Yale Bulletin and Calendar
Commencement 1997

June 2 - June 23, 1997
Volume 25, Number 33
News Stories

Wilbur L. Cross Medals

This year, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences awarded its highest honor, the Wilbur L. Cross Medal for outstanding achievement in professional life, to six individuals who earned their doctoral degrees at Yale. Two of the awards -- to Anne M. Briscoe and William Louis Gaines, who jointly chaired the Graduate School Alumni Fund for 18 years -- were presented on April 26 at the Graduate School's 150th anniversary celebration. The others were awarded during a ceremony at the Graduate School following University Commencement on May 26.

The medals are named in memory of Wilbur L. Cross, who served as dean of the Graduate School 1916-30 and as governor of Connecticut 1931-39. The award citations for the 1997 Wilbur Cross Medalists follow:

Anne M. Briscoe '49 Ph.D. Anne Briscoe, you are a pioneer. At a time when women in the natural sciences and medicine were rarer than they are today, you were a leader in every regard: noted researcher, gifted teacher, supportive mentor to young women beginning their scientific careers. You taught at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, Hunter College School of Health Sciences and the Harlem Hospital Center School of Nursing. Founder and past president of the Association for Women in Science, Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences, representative of American Women Scientists at the United Nations and vice chairperson of the New York City Commission on the Status of Women, you have been much sought after as a speaker, noted for your courage and outspokenness on the status of women in science. And as courageous and forthright as you are in support of what you hold dear, you are just as passionately loyal to Yale and its Graduate School. You have contributed to the School in almost every conceivable alumni role: You served as president of the Graduate School Alumni Association and as a member of the Association of Yale Alumni's Board of Governors. You received the AYA's highest honor, the Yale Medal. As co-chair of the Graduate School Alumni Fund for the past 18 years, you have led it to spectacular growth and to its top national ranking. Your public service to the school is mirrored in your promotion of fellowships for Yale Graduate School women in science, thereby helping new generations continue on the course you have charted and followed so purposefully.

For your career of service to women scientists, to the women's movement and to Yale, with joy and deep gratitude the Yale Graduate School Alumni Association proudly bestows upon you its highest honor, the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal.

William Louis Gaines '51 Ph.D.

William Gaines, visionary, leader and academic administrator, through persuasiveness, conviction, civility and good common sense, serving the right causes, you have transformed ideas into action. You have sent many thousands of American students abroad and brought thousands of foreign students here, bridging world cultures and promoting international understanding. The British government has recognized you as Honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire, the University of Durham has conferred upon you an Honorary Doctorate in Civil Law, and the Senate of the University of Freiburg elected you one of its three honorary senators in the United States. With Mid-Western roots, born and bred, nurtured by your family and the Episcopalian Church, earning your first degrees from Bowling Green and the University of Nebraska, 50 years ago you entered Yale Graduate School, completing your doctorate in "English legal history" with distinction. Named executive secretary of the Bi- National Fulbright Commission, the first director of education of the African American Institute and the first provost of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, you then served 18 years as president and guiding spirit of the Institute for European and Asian Studies. For 30 years you have chaired the New York and later the Chicago Marshall Scholarship Committee, identifying leaders of tomorrow. Your service to Yale has been exemplary, as one of our most active Chicago area alumni. Member of the Alumni Fund Board of Directors and co-chair of the Graduate School Alumni Fund for 18 years, you have been instrumental in its dramatic growth and top national rank. In memory of your parents, William Clarence and Ruth Anna Gaines, you have endowed a history fellowship for an outstanding American or foreign student during the dissertation year.

For your visionary work in international education and for your extraordinary efforts on Yale's behalf, the Yale Graduate School Alumni Association proudly bestows upon you its highest honor, the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal.

Alvin M. Liberman '43 Ph.D.

