The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

Midway will be taking a break over the summer
After reminiscing with fond memories, Class of 2024 graduates in Rockefeller Chapel

Ralph Hruban recognized for research with alumni award

Bryce Light
Class of 1977 alumnus Ralph Hruban has received the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Class of 1977 alumnus Ralph Hruban, a renowned figure in the medical community and an active researcher of pancreatic cancer, has received the Distinguished Alumni Award. Journalist Maria Hinojosa, Class of 1979, has received the Distinguished Alumna Award.

Reflecting on his years at Lab, Dr. Hruban, a Lab lifer, praised the school’s commitment to experiential learning.

“For me, my recollections of Lab School are that it’s an extraordinary teaching environment,” Dr. Hruban said. “Teachers embraced John Dewey’s philosophy of experiential learning, presenting us with challenges, welcoming our questions and being wonderfully tolerant of our answers.” 

Dr. Hruban vividly remembered specific projects that influenced his passion for science. 

“There was one project called Zinch Valley where we analyzed a prehistoric site to determine if its inhabitants were hunters or gatherers,” Dr. Hurban said. “Our science teacher challenged us to decide what to put on Voyager’s golden record. I helped design the plaque with a map of the solar system.”

These experiences at Lab impacted Dr. Hruban’s professional trajectory. 

“The emphasis on experiential learning fostered a lifelong love of learning and curiosity,” he said. “I think whatever you go into, whether it’s science, medicine, law, journalism, music, the arts, keeping that passion going in is so critical, and certainly the Lab School for me was a wonderful environment to ignite the passion.”

This foundation supported his eventual focus on pancreatic cancer research, where he has made significant contributions.

“My passion is studying cancer of the pancreas. It’s one of the deadliest of all cancers, and early in my career, I was fortunate to join a group of physician-scientists to study this disease,” Dr. Hruban said.

To the current Lab community, he offered words of encouragement: “Pursue your passion, whatever it may be. The environment at Lab welcomes different passions, and it’s critical to stay with it.”

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About the Contributors
Edward Park
Edward Park, Assistant Editor
Edward Park is a member of the Class of 2025 and serves as an assistant editor. He joined the journalism staff in the 2022-23 school year as a sophomore. Outside of journalism, Edward enjoys watching sports and cooking for his family.
Bryce Light
Bryce Light, Photographer
Bryce Light is a beginning photojournalist and a member of the Class of 2025. His favorite part of photojournalism is documenting school events. Outside of photojournalism, Bryce enjoys soccer, video games and taking his dogs on walks. Awards: 2024 Scholastic Press Association of Chicago, sports photo: excellent 2024 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: First place, single spot news photograph, “U-High celebrates community spirit in annual Homecoming assembly” (Photo 4: Teacher Matt Bonges)

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