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Homecoming 2015: Distinguished artist, scientists and public health official among alumni honorees

October 29, 2015

A distinguished author, physicist, public health official, and chemist will receive awards by the Earlham College Alumni Council on Saturday, Oct. 31 during Homecoming Weekend.

Katie Yamasaki `99, an artist, author and illustrator of children’s books; Herman B. White `70, a particle physicist at Fermilab; and Douglas Hamilton `74, director of the Epidemic Intelligence Service program at the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, will receive Outstanding Alumni Awards. David Matthews `65, a chemist who has done groundbreaking work in developing pharmaceutical drugs, will receive the Distinguished Service Award.

The Earlham College Alumni Council presents Outstanding Alumni Awards each year to Earlhamites who have demonstrated excellence or achievement in a chosen career, service to the College, active participation in service and volunteer organizations or service to the Society of Friends. The council also gives Distinguished Service Awards for achievements of those associated with the College for accomplishments not included within the guidelines of the Outstanding Alumni Award.

11-Katie Yamasaki LARGER"This year’s honorees represent the kind of diversity we look for, from recognition of men and women, to persons of color, to recognition of work in science, business, art, the humanities and Quakerism,” says Mark Merkens ’68, the chair of the Earlham College Alumni Council’s Recognition Committee.

“This is why I was attracted to the alumni council and specifically the recognition committee,” he says. “We alumni are all equally proud of and humbled by the good works that Earlhamites do around the world. The list goes on and on. They are all moving and exciting.”

11-White -alumni -honoree -2015Yamasaki is an artist based out of Brooklyn who does mural work, writes and illustrates children’s books, and teaches. Yamasaki has worked with people all over the world through collaborative projects, including Cuba, Namibia, Japan and Mexico. The New York Times calls her book, “Fish for Jimmy,” a “dramatic, visual feast.”

White is a scientist at Fermilab, a premier particle physics laboratory. After earning his doctorate from Florida State University, White received a fellowship with the CERN Laboratory and at Yale.

He has since participated in particle physics experiments leading to over 100 research publications, including a formula named after him. He received the American Physical Society Edward A. Bouchet Award in 2010.

11-Hamilton -DouglasWhite has served on various advisory boards for the U.S. government as well as the boards of different organizations and corporations. He is also an Illinois Research Corridor Fellow and Adjunct Professor of Physics at North Central College in Naperville, Ill.

11-David Matthews _High Res -1Hamilton is the director of the Epidemic Intelligence Service program at the Center for Disease Prevention and Control. He has traveled to various regions of the world in this capacity to deal with disease outbreak and epidemics.

He joined the CDPC after receiving both his M.D. and his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University and then working with the United States Public Health Service for several years. In 2010, the U.S. Public Health Service named him the Applied Public Health Physician of the Year.

Matthews has made groundbreaking contributions to the drug industry by using X-ray crystallography to develop better ways to produce drugs. Matthews earned his doctorate at the University of Illinois and founded a company that produced one of the most effective AIDS drugs.

He has helped form partnerships between large pharmaceutical corporations and non-profit organizations in order to produce drugs for diseases that are more prevalent in poorer countries. 

— EC —

Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a "College That Changes Lives." We expect our students to be fully present: to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success. Earlham is one of only 40 national liberal arts colleges ranked among U.S. News and World Reports' "Great Schools at a Great Price."

Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. Contact him at (765) 983-1256 or zimmebr@earlham.edu.


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Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts, including the sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

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