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Max Beberman Award Winners 2001-2010

2001 Beberman Award Winner: Terry Truitt Whitcomb

Terry Truitt Whitcomb is a professor emeritus of Art History at the University of San Diego. She also is the retired director of Institutional Design and served as curator of the University of San Diego collection of fine and decorative arts. She was chair of the University of San Diego Art Department from 1969-1990. As director of institutional design (a job that does not exist on most campuses) Professor Whitcomb has been responsible for keeping the visual surroundings of the private Roman Catholic-Affiliated university in harmony and preserving and protecting its Spanish Renaissance theme. Professor Whitcomb earned a Master's of Arts degree with Distinction from San Diego State University. She was the first woman to complete undergraduate studies at the then-brand new San Diego College for Women. (Later, the College for Women merged with the College for Men to become the University of San Diego.)


2002 Beberman Award Winner: Dr. James Tobin

The late James Tobin was a professor emeritus of economics at Yale University and was a top adviser in the Kennedy administration. He received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1981. He is perhaps best known for applying economic theory to the way people make decisions and for advocating the Keynesian theory of government intervention in the economy. Throughout his career, he battled conservative economists like Milton Friedman, a Nobel laureate at the University of Chicago, who disdained government intervention. Dr. Tobin regarded his Nobel Prize as a vote of confidence in the Keynesian theory. In his obituary, The New York Times noted, Dr. Tobin concluded that investors were affected by their assessments of how risky their decisions might be and that they differed in the amount of risk they were willing to take. He explored the tendency to build portfolios in which risks were balanced against more secure assets. Earlier analyses frequently oversimplified the behavior, assuming that investors typically sought the highest return without regard to risk. But Dr. Tobin's work, known as the Portfolio Selection Theory, helped increase the understanding of an investor's willingness to hold various assets, the Times noted. During times of inflation, for instance, he found them less willing to hold stock or cash, turning instead to bonds or physical assets like real estate. In an update to his Yale webpage several months before his death in early 2002, Dr. Tobin said, "In my career as an economist beginning in 1939, I have done research and writing in several fields: macroeconomics theory and policy; money and banking; public finance; consumer behavior; welfare economics; rationing; portfolio selection and asset markets (commonly known as the "q" ration), economic growth; investment and capital accumulation; inequity and public policy to ameliorate poverty (the so-called negative income tax); econometric method (the Tobin analysis); and international monetary systems (related to the so-called "Tobin Tax".) He added that at the time, his active interests related to social security and medical care as well as international monetary reform. Dr. Tobin was the author of some 500 articles and 16 books.


2003 Beberman Award Winner: Rebecca Ayars Baker

Rebecca Ayars Baker, earned a bachelor's degree and a juris doctorate degree from the University of Illinois and was a member of the 1956 United States Olympic Women's Track Team. Today, she is Secretary of the Board of the National Credit Union Administration, the regulatory agency that oversees federal credit unions and insures the great majority of all credit unions. Prior to her life as a public servant, Becky was a partner in the management consulting firm Baker-Burns & Associates from 1980-1982. During that time, she co-authored and obtained copyrights on management systems for state government and presented the systems to top-level state government managers. From 1978 to 1979, she was president of the Terrace Hill Society and chaired a quasi-state government committee composed of state officials, state legislators and public representatives involved in restoring the Iowa governor's mansion. Becky Ayars Baker has been married for 45 years to Joseph Baker, former Director of Welfare for downstate Illinois, Iowa and Idaho. He then went to Washington, D.C., to work in the federal food stamp program and later with the federal Health and Human Services agency. They are the parents of three grown daughters, Betsy, Mary, and Emily, and two grandchildren, Mia and P.J. In 1956, Rebecca took a semester off from law school to compete on the women's track team in the Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia. She ended up not actually getting to compete due to an inopportune case of pneumonia. She is one of a 28 local athletes listed on the Champaign Park District Tribute to Olympic Athletes monument located just off Mattis Avenue near Parkland College. Rebecca still enjoys running today and was nominated by her daughters in 2001 to be a torchbearer for the Salt Lake City Olympics. "It meant a lot to me," she said at the time, "because I was selected to carry the torch into the area in front of the Arlington City Hall, where a ceremony to honor the heroes of the Pentagon 9/11 rescue was held." "My torch is special to me because they all held it," she said.