Distinguished speech scientist, outstanding teacher and administrator, you are one of the most creative scientists ever produced by the Yale Graduate School. You have shaped the field of speech research for 30 years and have transformed our understanding of the nature and perception of speech and its relation to language. Attempting to understand the relation between the human mind and the outside world, and starting from the deceptively simple problem of designing a reading machine for the blind, you have convinced the community of psychologists, phoneticians and cognitive scientists that the mind is not a passive recipient but reaches out actively to grasp the world, the process of speech being uniquely suited to this task in the human species. Your extraordinary career in research and teaching has included 20 years as professor of psychology at the University of Connecticut overlapping with 42 years at the Haskins Laboratories in New Haven, of which you are president emeritus, and 19 years as adjunct professor of linguistics at Yale. Citing only a few of the many honors you have received: your election to the National Academy of Sciences, recipient of the Hilgard Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Psychological Association, designation as distinguished professor by the University of Connecticut Alumni Association, the Medal of the Coll ge de France and several honorary degrees.

For your leadership in the study of the science of speech, for your inspired teaching and guidance of graduate students and your service to the Department of Linguistics, the Yale Graduate School Alumni Association is proud to award you its highest honor, the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal.

Francis C. Oakley '58 M.A., '60 Ph.D.

Distinguished scholar in Medieval Studies, exemplar of leadership among liberal arts college presidents, outstanding teacher, through your multi-faceted career you have achieved great prominence. Graduate of Oxford University, where you are an Honorary Fellow of Corpus Christi College, student at the Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, your scholarly works have elucidated medieval intellectual history, opened new vistas to the 13th and 14th centuries and defined the crucial years of the Western tradition, and your works on the western Church and on natural law have set future research agendas. As dean of the Williams College faculty and from 1984 until 1994, as president of the college, you conducted the most successful capital campaign in the college's history and created a financial model for all institutions. You presided over the diversification of your student body, promoted civility and protected freedom of expression. Listed among many honors, honorary degrees and distinguished positions as director or trustee of a variety of cultural institutions, your chairmanship of the Board of Directors of the American Council of Learned Societies is additional testimony to the high regard in which you are held by all in the liberal arts community you have so eloquently defined and vigorously defended.

For both your scholarship and your leadership, the Yale Graduate School Alumni Association proudly confers on you its highest honor, the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal.

Dr. G. Virginia Upton '61 M.S., '64 Ph.D. Distinguished endocrinologist, medical scientist and clinical pharmacologist, inspired teacher and outstanding feminist leader, your remarkable research career has included discoveries of immediate application to the cure or amelioration of disease states. Your fundamental discovery that there are tumors that produce pseudo hormones which mimic hormones of the pituitary and hypothalamus, led to an understanding of these endocrine disorders. Your outstanding research on the cause and treatment of the fatal disease lipoatrophic diabetes, was a unique demonstration of theory put into practice. After serving as director of the endocrine lab of the West Haven VA Hospital and senior research associate in the Yale Medical School, you moved into industry, to Wyeth International Ltd., now Wyeth-Ayerst. There you have served as director of clinical endocrinology worldwide and since 1989, as director of clinical research and development. Your originality has earned several patents. You are well known for your work on contraception and hormone replacement therapy in menopause. Among your many honors is a special tribute to you, its founder, from the Association for Women in Science, the national organization whose mission is to promote equal opportunities for women to pursue careers in the sciences.

For outstanding achievement in research and teaching, and for your concern for younger scientists and women, the Yale Graduate School Alumni Association awards you its highest honor, the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal.

Janet Louise Yellen '71 Ph.D.

Virtuoso economist, penetrating scholar, legendary teacher and devoted public servant, you have earned admiration and gratitude from all who have come to know you in your several careers. At Yale you are remembered with fondness and awe as the fearless and peerless graduate student who educated her professors and fellow students. Students in your own courses at Harvard, the London School of Economics and Berkeley also recall the extraordinary clarity of your expositions. Your scholarly writings on international trade and finance, unemployment, business cycles, poverty and single- parent children combine insight with originality and imagination. Sometimes collaborating with your husband, George Akerlof, Yale College, 1962, you select crucially important problems and approach them in novel ways. In 1994, President Clinton appointed you to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. The nation's economy has prospered under the monetary policy to which your knowledge and wisdom have contributed. Your recent departure from the Federal Reserve, deeply regretted by your fellow Governors and by the staff, was followed by another Presidential appointment in February, 1997 to be chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, the highest Washington position for an academic economist.

With pride in your achievements in academe and government as scholar, teacher and public servant, the Yale Graduate School Alumni Association awards you its highest honor, the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal.

Return to: Commencement 1997