Harvey Mudd Alumni Association Announces 2024 Awards

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At Alumni Weekend on April 27, the Harvey Mudd College Alumni Association Board of Governors (AABOG) presented its annual awards to recognize those who have had an impact on HMC and well beyond.

Outstanding Alumni Awards

Outstanding Alumni best exemplify the mission of Harvey Mudd and have made a sustained and effective commitment to improving society.

Karl Chan ’89, P’19 was honored for his professional contributions at Laserfiche and his community engagement activities. Since 2022, Chan has served as CEO of Laserfiche, an organization he joined in 1989. He’s worked on all aspects of Laserfiche’s new product development, including analyzing business needs, programming and marketing. He helped create and develop Laserfiche for Windows, Laserfiche Workflow, Laserfiche Forms, Laserfiche Connector, and Laserfiche Cloud, many of which are used daily by over 30,000 organizations worldwide to reduce paper usage. He has also supported Harvey Mudd student professional development through sponsorship of multiple Clinic Program projects.

Kevin Esvelt ’04 was recognized for his expertise in gene-editing techniques and for his efforts to avoid dangerous, unintended consequences of this powerful technology. A leading bioethics advocate, Esvelt is an associate professor at MIT Media Lab and director of the Sculpting Evolution Group. In 2013, he was the first to identify the potential for a powerful new method of genome engineering, CRISPR “gene drive” systems, to alter wild populations of organisms. In addition, Esvelt’s team broke with scientific tradition by openly sharing research plans to accelerate discovery, calling out the need for safeguards and highlighting the importance of demonstrating reversibility in the laboratory. In 2016, he was selected as an outstanding global Innovator Under 35 by MIT Technology Review. Recently, his group at MIT devised an approach which enables communities aiming to prevent diseases to alter organisms—such as mosquitoes—in local ecosystems, in order to limit the spread of malaria. Esvelt’s work has been published in Nature and Science, covered by the New York Times and Washington Post, and was featured on HBO’s Last Week Tonight and the Netflix special Unnatural Selection.

Edith Harbaugh ’99 was recongized for outstanding contributions to the field of software and entrepreneurship. As cofounder of LaunchDarkly, Harbaugh created a feature management platform which advanced the capabilities of software development and is used by over 5,000 companies. She has mentored budding entrepreneurs through HMC INC and has invested in hardware, software and other startups.

Jason Rhodes ’94 was recognized for significant contributions to space science. While at HMC, Rhodes was Athlete of the Year in 1993 and 1994 and was inducted into the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athletics Alumni Association Hall of Fame in 2007. With an M.A. and PhD in physics from Princeton University, he focused his research on the structure and evolution of the universe, weak gravitational lensing as a probe of dark matter and dark energy, and exoplanet direct imaging. Rhodes, now a senior research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a visiting senior scientist at the Kavli Institute for Physics and Mathematics of the Universe in Japan, has made significant contributions to NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope (formerly WFIRST), the European Space Agency’s Euclid mission and the Vera Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time, all of which are designed to study “dark energy,” the hypothesized cause of the universe’s accelerated expansion. Rhodes has published numerous papers and earned many recognitions including National Academy of Science/Kavli Foundation Fellow in 2015. He earned JPL Mariner Awards for using weak lensing to map the distribution of dark matter in space in 2011 and for leadership in the international weak lensing community in 2007. Rhodes is an accomplished track and field Masters athlete with numerous national championships and is a member of a relay team that set an American record (formerly a world record).

Stephen P. Schultz ’69 was recognized for outstanding scientific and technical contributions in nuclear reactor design, risk assessment and reactor safeguards. In 2012, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission appointed Schultz to serve on its Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards. After retiring from the U.S. utility industry, he worked as an engineering consultant, providing crucial guidance to the International Atomic Energy Agency on reactor technology assessment. Schultz also spearheaded initiatives with the Nuclear Energy Institute and the Electric Power Research Institute that led to significant advancements in reactor operational safety. In addition to serving on NRC’s Advisory Committee, he chaired the Fukushima Subcommittee, which evaluated the agency’s regulatory framework enhancements in response to the Fukushima events.

Ken Stevens ’61, a member of Harvey Mudd’s Founding Class and one of the first on the Claremont-Mudd Stags football team, was recognized for significant contributions to society, especially in the arts. After a postdoctoral fellowship at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Stevens returned to Harvey Mudd as the first alumnus assistant professor in chemistry. A new interest was launched after he took a ceramics course at Mount San Antonio College, and he later earned an MFA in ceramics from the University of Puget Sound, where he also taught chemistry and eventually became an art professor and art department chair. Stevens inspired many students to pursue their own, now-prominent, careers as artists. His work with porcelain attracted international acclaim, and he was selected as a prestigious Monbusho Fellow by the Japanese Ministry of Education. The Washington State Historical Society recognized his work in 2023 with an exhibit featuring work from the Kenneth D. Stevens Collection gifted to the Society by the Ken and Claire Stevens Endowed Fund to Support Northwest Art. At Harvey Mudd, Ken and Claire Stevens established the Ken Stevens ’61 Founding Class Concert Series. Ken was named to the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athletics Alumni Association Hall of Fame.

