L&S Faculty Awards

Background image: Sather Gate with cherry blossoms in foreground with the Campanile peeking out in the distance
Image credit:
Keegan Houser

The College of Letters & Science Advisory Board is pleased to announce the inaugural recipients of the L&S Faculty Award.

The L&S Faculty Award recognizes and celebrates outstanding L&S faculty members for their exceptional scholarship, service to the College and community, and transformational teaching. These extraordinary individuals not only embody the excellence of the College of Letters & Science, but they also serve as an inspiration to the entire campus community.

An annual awards ceremony to celebrate the recipients is held each spring. 

L&S Faculty Award Categories

David Blackwell Award

Image of David Blackwell teaching in front of a chalkboard

The David Blackwell Award is awarded to faculty recently promoted to tenure.

David Blackwell (1919-2010), Professor of Statistics, was the first African American tenured professor at UC Berkeley. In 1965, he became the first African American scholar to be inducted into the National Academy of Sciences. Professor Blackwell has an incredible history full of accolades, including the Berkeley Citation, the highest honor bestowed by UC Berkeley. A remarkable teacher and mentor, he had a residence hall named after him by Chancellor Christ in 2018. 

Beatriz Manz Award

Headshot of Professor Beatriz Manz

The Beatriz Manz Award is awarded to faculty recently promoted to full professor.

Beatriz Manz was the first Latina full professor at Berkeley. She directed the Berkeley Center for Latin American Studies and also chaired the Department of Ethnic Studies. Her research as an anthropologist has been focused on human rights and justice, particularly among the Mayans in Guatemala. The Committee chose Professor Manz for an award namesake honor because of her exemplary balance of scholarship, teaching, service, and work for the common good.

Jessica Blanche Peixotto Award

Image of Jessica Blanche Peixotto

The Jessica Blanche Peixotto Award is awarded to faculty recently promoted to professor above scale.

Jessica Blanche Peixotto (1864-1941) was the first woman to become a full professor, the first woman to Chair a department at UC Berkeley, and the second woman to earn a Ph.D. from Berkeley. Her work was in social economics, including a comparison of wages and spending in the US and France. She was also active in public service and served on the Council of National Defense during World War I.

Eligibility, Selection Criteria & Nomination Process


L&S faculty may be considered for this award 1-2 years after their last major promotion (assistant to associate; associate to full; full to above-scale).

Selection Criteria

Recipients of L&S Faculty Awards are recognized for:

  • Inspiring scholarship
  • Service above and beyond themselves
  • Leadership
  • Being a changemaker in their field(s)
  • Commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and justice
  • Student mentorship

Nomination Process

The Faculty Awards Working Group, a sub-committee of the L&S Advisory Board, accepts nominations from divisional deans each fall, which are reviewed in January and February. The materials that inform the Working Group include excerpts from the promotion dossier as well as a recommendation letter from the divisional dean. 

Inaugural Recipients of the 2023 L&S Faculty Award

David Blackwell Award

Headshot of Jovan LewisJovan Scott Lewis

Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Geography

Nomination excerpt:

"Jovan Lewis is electric. Both visionary and pragmatic, he has transformed the Geography department through the introduction and development of the concept of Black geographies. His teaching and scholarship have increased the number of African American students in the department, and his is an important voice on the California taskforce on reparations."

Headshot of M Zaletel

Michael Zaletel

Associate Professor and Thomas and Alison Schneider Chair in the Department of Physics

Nomination excerpt:

"Mike is a young "superstar" and condensed matter theorist. He wrote papers and made discoveries that made him very well-known in his field. He's also involved in quantum information science and does pencil/paper theory as well as complex computational theory. He’s a great teacher and has led DEIBJ initiatives in the department."

Beatriz Manz Award

Headshot of SanSan KwanSanSan Kwan

Professor and Chair of the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies

Nomination excerpt:

"SanSan's dedication to the research, teaching, and public mission of the university shows through her record of service from the departmental to the college level. Recently, she completed the yearlong Faculty Leadership Academy and serves as chair in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies all while fostering her own artistic practice. Her service to boards and committees within the Bay Area and internationally underscores her dedicated leadership and excellence."

Headshot of L RaifordLeigh Raiford

Professor of African American Studies and Director of the Black Studies Collaboratory

Nomination excerpt:

"Raiford's dossier includes a remarkably diverse array of additional scholarly and creative work, including museum catalog essays, creative nonfiction, and exhibition curation. Her research focuses on race, gender, justice, and visuality - specifically, how blackness is represented in visual culture and social justice movements. She is the director of the Black Studies Collaboratory, a $2.8M project funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and serves as affiliate faculty in the Program in American Studies and the Department of Gender and Women's Studies."

Jessica Blanche Peixotto Award

Headshot of HariharanIswar Hariharan

Professor of Cell Biology, Development and Physiology and Co-Chair of the Department of Molecular & Cell Biology

Nomination excerpt:

"In recognition for his outstanding contributions to teaching, Hariharan was awarded the Department's Teaching Excellence Award for 2018-19. He has also been an active and effective mentor, and the Hariharan Lab has trained many undergraduates and postdoctoral fellows, as well as a good number of graduate students. Seventeen of his trainees are now faculty at other institutions."

Awards Ceremony Highlights

May 24, 2023

The College of Letters & Science is at an inflection point in our history, and we continually strive to make Berkeley as renowned worldwide for its undergraduate education as it has always been for the excellence of its research. These extraordinary recipients each embody the true excellence of the College of Letters & Science.

These awardees were celebrated at a private ceremony and reception on May 24. Photos below are by Keegan Houser. 

Group shot of L&S Faculty Award 2023 winners

Michael Zaletel, SanSan Kwan, Leigh Raiford, Beatriz Manz, Iswar Hariharan & Jovan Lewis

Manz Award Winners (Kwan and Raiford) pose with namesake, Beatriz Manz

2023 Beatriz Manz Award winners, SanSan Kwan and Leigh Raiford, pose with award namesake, Beatriz Manz