2004 Beberman Award Winner: Jack Wills

The 2004 Max Beberman Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to John "Jack" Wills, a member of the Uni High Class of 1953. He earned a bachelor's degree in Philosophy (Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, High Honors) in 1956, earned a master's degree in East Asian Studies from Harvard University in 1967 and a Ph.D. in history and Far Eastern Languages from Harvard University in 1967. Wills is a professor of history at the University of Southern California, where he has taught since 1965. A specialist in Chinese history, he has written extensively on China's relations with maritime Europeans during the years between 1500 and 1800. His books include "Mountain of Fame: Portraits in Chinese History" (Princeton University Press, 1994) and "1688: A Global History" (W.W. Norton and Granta Press, 2001). The New York Times called his journey through 5,000 years of Chinese history in "Mountain" a "spirited and highly intelligent book." He helped to develop a general education program that included East Asian languages, cultures and history at USC and went on to serve as acting chair of the department of East Asian languages and cultures from 1987 to 1989 and director of the East Asian Studies Center from 1990 to 1994. He wrote Mountain of Fame: Portraits in Chinese History (Princeton University Press, 1994). The New York Times called his journey through 5,000 years of Chinese history a "spirited and highly intelligent book." Wills has donated $50,000 to help establish a graduate research assistantship program for the East Asian Studies Center at USC. At the time he made his gift, he said he hopes this seed money encourages others to pitch in, so that students can work one-on-one with major scholars in their field of study.


2005 Beberman Award Winner: Thomas Clark Shedd

Thomas Clark Shedd, a member of the Uni High Class of 1936, was named the 2005 Beberman Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. A native of Phoenixville, PA, who now makes his home in Evanston, Tom earned a bachelor's degree in Railway-Electrical Engineering from the U of I in 1940. The 2005 award recipient has set a "track" record with a railroad career that spans some 55 years and includes traveling at 5 miles an hour to test rail in all 48 contiguous states as well as writing some 1,000 railroad feature articles and about 800 opinion pieces for a variety of publications, including Modern Railroads, Trains, Railway Age, the Encyclopedia Britannica, World Book Encyclopedia and Compton's Encyclopedia. In 1951, he joined Modern Railroads magazine as associate editor in Chicago. A year later, he went to New York as eastern editor. He returned to Chicago in 1959 to become Editor-in-Chief, a position he held for 24 years, until July 1983. During that time, he won 14 awards for editorial and graphics excellence. In addition, to his keen interest in railroading, Tom is a classical music fan and audiophile. He began collecting classical albums in 1938 and now has a collection of more than 2,000, including 1,600 L.P.s, more than 200 cassettes that he has mostly recorded himself and some 300 CDs. Tom says trains have always been of interest to him, but he originally intended to pursue a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering when he left Uni for the University of Illinois. However, his aptitude for writing soon led to him having his first article published in a commercial magazine, Railway Age, when he won firsts prize in a 1937 contest sponsored by the Illinois Central Railroad for an article entitled, "What I like Best in Modern Railroading and Why." He also began writing for Technograph, the student engineering magazine at the U of I. Tom has been a driving force in keeping members of his class connected and meeting regularly for nearly 70 years. Before Uni had an Alumni Office, Tom regularly researched addresses and telephone numbers of class members and published a directory for the Uni Class of 1936.


2006 Beberman Award Winner: Peter N. Stearns

Peter N. Stearns, a member of the Uni High Class of 1953 and Provost and chief academic officer of George Mason University, was selected as the 2006 Max Beberman Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient. Dr. Stearns is a historian by training who has written or edited over 90 books on innovative topics in history, such as the history of emotions and the history of modern American child rearing. Dr. Stearns completed his undergraduate degree and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University. He has taught at the University of Chicago, Rutgers University, and Carnegie Mellon University before coming to George Mason University. Dr. Stearns has been the Provost at George Mason since January 2000. He also teaches courses in World History and Cultural History. As of 2006, his most recent book is on world opinion and contemporary history. Past Vice President of the American Historical Association in charge of the Teaching Division, Stearns currently serves as chair of the Advanced Placement World History committee. He founded and continues to serve as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Social History.


