2023 Beberman Award Winner: Paul E. Debevec


Paul E. Debevec (Class of ‘88) is the thirty-seventh recipient of the Beberman Award. Paul has made pioneering research contributions to the field of computer graphics, responsible for the technology for key visual effects sequences in movies including The Matrix, Spider-Man 2, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Avatar, Furious 7, Gemini Man, and Blade Runner: 2049.  He has received two Academy Awards for Scientific and Technical Achievement and a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award.  He is the Chief Research Officer of Netflix’s Eyeline Studios, an Adjunct Research Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southern California, and a Governor of the Visual Effects Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Paul grew up in Champaign-Urbana with his mother, Linda L. Miller, a Clinical Social Worker at the McKinley Health Center, and father, Paul T. Debevec, professor of Nuclear Physics, both at the University of Illinois.  At Uni, Paul was involved in photography and theater, taking part in the North Attic Playhouse productions of The Crucible and The Phantom Tollbooth and joining the cast of Big Show, most notably playing David Letterman in Aaron Loeb and Arne Gullerud’s Big Show ‘88.  As a photographer for The Gargoyle newspaper and photo editor for the Uni High Yearbook, he developed hundreds of photographs shot on film in the 3rd floor Uni High darkroom.  Paul recalls taking Agora Days classes from Nina Paley ‘86 on cartooning, Rick Burkhardt ‘87 on electronic music, and taught his own course senior year on Commodore 64 computer programming.  

Debevec earned degrees in Math and Computer Engineering at the University of Michigan in 1992 and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from UC Berkeley in 1996. In 1991, he combined techniques from computer vision and computer graphics to create an image-based model of his first car, a Chevette, from photographs.  Debevec's Ph.D. thesis with Prof. Jitendra Malik presented Façade, an image-based modeling system for creating virtual cinematography of architectural scenes using new techniques for photogrammetry and image-based rendering. Using Façade he directed a photorealistic fly-around of the Berkeley campus for his 1997 film The Campanile Movie whose techniques were later used to create the Academy Award-winning virtual backgrounds in the "bullet time" shots in the 1999 film The Matrix.

Following his Ph.D, Debevec pioneered techniques for illuminating computer-generated objects with measurements of real-world illumination. His 1999 film Fiat Lux rendered towering monoliths and gleaming spheres into a photorealistic reconstruction of St. Peter's Basilica, realistically illuminated by the light that was actually there. Techniques from this research known as High Dynamic Range Image-Based Lighting have become standard in visual effects production and recognized with the Progress Medal from the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers.  Debevec's 2004 computer animation The Parthenon, inspired by Chris Butler’s history classes, used 3D laser scanning, reflectance measurement, and advanced image-based lighting techniques to virtually reunite the Parthenon and its sculptures, contributing to depictions of the Parthenon's history for the 2004 Olympics, NHK television, PBS's NOVA, National Geographic, the IMAX film Greece: Secrets of the Past, and The Louvre.

At USC, Debevec led the development of several Light Stage systems that capture and simulate how people and objects appear under real-world illumination.

Collaborating with virtual reality pioneer Mark Bolas, Paul developed glasses-free 3D displays involving spinning display surfaces and video projector arrays for applications such as 3D Teleconferencing and, in collaboration with USC's Shoah Foundation, preserving the testimony of survivors of the Holocaust.  At Google, Paul led the development of new systems for 3D volumetric capture, augmented reality, and portrait photo relighting. Paul was later profiled in The New Yorker magazine's "Pixel Perfect: The Scientist Behind the Digital Cloning of Actors" and worked with the Smithsonian Institution to scan a 3D model of President Barack Obama at The White House.  

Paul has fond memories of being part of an informal group called the Insanity Club, which met for lunch in the 3rd floor hallway in his early Uni years, and a member of The Herd, a group of six friends from the Class of '88 which stay in touch to this day.

Today, Paul enjoys open-water swimming near his beach condo in Marina del Rey, CA, and competing in races such as the Malibu Triathlon, the Escape the Rock swim from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco, and the Sharkfest swim across the Golden Gate.  He enjoys seeing dolphins and sea lions while stand-up paddleboarding with his girlfriend, singer/actress Tia Carrere, with whom he attended the 95th Oscars ceremony earlier this year.

