2023 Alumni Award Recipients Announced
Think. Act. Lead. Serve.
Our extraordinary alumni stand as the most profound embodiment of The Webb Schools’ mission, commitment to service, and honorable leadership. Through our annual Alumni Awards program, the Alumni Council and the Board of Trustees recognize alumni whose service, exceptional achievements, impact in their respective fields, and contributions to society truly exemplify the qualities, core values, and spirit that Webb represents.
We are pleased to announce the three distinguished and inspiring recipients of Webb’s 2023 Alumni Awards.
ALUMNI OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT
The Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award acknowledges alumni who epitomize the core values of their school’s motto:
Webb School of California: Principes non Homines, “Leaders not ordinary men”
Vivian Webb School: Sapientia Amicitia Atque Honor, “Wisdom, Friendship and Honor”
PROF. RICHARD KRON ’68
Professor Emeritus, The University of Chicago
Director, Dark Energy Survey
Professor Richard Kron is a distinguished academic and an innovative force in the field of astronomy and astrophysics. As a professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the prestigious University of Chicago, Prof. Kron’s career is marked by visionary leadership and groundbreaking research and has left an indelible mark on the world of astrophysics.
From 1989 to 2001, Prof. Kron assumed the role of Director at the renowned Yerkes Observatory, a remarkable astronomical institution located in Williams Bay, Wisconsin and at the time operated by the University of Chicago. This observatory, self-proclaimed as “the birthplace of modern astrophysics,” underwent a significant transformation under Prof. Kron’s guidance by establishing a summer workshop in science-technology-engineering-math (STEM) for underserved high-school students. The observatory is home to a remarkable 40-inch diameter doublet lens refracting telescope, the largest successfully used for astronomical purposes, and a vast collection of over 170,000 photographic plates. These plates record what the sky looked like a century ago, and Prof. Kron is currently working with undergraduate students at the University of Chicago to discover what has changed in that period of time.
Prof. Kron is particularly noted for his expertise in the study of distant galaxies and quasars, employing innovative survey techniques to expand our understanding of the cosmos. One of his most remarkable achievements was the conception and leadership of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, recognized as one of the most ambitious astronomical survey projects ever undertaken. Over the course of its first 8-year operational phase, Prof. Kron’s team accurately measured the brightness and positions of hundreds of millions of galaxies, stars, and quasars. His leadership extended to a consortium of over 300 scientists and engineers across 25 institutions worldwide, illustrating his remarkable ability to collaborate on a global scale.
Prof. Kron continues to push the boundaries of astronomical research with his involvement in current projects like the Dark Energy Survey, based at an observatory in Chile. Here, he works tirelessly to map galaxies, detect supernovae, and uncover patterns in cosmic expansion. His dedication to the Giant Magellan Telescope, the culmination of a century of astronomical research and telescope-building by leading institutions, promises to revolutionize our understanding of the universe.
In January 2021, the Dark Energy Survey, under Prof. Kron’s guidance, released an unprecedented collection of astronomical data and calibrated images gathered over six years of scanning the southern skies. This release, which encompasses images of nearly 700 million astronomical objects, stands as one of the most extensive astronomical catalogs ever published.
Prof. Kron is the embodiment of an academic leader who has made significant contributions through innovative scientific research, consistently pushing the boundaries of what is known in the fields of astronomy and astrophysics.
We are proud to award Prof. Richard Kron ’68 with the 2023 Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award. Congratulations, Richard!
YOUNG ALUMNI RISING STAR AWARD
The Rising Star Award recognizes recent alumni of the past 15 years who have used their success to bring good to the world, demonstrated exceptional achievements in their chosen field, and have shown an affinity for Webb.
SASHA WIJEYERATNE ’08
Activist and Social Justice Advocate
Executive Director at CAAAV (Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence)
Sasha Wijeyeratne is a shining example of the impact young alumni can have on our world. After an inspiring and thought-provoking valedictorian speech at Webb, Sasha graduated from Swarthmore College. They are a talented organizer, strategist, and thinker who is committed to a vision of a more equitable and just world for all communities and people. Sasha’s journey has taken them across various cities, including Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Madison, Washington, D.C., and Queens, where they are leaving an indelible mark as the Executive Director of CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities.
