Photo taken from ground-level down a snow-covered path leading to Adelbert Hall as students walk by

Time to reflect: The top 19 stories of 2019

From influential guests on campus to research breakthroughs, 2019 was full of headlines at Case Western Reserve University. As we look forward to a new year, we wanted to take the time to look back at what happened at Case Western Reserve.

In 2019, we announced the totals from the Forward Thinking capital campaign, which concluded at the end of 2018 with $1.82 billion in pledges and gifts. And our donors continued to show their support for the university throughout the year, from alumnus Coleman P. Burke’s $10 million gift to launch a new environmental law center to the Ralph T. and Esther L. Warburton Foundation’s pledge of $3 million for medicine, nursing and dental medicine scholarships, to alumnus Kevin J. Kranzusch’s $5 million gift to help establish a new computer and data sciences department in the Case School of Engineering.

In October, we looked toward the future of performing arts at Case Western Reserve with the groundbreaking of Phase II of the Maltz Performing Arts Center.

And we celebrated the accomplishments of members of the university community, from English Professor Michael Clune’s recognition as a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow to now-alumna Megan Masterson’s Gates-Cambridge Scholarship to two alumnae’s selection for Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants.

Below, our most-read news and research stories from 2019* are listed in ascending order.

19. First Destination Survey: Find out where the Class of 2018 landed after graduation

Just as the university prepared for the Class of 2019 to graduate, we highlighted the First Destination Survey, which revealed what the Class of 2018 had been up to since commencement.

18. Law professor warns that denaturalization becoming normalized in United States

Cassandra Burke Robertson, the John Deaver Drinko – BakerHostetler Professor of Law and director of the Center for Professional Ethics, described the increasing use of denaturalization to take away citizenship from naturalized citizens, at times without the individual even knowing. She co-authored a piece on the topic that appeared in New York University Law Review.

17. CWRU storms CES 2019

Case Western Reserve had a strong presence at CES, an event that brings together some of the top players in technology and innovation. CWRU’s representatives included students showcasing their startups, Sears think[box], Interactive Commons and more.

16. Five honored with 2019 Faculty Distinguished Research Award

This year’s Faculty Distinguished Research Awards went to Jill S. Barnholtz-Sloan, the Sally S. Morley Designated Professor in Brain Tumor Research; Gary Galbraith, professor of dance; Jonathan L. Haines, the Mary W. Sheldon MD Professor of Genomic Sciences; Roger Quinn, the Arthur P. Armington Professor of Engineering; and Jagdip Singh, the AT&T Professor of Marketing.

15. Case Western Reserve University receives INSIGHT Into Diversity 2019 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award

For the eighth straight year, Case Western Reserve University was among INSIGHT Into Diversity’s honorees for the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award, which recognizes institutions that have shown a commitment to diversity and inclusion.

14. Two students earn prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarships

Now seniors, William “Sam” Nutt, a biochemistry and Chinese major, and Christine Smothers, a nursing student, received the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, which recognizes sophomores and juniors who have demonstrated a potential for careers in mathematics, engineering or the natural sciences. 

13. Consider these interesting courses as you plan your fall 2019 schedule

Last spring, we highlighted 10 interesting classes that would be offered this fall as students registered for classes. We shared a similar article this fall for classes that will be offered in the spring.

12. 5 questions with… sophomore, Shave It Off participant Nedal Eid

Then-sophomore Nedal Eid shared his experiences growing his hair out—only to have it shaved off for a fundraiser held each spring for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

11. CWRU advances in U.S. News & World Report rankings

Case Western Reserve moved up in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings to 40th this year, reclaiming two of five spots it lost the previous year.

10. Case Western Reserve, Cleveland Clinic launch new era of health education with Samson Pavilion dedication

The Health Education Campus’s centerpiece—the Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion—opened in April, bringing together the university’s medical, nursing, dental medicine and physician assistant students, including those at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine.

9. A 3.8-million-year-old fossil reveals the face of Lucy’s ancestor

Yohannes Haile-Selassie, an adjunct professor and curator at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, was part of a research team that discovered a fossil from an early human ancestor. Beverly Saylor, a professor in the Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences, was part of the team that determined the fossil’s age. Their work was the focus of two papers published in Nature.

8. Real-life saga of a smuggled (and for-sale) dinosaur skeleton chosen as 2019 CWRU common reading selection

This year’s common reading selection was The Dinosaur Artist: Obsession, Betrayal, and the Quest for Earth’s Ultimate Trophy by Paige Williams, who came to campus to speak at fall convocation.

7. What’s next? Eight outstanding CWRU grads share their on-campus experiences—and post-graduation plans

Just before commencement, standout graduates from each of CWRU’s schools weighed in on their student experiences and what their future plans entailed.

6. Sonia Manzano—a pioneering figure in TV history—continues the 2019-20 Power of Diversity Lecture Series

This fall, Case Western Reserve welcomed Sonia Manzano, known for her role as Maria on Sesame Street, to deliver a talk as part of the Power of Diversity Lecture Series.

5. Actor, children’s-literacy and AIDS-research advocate LeVar Burton named 2019 Inamori Ethics Prize-winner

The Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence at Case Western Reserve University selected LeVar Burton for the 2019 Inamori Ethics Prize. Burton is known for his roles on Reading Rainbow and Star Trek: The Next Generation and has demonstrated dedication to children’s literacy and AIDS research.

4. Study: Therapy dogs reduce children’s fear, anxiety during dentist appointments

Working with the School of Dental Medicine, Aviva Vincent, an instructor and researcher at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, examined how certified therapy dogs may help reduce fear in children at the dentist.

3. Scout RFP, startup founded by Case Western Reserve University alums, sold for $540 million

A startup founded by CWRU alumni sold for $540 million to Workday Inc. The company, Scout RFP, provides online tools and services for companies in business dealings. 

2. By the numbers: Meet the Class of 2023

In August, CWRU welcomed roughly 1,360 first-year and 60 transfer students. To get to know them a bit better, we looked at where they came from and their experiences prior to joining our community.

1. Discovering a new form of communication in the brain

Dominique Durand, the Elmer Lincoln Lindseth Professor in Biomedical Engineering and director of the Neural Engineering Center at the Case School of Engineering, led research on what is believed to be a new form of communication in the brain.

Share your favorites

Did your favorite story of 2019 make the list, or did you have a top story that isn’t included here? Tell us in the comments.

*This list does not include obituaries of the faculty, staff and students who passed away during 2019.