The Earlham College Alumni Council was pleased to honor Douglas Hamilton `74, Herman B. White `70, and Katie Yamasaki `99 with Earlham's 2015 Outstanding Alumni Award, and David Matthews `65 with the Distinguished Service Award. The ceremony took place on Saturday, October 31, 2015, during Homecoming and Reunion Weekend 2015.
Outstanding Alumni Award
Douglas Hamilton `74, M.D., Ph.D.
Douglas Hamilton `74 received his Ph.D. in microbiology at Vanderbilt University. He completed his M.D. at Vanderbilt Medical School as a National Health Service Corps Fellow and afterward worked with Indian Health Services for a number of years as an officer in the United States Public Health Service on several Native American reservations in the Northwest.
In 1991 he joined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta as an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer, dealing with disease outbreaks around the world. In 1998 he became the director of the EIS program. These disease detectives, 160 in number, travel the globe investigating disease outbreaks, including extensive work in West Africa dealing with the current Ebola epidemic.
Hamilton’s work has contributed significantly to the better good and public health of the United States and to global health. In 2010 the USPHS selected him as the Applied Public Health Physician of the Year.
Herman B. White `70, Ph.D.
Herman B. White `70 has been a scientist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), America’s premier particle physics laboratory, for more than 40 years.
After undergraduate studies at Earlham, he studied nuclear and accelerator physics at Michigan State University, earning a master’s degree, and studied particle physics at Florida State University, where he was awarded his doctorate. He was also an Alfred P. Sloan Travel Fellow at the CERN Laboratory and a University Fellow at Yale.
White has participated in more than a dozen major experiments involving particle and nuclear physics, accelerators and particle beams. The experiments have lead to more than 100 research publications, including an empirical formula that bears his name. For his contributions to Kaon Physics and the establishment of a new kind of interaction distinguishing matter from antimatter, he received the American Physical Society Edward A. Bouchet Award in 2010.
For many years he has lead efforts to sustain support for physical science research informing the U. S. Congress and agencies in Washington and around the world. He has served on national advisory panels for the Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, NASA and the US National Academies. He has also served in leadership roles on various corporate and governing boards. In addition to his position at Fermilab, White has served for more than two decades as an Illinois Research Corridor Fellow and Adjunct Professor of Physics at North Central College in Naperville, Ill.
In 2014 White’s life story was included in The HistoryMakers, an archival collection of African American video oral histories.
Katie Yamasaki `99
Katie Yamasaki ’99 is a Brooklyn-based artist who divides her time between mural work, writing and illustrating children’s books and working as a teaching artist.
Her art has enabled her to work with children in Cuba, Namibian teens, Japanese auto manufacturers and indigenous women inmates fighting for gender equality and non-violence within the prisons of Chiapas, Mexico. Her public projects have explored topics that range from the Japanese Internment to Appalachia’s economic crisis to maternal incarceration. She has worked on a collaborative mural project with members of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation in Chiapas and most recently completed projects in Basque Country, Spain, and at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles.
Currently, Yamasaki is embarking on a multi-project participatory art endeavor with the New York City public hospital system. She is also currently in the process of writing and illustrating her fourth and fifth published books for children.
Yamasaki believes in the power of art and storytelling to inspire individual and social transformation and finds motivation from her work with people from all walks of life.
Distinguished Service Award
David Matthews `65, Ph.D.
David Matthews `65 is credited with groundbreaking work using X-ray crystallography that allowed the drug industry to produce better drugs, and to do so in a shorter time.
After obtaining a doctorate in chemistry at the University of Illinois and working 14 years in the chemistry department at the University of California, San Diego, Matthews became the scientific founder of a biotech pharmaceutical company that produced one of the most effective AIDS drugs, helping to save the lives of thousands upon thousands. He also played an important role in getting large pharmaceutical companies to form partnerships with non-profit organizations such as Medicines for Malaria Venture and the Gates Foundation to assist in designing drugs against diseases that are prevalent in poor countries.
Matthews retired in 2005 to work, mostly pro bono, with MMV and the Gates Foundation. Two anti-malarial drugs that Matthews co-discovered are in clinical trials in humans. One of those drugs is being tested as a single dose cure for malaria. Possibly as early as next year, a drug against tuberculosis that was co-discovered by Matthews will also begin clinical trials.
In addition to his advances in the pharmaceutical world, Matthews has led by example in service to Earlham through his contributions of time, talent, wisdom and philanthropy. Since 2007, he has been a member of Earlham’s Board of Trustees serving on the Campaign Steering Committee and the Executive Committee and chairing the Property and Finance Committee. He is also fully engaged in Earlham’s strategic planning and implementation efforts to increase Earlham’s national reputation and strengthen its enrollment.