2022 College Alumni Awards

IU College of Arts and Sciences hosts 2022 alumni award honorees

A past president of J.Crew, a renowned sociologist, and a prominent dermatopathologist are among the recipients of the Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences’ 2022 alumni awards. On Thursday, this year’s recipients returned to campus to meet with students, speak in classes, and take part in a panel discussion, which was attended by more than 200 alumni, students, and faculty.

“We’re immensely proud of all our award recipients, and it was wonderful to learn from their collective expertise,” said the College’s executive dean, Rick Van Kooten, who also moderated the panel discussion. “Their incredible success is a testament to the value of a liberal arts education, and their achievements and words of wisdom provide great inspiration to the next generation of IU alumni — the students and young scholars who are already thinking about their own positive impact on the world.”

Each year, the College of Arts and Sciences selects alumni to receive three distinct awards: the Distinguished Alumni Award; the Outstanding Young Alumni Award; and the Old Crescent Award, which celebrates significant acts of philanthropy in support of the College.

This year’s recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award are:

  • William C. Carter (Ph.D. ’71, French), a distinguished professor emeritus and one of the world’s foremost scholars of the work of Marcel Proust;
  • Tracy Gardner (B.A. ’86, Economics), a retail industry veteran who’s served in a variety of leadership roles, including president of J.Crew; and
  • Pete Yonkman (B.A. ’95, Philosophy, Psychology), president of Cook Group and Cook Medical.

The recipient of this year’s Outstanding Young Alumni Award is Rashawn Ray (M.A. ’05, Ph.D. ’10, Sociology), a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park, and a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution.

This year’s Old Crescent Award recipient is Thomas G. Olsen (B.S. ’68, Zoology), a dermatologist and dermatopathologist who founded the Dermatopathology Laboratory of Central States, a regional and national skin pathology laboratory that annually serves hundreds of thousands of patients. Olsen and his wife recently created a new endowed chair in the College: the Olsen Chair in Evolutionary Biology, which provides financial support for fundamental research in biology.

“It’s our hope that this chair might serve as a springboard — an impetus — for others to emulate and go beyond,” said Olsen. “That’s one of the themes of the Old Crescent Award: To give visibility to those who donate and their donations so that others will continue to do the same.”

Past recipients of the College of Arts and Sciences’ alumni awards include Michael D. Higgins, the president of Ireland; Sue Naegle, former president of HBO Entertainment; the Honorable Sarah Evans Barker, a trailblazing federal judge; actor Arian Moayed, who recently received an Emmy nomination for his role on Succession; Asma Khalid, a White House correspondent for NPR and co-host of the NPR Politics Podcast; and Bob Chapek, the CEO of Disney.

During the afternoon’s panel discussion, this year’s award recipients touched on an array of subjects, reflecting on such varied topics as their time at IU, lessons learned from their personal and professional lives, the impact of social media, and advice for current IU students.

“Don’t just chase your dreams; go catch them,” said Ray, responding to a student’s question from the audience. “Don’t just earn degrees; gain skills. You’re here to get a degree, but you should be gaining skills. Every class you take, every person you speak to — gain a skill. The skills are what’s going to separate you.”

More about those being honored:

Since 1985, he has been a member of the Proust Research Center at the Sorbonne and a member of the editorial board of the Bulletin Marcel Proust. In 1989, he was awarded the Palmes Académiques by the French government in recognition of his activities promoting French culture and literature in the United States. His biography, Marcel Proust: A Life, was selected by The New York Times as a “Notable Book of 2000,” and by the London Times and the L.A. Times as one of the “best biographies” of the year. In 2000, Carter was invited by Lincoln Center to be one of the participants in a tribute to Marcel Proust in the series Great Performances.

From 2004 to 2010, Gardner held a number of leadership roles at J.Crew and ultimately served as president, completing the company’s initial public offering and helping to grow its revenues by approximately $1 billion. Gardner currently serves on the board of directors for several organizations, including Crocs, Gap Inc., and Win NYC, the largest homeless shelter for women and their children in New York City. She also serves on the board for the Mamaroneck-Larchmont Student Aid Fund, which provides scholarships for underprivileged students, and the early-stage start-up Fair Harbor, which produces sustainable swimwear from ocean plastic.

Yonkman is a born and bred Hoosier originally from Crown Point, Ind. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the IU College of Arts and Sciences, he earned his law degree from the Maurer School of Law in 1998. Yonkman is actively involved in community issues, including adult education, workforce development, fostering start-ups, and creating a business culture that supports entrepreneurs.

Ray regularly testifies at the federal and state levels on racial equity, policing and criminal justice reform, health policy, wealth, and family policy. As the executive director of LASSR, Ray helped develop a virtual reality program for law enforcement and led implicit bias trainings with thousands of police officers, military personnel, and employees at companies and organizations. Ray has published over 50 books, articles, and book chapters, and over 50 op-eds. He has written for The Washington Post, The New York Times, USA Today, POLITICO, and Business Insider, among many others, and has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, BBC, CBS, ABC, NPR, and Al Jazeera.

Olsen was a clinical associate in the dermatology branch at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the late 1970s, where he was an active participant on the medical team that completed validation and safety studies and, in 1981, gained FDA approval for Isotretinoin (Accutane) — the “blockbuster” medication that dramatically alters the progression of inflammatory and nodulocystic/scarring acne. Olsen has received four Presidential Citations from the American Academy of Dermatology and, in 2004, was the recipient of the Clark W. Finnerud Award, honoring his demonstrated blends of clinical practice in writing and teaching dermatology and serving as a mentor and role model. Currently, he and his wife Mary are committed to finishing several philanthropic efforts at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the University of Dayton, and other community-based activities.