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Awards Ceremony Honors Students, Faculty

By Pey-Hua Hwang


MIT students, faculty, and staff were recognized for their various contributions to the MIT community at the 2001 Awards Convocation, held yesterday in 10-250.

Former Interfraternity Council President Damien A. Brosnan ’01 and outgoing Graduate Student Council President Soulaymane Kachani G received the Karl Taylor Compton Prizes. They were recognized for their leadership in their respective organizations.

“I can’t describe how happy I am ... I’m really grateful,” Kachani said. The outgoing president said “it was the work of many people” that made the GSC successful this year.

Five students received the William L. Stewart, Jr. Awards. Charles K. Boatin ’01 and Paul K. Njoroge G were both recognized for their work in African countries. Rebecca M. Grochow ’01 received the award for her work with the IFC. Satwiksai Seshasai ’01 was recognized for his work with The Tech. Chi-An Wang ’01 was recognized for her work in creating Grains of Rice. Wang also won the Pewter Bowl Award for leadership in women’s athletics.

Another athlete, Christina Estrada ’01, also won two awards: The Kispert Award and the Association of MIT Alumnae Senior Academic Award. “I feel really happy and extremely honored ... I learned a couple weeks ago and I couldn’t believe it,” she said.

Dean for Student Life Larry G. Benedict, who served as emcee for the event, stressed the need to recognize those in the community who contribute to Institute life. “One of the things I often hear that MIT is a praise-free zone ... today it is a praise-filled zone,” Benedict said.

Faculty and staff also recognized

Faculty were also awarded for educational excellence. The Irwin Sizer Award was given to Professor Thomas L. Magnanti of the School of Engineering for improving MIT education.

The Bose Award for Excellence in Teaching was given to 6.001 Professor Eric L. Grimson. “This is the first time I’ve won a teaching award, I’m both surprised and pleased,” he said.

However, despite being teased about his jokes with comments like, “Eric is God ... except for the bad jokes,” as he was presented with the award, he also added, “I’m not changing any of my jokes.”

The James N. Murphy Award recognized members of the MIT community for having “won a place in the hearts of students.” Gail P. Hickey of the Technology Policy Program and Derrick Barnes, House Manager of Bexley and Random Hall, received this award.

“I was really surprised. I hope they [the residents of Random and Bexley] know I love them,” Barnes said.

One of the surprises of the event was the Gordon Y. Billard Award for special service of outstanding merit. Roberta Brooks and Carmen Lazo of the Building 4 Coffee Shop were honored for their steadfastness in serving hungry MIT students five days a week.

“I don’t have the words to say thank you,” said Lazo, “I feel so good.”

LBGT Service Award premieres

Introduced at the convocation was the Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, and Transgender Service award, which was presented to Professor John S. W. Kellet ’47 for his work in promoting awareness.

It was also announced that the award will in the future be named the John S. W. Kellet Award in his honor.

Kellet said that having the award named after him was “really exciting and really overwhelming.” He also said that if he didn’t end up presenting the award in subsequent years, he “might try to come back for the event,” to see “what additional contributions would be made.”

Perhaps the event could best be encapsulated by the words of the Albert G. Hill Prize recipient, Luwam Semere ’01: “I am amazed at how many wonderful and outstanding people are involved in our community.”