A new school year is underway, and I would like to celebrate some recent milestones reflecting our hard work and devotion to excellence. Caltech is #1! Yesterday we learned that the Institute has been rated as the number one university in the 2011–2012 Times Higher Education global ranking of the top 200 universities, knocking Harvard University out of the top spot for the first time in the survey’s eight-year history.
On Sunday, our nation will mark the 10th anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11. I was reflecting on this milestone, and on the turbulent character of this past decade, when I heard an interview with columnist Tom Friedman on the challenges facing the U.S. right now.
In his third annual Town Hall address to the Caltech community, President Jean-Lou Chameau looked back at the last academic year—from its game-changing research to its streak-ending basketball games—and considered the year to come.
David Woody, a member of the professional staff and assistant director of the Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO), has been awarded the 2011 Thomas W. Schmitt Annual Staff Prize. The prize recognizes a staff member of the Caltech community whose contributions embody the values and spirit that enable the Institute to achieve excellence in research and education.
In the spring of 1966, Mary Webster took a job as a clerk-stenographer at JPL. She didn't plan to work there very long, however. "I was basically uncertain about my career path and needed a job that would pay the bills while I decided what I 'really' wanted to do," she says. "Here I am, 45 years later, still working at Caltech and loving it!"
When Dana Roth took a summer job in 1952, bagging corn tassels for Ernest G. Anderson—a professor of genetics at Caltech who studied cytogenetics in corn—he never imagined that Caltech would be the place where he would build his career. But thirteen years and three degrees later, including a master's in chemistry from Caltech, he was hired as a chemistry librarian at the institute. That was in 1965.
The summer of 1965 was one of dramatic firsts—Medicaid and Medicare were established, the Beatles played the first stadium concert in rock history, and U.S. astronaut Edward Higgins White made his maiden space walk. It was also the summer that Richard "Booth" Hartley began his Caltech career at the Jet Propulsion Lab. Seems fitting for a man described by his colleagues as a "legend."
For Bill Lease, stockroom supervisor in the Division of Biology, the road to Caltech was a long one. Born in Indonesia, he came to the United States at the age of 20. With $350 in his pocket, Lease traveled from New York to California, seeking out the palm trees of his youth. Five years after setting up a new life in Pasadena, he began working here. In June, Lease—along with three other members of the Caltech community—will be honored for 45 years of service at the Staff Service Awards.
It gives me great pleasure to announce that the Board of Trustees has approved my recommendation that Peter B. Dervan, Bren Professor of Chemistry, be appointed Vice President for Development and Institute Relations. Professor Dervan will serve on an interim basis while we conduct the search for a new vice president for Development and Institute Relations.