Alumni Achievement Award
The Alumni Achievement Award, established in 1957, is the highest honor bestowed upon alumni of the University of Illinois by the Alumni Association on behalf of the University. The award is presented to those alumni who have attained outstanding success and national or international distinction in their chosen profession or life’s work, and whose accomplishments reflect admirably on, or bring honor to, their Alma Mater.
William Edelstein ’65 las is honored for his pioneering research in the field of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). As a postdoctoral student at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, Edelstein was the primary inventor of the revolutionary “spin warp” imaging technique, which is still used in all commercial MRI systems. Later, as a researcher for General Electric, he and his colleagues continued to refine MRI technology in numerous ways, including creation of the first high-field head image and development of techniques for taking detailed, composite images of smaller portions of the body, such as the spine. Several years after retiring from General Electric in 2001, Edelstein accepted an appointment as a visiting distinguished professor of radiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he is exploring methods for shortening the duration of MRI scans and reducing high-level acoustic noise. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Institute of Physics (UK) and the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, which awarded him its Gold Medal Prize in 1990. Other honors include the 2005 Industrial Applications of Physics Prize from the American Institute of Physics and the 2008 Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Illinois College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, where Edelstein completed a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1965.
Thomas Siebel ’75 las, MBA ’83, MS ’85 eng
is honored for his leadership in defining the computer software industry and helping to create what is universally known today as Silicon Valley. Chairman and chief executive officer of C3 Energy, a software company that helps reduce an organization’s carbon footprint, he previously founded and led Siebel Systems, one of the world’s leading business software companies, which merged with Oracle Corporation in 2006. In addition to his entrepreneurial vision, Siebel is recognized as one of the world’s top philanthropists, having created The Siebel Foundation and The Meth Project Foundation to improve education, scholarship, community life and prevention of teen drug use. He continues to generously support the University of Illinois, where he established the Siebel Center for Computer Science and endowed two professorships. The recipient of the UI Board of Trustees’ Distinguished Service Medallion as well as the Presidential Award and Medallion, Siebel is a Lincoln Academy Laureate, member of the UI Engineering Hall of fame and director of Stanford’s Hoover Institution. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in history from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in 1975, a master of business administration from the College of Business in 1983, a master of science in computer science from the College of Engineering in 1985 and an honorary doctorate of engineering in 2006.