2007 Beberman Award Winner: Rebecca Lynn Weisel Wachtel

The 2007 Max Beberman distinguished alumni award winner was Rebecca Lynn Weisel Wachtel, a member of the University Laboratory High School Class of 1967 and Partner and co-owner of the Champaign Surplus Store, the largest family operated business in the Champaign area. Lynn has had two careers, one as an artist and another in the world of business. Prior to becoming co-owner of the Champaign Surplus Store, she worked as an artist/potter for over 20 years, creating fine works of pottery. During her undergraduate years, she was a James scholar, Phi Beta Kappa and a Bronze Tablet recipient. She also danced with the Al Huang Dance Company and held several dancing and singing roles in campus musicals. After graduating from the U. of I. She worked as an artist/potter in Jerusalem, Israel, where she also sang in the Jerusalem Chamber Choir directed by Avner Itai. Returning in 1976 to complete her Masters of Education degree from the U. of I. She then taught the Multi Arts Curriculum at Washington Elementary School in Urbana, Illinois. She taught all grade levels drama, dance and poetry in an integrated arts curriculum. Lynn stated that she is a Uni Kid who never stopped doing a variety of different things. She still considers herself a student activist. She carries these views through in her business. She is a strong believer in businesses not leaving the downtown Champaign area. She's concerned about environmental issues and uses her efforts to address sprawl and rapid urban development. She is also a member of the Prairie Rivers Network which addresses the issues of urban development and water pollution. Sustaining our community is a very important part of her life. She is a cancer survivor which motivated her to rededicate herself to helping others and making every day an adventure and learning experience. She has been involved in a wide range of outdoor activities related both to camping and her interest in movement and dance. She climbed Mt. Ranier in Washington, hiked across england, hiked the Royal Inca trail and circumnavigated Mt. Augsingate in Peru. In addition, she walked 60 miles from Kenosha, WI to Chicago, IL to raise money for Breast Cancer Clinics and Research. She has also been actively involved in the Champaign Urbana Jewish Federation where she was director for several years. She is a highly successful businesswoman, artist, mother of two Uni High alums, loving wife of 36 years and devoted daughter. During her time at Uni, Rebecca Lynn Weisel was Vice president of her sophomore Class, She was a cheerleader her freshman and sophomore years, an exchange student host her sophomore and junior years and a member of the Orientation Committee which she chaired her senior year. In addition, she was a member of the mixed chorus, Madrigals, Modern Dance, and Stag (Student Theatre Arts Group). Throughout her high school years, she performed in Uni High Productions of Gondoliers, Iolanthe, Ruddigore and Amahl.


2008 Beberman Award Winner: Frank H. Finch

Frank is a practicing attorney who has had a long and distinguished career. For more than forty-nine years, attorney Finch has counseled a broad range of individuals, partnerships, and corporations in the planning, formation, financing, acquisition and sale of business and non-profit entities. He has represented numerous clients in the development, financing, operation and transfer of residential, commercial and industrial real estate. Professor of Human Resources Education and a Darcey Family Friend, Dr. Andrea Ellinger states, "Attorney Finch modestly refers to himself as a small town country lawyer. Those of us who know him well, know better. His client base well exceeds the environs of Northwest Connecticut and the "Dean of the Litchfield Bar" handles matters for national companies well. Attorney Finch is kindhearted, generous, a true friend, scholar, and a gentleman." Finch started his career at Howd, Lavierie and Finch as an associate in 1959 and by 1961 he had become a partner of the firm. He has represented and handled matters for numerous companies such as the now-defunct New Hartford-Based Hitchcock Chair Co. and the Polly-O Italian Cheese Company owned by Kraft Foods Inc. In the 1990's as a member of the Connecticut Chief Justice's Commission on Public Trust and Confidence, he pushed the Connecticut Bar Association to come to the aid of judges unfairly criticized by the media due to misunderstandings of the legal system. This action also helped open communications between the bar and the bench which previously had just been a little more than a cordial relationship. He received his undergraduate degree as well as his law degree from Harvard. He served in the U.S. Naval Reserves as a Naval Air Intelligence Office in the 1950's. From 1961-1978 he also served as the assistant prosecuting attorney for the Connecticut state courts. He is an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association, a member of the Grievance Committee of Litchfield County, a member of the Connecticut Chief Justice's Civil Commission and a member of the U.S. District Court Grievance Committee. Frank has also received numerous awards during his distinguished career:

