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If Yale scholars Heather Hurst and Gretchen Berland had the feeling that they were being watched over the last couple of years, they were right. In late September, Hurst, a graduate student in anthropology, and Berland, an assistant professor at the School of Medicine, got calls informing them that they were among this year’s 23 MacArthur Fellows—winners of a $500,000, no-strings-attached gift from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. “There is no one single word to describe it,” says Berland. “It’s a wonderful, life-changing gift.”

Commonly referred to as a “genius grant,” the MacArthur honors creative accomplishment and potential. Part of its mystique lies in its secrecy: candidates do not know they are being considered, but are nominated by members of a specialized committee and notified only after they are selected.

Both women combine disciplines for creative aims. Berland, a doctor and filmmaker who won an Emmy award in 1988 for her work on the PBS series Nova, makes documentaries that explore the lives of both doctors and patients. For her latest film, Rolling, she gave cameras to three disabled people and asked them to document their lives in wheelchairs. Hurst, an archeological illustrator, reconstructs the paintings and monuments of the pre-Columbian Americas, allowing the viewer to see the art as it was then. Her most important work to date is a recreation of the Maya murals at Bonampak, produced in New Haven under the direction of art history professor Mary Miller.

But neither plans to rest on her laurels. Berland says the grant will give her “freedom and opportunity to start projects sooner than I had planned.” Similarly, Hurst expects a “greater flexibility and scope” in her projects and plans now to combine her smaller studies of Maya murals to make a regional study of mural art.



Shizuo Kakutani, the Eugene Higgins Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, died in New Haven on August 17. He was 92. He was best known as the inventor of the Kakutani skyscraper, a tool that helps organize the understanding of random processes such as coin flipping. His daughter Michiko Kakutani '76 is chief book critic for the New York Times.

James Stillman Rockefeller '24, who captained the Yale crew that won the gold medal at the 1924 Paris Olympics, died on August 10 at his home in Greenwich, Connecticut, at the age of 102. He was the oldest living U.S. gold medalist. He later became president and then chairman of what is now Citibank.

Anne Coffin Hanson, the John Hay Whitney Professor Emeritus of the History of Art and the first woman to be hired as a full professor at Yale, died on September 1 at her New Haven home at the age of 82. Hanson is best known for her 1977 book Manet and the Modern Tradition.

Toni Smith Giamatti, the widow of former Yale president A. Bartlett Giamatti, died on September 18 at the age of 67. Mrs. Giamatti, who met her future husband when she was a student at the School of Drama and he was an undergraduate, taught English for more than 20 years at the Hopkins School in New Haven.


Stepping Down

Catherine Lynch Gilliss, dean of the School of Nursing since 1998, has resigned to assume a dual appointment as dean of the Duke University School of Nursing and vice chancellor of nursing affairs in the Duke University Health System. During Gilliss’s tenure at Yale, the school launched an Office of International Affairs and enjoyed an increase in student enrollment, operating budget, and research funding. Nursing professor Katherine Jones has been appointed acting dean of the school.

Christa Dove '76MPhil, a lecturer in the German department who has served as dean of Pierson College for 22 years, will retire from Yale at the end of the academic year. “It’s hard to imagine Pierson College without Christa Dove,” says Yale College deputy dean Joseph Gordon. Adds Pierson master Harvey Goldblatt, “What is truly amazing about Christa is that after all these years she continues to cherish her job and care for her Pierson students with the greatest enthusiasm and utmost dedication. She will be sorely missed.”  the end


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