President’s Office

The Vollum Award for Distinguished Accomplishment in Science and Technology

The Vollum Award was created by Reed College in 1975 as a tribute to the late C. Howard Vollum, a graduate of the class of 1936, a Reed trustee, and a pioneer in the field of electronics who helped found Tektronix.

The Vollum Award is intended to recognize and celebrate the exceptional achievement of a member of the scientific and technical community of the Northwest. The Vollum Award was endowed in 1975 by a grant from the Millicent Foundation, now part of the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.

Recipients of the Vollum Award

2022–2023: Kevan M. Shokat ’86, professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology at the University of California, San Francisco; professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley;  and investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Seattle, WA. Shokat is best known for targeting a mutation that drives more than 1 in 10 lung cancers, opening up a new arena of cancer treatment discovery. The target, K-Ras, is the most common driver of cancer and was considered “undruggable” by most cancer researchers after 40 years of failed attempts to block its function. Shokat’s discovery of a K-Ras blocker broke through this decades-old barrier and threw open the doors to a new class of cancer treatments. Shokat is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The National Academy of Sciences recently honored him with its 2023 NAS Award for Scientific Discovery for his pioneering research. In addition to his Reed degree, Shokat earned a doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and completed post-doctoral training at Stanford University.

2018–2019: Mary Ruckelshaus, managing director of the Natural Capital Project (NatCap) and senior research associate at Stanford University. NatCap is a partnership among universities and NGOs that aims to transform decisions using the latest science of natural capital/ecosystem service values. Ruckelshaus previously led the Ecosystem Science Program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, WA. Prior to that, she was an assistant professor of biological sciences at Florida State University. The main focus of her recent work is developing standard approaches for valuing nature and mainstreaming them into high-leverage decisions globally. Ruckelshaus serves on the science council of The Nature Conservancy and is past chair of its Washington Board, was lead author and reviewer for the 2013 and 2017 US National Climate Assessments, and is a past chair of the Science Advisory Board of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS). She was chief scientist for the Puget Sound Partnership, a public-private institution charged with achieving recovery of the Puget Sound terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems. Ruckelshaus has a bachelor’s degree in human biology from Stanford University, a master’s degree in fisheries from the University of Washington, and a doctoral degree in botany, also from Washington.

2017–2018: Geraldine (Geri) Richmond, presidential chair in science and professor of chemistry at the University of Oregon. Her research using laser spectroscopy and computational methods focuses on understanding environmentally and technologically important processes that occur at water, semiconductor, and mineral surfaces. Richmond is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a fellow of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the American Physical Society (APS), and the Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She has served in leadership roles on many international, national, and state governing and advisory boards, including as a current member of the National Science Board and recent president of AAAS. Richmond is the founder and director of COACh, a grassroots organization that has been assisting in the advancement of thousands of women scientists around the globe since 1997. Awards for her scientific accomplishments include the National Medal of Science from President Obama, the ACS Joel H. Hildebrand Award, and the American Physical Society Davisson-Germer Prize. Awards for these education, outreach, and science capacity–building efforts include the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring; the ACS Award for Encouraging Women in the Chemical Sciences; and the ACS Charles L. Parsons Award.

2016–2017: No award conferred

2015–2016: Mary-Claire King, American human geneticist. She is a professor at the University of Washington, where she studies the genetics and interaction of genetics and environmental influences on human conditions such as HIV, lupus, inherited deafness, and breast and ovarian cancer. King is known worldwide for her major accomplishments in human genetics research. Some of her most noteworthy achievements include identifying the BRCA1 gene responsible for inherited susceptibility to breast cancer, demonstrating that the genomes of humans and chimpanzees are 99% genetically identical, and pioneering the application of genomic-sequencing methods in forensics to identify victims of human rights abuse.

2014–2015: Ivan Sutherland, visiting scientist at the Asynchronous Research Center, Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science, Portland State University. Sutherland is an American computer scientist and internet pioneer, widely regarded as the "father of computer graphics." Sutherland is a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. He holds the 1988 Turing Award and the 2012 Kyoto Prize. He has made contributions to computer graphics, robotics, and the design of integrated circuits. Sutherland is the recipient of the 2014 Howard Vollum Award for Distinguished Accomplishment in Science and Technology.