Elizabeth HZ Thompson ’97 has made outstanding contributions in the field of biopharmaceuticals. Her efforts as the executive vice president of research and development led to FDA approval of various pharmaceuticals which have significantly improved the lives of patients with certain rare, autoimmune and severe inflammatory diseases, including thyroid eye disease, nephropathic cystinosis and out-of-control gout. In addition, throughout her career, Thompson has continued to advance programs supporting young women in STEM, such as the NexGeneGirls program.

Honorary Alumni

Recipients recognized as Honorary Alumni are afforded all rights and privileges that pertain to HMC alumni. They are longstanding friends of HMC, its students and alumni, and have contributed significantly to the College’s betterment.

Joanna Callahan worked at Harvey Mudd from 2003 to 2023 and was an integral part of the alumni and parent relations team. In her most recent position, she served as coordinator of alumni and parent relations for 13 years. During this time, she was responsible for supporting all regional alumni events as well as the activities of the Alumni Association Board of Governors. She also received the Alumni Association’s Order of the Wart.

Marianne De Laet, a faculty member since 2001, is professor of anthropology and science, technology, and society and former associate dean for academic affairs. Before Harvey Mudd, she was affiliated with the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences at the University of Amsterdam as a guest researcher. An interest in the role of the body in the formation of knowledge, as well as an awareness of history as an integral part of existence, constitute the methodological core of De Laet’s work. Her expertise covers the fields of anthropology of technology and culture, science and society. In her current research, De Laet focuses on the significance of water in Dutch history and culture. In addition, she is interested in how water-related technology is intertwined with everyday life, social and political organization, as well as identity. Beginning June 1, she will direct the Meertens Institute, part of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Kash Gokli worked for 12 years as an engineering professor at the College. He also served as Engineering Clinic director and director of the Riggs Fellowship in Engineering Management. In 2021, he became the College’s inaugural director of entrepreneurship initiatives. Gokli said some of his favorite moments as a professor were when his students presented papers at conferences, won competitions and were recognized for their outstanding contributions and achievements.

Esther Hughes began her professional academic career at Harvey Mudd in 1998 as the administrative assistant in the Engineering Department’s Clinic Program, then transitioned to the dean of the faculty office in 2005, serving as administrative assistant and working for 18 years with five deans.

During his 25 years at Harvey Mudd College, Geoff Kuenning taught courses on data structures and program development, operating systems, file systems and computer systems performance analysis. He received eight NSF grants and published numerous articles in prestigious journals and conference publications. He authored many aspects of the CS curriculum and served as a study abroad advisor and off-campus liaison. He spent almost a decade as the Engineering Clinic director. Known for his candid conversations, Kuenning is also revered for his mentorship of junior faculty and students.

Peter Osgood joined the admission staff in 1998 and has been part of the team that has shaped each entering class since then. He has advised three presidents and three vice presidents of admission and financial aid. A recipient of the 2016 Henry T. Mudd Prize, he was recognized for mentoring junior staff, being a kind role model and leading by example with his dedication to serving as an ambassador for the College. He has served as the liaison between the College and the CMS athletics department and has been an advocate for student athletes in the admission process. Osgood will retire on June 30.

Lifetime Recognition Awards

The Lifetime Recognition Award honors outstanding dedication to Harvey Mudd College.

Ziyad “Zee” Durón ’81, a former Jude & Eileen Laspa Professor of Engineering, was a faculty member for 25 years. He is an expert in the full-scale field testing of large structures, including seismic investigations and earthquake engineering. Durón introduced field experience into the experimental engineering course in order to give students a real-life example of what engineering in the professional field feels like. He developed several courses for the engineering curriculum, including a design, manufacturing and management program that was dedicated to fostering leadership and professional skills. Durón served as department chair for seven years and brought in significant financial resources for the engineering department, including helping to start the Frank and Frances De Pietro Fellowship Program in Civil Engineering, which has supported over 60 fellows.

Jerome Jackson ’76 is a dedicated HMC volunteer and a long-serving AABOG member, former Trustee and Alumni Weekend volunteer. He received the HMC Outstanding Alumni Award in 2006 and was a Nelson Speaker in 2004 and 2006. Jackson has been in the medical device R&D field since 1978 and was recognized as a notable person by Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry Magazine in 2008. He developed RF heating and ablation systems for cardiology, gastroenterology, urology, gynecology and dermatology. He has also developed numerous devices from minimally invasive disposable devices to permanent implants.

Order of the Wart

The Alumni Association presents the Order of the Wart in appreciation for the recipient’s contributions to the alumni community.

Joanna Callahan former staff member in alumni and parent relations

Ron Roth ’69, longtime volunteer and former member of the Alumni Association Board of Governors

Jason Santiago ’07, former Harvey Mudd admission officer

Dee West ’65, P’92/93 former president and member of the Alumni Association Board of Governors