Outstanding Alumni named

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by Laura Grund
September/October 2002

Each year, the Graduate School graduates thousands of students in more than 100 degree programs who then contribute their expertise to the greater public good. This past May at the Graduate School Convocation, Pulitzer Prize-winner Gail Caldwell and James Allison of the University of California-Berkeley were awarded the Outstanding Alumni Award and recognized for their achievements.

Gail Caldwell

Amarillo native Caldwell, BA '78, MA '80, is the Boston Globe's chief book critic and was the 2001 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism. She has been with The Boston Globe since 1985, serving as staff writer, book editor, and chief book critic. Her reviews and essays have appeared in The Village Voice, The Washington Post, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Caldwell was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1993, 1996, and 1999 before winning the prize in 2001. She also has been a finalist in criticism for the American Society of Newspaper Editors Award and has served on the jury for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

Of her time at UT, Caldwell says, "The rigors (and occasional cruelties) of American studies really forged my sensibility. Whatever critical acumen I possess, I think, was honed by those who were running the department two decades ago: Bill Goetzmann, Bob Crunden, Al Crosby. Now I write on deadline every week for more than a million readers, and I still find myself working out an intellectual problem in print the way graduate school taught me to think: with care, with analytic rigor, and always - I hope - with humanity."

James P. Allison

James P. Allison, BS '69, PhD '73, is a distinguished professor in the Division of Immunology at Berkeley. Originally from Alice, Texas, Allison has been a professor at Berkeley since 1985, where he has also served as head of the Division of Immunology.

Allison has been at the forefront of immunological research for many years. His work on the importance of positive and negative costimulatory molecules in the regulation of immune responses by T lymphocytes has had enormous implications for the development of vaccines and treatments for diseases such as cancer and AIDS. He was named a National Academy of Sciences member in 1997, an American Academy of Microbiology fellow, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator for his achievements. In 2001, he was awarded the international Centeon Prize for Innovative Breakthroughs in Immunology. Allison often returns to UT to give lectures, and he has supervised a number of UT graduates as postdoctoral fellows in his Berkeley laboratory.

"Not only do I try to do good science, but I also try to understand when the things we learn can be applied to the betterment of the human condition," Allison says. "In my case, this has meant trying to understand the molecular processes that regulate the function of lymphocytes in the immune system, and trying to develop new strategies for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases. I attribute both the quality of my scientific education and the sense of obligation to repay society for that education to my years at UT."

The Graduate School awarded the Gail Caldwell Fellowship for 2002-03 to Alison Perlman, a doctoral candidate in American Studies, and the James P. Allison Fellowship for 2002-03 to Shailja Pathania, a doctoral candidate in microbiology.

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