At CAAAV, Sasha’s visionary leadership has transformed the organization into a force to be reckoned with. Their work has centered on sharpening strategy, nurturing working-class leadership, and galvanizing a movement to disrupt the harmful practices of real estate speculation, financialization, and gentrification in New York City. In neighborhoods like Chinatown and Astoria where Asian immigrants play a central role in the working class, Sasha’s efforts hold the promise of reshaping the city’s political landscape.
Sasha’s dedication extends beyond CAAAV, as they have been deeply involved in diverse social justice movements, including queer and trans organizing, racial justice advocacy, and political education projects. Their contributions span organizations like the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, DC Desi Summer, and the No New Jail Coalition in Dane County, reflecting their commitment to advancing social equity and justice.
The core of Sasha’s work is a belief that our communities will lead us towards liberation, we can transform ourselves and our people to build real power, and we must organize towards a world without borders, prisons, or binaries.
As a published author, Sasha’s words have furthered our understanding of important issues. Their work can be found in publications such as “Our Stories: An Introduction to South Asian America,” “Q&A: Queer in Asian America,” and “Queer and Trans Migrations: Dynamics of Illegalization, Detention, and Deportation.” Beyond their professional endeavors, Sasha finds solace in the great outdoors, often hiking with their faithful companion, Rain, and showcasing their culinary talents by crafting elaborate dishes in their kitchen.
Sasha’s achievements and advocacy embody the spirit of the Young Alumni Rising Star Award, recognizing young individuals who have made a significant and lasting impact on their communities and the world. Their unwavering dedication to social justice, working-class empowerment, and innovative leadership sets a powerful example for future generations of alumni. We are proud to award Sasha Wijeyeratne ’08 with the 2023 Young Alumni Rising Star Award. Congratulations, Sasha!
COLBORN DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD
Named in honor of Ken Colborn ’47, the Colborn Distinguished Service Award pays tribute to an alumnus/a in recognition of selfless commitment and ongoing volunteer service to The Webb Schools and/or Raymond M. Alf Museum of Paleontology.
RICHARD CLARKE ’63
Rick Clarke is a paragon of unwavering commitment and service with a lifetime of remarkable contributions. An alumnus of Amherst College and the Wharton School of Business, and with a successful career as an investment advisor, Rick has always kept Webb close at heart.
Since his graduation, Rick has remained an active and cherished member of the Webb alumni community. His deep connection to the school is evident through his regular attendance at Webb events and his active role in coordinating alumni gatherings, fundraisers, and casual get-togethers. Additionally, Rick’s commitment shines through his dedicated service on the Webb Board of Trustees during a pivotal period in the 1990s when the Webb endowment was structured, setting the stage for the current Webb Fund and Strategic Plan. During this tenure, the board also played a pivotal role in hiring Susan Nelson as Head of Schools, a transformative moment in Webb’s history.
Rick’s contributions extend far beyond Webb, exemplifying the virtues and values that Webb seeks to instill in its students. Professionally, he founded a reputable accounting firm known for its integrity. He embraced the Registered Investment Advisor designation, an emblem of client-centric financial services, setting a high standard that prioritizes clients’ interests over financial gains. Even when he sold his firm, he opted for a lower valuation to ensure the right successor would continue to serve his clients with care.
Rick leads by example. Beyond the financial industry, Rick has been a dedicated member of his local communities, actively participating in various volunteer boards and charity initiatives. His generosity extends to helping family, friends, and strangers. Whether it’s extending financial support, providing a temporary home to those in need, or donating furniture to local charities aiding in recovery efforts, his actions exemplify his unwavering commitment to service and the well-being of others. His humility, quiet dedication, and ethical compass are evident in his reluctance to seek recognition for his actions.
Rick’s contributions extend far beyond financial generosity, as he consistently embodies the ideals of a distinguished leader who acts with honor and moral courage. His commitment to service, community, and ethical conduct serves as an inspiration for all who have had the privilege of knowing him. His legacy sets a high standard for giving and service, not only for the Webb community but for society as a whole.
We are proud to announce Richard Clarke ’63 as the 2023 Colborn Distinguished Service Award recipient. Congratulations, Rick!
Please join us in congratulating this year’s recipients.
We will be further celebrating and recognizing our 2023 recipients at the Alumni Dinner on October 21, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. during Alumni Weekend.
Register for Alumni Weekend here! Or contact Lexus Beaman ’08, Director of Alumni & Donor Relations at (909) 445-8253 or email@example.com.
We hope to see you there!