Campus & Community

Women of achievement honored at Radcliffe

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The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University will honor, among others, writer and editor Ann Fadiman ’75, pianist Ursula Oppens ’65, and biologist Susan Lindquist Ph.D. ’76 at its annual Radcliffe Day celebration on Friday (June 10). The awards will be presented and the recipients will speak at the Radcliffe Awards Symposium, “Discovering Different Truths: In Search of Common Ground.” In addition, Distinguished Service Awards will be presented. Lincoln Professor of History and Radcliffe Institute Dean Drew Gilpin Faust will address alumnae, their guests, and the award recipients at the Radcliffe Annual Luncheon in Radcliffe Yard following the symposium.

Alumnae Recognition Awards are presented annually to Radcliffe and Harvard alumnae “whose lives and spirits exemplify the value of a liberal arts education.” This year’s recipients are as follows:

Anne Fadiman ’75 is the first Francis Writer in Residence at Yale College. She served as editor of the American Scholar from 1998 to 2004. Under her editorship, the magazine won three National Magazine Awards and four Utne Independent Press Awards and was critically acclaimed as a source of exciting new writers and diverse, provocative essays. Prior to that, Fadiman was editor at large of Civilization, where she wrote a column, “The Common Reader.” The column was the source of the essays in her 1998 book on reading and books, “Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader.”

Fadiman is also the author of “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures,” the story of the struggles between a Hmong family and the American medical system over the care of a girl with a seizure disorder, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award. For many years, Fadiman was a staff writer at Life, and her articles, essays, and reviews have been published in periodicals including the American Scholar, Civilization, the New Yorker, The New York Times, the Washington Post, Esquire, the Utne Reader, and Harvard Magazine, of which she is a member of the board of incorporators. A visiting lecturer at Smith College from 2000 to 2002, she received her bachelor’s degree from Harvard-Radcliffe College and lives in western Massachusetts.

Ursula Kerzel Oppens ’65, an accomplished pianist, is the John Evans Professor of Music at Northwestern University. Oppens is known as a skilled interpreter of contemporary music as well as the classics of the piano repertoire. She often juxtaposes both kinds of music in her performances and is a co-founder of Speculum Musicae, a group that has pioneered the performance of new music since 1971. She performs extensively, and she has recently appeared with the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester, and the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala. She has performed with many major orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and at festivals including Aspen, Tanglewood, and Edinburgh. She won an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1976 and has received two Grammy nominations. In 2002, she received a letter of distinction award from the American Music Center for her contribution to the advancement of contemporary American music, an award previously bestowed on Leonard Bernstein, George Balanchine, and Philip Glass, among others. Oppens has recorded on many labels, and recent releases include works by Elliott Carter and Charles Wuorinen. She began her study of the piano with her mother, Edith Oppens, and continued with Leonard Shure and Guido Agosti. Oppens is a 1965 graduate of Harvard-Radcliffe College. She received a master’s degree from the Juilliard School, where she studied with Felix Galimir and Rosina Lhevinne. A native New Yorker, Oppens lives in Manhattan.

Katharine Fergenson Sreedhar ’55 has been director of the Unitarian Universalist Holdeen India Program (UUHIP) since 1984. Through partnerships with local leaders and organizations, UUHIP supports the efforts of the most impoverished and oppressed groups in India – in particular Dalits (untouchables), tribals, and women – to promote economic and social justice. The foundation has a special interest in people who are marginalized because of gender, caste, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, especially landless, bonded, and migrant laborers. Sreedhar has worked in public policy and international development for more than 40 years and has served on the staff of organizations including the Peace Corps and the office of Sen. John F. Kennedy. She is a consultant for the Eisenhower Fellowships and the Banyan Tree Foundation. Sreedhar serves on the board of Free the Slaves and is a member of the advisory council of the Global Fund for Women and of the American India Foundation Service Corps. She has worked with the World Bank, the National Foreign Affairs Training Center, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the World Conference Against Racism, among other groups. Sreedhar is a 1955 graduate of Radcliffe College and attended the New York School of Social Work.

