Carnegie Mellon University
Skip navigation and jump directly to page content

Oct. 20: Carnegie Mellon To Present Alumni Awards During Homecoming, Reunion Weekend, Oct. 24-26


Abby Houck                        

Carnegie Mellon To Present Alumni Awards
During Homecoming, Reunion Weekend, Oct. 24-26

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University will honor 19 alumni, students and friends for their achievements and service to the university as part of its Homecoming and Reunion Weekend, Oct. 24-26. The Alumni Awards Ceremony will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24 in the University Center's Rangos Ballroom. The following are brief descriptions of the award recipients.

Alumni Service

Elizabeth Atkins Rogers (MM): This Lexington, Ky., alumna of Carnegie Mellon's former Margaret Morrison Carnegie College for women was a key contributor to the college's centennial celebration in 2006. She also has helped plan four class reunions, volunteered as a class correspondent for the alumni magazine for more than 15 years and served three terms on the Alumni Association Board.

Shirley Herman Townsend (MM 1951): Fellow alumni recognize Townsend as the "glue" that has held the Rochester, N.Y., Carnegie Clan together for more than 40 years. She has held every position on her local alumni association's board and currently serves as treasurer. Townsend has been instrumental in working with younger alumni, preserving annual traditions and initiating new events.

Alumni Achievement

Dennis M. Dimiduk (E 1984, 1989): This pioneer materials engineer has made a major impact on the field of computational materials science and national security. For nearly two decades, Dimiduk has led an internationally recognized team investigating advanced metals and simulation methods at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. He is an author or co-author of more than 140 technical papers, a member of the editorial board for "Intermetallics" and an adjunct professor at The Ohio State and Wright State universities.

Margaret C. Eisenhauer (A 1983): An internationally acclaimed lighting designer for stage, motion pictures and concerts, Eisenhauer has also mentored many young professionals. Each year, she teaches Carnegie Mellon's Broadway Lighting Master Class and provides career advice to graduating students. Eisenhauer and her business partner, Jules Fisher (A 1961), have received many honors for their lighting designs, including Tony and Drama Desk awards for "Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk" in 1996 and "Assassins" in 2004.

Brian Gill (HS 1990): Gill, a K-12 education policy expert, is associate director of human services research at the nonpartisan firm Mathematica Policy Research in Cambridge, Mass. He spent a decade at RAND Corp., where his research on early childhood education and public school performance directly benefitted the Pittsburgh region. Gill's current projects include an examination of the private management of Philadelphia's public schools, a National Science Foundation-funded study on a large-scale implementation of elementary mathematics curricula, and a multi-state study on achievement and attainment in charter schools.

Pradeep Sindhu (S 1983, 1984): Following graduate work in computer science at Carnegie Mellon, Sindhu spent 11 years at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in California. While at PARC, he played a key role in the commercial development of Sun Microsystems' first high-performance microprocessor system family. In 1996, he founded Juniper Networks, an Internet infrastructure company, and designed an exceptionally fast Internet router. Sindhu continues to design and develop future products while serving as Juniper Networks' vice chairman of the board and chief technology officer.

David VandeLinde (E 1964, 1965, 1968): VandeLinde devoted a quarter century of leadership to the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering. As founding dean, he increased the school's visibility by establishing new departments and the largest part-time engineering program for working professionals in the nation. VandeLinde's success in creating nationally ranked research programs led him to opportunities in the United Kingdom, where he served as vice chancellor of both the University of Bath and the University of Warwick.

Recent Alumni

Gary J. Gates (HNZ 2000): As a doctoral candidate at Carnegie Mellon's H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, Gates established himself as a national expert on the demographic and economic characteristics of gay and lesbian populations. His dissertation remains a primary document for researchers using U.S. Census data to study same-sex couples. Following graduation, Gates co-authored "The Gay and Lesbian Atlas" at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., before becoming a senior research fellow at the Williams Institute of the UCLA School of Law. Gates also has been an advisor to two Carnegie Mellon Ph.D. students and frequently encourages students to attend the university.

Cat Mazza (A 1999): Mazza, an assistant professor of new media at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, combines crafts and computer technology to create art. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City as well as at prestigious venues in seven other countries. Mazza is founder of microRevolt, a project combining knitting and computer social networks to initiate discussion about sweatshop labor. Mazza also developed two software programs — Knitpro to make craft patterns from images, and Knitoscope to translate digital photos into knitted animation.

