News | 7 July 2022

The Humanities Division Honors Faculty, Alumni, And Students At The 2021-22 Spring Awards



Elaine Sullivan, professor of history, was awarded the Dizikes Faculty Teaching Award. Sullivan handed out scholarships, in her name, to students who have made extraordinary academic strides during the 2021-22 school year: Athena Kwan, Ryan Hart, and Sage Michaels.

On June 3, UC Santa Cruz’s Humanities Division once again marked the end of the school year with their Spring Awards, a ceremony that celebrates the achievements of students, instructors, and alumni. Marking the moment in her opening remarks, Chancellor Cynthia Larive told the dozens in attendance at the Cowell Ranch Hay Barn and watching online, “It’s such a pleasure to recognize the work you’ve done. It speaks to your commitment to yourselves, to your colleagues, to this university, and to the Humanities themselves.”

One crowning moment of this year’s ceremony was the bestowing of the Dizikes Faculty Teaching Award to Elaine Sullivan, Associate Professor of History. A member of the UC Santa Cruz faculty since 2013, Sullivan was chosen to receive the award by a panel of her colleagues and her students. As Humanities Division Dean Jasmine Alinder recounted in her introduction, Professor Sullivan was praised for her dedication and compassion and her ability to bring “a lecture to life. From one moment to the next, students went from quietly scribbling lecture notes to buzzing with excitement.”

Sullivan accepted the award with no small amount of humility and humor, commenting that the challenges of teaching classes online due to the pandemic brought up rare feelings of panic in her and saluting her students for rising to meet the moment. 

As part of her award, Sullivan was able to hand out scholarships, in her name, to students who have made extraordinary academic strides during the 2021-22 school year. Those gifts were given to a trio of fourth year history majors: Athena Kwan, Ryan Hart, and Sage Michaels.

Dean Jasmine Alinder bestowed the 2022 Humanities Distinguished Undergraduate Alumni Award upon Mark Zemelman.

The ceremony began with another special honor, bestowing the 2022 Humanities Distinguished Undergraduate Alumni Award upon Mark Zemelman, who just retired as the senior vice president and general counsel for nonprofit medical group Kaiser Permanente. 

Zemelman entered UC Santa Cruz in 1972, studying chemistry at Crown College. But it was a course in Western Civilization taught by William Hitchcock that changed the course of his education and his life. As he remembered in his acceptance speech, Hitchcock taught him that “even though we are born into a historical context, we connect ourselves with the past and future” and that by recognizing those connections, “we can actually make a real difference.” 

This year’s Spring Awards event was also marked by the introduction of two new awards: The Jay Family Humanities Scholarship For Undergraduates Focused on Social Justice and Diversity, and the Mollie Cass Sater Memorial Scholarship in Jewish Studies. The former is a $5,000 scholarship that was handed to Maria R. Hele who is currently pursuing a double major in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies and Feminist Studies. The latter prize, which supports an undergraduate student with financial need who displays a strong interest in Jewish Studies, was awarded to Maia Zelker to support her project researching Hebrew poetry.

What’s listed above represents only a fraction of the many awards handed out at the ceremony. Click here to see the full list.

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