The call came out of the blue. That’s how it works when you’re named a MacArthur Fellow, the prestigious honor known as a “genius grant.” There’s no application process. You’re just chosen. Investigative reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones ’98 said it was “surreal” to receive the news that she was one of this year’s 24 recipients of the $625,000 unrestricted grant. She was selected for her work, most recently for The New York Times Magazine, chronicling the persistence of public-school segregation in the United States and its impact on children of color. . . . Brendan Kiley ’10 descended on a rope into the deluged neighborhoods of Houston while the remnants of Hurricane Harvey still raged. The Coast Guard rescue swimmer, based in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, was among those called to help evacuate people from the rising water in their homes. He had to guide the storm’s victims, afraid for their lives and devastated by the damage around them, through high water made choppy under the helicopter’s rotating blades and into a basket that could be hoisted up. Some evacuees were on their roofs. Some were on the flooded ground in perilous proximity to downed power lines. Two were young children (an infant and a two-year-old) whose mother had placed them in a Tupperware tub for safety. At first Kiley mistook the bin for a container of personal items that would be too much for the mother to carry with her, until she informed him of its precious cargo. . . . One good presidential term deserves another. Ronald V. Maier ’69 serves as president of the American Surgical Association. While leading in that role, he was chosen as president-elect of the even more prestigious American College of Surgeons, the largest surgical organization in North America. Maier, the surgeon-in-chief at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and a University of Washington professor, is an expert in trauma care. . . . His life’s work has been serving places of worship, 135 in all, as a liturgical design consultant. St. Bonaventure University has recognized Rev. Richard S. Vosko ’75M.A. for his contributions with an honorary doctorate of humane letters. A speaker and author on subjects related to sacred placemaking, the parish priest in the Diocese of Albany, New York, is an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects. Consulting projects in Vosko’s nearly half-century career include Los Angeles’ Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels and the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. . . . It was a foregone conclusion before the November 7 election that Seattle would have its first female mayor since the 1920s. When the votes were counted, that woman turned out to be Jenny Durkan ’80. Durkan, a former U.S. attorney and the first lesbian to hold that position, received 61 percent of the vote to defeat fellow Democrat Cary Moon in the general election — after a 21-candidate primary in the wake of former Mayor Ed Murray’s September 12 resignation amid sexual abuse allegations. . . . Barry Voight ’59, ’61M.S. “has been Penn State’s version of Indiana Jones for more than 50 years.” So says the dean of the university’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Voight’s home base since 1964 for the volcanology research that has taken him around the world. Now professor emeritus, Voight was elected to the National Academy of Engineering this year for his contributions to the “understanding, management and mitigation of geologic hazards.” From Mount St. Helens in Washington state, where he applied his expertise in landslides to anticipate the 1980 eruption, to Colombia, Indonesia, the West Indies and Italy, he has developed methods to monitor volcanoes and improve disaster responses. The 80-year-old Voight says the honor of being elected to the national academy “carries the responsibility to contribute to society. I hope to continue to learn from previous disasters, and to anticipate new events and then take steps before they happen.” . . . David Coulter ’69 figures it was the first time anyone ever recited a poem at the annual meeting of the Child Neurology Society. Coulter read his own poem, from his collection Disability, Doctoring and Patient Care: Poems from a Life in Medicine, at the October meeting while accepting the society’s Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award. A neurologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, Coulter was honored for his extraordinary compassion in patient care. . . . A teammate of Adam Hansmann ’10 engaged in a little trash talk in the sports pages of The New York Times. Not about a team or a player, but about sports journalism itself, a field Hansmann and his lippy partner Alex Mather intend to disrupt with The Athletic, the subscription-based website they co-founded. Mather talked about poaching talent from struggling local newspapers, letting them “continuously bleed until we are the last ones standing.” He apologized for his comments, calling it “a lesson in humility,” but The Athletic has, in fact, attracted many reporters and editors from major publications in the wake of layoffs, expanding coverage that began in Chicago in July 2016 to seven cities. “I’d say it’s probably the largest talent displacement in sports media ever,” Hansmann told the Times. Game on. . . . Senator Dianne Feinstein opined warily at the September 6 confirmation hearing for Amy Coney Barrett ’97J.D. that “the dogma lives loudly within you,” in reference to the alleged influence of the Notre Dame law professor’s Catholic faith on her legal scholarship. The Senate ultimately voted in favor of Barrett’s nomination as a judge for the U.S Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Feinstein’s comment stirred controversy about the propriety of raising questions about a nominee’s religious beliefs in the context of evaluating judicial qualifications. On October 31, three Democrats, including Indiana’s Joe Donnelly ’77, ’81J.D., joined the Senate’s Republican majority in the 55-43 vote supporting Barrett. . . . “My life, as I know it, has been taken away from me.” Nick Buoniconti ’62 attributes his trouble with memory, speaking, attention and balance to the effects of a long football career that included two Super Bowl championships with the Miami Dolphins. In November, Buoniconti announced that he would donate his brain to Boston University researchers studying chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain condition linked to repeated blows to the head that can only be diagnosed after death. Pete Duranko ’66 and Dave Duerson ’83 are among the former players found to have had CTE. . . . Whether practicing law or professing his faith, Patrick A. Salvi ’78J.D. has made an impact in the Chicago area. This year alone, Salvi won a $148-million jury verdict on behalf of a woman paralyzed when a pedestrian shelter collapsed at O’Hare International Airport — the largest amount ever awarded to an individual in Illinois history — and also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago. . . . They say it’s an honor just to be nominated, and that was especially true this year for Trey Mancini ’16 of the Baltimore Orioles. Mancini had a great rookie season in the big leagues, but it happened to coincide with Aaron Judge’s first year with the New York Yankees. The American League Rookie of the Year award was earmarked for Judge, a finalist for the league MVP award after hitting 52 home runs. Mancini, a left fielder, occasional first baseman and designated hitter, had a .293 batting average with 24 home runs and 78 runs batted in — good enough to be named a Rookie of the Year finalist along with Boston’s Andrew Benintendi and Judge. Everybody knew what the final verdict would be, but Mancini made a strong case.
Jason Kelly is an associate editor of this magazine.