Richard W. Pell (A 1999): Before returning to Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts as an assistant professor this fall, Pell internationally exhibited art fused with science, engineering and activism. He also taught electronic art at the University of Michigan and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. "Ars Electronica" honored Pell in 2000 for GraffitiWriter, a robotic device he created to help educate underserved communities about self-determination. He also received two film festival awards for the human rights documentary "Don't Call Me Crazy on the 4th of July." Pell is currently creating the world's first comprehensive, interactive map of genetically modified flora and fauna.

Faculty Service

James Daniels: Daniels, the Thomas Stockham Baker Professor of English, joined the university in 1981 and has directed the Creative Writing Program since the early 1990s. Carnegie Mellon previously honored him with its highest teaching award, the Ryan Award, as well as the Elliot Dunlap Smith Award for Teaching and Educational Service in Humanities and Social Sciences. Daniels encourages alumni and student interaction through alumni workshops, newsletters and gatherings at Associated Writing Program conventions. He also was the inspiration behind a special alumni edition of "The Oakland Review," Carnegie Mellon's undergraduate art and literary journal.

Gordon H. Lewis and Pamela P. Lewis (A 1974, 1980): This husband and wife team from the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management is recognized for classroom excellence, mentorship and hospitality. They host dinners in their home, coordinate alumni workshops on campus and attend networking events in the nation's capital. Gordon is an associate professor of psychology and director of the Master of Public Management Program. Pamela is a teaching professor of public speaking who is internationally recognized for the Alexander Technique, a method of improving relaxation and stage presence.

Student Service

Mohammed Abu Zeinab (TPR 2009): Abu Zeinab, a senior business administration major, has helped to create and sustain a variety of student activities on Carnegie Mellon Qatar's campus. As a freshman, he was elected the Student Government activities coordinator, served on the Student Advisory Board and established a record of personal academic excellence. Since then, he founded the Health and Fitness Club and provided leadership for the first student-run orientation program on campus. Abu Zeinab currently serves as public relations director of Neomotion, a student organization that engages regional leaders in corporate social responsibility initiatives. Through Neomotion, he helped to develop a computer literacy and information program for 35 security and janitorial staff and organized 85 volunteers to clean up a deserted beach.

George J. Diabes (S 2009): Although Diabes completed his senior year in May 2008, he returned to Carnegie Mellon this fall as a Fifth-Year Scholar. Through this opportunity, he is creating a program for non-music majors to take lessons from music students. Diabes majored in chemistry and served on the Chemistry Student Advisory Council. He also spent three years as a research assistant in the campus Institute for Green Oxidation Chemistry. Diabes has additional majors in Hispanic studies and business administration. In addition to academics, he has been a community advisor, president and business manager of the Originals a cappella group, science and technology writer for the student newspaper and volunteer for Pittsburgh's East End Tutoring Program.

Dhruv Mathur (HS 2009): This student leader from New Delhi, India, has exposed the campus community to a variety of new cultural experiences as president of Mayur, the South Asian Student Alliance. Mathur helped to create the Bhangra in the Burgh dance competition and introduced the Diwali Festival of Lights to the annual Homecoming celebration. Mathur, an information systems and business administration major, serves on President Jared Cohon's Student Advisory Council and interacts with high-profile university guests as a Highland Ambassador. He also has served as an orientation counselor, resident assistant, Students in Free Enterprise vice president and project leader, Committee on Student Organizations representative and Multicultural President's Council member.

Honorary Alumni

Chip Ganassi: Ganassi, a successful racecar driver and professional racing team owner, has been named an honorary alumnus for his support of Carnegie Mellon's Tartan Racing Team. Ganassi has provided the team with technical, financial and personnel support to develop autonomous vehicles as part of a U.S. Department of Defense (DARPA) initiative. His guidance helped "Boss," the team's autonomous Chevy Tahoe, to win the 2007 Urban Challenge in Victorville, Calif. Ganassi's ongoing commitment to Tartan Racing has been a critical factor in advancing the university's leadership in robotics education and research.

Joseph C. and Molly Walton: The Waltons have been strong supporters of Tartan Racing since the team's inception. The family took Tartan Racing from the lab into the community, garnering support from regional leaders and organizing newsworthy events. The Waltons have recognized the impact of robotics on the future of the Pittsburgh region and traveled to the 2007 Urban Challenge to demonstrate their personal support of the team. The couple is actively involved in leading and supporting numerous community organizations focused on the arts, education, environmentalism, healthcare and social services.