Newsmakers

 
  Let’s Go Europe
 
  Oliver Sacks
 
  Ursula Emery McClure and Michael McClure

Victoria de Grazia ’76GSAS has been named the new director of the Institute for the Study of Europe at the School of International and Public Affairs. The institute’s mission is to promote scholarship and debate on policy issues related to Europe…Three graduates of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation will be heading to the Eternal City. They’ve each won 2008–2009 Rome Prize fellowships designed for emerging artists and scholars. The winners are Ursula Emery McClure ’95GSAPP and Michael McClure ’96GSAPP, for their project Terra Viscus, about their work in southern Louisiana, and Andrew J. Kranis ’04GSAPP, for Green Piazza: Community Ecology in the City. Herica Valladares ’99GSAS also has been awarded the Rome Prize, for her first monograph, On Tenderness: The Semantics of Love in Roman Painting and Poetry. The awardees will be provided with a stipend, a studio, and room and board at the American Academy in Rome for a period of six months to two years…For his service in the field of medicine, Oliver Sacks, professor of neurology and psychiatry at the Columbia University Medical Center and the University’s first Columbia Artist, has been named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen included Sacks on her Birthday Honours List in June.
 


 
 
 
Jane Eisner
Look Back, Move Forward

The American Jewish Historical Society has appointed Evan Kingsley ’84CC as its executive director. The AJHS was founded in 1892 and houses 20 million documents and 50,000 books, paintings, and artifacts…Jane Eisner ’78JRN has been named editor in chief of the Forward, the Jewish-American weekly newspaper. Eisner is a member of the J-school’s Alumni Task Force.

 
 
Screen Time

!VALA!, a documentary about the key role played by black students during the 1968 student uprising at Columbia, is now available on DVD at the University Archives. Produced by Sherry Suttles ’69BC, !VALA! examines the roots of the protest at Columbia from an African-American perspective, and includes interviews with many participants of the Hamilton Hall takeover…A Time to Stir, the Columbia ’68 documentary by J-school entrant Paul Cronin, will be screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 13…In October, Image Entertainment will release the DVD of the dysfunctional-family comedy Night of the White Pants, written and directed by Amy Talkington ’93BC, ’99SOA. The film stars Oscar nominee Tom Wilkinson, Nick Stahl, and Selma Blair.


 
  Whooping Crain’s

Marcos A. Rodriguez ’83SEAS has guided his private investment firm, Palladium Equity Partners, to the number two spot in Crain’s New York’s “New York Area’s Largest Minority-Owned Companies” list. On Crain’s list of the “New York Area’s Largest Women-Owned Companies” are Loren Communication International, Ltd., founded by Pamela Loren ’64GS, and Ruder Finn, a public relations agency headed up by Kathy Bloomgarden ’74SIPA, ’83GSAS, which notched numbers 12 and 14.


 
  Of Body and Mind

Effective January 1, 2009, Roberta Ness ’89PH will become dean of the University of Texas School of Public Health. Ness studies risk factors for ovarian cancer and maternal cardiovascular disease and the effects of pesticides on infant neurophysical development...The National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression has selected Columbia University Medical Center’s Anissa Abi-Dargham to receive its Distinguished Investigator Award. Abi-Dargham, who is professor of clinical psychiatry (in radiology) at CUMC, will use the grant to explore the use of imaging technology as a way to determine the treatment path for patients who display a high risk for schizophrenia.

 
 
History Books
 
  Jay Neugeboren

The Society for American Baseball Research has awarded its 2008 Seymour Medal to Columbia School of Continuing Education lecturer Lee Lowenfish for his book Branch Rickey: Baseball’s Ferocious Gentleman (University of Nebraska Press, 2007). Rickey is best known for breaking baseball’s color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson, who debuted in the Major Leagues with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947…Jay Neugeboren ’59CC has published 1940 (Two Dollar Radio Books, 2008), a novel hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “a beautifully realized work of imagined history.” It imagines the life of Eduard Bloch, the nonfictive Jewish-Austrian doctor who treated Adolf Hitler’s mother, and the only Jew in the Nazi domain known to have been given safe passage (to New York) at Hitler’s behest… Hilton Obenzinger ’69CC adds to the body of Columbia ’68 literature with his autobiographical novel Busy Dying (Chax Press, 2008). Obenzinger was among the students who occupied President Grayson Kirk’s office in Low Library.

 
 
Mission: Balkans

On May 20, President George W. Bush announced his intention to nominate Tina S. Kaidanow ’90GSAS to be ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the United States to the Republic of Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia this past February, over the objections of Serbia, Russia, and China…The International Criminal Tribunal at The Hague has appointed Norman Farrell ’92LAW Deputy Prosecutor of the Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Among the challenges facing Farrell is to oversee a large number of trials in a timely and judicious fashion.

 
 
Money Quotes

Readers of the Wall Street Journal are becoming acquainted with Jason Zweig ’82CC, who became the paper’s new personal finance columnist in July. Zweig is the author of Your Money and Your Brain (Simon & Schuster, 2007), about the neuroscience of investing... Jeffrey Lane ’70BUS has been named chief executive officer of Modern Bank, which the Wall Street Journal describes as “a New York private bank catering to wealthy individuals.” The average client wealth is $75 million.

 
 
Fossil-Fuel Fandango

On July 1, Laura Buss Sayavedra ’91SIPA assumed the role of vice president and chief financial officer of Spectra Energy Partners, a Delaware limited partnership that owns and operates natural-gas transportation and storage assets in the United States…Paul H. Vining ’79SEAS has been chosen to serve as president and chief operating officer of the Patriot Coal Corporation, a leading coal provider in the eastern United States, with numerous mines in Appalachia and the Illinois basin.

 
 
Erison Hurtault
 
Mike Massimino
   
Serious Thrusts

NASA astronaut Mike Massimino ’84SEAS will blast off from Earth aboard the space shuttle Atlantis on October 8. Massimino, who went up in 2002 to repair the Hubble Space Telescope, will be going back to the telescope on the upcoming mission to replace some internal parts…James Williams ’07CC and Erinn Smart ’01BC will head to Beijing this summer as part of the U.S. Olympic Fencing Team. (Smart’s brother, Keeth, is also a member of the team.) Erison Hurtault ’07CC will represent Dominica in track and field.

 
 

 
—Paul Hond