Wilbur Cross Medals Awarded to Four Alumni

Four distinguished alumni of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences were awarded Wilbur Lucius Cross Medals at the Graduate School Convocation in the courtyard of the Hall of Graduate Studies on May 21.

This year’s honorees are James G. Arthur (Ph.D., Mathematics, 1970), Evelyn Boyd Granville (Ph.D., Mathematics, 1949), Ruth Barcan Marcus (Ph.D., Philosophy, 1946) and Shelley E. Taylor (Ph.D., Psychology, 1972).

The Wilbur Cross Medal is the Yale Graduate School Alumni Association’s highest honor.

James G. Arthur is an internationally renowned mathematician whose work in automorphic forms and representation theory–particularly innovative trace formula–has significantly advanced the quest for a grand unified mathematical theory. A native of Canada, he earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Toronto before coming to Yale for his Ph.D. He was named a Toronto “University Professor,” a title of distinction awarded to very few. His teaching has inspired generations of students.

Arthur is considered one of the outstanding living mathematicians in the world. In recognition of that, he was elected a Fellow in the Royal Society of Canada and the Royal Society of London and was honored with the 1999 Canadian Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, the 1997 CRM-Fields Institute Prize, the 1999 Faculty Award of Excellence and the Henry Marshall Tory Gold Medal of the Royal Society of Canada.

Evelyn Boyd Granville is a distinguished teacher of mathematics, space research specialist and pioneer among African American women. The foundations of her remarkable career preceded the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the women’s liberation movement that followed.

Granville distinguished herself at Smith College, graduating summa cum laude, with honors in mathematics and election to Phi Beta Kappa. With her Yale Ph.D., she taught at NYU and Fisk University, before launching her research career in 1952 as a specialist in rocket and missile fuses, orbit computations and trajectory calculations for national defense and the space program. Her work for the Department of the Army, IBM, NASA and North American Aviation provided technical support for the Vanguard, Mercury and Apollo projects.

In 1967 she joined the faculty of California State University, Los Angeles, where she remained for 17 years. Then, in semi-retirement, she joined the faculty of the University of Texas at Tyler as professor and chair of mathematics. In California, Granville developed a math-enrichment program for the elementary schools of Los Angeles and, in her retirement, has continued to motivate young people throughout Texas to pursue math and science studies.

One of three African American women honored by the National Academy of Sciences in 1999, she has been awarded honorary degrees by Smith College and Lincoln University.

Ruth Barcan Marcus, a pioneering philosopher and inspiring educator, revolutionized the field of analytic philosophy. While still a graduate student at Yale, she developed a quantified form of modal logic that produced a new theory of the philosophy of language and knowledge. This theory grew to be the dominant influence on analytic philosophy in the last third of the twentieth century and continues to have major impact in the field. Her work on the understanding of morality has also been seminal.

As the founding chair of the department of philosophy at the University of Illinois in Chicago, Marcus built a first-rate program. Returning to Yale in 1973, she was the guiding analytical spirit in the department’s philosophical research and teaching for 20 years.

Among Marcus’s many honors are the Medal of the College de France, election as Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Illinois, and the chairmanship of the National Board of Officers of the American Philosophical Association.

Shelley E. Taylor is a pre-eminent social psychologist whose research helped establish and elucidate the fields of social cognition and health psychology. She wrote the first textbook for social cognition, and a second book on the subject that is accessible to the general public: Positive Illusions.

Taylor’s scholarly work reflects an ability to integrate large, often seemingly diverse bodies of research and has led to new, valuable avenues of inquiry. She has studied the experience of being diagnosed with breast cancer and of coping with HIV/AIDS, and has pioneered strong educational programs for scholars in health psychology. Her investigation into how social support and social conflict affect risks for illness has grown into a field of research now known as social neuroscience.

Taylor has served as president of both the Western Psychological Association and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Among her honors are two major awards from the American Psychological Association: the Distinguished Scientific Award for an Early Career Contribution to Psychology in 1980 and the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award in 1996.

The Yale Graduate School Association established the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal in 1966 to be awarded to alumni for outstanding achievements. Cross himself was dean of the Graduate School from 1916 to 1930, and a professor at Sheffield Scientific School. He was author of definitive works in English literature, editor of the Yale Review, and, following retirement from Yale, served as Governor of Connecticut for four terms. The medal was designed by Ralph J. Menconi (B.F.A. ‘39).

The 2000 Wilbur Lucius Cross Medals were presented on behalf of the Graduate School Alumni Association (GSAA) by Claudia Brodsky Lacour, president of the GSAA; Anne M. Briscoe, past president; and Martin E. Cobern, chair of the Medal Committee.

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Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325