Distinguished Professor Emeritus Darwin Berg DS60, of the University of California, San Diego, Division of Biological Sciences will be honored on April 14 with the 2016 UC Chancellor’s Associates Faculty Excellence Award. The award is given annually to a select few faculty “for going above and beyond to make a positive impact in their teaching, research, and service.” Professor Berg was identified by the Chancellor’s Associates as “a world leader in neurobiology. He has made significant contributions to the understanding of a major modulatory neurotransmitter in the brain, and his work is notable for its practical applications.” You can read more about the award here, and about Professor Berg’s research work. Darwin’s career at UC San Diego has spanned over 40 years. The chair of the Neurobiology Section noted: “his pioneering work is highly respected in the international community of neuroscience and his dedication and service to UC San Diego is well-respected.”
This page is dedicated to occasional news highlighting activities of our alumni.
After 19 years, Adam Schwartz DS’87 has left his position as staff attorney with the Illinois ACLU and transplanted from Chicago to Palo Alto, where his wife Sarah is now teaching in the Graduate School of Education at Stanford. Adam has taken on new work as a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (www.eff.org). Based in San Francisco, the EFF was established in 1990 and is the leading non-profit working on behalf of civil liberties in the digital world. They are active in defending privacy, protecting against illegal surveillance, and advocating for free speech and open access to technology. They also provide educational analysis to policymakers and the media.
Jacob Hundt DS’98 has been particularly active for the past year, as a founding member of the new Thoreau College in Viroqua, Wisconsin. The college – brainchild of Jacob and a group of education colleagues – is meant to be a small, intensive, residential liberal arts college, with an emphasis on vocation and personal purpose for the individual. Jacob and his colleagues are preparing for their first residential program in summer, 2016, which is a prelude to explore what this new college model can be. Since 2004 he has worked as a Waldorf teacher and guidance counselor at the Youth Initiative High School and was a founding board member and instructor for the Driftless Folk School.
This month, Penguin Random House has published Paradise Now / The Story of American Utopianism, a new book by Chris Jennings DS’00. You can find the publisher’s link here. Chris tells the story of five interrelated utopian movements in an America still taking shape before the Civil War, beginning with the Shaker movement. From a recent review in the San Francisco Chronicle: “As a tour guide, Jennings is thoughtful, engaging and witty in the right doses…He makes the subject his own with fresh eyes and a crisp narrative, rich with detail.” The book was recently excerpted in the The New Republic and also received favorable notice in the New York Times Book Review: “Although never less than evenhanded, and sometimes deliciously wry, Jennings writes with obvious affection for his subjects. To read Paradise Now is to be dazzled, humbled and occasionally flabbergasted by the amount of energy and talent sacrificed at utopia’s altar.”
We learned recently that Ron Alexander DS’64 died in Reno, Nevada on January 9, 2016 after a brief illness and bout with pneumonia. He was 68 years old. Ron had been a longtime resident of Bishop, California. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Ron was predeceased by his parents, Benjamin & Lydia, and his brother, Kenneth.
Ron came to Deep Springs in the summer of 1964, a time when the college was just entering its ‘modern’ era following the travails of the 1950s and the reorganization of the administration at the guidance of Bob Aird DS’21. He is remembered by his classmate and former TDS Chair Michael Stryker as “unfailingly decent, humble, and humane, virtues not always shared by the rest of us in his class. Over the years he gave a great deal to Deep Springs, despite struggles with his illness that would have paralyzed many. His was, as far as I knew it, a life of service.”
Ron spent three years in the Student Body. Following college, he pursued a career in broadcasting, working as a technician and video editor for several stations in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and, ultimately, in Bishop, where he became a mainstay for Sierra Wave Media. He settled in the Eastern Sierra for good in 2002; it was a place he felt most at home and he often reminded friends that “Inyo” translates to mean “Dwelling Place of the Great Spirit”. His favorite pastimes included hiking with “Togiak”, his beloved Samoyed dog, listening to classical music, and editing/producing short documentary videos. He also regularly volunteered as an administrative assistant for the local office of California Indian Legal Services.
During the past twenty years, Ron served as a diligent observer for alumni gatherings at Deep Springs. He was ever-present in the background to capture most proceedings on camera (and frequently share his wry humor and pointed observations, as well). With countless volunteer hours of video recording, editing, and collating at his own expense, he assembled a record of alumni stories and reflections from scores of gatherings, creating a testimonial archive for the entire college community. He was already planning for the Centennial Celebration in 2017. His presence will be sorely missed, then and beyond.
As Ron related in one of his own letters: “But fortunately the Valley never changes – the same mountains, ridges, rocks and shadows always greet me with a welcoming feeling of being at home again every time I return to their enveloping embrace.”