2022 Beberman Award Winner: Kimberly Clausing

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The Max Beberman Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor awarded an alumna/us by Uni High. Since 1985, it has been awarded to recognize alumni who have enhanced the reputation of the school by distinguishing themselves in their careers and who have made significant contributions through professional service, public service and civic activities, or in their service to Uni High.

Kimberly Clausing (’87) is the 36th recipient of the Beberman Award, but in her acceptance speech, she applauded the impressive achievements and contributions of all the members of her graduating class.

Clausing said that Uni High was formative to who she is.  Following her time at Uni, she earned degrees from Carleton College and Harvard. Since 2021, she has been the Eric M. Zolt Chair in Tax Law and Policy at UCLA.

Her special memories of Uni include how her class supported each other throughout their five years together, from weekly subbie parties to helping each other with math, and from dances in the attic to cheering each other on in whatever they did.

In the 35 years since graduation, she has found it hard to explain Uni to people who haven’t been there — to explain that high school can be both intellectually stimulating and fun.

She particularly appreciates the hard work of the teachers who created a culture reflecting the “magical combination of intellectual curiosity and Midwestern work ethic” that make Uni a truly special place.

“Uni prepared us to do anything we wanted to do, and it was challenging enough that even a median Uni student — and I was a median Uni student — could rise to the top of almost any group,” she said.

Clausing’s career highlights included a position in the Biden administration as the lead economist in the Office of Tax Policy and her studies of the tax avoidance of multinational companies and her work on policy responses to that problem. In addition to influencing the Biden campaign in this area, her work helped to lay the intellectual foundation for an international tax agreement that was concluded in 2021 whereby more than 135 countries agreed to a minimum tax on corporate profits.
She is the author of a well-received book on her work, Open: The Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital (Harvard University Press, 2019), which was named A Financial Times Best Economics Book of the Year.
Clausing wants to encourage current Uni students to be hopeful and optimistic, even at a time when the world seems to be falling apart.

“Nothing can improve the world other than people like Uni high grads willing to roll up their sleeves and get to work, whether that’s writing a beautiful play, working in the sciences — or working on economic policy,” she said.

“You might not quite realize it at the time, but Uni students are lucky to be at Uni and they can use their luck for good.”

2021 Beberman Award winner: David Frankel

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David Frankel is the thirty-fifth Max Beberman Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, and a member of the University of Illinois Laboratory High School class of 1976.  He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering.

David remembers the Computer-based Education Research Lab (PLATO) as the most influential tool he was provided at Uni High. He recalls, “that occupied all my time during my Uni days when I wasn’t attending class.” Inspired by the time spent in the lab, David established the David P. Frankel Learning Innovation Fund. The fund was launched in 2017 through his initial $100,000 donation and continues to thrive today, by not only David’s continued generosity, but also other charitable alumni and friends of the school.

The program supports Uni High’s laboratory school mission by providing funding for cutting edge technology. Support in this way ensures our students engage in optimal learning methods, and our faculty remain at the forefront of research and information. Today, the Frankel Scholars program is connecting Uni High students and faculty across the wider University of Illinois community.

After his time at the Uni High and the University of Illinois David worked in high-performance computer and networking technology. He founded Jetstream Communications, Inc. in 1994 which supplied voice-over packet technology to telecommunications carriers. In 2007 David founded ZipDX, a provider of specialty communication services. The ZipDX telemeeting platform solves problems that cannot be addressed with conventional solutions such as “high-value” situations that involve research, training, sensitive conversations, and decision-makers speaking different languages.

Since 2012 David’s focus has shifted to finding ways to mitigate illegal robocalls at their source – their initial entrance in the telephone network. He works collaboratively across the industry with regulators and enforcers and maintains a blog on the subject: www.LegalCallsOnly.org.

David currently resides in Utah after living and working in Silicon Valley for twenty-six years. He enjoys flying his airplane, a skill he learned at the University of Illinois’ Institute of Aviation.



2019 Beberman Award Winner: Noel Salinger

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Noel Salinger is the thirty-fourth recipient of the Max Beberman Distinguished Alumni Award. Noel is a member of the University of Illinois Laboratory High School class of 1969. He graduated with an AB magna cum laude from Syracuse University and completed an AM at the University of Chicago. Noel Salinger has spent his career and private life in service of education, research, civil liberties and social welfare on the national landscape.

