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A Los Angeles family has donated $250,000 over five years for a new USC research fellowship in hematology. The Vanoff family gave the gift to fund research in the lab of Howard Liebman, associate professor of medicine and pathology in the division of hematology. Liebman successfully treated Nick Vanoff Jr. for Hodgkin’s disease at the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital several years ago. “Now he’s healthy, in his mid-30s and looking great,” Liebman said. The patient’s father was a well-known producer in Hollywood. The fellow will pursue research in any area of hematological disorders or malignancies.

Poet David St. John, professor of English, was one of eight recipients of this year’s American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature. Honoring “writers of exceptional accomplishment in any genre,” the awards were presented in New York on May 17 at the academy’s annual ceremony. St. John, the author of six collections of poetry as well as a book of nonfiction, currently serves on the advisory board of the Antioch Review, where he was poetry editor from 1981 to 1995. St. John’s other honors include a Guggenheim fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, an Ingram Merrill Foundation grant and a National Book Award nomination.

Two young faculty members from the department of mathematics have been awarded research fellowships from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Thomas Geisser, assistant professor of mathematics, and Igor Kukavica, associate professor of mathematics, will receive the prestigious fellowships that were established in 1955 to support young scientists as they set up laboratories and establish independent research projects. Since then, 21 Sloan fellowship recipients have gone on to win Nobel prizes.

John Brooks Slaughter, holder of Irving R. Melbo Chair in Education, was this year’s commencement speaker at McKendree College in Lebanon, Ill. At the May 13 ceremony, he addressed “Back to the Future: XXX” – or “what needs to be done now to shape the future in 30 years so we’re at peace with the world, nature and ourselves.” He was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters.

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