Honored alumni guests return to WRA campus

Honored alumni guests return to WRA campus

This Friday, Western Reserve Academy will welcome two esteemed guests back to campus. Dr. Anthony Wynshaw-Boris '73 is the 2017 recipient of the Edward W. Morley Medal, an honor bestowed to a WRA graduate who has demonstrated a significant contribution or service to the science community. Also returning to campus is Jeff Schaffer '87, who has led an exciting career as a film and television writer, producer and director. He returns to WRA to speak with students about writing and working in the entertainment industry.

Dr. Wynshaw-Boris is a Professor and Chairman in the Department of Genetics at Case Western Reserve University's School of Medicine, which is where he received his MD/PhD. In 1994, he set up an independent laboratory in the National Human Genome Research Institute of the NIH, where he initiated a research program studying human genetic diseases, with a focus on neurogenetic diseases through mouse models. In 1999, he moved to the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, where he became Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, as well as Chief of the Division of Medical Genetics in the Department of Pediatrics.

In 2007, he moved to University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, where he was named the Charles J. Epstein Professor of Human Genetics and Pediatrics and the Chief of the Division of Medical Genetics in the Department of Pediatrics.

In June 2013, he returned to Cleveland to become the Chair of the Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences.

His research has focused on understanding genetic and biochemical pathways important for the development and function of the mammalian central nervous system. A recent interest in the Wynshaw-Boris lab has also been in autism, and he has examined variations in genes and pathways important for neurogenesis, mitosis and apoptosis in autism.

In a recent meeting of the Morley Medal committee, it was stated that one of the reasons for selecting Dr. Wynshaw-Boris was, in part, due to the fact that: "His record is superb, and some of his research intersects issues of current societal concern (particularly the autism work)."

In the past, Dr. Wynshaw-Boris has made visits to campus to work with student-scientists. During his visit, he will give his Morley Medal talk before the entire school in the Chapel during Morning Meeting.

"I want to thank you and the committee for selecting me for the Morley Award," said Dr. Wynshaw Boris. "It is a great honor."

Each Morley Medal recipient has gifted the science community with great insight and pushed for further depth and discovery. Whether their field delves in medicine, engineering, particle physics, anthropology — they have pursued truth and knowledge and, in doing so, worked to improve the human condition.


Schaffer returns to WRA to lend his creative insight to and discuss his experiences in Hollywood and entertainment with the student body. He is a graduate of Harvard University and has been nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, the Writers Guild of America Award for Television and more.

Schaffer has worked on many notable television series, including writing for Seinfeld — and serving as the executive producer during its ninth season. He created The League, a sitcom series, alongside his wife, Jackie Schaffer. He has also directed several episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Schaffer attributes much of his creative inspiration to his life and times at Reserve in the dorms and classrooms.

As a film writer, he has contributed to film scripts such as Brüno and The Dictator. He also wrote and directed the 2004 comedy EuroTrip.

On Friday, Schaffer will make visits to several English, Creative Writing and Acting classrooms. He will also teach the Friday night ECHO, "From Hudson to Hollywood," alongside WRA End User Support and Systems Technician Caitlin Fritz. He will discuss his career, the impact writing had on his life and give students the opportunity to ask questions and learn from a prominent member in the entertainment and writing industry.

We look forward to welcoming back our two WRA graduates and are eager to learn from their experiences, listen to their stories and celebrate their tremendous accomplishments.