Noel began his work in communications and external relations at the American Bar Association in Chicago, Illinois, which soon led him to the work of institutional advancement, raising funds for educational institutions in support of civil liberties, social welfare, public health and higher education.

From 1980 to 1991, Noel held several positions in development at the National Headquarters of the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation in New York City, ultimately as Director of Development. His work supported programs including reproductive freedom, capital punishment and voting rights. He also played a key role in founding the ACLU programs in immigrants’ rights and LGBTQ rights.

Noel then returned to Illinois to spend seventeen years at the University of Chicago. He began as Director of Development at the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, ranked among the top five public analysis schools in the United States. Noel went on to become Director of Development for the University of Chicago Social Sciences Division and then the University-wide Associate Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations. Noel’s work at the University of Chicago led to the creation of the Human Rights Program and the founding of the Odyssey Scholarships, which eliminates student loans for students from modest income families.

In 2008, he moved to Washington DC to become the Associate Vice President for Medical Center Development at The George Washington University. Noel expanded philanthropic support for the School of Medicine and Health Sciences, School of Nursing and School of Public Health and Health Services.

Before retiring in 2018, Noel spent seven years as Director of Individual Giving at the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex, playing a major role in the $1.8 billion Smithsonian Campaign.

As a volunteer, Noel has served on numerous committees and as a member of the Board of Directors and Treasurer for the Roger Baldwin Foundation of Illinois, the tax exempt arm of the Illinois ACLU. He currently serves on the Finance Committee of the American Historical Association in Washington, DC.

2018 Beberman Award Winner: Janet Dobrovolny

Janet Dobrovolny graduated from Stanford University with numerous honors at the age of 19. She is a member of Stanford Cap and Gown, the honorary women’s society that admits scholars based on academic merit and community service. Janet earned her J.D. at the University of California, was admitted to the California Bar Association, served as an intern with San Francisco-area public defenders, and started her own law firm in 1979. She has been quoted in several popular books by well-known personality Suze Orman and has presented estate- planning seminars with Orman on public television throughout the country. A recognized expert on trusts and conservatorships, Janet has been the legal consultant and author behind various Orman publications and the Suze Orman Protection Portfolio software, which has sold more than a million copies.

Janet’s volunteer leadership includes work with the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco; V-Day, a non-profit that seeks to stop violence against women; the Alan Beaven Family Fund, which honors a September 11th Flight 93 survivor and addresses environmental issues; and the humanitarian PRASAD Project, which promotes health, education and sustainable community development in India, dental care in the United States, and eye care in Mexico. Janet also works with an organization recognized by UNESCO that protects repositories of cultural diversity and creative expression, particularly of oral traditions. Janet serves on the Dean of the University Department of Social Work’s fundraising committee. The President’s Council of the University of Illinois Foundation recently extended membership to Janet based on her fundraising for the J.S. Dobrovolny Chair in Entrepreneurial Engineering.

2017 Beberman Award Winner: Richard Newmark

Newmark set a great example in his professional career through leadership, scholarship and publications. He continues his leadership roles in the community in the areas of education and the environment. His contributions to community, public service, and civic activities are emblematic of the Uni High mission to encourage citizenship and influence the educational community.

He has been a leader in many organizations including the St. Paul Audubon Society, the Environmental Issues Committee, the St. Paul Classic Bike Ride, the Woodbury Environmental Advisory Commission the St. Paul Neighborhood Energy Consortium, the District 1 Community Council and the St. Paul School Board Gifted & Talented Committee.

Newmark attended Harvard University and completed his PhD at the University of California at Berkeley. In 2001 Richard retired from 3M as a Corporate Scientist from the Corporate Research Analytical Laboratory where he specialized in the analysis of chemical materials using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR).

