Yale Awards Wilbur Cross Medals to Distinguished Alumni

The Yale Graduate School Alumni Association will award its highest honor, the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal, at this year's Commencement Convocation on Sunday, May 26, to Linda Gordon (Ph.D. 1970, History), Sharon Long (Ph.D. 1979, Biology), Julia McNamara (Ph.D. 1980, French) and David Price (B.Div. 1964; Ph.D. 1969, Political Science).

The Yale Graduate School Alumni Association will award its highest honor, the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal, at this year’s Commencement Convocation on Sunday, May 26, to Linda Gordon (Ph.D. 1970, History), Sharon Long (Ph.D. 1979, Biology), Julia McNamara (Ph.D. 1980, French) and David Price (B.Div. 1964; Ph.D. 1969, Political Science).

The medal is named for the former Yale Graduate School dean and statesman. Cross was a scholar, editor, academic administrator and, after his retirement from Yale, governor of Connecticut for four terms.

Gordon, a professor at New York University, is considered one of the most important scholars in the field of American history, women’s history and social policy today. Her recent book, “The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction,” an examination of adoption and ethnic tension in early 20th century America, won both academic prizes and general acclaim. Before joining the faculty of NYU in 1999, she held an endowed chair at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she taught for 15 years. Her life’s work has “reshaped the way historians generally, and American historians, specifically, think about gender, family, violence and social policy,” notes one colleague. Another says, Gordon “has an extraordinary capacity to treat issues of contemporary concern with historical insight and intellectual acuity.”

Long is Dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford, where she holds an endowed chair in biological sciences. After completing her degree in plant developmental biology at Yale, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard. In 1981, she joined the faculty of Stanford, where she has done ground-breaking research in symbiotic biological nitrogen fixation and contributed significantly to the analysis of reciprocal signaling between plant and bacterium. Long “has achieved distinction in scholarship, teaching, academic administration and public service,” note her colleagues. Her honors include a MacArthur Prize Fellowship, membership in the National Academy of Sciences and awards for outstanding teaching.

McNamara has led Albertus Magnus College in New Haven through an extraordinary period of renewal and growth since she became its president in 1982. Under her tenure, Albertus Magnus became coeducational after 60 years as a women’s college, and it greatly expanded its facilities and programs. In addition, McNamara is an energetic community leader. She has served as chair of the Yale New Haven Health System and contributed her talents to the boards of many organizations, including Yale-New Haven Hospital and the International Festival of Arts and Ideas. She has served on several state commissions, appointed by the Governor.

Price is a scholar, a statesman and a friend of higher education. He has represented the 4th District of North Carolina in Congress since 1986 (with the exception of one term), and has been a strong advocate for higher education and the research community all through that period. He is a leader among Yale alumni in the House, where he is a member of the Appropriations and Budget committees. Before launching his political career, he taught at Yale (1969-73) and has been on the faculty of Duke since 1973. He is author of “The Congressional Experience: A View from the Hill” and “Who Makes the Laws? Creativity and Power in Senate Committees,” as well as numerous articles.

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