2013–2014: Kip Thorne, Richard P. Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, Emeritus, at the California Institute of Technology. Thorne's research has focused on Einstein's general theory of relativity and on astrophysics, with emphasis on relativistic stars, black holes, wormholes, the theory of time travel, and especially gravitational waves. He was cofounder (with R. Weiss and R.W.P. Drever) of the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) Project, with which he is still associated. Thorne was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1972, the National Academy of Sciences in 1973, and the Russian Academy of Sciences and the American Philosophical Society in 1999. He has been awarded the Karl Schwarzschild Medal of the German Astronomical Society; the Albert Einstein Medal of the Albert Einstein Society in Berne, Switzerland; and the Niels Bohr Gold Medal from UNESCO. Thorne was named California Scientist of the Year in 2004.

2012–2013: Ed Lazowska, Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington. Dr. Lazowska's research and teaching focus on the design, implementation, and analysis of high-performance computing and communication systems.

2011–2012: Lynn M. Riddiford, Professor of Biology Emerita, University of Washington; Senior Fellow, Janelia Farm Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Riddiford’s research on molting and metamorphosis in the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta, has been instrumental in the establishment of this organism as a model for the endocrine regulation of the post-embryonic development of insects. In 2006, the Entomological Society of America held a symposium in Riddiford’s honor. Other honors include the Entomological Society of America (ESA) Recognition Award in Insect Physiology, Biochemistry, and Toxicology (1997); the Gregor J. Mendel Honorary Medal for Merit in the Biological Sciences (1998); and election into the National Academy of Sciences (2009).

2010–2011: Brian Druker, Director, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute; JELD-WEN Chair of Leukemia Research at Oregon Health & Science University; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Druker developed Gleevec, a targeted cancer drug delivered in the form of a simple, daily pill that treats chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and ten other forms of cancer. In 2009 Druker, along with Gleevec collaborators Charles Sawyers and Nicholas Lydon, received the Lasker-Debakey Clinical Medical Research Award. Other honors include election into the National Academy of Sciences in 2007. In 2003, an editorial published in the New England Journal of Medicine dubbed Gleevec the "gold standard" treatment for CML, and the drug became the frontline therapy.

2009–2010: Carl E. Wieman, Director, Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative, and Professor of Physics—University of British Columbia; Director, CU Science Education Initiative, and Distinguished Professor of Physics—University of Colorado. Carl Wieman, a physicist, won the Nobel Prize in 2001 (along with Eric Allin Cornell and Wolfgang Ketterle) for his work on atom-trapping and Bose-Einstein condensation. This pioneering work played a key role in opening a fertile new research area in contemporary experimental physics. In 2007, the American Association of Physics Teachers awarded Wieman the Oersted Medal, which recognizes notable contributions to the teaching of physics. Wieman also serves as Chair of the Board on Science Education of the National Academy of Sciences.

2008–2009: Kenneth Koe ’45, Retired chemist and research Advisor for Pfizer Inc. who played a primary role in developing the antidepressant Zoloft, author or co-author of fourteen U.S. patents and 150 technical articles and abstracts.

2007–2008: Stanley Fields, Professor of Genome Sciences, Professor of Medicine, and Adjunct Professor of Microbiology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute. National Academy of Sciences member since 2000; created the two-hybrid system, a powerful general method for detecting protein-protein interactions in living cells; analyzes the function of proteins from the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker’s yeast) on a genome-wide basis and uses this yeast to develop assays that can be applied to proteins from any organism.

2006–2007: Daniel W. Bump ’74, professor of Mathematics, Stanford University; leader in the area of multiple Dirichlet series mathematics; worked in automorphic forms, representation theory, theta function theory, and number theory; authored the comprehensive graduate-level book Li Groups and published in Annals of Mathematics and Inventiones.

2005–2006: Linus Torvalds, Fellow, Open Source Development Lab, Beaverton, Oregon; creator of the Linux computer operating system.

2004–2005: Warren M. Washington, Senior Scientist and Head of the Climate Change Research Section, Climate and Global Dynamics Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research; one of the country's preeminent climate researchers and a pioneer in the development of computer models for the study of global climate.

2003–2004: Leroy Hood, President, Institute for Systems Biology, Seattle, one of the world's leading scientists in molecular biotechnology and genomics, early advocate and key player in the Human Genome Project.