2016 Beberman Award Winner: Alexander Rabinowitch

Alexander Rabinowitch is named the 2016 Max Beberman Distinguished Alumni Award by the University of Illinois Laboratory High School. He is a Uni High graduate from the class of 1952. Professor Emeritus of History, Indiana University, Bloomington, where he taught from 1968 until 1999, and Affiliated Research Scholar, St. Petersburg Institute of History, Russian Academy of Sciences since 2013. Rabinowitch received his B.A. at Knox College, 1956; M.A. at the University of Chicago, 1961; and Ph.D. at Indiana University, 1965. He is recognized internationally as a leading expert on the Bolsheviks, the Russian Revolution of 1917, and the Russian civil war. Upon publication, his best-known book, The Bolsheviks Come to Power: The Revolution of 1917 in Petrograd (1976), was widely acclaimed by Western scholars as a major breakthrough in study of the Russian revolution. He has been a Senior Fellow of the Harriman Institute, Columbia University; the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; and the Hoover Institution, Stanford, and was elected a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

2015 Beberman Award Winner: W. Ford Doolittle

In 2014 Doolittle was awarded the Herzberg Gold Medal for Science and Engineering, the top award given by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. He was a Guggenheim Fellow and is a member of American Academy of Microbiology, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, an Institute Fellow of CIFAR and a Foreign Member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Doolittle has been at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia since 1971. The Urbana native attended local schools and graduated from Uni High in 1959. He earned a BA in Biochemical Science from Harvard College in 1963 and a PhD in Biological Science from Stanford University in 1969 with a focus on bacterial genetics. He joined the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Dalhousie in 1971 and has been there ever since. He is now Professor Emeritus, but still working full time. For 20 years he was the Director of the Program in Evolutionary Biology of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), and for seven, a CRC Chair. Doolittle received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2013.

2014 Beberman Award Winner: Shirley Marco Kulwin

Shirley is a life-long learner. After graduating from Uni High, she completed her B.A. at a time when only 6% of the U.S. female, college-age population attended college. She trained at the Grain Institute of the Chicago Board of Trade in the 1950s. She was certified as a Master Gardener in 1996, as an Indiana Real Estate Salesperson in 2002 and as an Indiana Real Estate Broker in 2014. Shirley’s business career broke through the gender barriers that were formidable before the Women’s Liberation Movement in the 1970s. She began in the Marshall Field Executive Training Program in Chicago in 1956. She worked in real estate, and as a stock broker in the 1950s and 1960s before heading the Marco Steel Supply Company from 1976 to 1984 and the Kulwin Electric Supply Company from 1987 to 1994. Shirley has been a very active member of her community. She has served on the boards and committees of many not for profit institutions in Indianapolis including serving as the President of the Progressive Club, as a member of the Indianapolis Women’s Club, the Board of Governors of the Indianapolis Art Museum, the Indianapolis Committee of Foreign Affairs, the Herron Art Board of Indiana University, the United Way of Indianapolis Budget Committee and the Indianapolis Symphony Women’s Committee Board.

2013 Beberman Award Winner: Nancy Roberts

Nancy Roberts is a Professor of Defense Analysis in the Graduate School of Operational and Information Sciences at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. Dr. Roberts received a PhD from Stanford University, a MA and BA from the University of Illinois, and a Diplome Annuel from the Cours de Civilization Francaise at the Sorbonne. Her previous faculty appointments have been at the Graduate School of Business at the Naval Postgraduate School, the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, and the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University as a visiting associate professor. She has published extensively in the areas of public entrepreneurship and innovation, strategic management and planning, leadership, stakeholder collaboration, complex networks, dialogue and deliberation. Her current research focuses on “wicked problems” such as the tracking and disrupting of terror networks and the organizational challenges of post-conflict reconstruction. She is the co-author of Transforming Public Policy: Dynamics of Public Entrepreneurship and Innovation (1996) and editor of two books—The Transformative Power of Dialogue (2002) and Direct Citizen Participation (2007). Dr. Roberts is also an Associate Editor of PAR, and serves on the editorial boards of Public Management, The American Review of Public Administration, and International Public Management Review. In her previous position as Co-Director of the CORE Lab, she created and developed Defense Analysis courses—Tracking and Disrupting Terror Networks and Visual Analytics. Currently she leads research teams in the investigation of the geospatial, temporal, and relational dimensions of terrorist networks and the development of strategies to counter them.

