There are no wizards, superheroes, or princesses in Cleary’s literary world — just normal kids with normal lives. But that hasn’t stopped her from becoming a phenomenon among decades of young readers worldwide. From the adventurous Henry Huggins to the plucky mouse on a motorcycle to the ever-popular, pesky Ramona Quimby, Cleary’s characters speak to such universal kid concerns as homework, family, and pets. Declared a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, she has sold more than 91 million copies of her books in more than 20 countries. Although kids’ lives have changed dramatically since she published her first book in 1950, Cleary, who majored in English, said in a New York Times interview that “children want the same things my generation wanted — a home with loving parents, and children to play with in safe neighborhoods.” Not to mention “funny books about children like themselves.”
With her helmet, flak jacket, and rifle in hand, Maj. D’Amato spent 2010–11 in Afghanistan’s violent Helmand province rebuilding schools and persuading families that it was safe to return. When the Marine reservist and graduate of Berkeley’s Principal Leadership Institute arrived for duty, no children were attending school. She worked with military and international partners to repair and construct schools, train teachers, and develop curricula. Today, more than 25,000 children are in school — including 1,000 girls — and enrollment is rising despite ongoing security concerns. In a San Francisco Chronicle interview, Maj. D’Amato said that functioning schools increase the perception of security. “Schools evoke a lot of hope in people,” she said. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. on how technology can alleviate learning challenges in the United States. She received the Cal Alumni Association’s 2013 Mark Bingham Award for Excellence in Achievement by a Young Alumnus/a.
In 1979, Iranian revolutionaries stormed the American embassy in Tehran and took 52 hostages. But six Americans escaped — a story made famous today by Ben Affleck’s award-winning film Argo. Taylor, played by Victor Garber, was the Canadian ambassador to Iran who sheltered the fugitives in his home and helped smuggle them out of the country under the guise of a sci-fi film crew that had been scouting locations. Washington awarded Taylor a Congressional Gold Medal for his heroism. Although Argo has been criticized for giving Canada short shrift, Affleck invited Taylor to rewrite the postscript, which says, “To this day the story stands as an enduring model of international cooperation between governments.” Taylor and his wife, Patricia Ph.D. ’60, met at International House and have been named the 2013 I-house Alumni Couple of the Year. “I-House,” he said in a 2010 interview, “was the launching of my diplomatic career.”
Honored by Newsweek as one of the “Women Shaping the 21st Century,” Shlain founded and led the Webby Awards — the global bellwether for honoring excellence on the web — for almost a decade before shifting her passions toward filmmaking. Her last four films premiered at Sundance, including Connected, an acclaimed feature documentary that explores the links among complex issues such as consumption, technology, and human rights as Shlain searches for her place in a fast-changing world. She is currently working on a new series of 15 short films aimed at inspiring global change. Brain Power: From Neurons to Networks, the newest film and a TED Book, examines the parallels between the development of a child’s brain and the development of the Internet. Shlain gave the keynote speech at UC Berkeley’s commencement in 2010. Visit her website, or follow her on Twitter @tiffanyshlain.
Like artists, architects have masterpieces, definitive works that perfectly capture their aesthetics and design vision. Frank Lloyd Wright’s was “Falling Water.” Chang’s is “Split House.” Since launching China’s first independent architectural firm, Atelier FCJZ, in 1993, Chang has become internationally recognized for his aesthetically intriguing and ecologically conscious marriage of traditional and modern design techniques in notable projects and installations worldwide. Chang founded the Graduate School of Architecture at Peking University in 1999 and later headed MIT’s Department of Architecture. The College of Environmental Design recognized him with its Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008.
“People have to feel welcomed by the building and the building has to embrace people,” said Yao, speaking to Taiwan Today about his design philosophy. Internationally acclaimed, Yao won the National Award for Arts in the architecture category — the highest honor in the field of culture and art in Taiwan. His firm, Artech Architects, specializes in corporate, residential, and cultural structures, as well as educational, transportation, and hotel facilities around the world. World Architecture Magazine noted in 1999 that Yao and his firm are at the “forefront of the revolution” in architecture in Taiwan. Yao is currently collaborating with Rem Koolhaas on the design of the Taipei Performing Arts Center. The College of Environmental Design recognized him with the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2005.
Controlling particles in a quantum world was previously thought impossible, but Wineland invented ways to measure and manipulate individual particles without destroying them — a feat that won him the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics. Single particles lose their enigmatic properties the minute they interact with the outside world, making it difficult to observe many seemingly absurd events. Wineland’s ingenious methods involve trapping electrically charged atoms, or ions, and controlling and measuring them with light, or photons. A physicist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Colorado in Boulder, he shares the prize with French physicist Serge Haroche. Their research is giving shape to the dream of building a super computer based on quantum physics.
It’s not uncommon for elderly patients to get stuck in a quagmire of miscommunications and mistakes when transferring from one care facility to another. Coleman, head of the University of Colorado at Denver’s health care policy and research division, is pioneering practical methods that could smooth that transition — and radically reduce readmissions, prescription blunders, and other deficiencies that harm vulnerable patients. Through his Care Transitions Program, nurses and social workers arm older adults and their caregivers with key information — such as complete health records, a timeline for follow-up visits, and signs of declining health — that empowers them to play a more active role in their care. Coleman received the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 2012 for his efforts to bridge innovation and practice and substantially improve the health care and results of millions of older adults.
After running social service programs for 20 years — and painfully realizing that most of them don’t work — Lim Miller founded the Family Independence Initiative (FII) in Oakland in 2001 to help low-income working families get themselves out of poverty. Instead of forcing participants through job training and other conventional programs, FII encourages families to form small support groups and track their progress toward economic independence. It also pays them a small stipend for each achievement. FII has expanded to San Francisco, Oahu, and Boston and is seeing debts go down and incomes go up, among other promising successes. Lim Miller was one of 23 Americans to receive the coveted MacArthur Fellowship in 2012. Raised by a poor Mexican immigrant, he said of the fellowship, “I do this work to honor my mother’s struggle.” Follow FII on Twitter @FIInational or Facebook.
You’d think the co-founder of Apple Computer would get first dibs on the company’s latest gadgets, but just like everyone else, Wozniak queued up early for his iPhone 5. Part geek, part icon, “The Woz” helped birth the PC revolution when he and the late Steve Jobs started Apple in 1976 and quickly turned out the first Apple I and II products. He received the National Medal of Technology in 1985, the highest honor for America’s leading tech innovators. A prolific philanthropist, Wozniak has poured sizable resources into education — even teaching children himself. In an interview with the College of Engineering’s Forefront magazine, Wozniak said, “Some people are so endeared to the Macintosh that it’s almost as gripping as a religion. I honestly believe that it’s about ‘thinking differently.'” Follow him on Twitter @stevewoz, or visit his website.