2002–2003: Kenneth N. Raymond ’64, pioneer in bioinorganic chemistry with his research in how iron is transported in the body; the characteristics of coordination chemistry of the siderophores, and the role that molecular recognition plays in microbial iron transport, have been major contributions of his research.

2001–2002: No award conferred

2000–2001: James Russell ’53, physicist, inventor, and pioneer of optical digital recording and several fundamental design elements that led to the development of compact disc and CD-ROM technology.

1999–2000: Jane Lubchenco, Wayne and Gladys Valley Professor of Marine Biology and distinguished professor of zoology at Oregon State University, world-renowned marine ecologist and leading advocate for basing environmental policies on sound scientific understanding.

1998–1999: No award conferred

1997–1998: Russell J. Donnelly, professor of physics and director of the cryogenic helium turbulence laboratory at the University of Oregon, internationally respected scientist and educator.

1996–1997: Edwin G. Krebs, Nobel Prize winner, professor emeritus of pharmacology and biochemistry at the University of Washington, a pioneer in unraveling the complex pathways by which hormones and drugs regulate cellular functions.

1995–1996: Adele Goldberg, chairman of the board of ParcPlace-Digitalk Inc., a market-leading Smalltalk software technology corporation, and one of the most influential women in the computing industry.

1994–1995: Brian W. Matthews, noted researcher in molecular biology at the University of Oregon, Oregon Health Sciences University, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

1993–1994: Lynwood W. Swanson, co-founder, president, and CEO of FEI Company, renowned for research in high-field electron and ion emission phenomena.

1992–1993: Jerry F. Franklin, University of Washington expert on the ecology of old-growth forests, pioneer of innovative scientific approaches to contentious issues of threatened resources.

1991–1992: Steven P. Jobs ’76, co-founder of Apple Computer and founder of NeXT Computer, pioneer in manufacturing strategy and technological entrepreneurship.

1990–1991: Lewis H. Kleinholz, Reed professor of biology emeritus, aviation physiologist in World War II and a noted marine biologist. Kleinholz died in 2001.

1989–1990: Michael L. Posner, professor of neuropsychology and psychology at the University of Oregon, expert in human learning, perception, and motivation.

1988–1989: Harold K. Lonsdale, chief executive officer and chairman, Bend Research, Inc., leading membrane technologist.

1987–1988: Gertrude F. Rempfer, electron physicist, professor emerita at Portland State University, developer of an optical system for the photoelectron microscope.

1986–1987: David Powell Shoemaker ’42, crystallographer, professor of chemistry emeritus at Oregon State University. Shoemaker died in 1995.

1985–1986: Howard S. Mason, OHSU biochemist, outstanding researcher and promoter of the international exchange of scientific ideas.

1984–1985: George Streisinger, internationally acclaimed molecular biologist associated with the California Institute of Technology, the Carnegie Institution, and the University of Oregon.

Also 1984–1985: William H. Gates, co-founder of Microsoft.

1983–1984: Paul Lutus, innovative computer specialist, inventor of the Apple Writer program and the GraFORTH language.

1982–1983: Victor Klee, eminent mathematician, professor of mathematics at the University of Washington for nearly 54 years, beginning in 1957. Klee died in 2007.

1981–1982: M. Lowell Edwards, engineer and inventor, and Albert Starr, one of the world’s leading cardiac surgeons, developers of the Starr-Edwards heart valve.

1980–1981: Paul H. Emmett, outstanding contributor to the science of catalysis, researcher at the Fixed Nitrogen Research Laboratory and Johns Hopkins.

1979–1980: Linus C. Pauling, only winner of two unshared Nobel Prizes, for chemistry in 1954 and the Peace Prize in 1962; researcher and teacher; 1959 recipient of an honorary degree from Reed. Pauling died in 1994.

1978–1979: C. Norman Winningstad, founder of Floating Point Systems, where he managed the development of the ultra-fast computer.

1977–1978: Arthur F. Scott, chemistry professor at Reed, 1923–26 and from 1937 until his death in 1982; made major contributions in teaching, research, and education.

1976–1977: John M. Fluke, (deceased) developer of early electronic instruments and founder of John Fluke Mfg. Co.

1975–1976: Douglas C. Strain, instrument designer, founder of Electro Scientific Industries, active in support of higher education.