent presenter at academic conferences and is the recipient of numerous research grants, including fellowships from the Korea Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the Fulbright Institute of International Education.

Ursula Burns

Ursula Burns

Eastman Medal and Commencement Speaker

Ursula M. Burns is chairman and chief executive officer of Xerox Corporation, which was founded in Rochester and has grown to become the world's leading enterprise for business process and document management. She joined Xerox in 1980 as a mechanical engineering summer intern and forged ahead to amass responsibilities and leadership positions in the intervening decades.

She spent her early years with the corporation in product development and planning roles. From 1992 through 2000, Burns led several teams, including the office color and fax business, and office network printing business. By 2000, she was named senior vice president of Corporate Strategic Services, heading manufacturing and supply chain operations.She then took on the broader role of leading Xerox’s global research as well as product development, marketing, and delivery.

In April 2007, Burns was named president of Xerox, expanding her leadership to include the company’s IT organization, corporate strategy, human resources, corporate marketing, and global accounts. At the same time, she was elected a member of the company’s Board of Directors. Burns was named chief executive officer in July 2009 and assumed the role of chairman of the company on May 20, 2010.

In addition to the Xerox board, she is a board director of the American Express Corporation. Burns also provides leadership counsel to community, educational, and nonprofit organizations, including FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), the National Academy Foundation, the University of Rochester, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the U.S. Olympic Committee, among others. Burns was named by President Barack Obama to help lead the White House national program on science, technology, engineering, and math in November 2009 and was appointed vice chair of the President’s Export Council in March 2010.

A native of Manhattan, Burns earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Polytechnic Institute of New York University, and a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University