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Newsmakers
 
 
 
Thomas R. Frieden ’86PS, ’86PH
Healthy choices

Thomas R. Frieden ’86PS, ’86PH, the former health commissioner of New York City, was chosen by President Barack Obama ’83CC to lead the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a job he started in June… Grace Kodindo, assistant clinical professor of population and family health at the Mailman School of Public Health, in May was awarded the Millennium Development Goal 3 Champion Torch to recognize her successes in securing comprehensive reproductive health care for women worldwide… Ralph Sacco ’89PH will become the national president of the American Heart Association in 2010, the first neurologist to win election to that post.
 

 
 

Rulers of law

President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor, a federal judge who is a lecturer at Columbia Law School, to the U.S. Supreme Court. Sotomayor created a course called The Federal Appellate Externship, which she has cotaught every semester since 2000… Lanny A. Breuer ’80CC, ’85LAW and Ronald H. Weich ’80CC both have been confirmed as assistant attorneys general in the U.S. Justice Department. Breuer will work in the Criminal Division; Weich serves in the Office of Legislative Affairs… Githu Muigai ’86LAW, the UN special rapporteur on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance, said at the Durban Review Conference in Geneva this spring that racial scapegoating is as strong today as it was 50 years ago, and is fueled by economic strife.

 
 

Ashraf Ghani ’82GSAS  
A global reach

Historian Michael Oren ’77CC, ’78SIPA, who was born in New Jersey and emigrated to Israel, was appointed the new Israeli ambassador to the United States in May… Ashraf Ghani ’82GSAS, the former finance minister of Afghanistan and the current chairman of the Institute of State Effectiveness, is running for president of Afghanistan in the August 20 elections… Shinjiro Koizumi ’06GSAS, the son of the popular former prime minister of Japan, Junichiro Koizumi, has announced plans to run this fall for a Japanese parliamentary seat representing Yokosuka, a port city an hour southwest of Tokyo… Mellon Professor Emeritus Robert O. Paxton in April was awarded the French Légion d’honneur. He is the guest curator of Between Collaboration and Resistance: French Literary Life under Nazi Occupation, an exhibition of largely unpublished manuscripts, diaries, photographs, and other material at the New York Public Library through July 25.

 
 

A map to success
Reif Larsen ’08SOA

Reif Larsen ’08SOA, who is 29, received a book advance of almost $1 million for his debut novel, The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet, about a brilliant 12-year-old who has a penchant for mapmaking… Best-selling author Zoë Heller ’88GSAS, of Notes on a Scandal fame, has a new novel out, The Believers, about a Jewish family’s struggles with its faith… Julia M. Angwin ’00BUS, a Wall Street Journal reporter, recently published a book called Stealing MySpace, which chronicles how the founders of MySpace made it one of the most popular social networking sites on the Web.
 

 
 

Thriving journalists
Neil Henry ’78JRN  

Lydia Polgreen ’00JRN, a New York Times reporter, won this year’s Livingston Award in the category of international reporting for her three-part series, “The Spoils,” which documented the exploitation of natural wealth in Africa. The award honors journalists under the age of 35… Neil Henry ’78JRN was recently named dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley… Recently, Philip S. Balboni ’71JRN and Charles M. Sennott ’86JRN created a for-profit online news service focusing on international news. Subscribers pay up to $199 a year for access to special reports.

 

 
 

The entertainers

Three film alumni were chosen among the Web site indieWIRE’s Ten Exciting New Voices in Black Cinema this spring: Randall Dottin ’03SOA, Khary Jones ’00GSAS, and Moon Molson ’09SOA… Next to Normal, produced by Barbara Whitman ’05SOA, won three Tonys this year, including Best Original Score Written for the Theatre, which went to Tom Kitt ’96CC and Brian Yorkey ’93CC… Anna Boden ’02CC codirected and co-wrote Sugar, a film about the struggles of a baseball pitcher from the Dominican Republic recruited to play in the U.S., which is being shown in theaters nationwide… Playwrights Horizons, a Times Square theater that produces new works, will feature in its 2009–10 season a comedy written by Melissa James Gibson ’91GS called This, starring Parker Posey.

 
 

Financing and forecasting

George Canellos ’89LAW, a longtime prosecutor and law firm partner at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, was appointed regional director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. David M. Becker ’68CC, ’73LAW became general counsel and senior policy director at the SEC earlier this year… Bruce Kasman ’86GSAS, chief economist at JPMorgan Chase, was ranked by USA Today in March as the economist whose financial predictions proved most accurate in 2008.

 
 

Joining the academy
 
Marian Carlson

The National Academy of Sciences elected as fellows three Columbia faculty at its annual meeting in April. The new inductees are microbiologist Marian Carlson, mathematician John Morgan, and physicist Frank Sciulli.
 

 
 

Remembering Lincoln

“America’s greatness in the world today rests more squarely upon the shoulders of Abraham Lincoln than of any other single citizen in the nation’s history,” said Benjamin F. Payton ’60GSAS, the retiring president of Tuskegee University, in delivering the main address at the rededication of the Lincoln Memorial in May, in honor of the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth. “This is so not because of his popularity during his presidency, but because of the singular gravity of the issues facing the country during the years of his office, and, more especially, by reason of the profound qualities of mind and spirit by which he led the nation through them.”

 

 
 
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