Raising Them Up
Earl Wilson/The New York Times/Redux
Jamal Joseph 
Allison Joyce/New York Daily News
Veeramuthu Kalimuthu

When a man fell unconscious onto the northbound subway tracks at the 116th Street station in March, Columbia University mechanic Veeramuthu Kalimuthu didn’t have time to think. Kalimuthu, 46, was waiting on the southbound side when the accident occurred. He jumped onto the tracks, hurdled the deadly third rail, and raised the man up onto the platform. Queens Councilman Leroy Comrie awarded the subway hero and Queens resident a City Council Proclamation…. Columbia film professor and Graduate Film Division chair Jamal Joseph received some Oscar attention for his contribution to the song “Raise It Up,” which was nominated for best original song of 2007. Featured on the soundtrack of the movie August Rush, the song was performed during the 80th annual Academy Awards show by a choir of youngsters from Harlem’s IMPACT Repertory Theater, which was founded by Joseph in 1997.

  Crosses to bear

Following a series of shake-ups at the top of the American Red Cross, Gail J. McGovern ’87BUS has been named the organization’s chief executive officer. McGovern will replace Mark Everson, who was forced out in November over an extramarital affair. McGovern was president of Fidelity Personal Investment, and prior to that was an executive at AT&T. She currently teaches at Harvard Business School…. In these trying economic times, John Mack ’73GSAS, CEO of Morgan Stanley, is attempting to make his own fiscal statement: Mack declined his 2007 bonus, joining a handful of well-remunerated chief executives, including Wade F. B. Thompson ’92CC, CEO of Thor Industries, who just said no.

  Pul hitters

Two Columbia alumni are among the recipients of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize. Steve Fainaru ’94SIPA revealed the lack of regulation and oversight of private armies in Iraq in a series of articles for the Washington Post, which led to congressional legislation. John Matteson ’92GSAS, now a professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, wrote Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father, a biography of the author of Little Women, and the transcendentalist Bronson Alcott.

  Going places

Nancy E. McEldowney ’86SIPA and Columbia professor and former SIPA dean Lisa Anderson are packing their bags and moving on. McEldowney won’t have to go far — now deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Turkey, her new post will take her just across the northern border, as she becomes U.S. ambassador to Bulgaria. Anderson, who is the James T. Shotwell Professor of International Relations at Columbia and a Middle East expert, will have to travel a little farther: She has been named provost of the American University in Cairo, where she begins her new job in the fall.

Diane Bondareff  
Salman Rushdie, left, with Padma Desai and Jagdish Bhagwati.  
Becoming one

Few academic couples are as esteemed as economics professors Padma Desai and Jagdish Bhagwati. On March 28, the husband-wife team was jointly named winners of the India Abroad Lifetime Achievement Award 2007, presented in Manhattan’s Gotham Hall. The couple’s coauthored book, India: Planning for Industrialization (1968), helped create a roadmap for India’s modernization…. The Society for the Promotion of Buddhism, headquartered in Tokyo, has given its 42nd annual Cultural Award to Barbara Ruch, professor emerita at Columbia. Ruch is the first foreign woman to receive the prize, which includes an award of 3 million yen.


War stories

Sichan Siv ’81SIPA, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has written Golden Bones, a book on the history of the Khmer Rouge occupation of Cambodia, and Kao Kalia Yang ’05SOA, a member of the Hmong ethnic group
of Southeast Asia, has written The Latehomecomer, a memoir that follows Yang’s parents from war-torn Laos to the Thai refugee camp where Yang was born in 1980, and then to Minnesota, where Yang and her family settled…. Freelance writer Joshua Kors ’03JRN uncovered a multi-billion-dollar military scandal and wrote a two-part article that ran in The Nation last year. The piece, which documented an organized effort within the military to misdiagnose soldiers in order to cheat them out of benefits, garnered Kors the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting from Long Island University.


—Paul Hond