On Saturday, Nov. 3, members of the Arts & Sciences community were honored at the university’s annual Founders Day gala. The event commemorated the 1853 founding of Washington University.
Distinguished Faculty Award
James W. and Jean L. Davis Professor
Fiona Marshall is an archaeologist recognized for her work in animal domestication and the spread of food production. She is known particularly for her studies of two unlikely domesticates, donkeys and cats, and for her research on the development and spread of pastoralism in Africa. Marshall also studies the origins of food production in Africa, changing hunter-gatherer societies, and the development of mobile herder responses to climatic uncertainty.
Marshall joined the faculty of Washington University in 1987 after graduate training at the University of California, Berkeley. At Washington University, she developed a zooarchaeological laboratory that facilitates hands-on mammalian osteology training and undergraduate research experiences. Through her research, she has contributed to understanding human-animal relations globally, complex interactions among ancient societies in Africa, the history and resilience of livestock and herding ways of life, and the sustainability of human use of African grasslands.
In 2015, Marshall was installed as the inaugural James W. and Jean L. Davis Professor at Washington University. Students in the Graduate School have twice recognized her for her work as a faculty mentor, most recently with a 2013–14 Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award. She is a fellow of the American Association of Advancement of Science and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, among her numerous professional and academic affiliations.
Distinguished Alumni Awards
James A. Langenfeld
Senior Managing Director, Ankura Consulting
James Langenfeld earned his master's degree in economics in 1975 and his doctorate in 1983. During his 40-year career, he has taught at four universities, held several senior government offices, served as a senior economist in the automobile industry, and most recently has been a consultant with several firms.
Since 1994, Langenfeld has worked at the consulting firms Lexecon, LECG, and Navigant before recently joining Ankura. Prior to his work as a consultant, Langenfeld was a director at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a senior economist at General Motors (GM) in Detroit. An editor and referee of a number of business, economics, and legal journals, Langenfeld has published more than 130 scholarly articles on a variety of economic issues. He has won numerous awards, including the Senior Executive Service Meritorious Service Award from the president of the United States.
Langenfeld, who previously taught economics at Washington University, endowed a professorship in Arts & Sciences in 2018. The James Langenfeld Professor in Industrial Organization will be held by a faculty member in the Department of Economics who works in affiliation with the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy.
President Emeritus, California State University, Bakersfield
Mitchell holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master’s degree in education, and a doctorate in counseling psychology, all from Washington University. He retired from a 50-year career in higher education in June 2018.
California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) appointed Mitchell as its fourth president in July 2004. Under his leadership, the university achieved national recognition for its efforts to extend the excellence and diversity of the faculty and academic programs, to enhance the quality of the student experience, and to strengthen community engagement. At CSUB, Mitchell also served as a professor of psychology, with teaching and research interests in identity construction, multicultural psychology, and psychological assessment.
Mitchell began his professional career at Washington University in 1968, serving first as assistant dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and then as assistant professor of education and black studies and chair of the Black Studies Program. His many accolades include the 2016 Harold Delaney Exemplary Educational Leadership Award from the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education.
President, Merck Research Laboratories
Roger Perlmutter earned an MD/PhD from Washington University in 1979. He currently leads Merck Research Laboratories, Merck’s global research and development organization.
From 2001 to 2012, Perlmutter served as executive vice president and head of research and development at Amgen. In these two settings, he has supervised the discovery, development, and subsequent approval of novel medicines addressing major inflammatory and endocrinologic diseases, as well as breakthrough therapies that stimulate the immune system to destroy cancerous tumors. Most recently, he chartered the effort to develop an effective Ebola virus vaccine that is currently being used in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Before assuming leadership roles in industry, Perlmutter was a professor in the departments of immunology, biochemistry, and medicine at the University of Washington, Seattle. He also chaired the department of immunology, where he served as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and past president of the American Association of Immunologists.