With the graduation of its 52nd class, the alumni of The Rockefeller University’s graduate program now number 1,047. This year’s Convocation celebration included a French bistro-themed reception in the President’s House, a luncheon, the traditional cap-and-gown procession across campus, a formal ceremony in Caspary Auditorium and a campus-wide celebration in Weiss Café.
This year’s recipients of honorary doctor of science degrees, Hanna Holborn Gray and Harold E. Varmus, have played major roles in shaping education and science in the United States. Dr. Gray, president emeritus of the University of Chicago, recently retired after 13 years as chairman of the board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Varmus, a Nobel Prize-winning biologist, is former director of the National Institutes of Health and former president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Drs. Gray and Varmus spoke at the June 10 afternoon Convocation ceremony.
Teresa Davoli has had a powerful interest in cancer biology since high school, when she started scouring books on the subject. She’s inspired by efforts to find treatments for the deadly diseases that target specific molecular interactions, as opposed to the relatively blunt carpet bombing of chemotherapy. Ms. Davoli is pursuing that aim as a member of Titia de Lange’s Laboratory of Cell Biology and Genetics. For her research accomplishments and contributions off campus as well, she was awarded this year’s David Rockefeller Fellowship.
Charles D. Gilbert, head of the Laboratory of Neurobiology, and Charles M. Rice, head of the Laboratory of Virology and Infectious Disease, were the recipients of this year’s Rockefeller University Distinguished Teaching Awards. Established in 2005 to recognize outstanding individual contributions to the university’s educational environment, the teaching awards are presented each year to one or two faculty members. Chosen by a committee that includes the university’s scientific executive officers, awardees receive a plaque and a monetary gift. Dr. Gilbert teaches a course on neural systems that covers mechanisms of information processing in the adult nervous system at the level of neuronal ensembles and interactions.