2012 Beberman Award Winner: Glenn M. Blair Jr.

Following Leal Grade School, Glenn entered the Sub-Freshman class at Uni in the fall of 1947. He was elected President of the Class. During his time at Uni, he was Captain of both the Basketball and Tennis teams, qualifying for the State Tennis Tournament in his senior year. He was a member of Madrigals, a trombonist in the Orchestra and performed in the yearly Gilbert and Sullivan operettas… singing the lead tenor role his senior year. Glenn is a graduate of the University of Illinois College of Commerce and holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Illinois School of Law where he was honored as a Distinguished Alumni. Upon completing the Illinois Bar Exam, he practiced military law for two years and then joined Standard Oil of Ohio where he progressed through marketing, planning, and distribution positions, including two years with British Petroleum in London. He retired early as Vice President Human Resources for Sohio Oil (now a part of British Petroleum) to teach. He completed the Harvard Business School Human Resource Manager's Summer Course and the International Human Resource Executive’s Program in London. Following a year as Visiting Professor of Management at Ohio Northern University, Glenn joined Baldwin-Wallace College. In addition to teaching Management, Human Resources and Law courses within the business division of Baldwin-Wallace, Glenn taught in the Honors Division as well as the campus-wide Freshman Experience program. He was an involved member of the faculty serving in numerous capacities including: Co-Chair of the College Faculty, Director of the Executive MBA, Chair of the Curriculum Committee, Advisor to Omicron Delta Kappa, and Member of the Executive Committee as well as Presidential and Academic Dean Search Committees. Glenn has the unique distinction of being the only Business Division faculty member to have received both the Bechberger Award for work with students and the Strosacker Award for teaching excellence. Following his retirement from teaching, Glenn was called back to serve for a semester as Interim Director of Career Services. On December 16, 2008, at age 73, for the first time since delivering papers in his teens, Glenn was fully retired. Glenn’s primary high school interests, sports and music, have continued. He sang in the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus under George Szell and Robert Shaw and twice performed in Carnegie Hall; maintained his trombone interest with the Bay Village Community Band and every decade or so performed in Community Theater. He was a member of the Board of Trustees for the Great Lakes Theater Festival, Medina County Performing Arts Foundation, Musical Theater Education Program as well as numerous other civic and community activities. He and his daughter, Jennifer, have attended Ohio Light Opera productions together every summer for 38 years. He authored a thinly veiled novel about academic life, The Azgrew Chronicles, and continues to speak on and off campus on a variety of subjects. He is a professional model, member of SAG-AFTRA, appearing in many print and television commercials as well as a master’s athlete in both tennis and track and field. He is the 2005 National Senior Olympics High Jump gold medalist for his age group. Glenn and his wife of 49 years, Mim, live on 20 acres of hills and woods in Medina, Ohio.

2011 Beberman Award Winner: Dr. John Finch

During John's time at Uni he was in the Mixed Chorus, Boy's Ensemble and the Madrigals. John played on the basketball and tennis teams and was the manager on the football team. That's right, they had six man football at Uni High in the 1950s! John served on the Student Council and was Vice President and President of his class. Upon graduating from Uni, John was accepted at Harvard, but being only 16, he decided to attend his pre-medical studies closer to home at the University of Illinois. Three years later John was accepted at Washington University Medical School in St. Louis, Missouri. John enjoyed his Pediatric Residency at the University of Oregon then volunteered to serve in the U.S. Air Force at the beginning of the Viet Nam War. Once he completed his service in the Air Force, John went into private practice in Pediatric Medicine. His practice was quite successful and after only a few years John was offered a fellowship in Radiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. John practiced Diagnostic Radiology in Florida for years including a stint as Chief of Staff at Doctors Hospital. John is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and he is a member of the American College of Radiology, and the American Medical Association. Remarkably, John found time to give to his community as a past president of the Sarasota Chapter of the American Cancer Society and as a member of the organization's state board of directors. During his retirement John has become a world traveler who has visited each of the 7 continents. He has applied his penchant for life-long learning to studying, as he puts it, "the many cultures of our global family." After all of these years, John remains loyal to his Illini roots as a member of the University of Illinois Presidents Council Pentad Circle. John is a longtime supporter of Uni High and he hosts frequent reunions for his class in Florida. He has already begun plans for celebrating the Class of '52 Sixty Year Reunion! John Finch embarked on his relationship with University Laboratory High School and his fellow Uni alumni sixty years ago, yet his friendships endure to this day. John is the ultimate, loyal Uni alumnus. His legacy serves as a beacon for Uni's newest graduates.