Caltech has recognized six of its graduates with the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor the Institute bestows upon its alumni. This year's recipients highlight the breadth of fields in which Caltech graduates have gone on to become leaders—ranging from cosmology to higher education, and from aerospace to biomedicine.
First presented in 1966, the award recognizes a particular achievement of noteworthy value, a series of such achievements, or a career of noteworthy accomplishment.
James S.W. Wong (PhD '65)
Chairman, Chinney Holdings Ltd.
Honorary Professor of Mathematics, University of Hong Kong
For substantial contributions in mathematics and commercial enterprise. Wong's extensive scholarly research has focused on oscillation theory of differential equations. As an entrepreneur, he transformed his family business into a leading international investment company.
Mary Baker (MS '67, PhD '72)
President, ATA Engineering Inc.
For pioneering entrepreneurship and leadership in aerospace. Baker founded ATA Engineering Inc., a prominent employee-owned provider of analysis and test-driven design solutions for mechanical and aerospace systems.
Paul J. Steinhardt (BS '74)
Albert Einstein Professor in Science and Director of the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science, Princeton University
For seminal contributions to theoretical physics and cosmology. Among his many achievements, Steinhardt developed new inflationary models of the universe, advanced the theory of quasicrystals, and discovered the only known naturally occurring quasicrystals.
Richard K. Miller (PhD '76)
President, Olin College of Engineering
For visionary leadership and commitment to innovation in engineering education for the benefit of society. As the founding president of Olin College, Miller led the creation of a new institution recognized for its unique teaching methods and models.
Richard H. Scheller (PhD '80)
Executive Vice President, Research and Early Development, Genentech
For seminal work and leadership in biological sciences. Among his many achievements, Scheller identified mechanisms of neurotransmitter release. Now at Genentech, he oversees the development of basic research into new treatments for human disease.
David E. Chavez (BS '96)
Principal Investigator and Project Leader, Los Alamos National Laboratory
For his extensive and groundbreaking contributions to chemistry. Chavez created versatile new synthetic compounds and processes that advanced the development of high-nitrogen energetic materials, which are now being used for applications in a wide variety of fields.
For a full profile, click on a recipient's name.
The new honorees bring to 244 the number of alumni who have been recognized with the award as standouts in science, engineering, business, and the arts.
The awards will be presented at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 17, 2014 in Beckman Auditorium on the Caltech campus.