EECS professor emeritus and Institute Professor Mildred S. Dresselhaus is the recipient of the University of Chicago 2008 Alumni Medal. Earning her PhD from the University of Chicago in 1958, Dresselhaus also delivered the main address at the June 7 Alumni Convocation.
The highly esteemed (and infrequently bestowed) Alumni Medal was created in 1941 by the University of Chicago Alumni Association to recognize achievement of an exceptional nature in any field, vocational or voluntary and covering an entire career.
Dresselhaus was cited as 'an internationally known physicist who has done groundbreaking research in condensed-matter physics and worked tirelessly to draw women to science and engineering.' Further, the Chicago Chronicle May 29, 2008 online issue adds:
"A role model as a scientist, administrator and teacher, Dresselhaus has been an advocate for women in the traditionally male-dominated fields of science and engineering. When she began teaching at MIT, women comprised only 4 percent of the undergraduate student body. She successfully encouraged the university to adopt equal academic standards for applicants, which had successful results. The number of women undergraduates is now more than 45 percent. She worked to increase the number female science and engineering faculty, first at MIT and then nationally as president of the American Physical Society."