Alumni Association Announces 2018 Award Winners

Professor Doyal Harper won the Norman Maclean Faculty Award, while John McGinn (A.B. ’90) will receive the 2018 Alumni Service Medal.


University of Chicago Alumni Association

Professor Doyal Harper, right, won the Norman Maclean Faculty Award, while John McGinn (A.B. ’90), left, will receive the 2018 Alumni Service Medal.

By Oren Oppenheim, News Editor

The UChicago Alumni Association recently announced the recipients of its alumni and faculty awards, including its prestigious Norman Maclean Faculty Award and Alumni Service Medal. 

The Norman Maclean Faculty Award was introduced in 1997 and honors emeritus or senior faculty members from any University department for their teaching and research. 

Doyal “Al” Harper, an astronomy and astrophysics professor and current director of Yerkes Observatory, will be receiving the faculty honor. 

Harper has taught at UChicago since 1971 and became director of Yerkes Observatory in 2012. His research focuses on the birth of galaxies and stars, as well as interstellar dust and space physics. The future of Yerkes Observatory is currently in flux as the University plans to end its operations there

According to his Alumni Association profile, Harper embraces teaching undergraduates and sees “one-on-one guidance as central to his career, and all his students can attest to his generosity and leadership capabilities.”  

In an e-mail to The Maroon, Harper said: “I’m really pleased and honored by the award, but a lot of the credit should go to others…who have all made major contributions to the students’ experiences. [A]nd I’d like to particularly thank my students. I know I’ve learned as much from them as they have from me.” 

John McGinn (A.B. ’90, M.B.A. ’93) will receive the 2018 Alumni Service Medal.  

McGinn is a vice chairman of the NPR Foundation, served as president of the Alumni Board from 2001–2008, and has worked on expanding the Board’s outreach and helping the University with admissions interviews and events. 

“I was honored and deeply moved to receive the Alumni Service Medal,” McGinn told The Maroon by e-mail. “I was immeasurably guided and supported by Ron Schiller [then–University vice president of Alumni Relations and Development] and Christine Singer [then–associate vice president of Alumni Relations and Development]…. I am grateful to all of these people, and many other alumni leaders, for their contributions and inspiration.” 

Both awards will be presented in June during the University’s Alumni Weekend.