  • 1982 Small Businessman of the Year from the Connecticut Chamber of Commerce
  • A 1989 Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International
  • 1993 Person of the Year by the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce
  • A 1996 James W. Cooper Fellow by the Connecticut Bar Foundation
  • Northwest Connecticut YMCA Legacy Award in 2006


2009 Beberman Award Winner: Allen Tien

Allen Yiyen Tien, MD, MHS, is a member of the University Laboratory High School class of 1971 and the Founder, President, and Research Director of Medical Decision Logic, Inc. ("MDLogix") - an applied health informatics company with a mission of accelerating health research. MDLogix is a leading provider of enterprise scalable web tools and systems for clinical research, with its Clinical Research Management System (CRMS) (www.mdlogix.com) supporting thousands of clinical studies at major academic medical centers such as Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. MDLogix is also developing innovative products designed to bring research methods and scientific knowledge into clinical care, for example addressing needs in palliative and hospice care, as well as adolescent mental health screening in primary care settings. MDLogix is developing products and advanced mathematical tools to support the use of Social Network Analysis (SNA) to address diverse problems in health care. Allen started his business career as the president of CyberMetrics Testing Services, Inc. He is a Board-Certified psychiatrist, with Master's level training in biostatistics and postdoctoral training in psychiatric epidemiology, research design and methods, and public mental health issues. He served as a full-time tenure-track faculty member in the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health Department of Mental Hygiene and School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry from 1988 to 1997, promoted to Associate Professor in 1996. His research efforts there encompassed public mental health epidemiology, services, and prevention, as well as clinical neuroscience, neurocognition, and brain structure and function in major psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He has been working to develop health information technology since 1987, and founded MDLogix in 1997. He is Adjunct Associate Professor in the Division of Health Science Informatics in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Allen received his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry as well as his MD degree from the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. And a Master of Health Science in Biostatistics from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. He has received diverse awards during his career, which spans academic health science and entrepreneurial applications of health science informatics. In 1975 he received an undergraduate scholarship award in biochemistry. In 1982 he received an Award of Merit from the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Ohio State University College of Medicine and in 1990 he received the American Psychiatric Association Wisniewski Young Psychiatrist Research Award. He has authored or co-authored over 45 journal articles. As well as numerous academic health research grants, he has been awarded funding on over 27 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants and contracts from the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense. Allen and his wife Naiching, married in 1983, have three sons, Michael, David, and Eric, born in 1984, 1989, and 1991. Allen enjoys vegetable gardening and fruit tree cultivation, carpentry, and stone work, and is a dedicated squash racquets player. Over the course of four summers, he and his sons built the Northern Cape Breton Squash Club (www.peaciation.net), located in Pleasant Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada, and extend a warm invitation to all.


2010 Beberman Award Winner: Richard Lazarus

Richard Lazarus is a professor of Law at Georgetown University. He has represented governments, environmental groups, and individuals in 40 cases before the United States Supreme Court. He is the faculty director of the Supreme Court Institute, which sponsors academic courses and workshops, and provides moot court arguments relative to appearances before the United States Supreme Court. He has served in the United States Justice department, in both the Environmental and Natural Resource Division and the Solicitor General's Office as Assistant to the Solicitor General. received his undergraduate degrees in economics and chemistry from the University of Illinois and his J.D. degree from Harvard University. Richard has had a distinguished career dealing with environmental law. In 2004, he authored The Making of Environmental Law, which looked at legal, political, and cultural factors which affected their evolution. He has been awarded faculty teaching awards at both Washington University and the Georgetown University School of Law. In Fall of 2009, Richard was the Austin Wakerman Scott visiting professor at Harvard University.