Graduate Society Awards are awarded annually to alumnae of Harvard and Radcliffe graduate schools and Radcliffe’s fellowship programs for outstanding contributions to their professions. This year’s winners are as follows:

Susan Lee Lindquist Ph.D. ’76 is the former director of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and a professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Lindquist is an expert on stress response and protein folding, the potentially deadly phenomenon by which proteins change shape, and has conducted groundbreaking research on the subject. Protein folding is a cause of Alzheimer’s disease and Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, and Lindquist’s research showing that misfolded proteins in baker’s yeast can be inherited has laid the groundwork for a new biochemical framework for understanding disease and heredity. Lindquist received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and her doctorate from Harvard University. She was an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago and was on the faculty there from 1977 until she joined the faculty at MIT in 2001. While in Chicago, Lindquist was also an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences and is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

Rita C. Sagalyn A.M. ’50 retired from the U.S. Air Force Space Vehicles Directorate in 1998 as a senior scientist. In 2004, she became the first woman to be inducted into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneer Hall of Fame. Sagalyn was honored for her pioneering flight experiments using rockets to study the electrical state of the upper atmosphere and for her satellite investigations into space dynamics. Sagalyn joined the Air Force Geophysics Laboratory in 1950 as a civilian research physicist, and her groundbreaking experimentation and research greatly expanded our knowledge of particles and fields in space and their interaction with space systems, which in turn led to the development of more reliable, better-performing satellites. In 1980, she was appointed director of the space physics division of the Air Force laboratory system, and she was instrumental in the establishment of interagency programs among national science bodies, the military, and scientists at academic institutions. Sagalyn also spearheaded collaborations with the European Space Agency, the Italian Space Agency, and the Max Planck Institute. Sagalyn received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree from Radcliffe College. Since her retirement, she has been active in mental health advocacy and serves as co-chair of the Public Policy Committee of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) and as the legislative chair for the Central Middlesex affiliate of NAMI. Sagalyn also serves on the Affordable Housing Committee in Concord, Mass., where she resides.

The eponymous Jane Rainie Opel ’50 Young Alumna Award, named for the former Radcliffe College Alumnae Association executive director, is presented annually to an alumna in the 10th reunion class for an outstanding contribution to the advancement of women, to her profession, or to the institute. This year’s recipient is

Jennifer S. Frautschi ’95, a violinist rapidly gaining acclaim from critics and audiences for her adventurous playing. She is the recipient of an Avery Fisher Career Grant and debuted at 10 of Europe’s most famous venues, including London’s Wigmore Hall, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and the Vienna Konzerthaus as part of the European Concert Hall Organization’s Rising Stars recital series. Through the Distinctive Debuts series, Rising Stars nominees also perform at Carnegie Hall, where Frautschi made her debut in April 2004. Frautschi has performed as a solo and chamber artist at festivals including Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, Spoleto, Santa Fe, Moab, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Ravinia Festival. She has also appeared annually at the Caramoor International Music Festival since 1992, when Andre Previn first invited her. Frautschi’s debut recording of works by Stravinsky and Ravel was released on Artek to excellent reviews, and she has also released a recording of Prokofiev’s violin concerti and a solo album of works by the 20th century composers Ysaye, Bartok, Davidofsky, and Harbison. Frautschi was born in Pasadena, Calif., and received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard-Radcliffe College. She has also studied with Robert Lipsett at the Colburn School for the Performing Arts in Los Angeles, the University of Southern California School of Music, the New England Conservatory of Music, and with Robert Mann at the Juilliard School. Frautschi lives in New York and performs on a 1722 Antonio Stradivarius violin, the “ex-Cadiz,” on loan from a private foundation.

Distinguished Service Awards will be presented to Linda Johnson Barnhart ’55, Rosemary A. Bonanno ’55, Joan Canzanelli ’55, Karen Spencer Kelly ’80, and Rebekah Ketchum Richardson ’55 for their outstanding service and contributions to Radcliffe.