The Chronicle’s view: Capecchi makes us proud

Mario Capecchi is a distinguished professor who has accomplished something that will forever be a highlight in the history of the U.

Capecchi participated in decades of research that involved genetically altering mice to adjust their DNA structures — which enabled researchers to learn how various diseases work and opens the possibility for cures. Capecchi’s work was finally rewarded with the highest of honors — the Nobel Prize.

From a childhood during which his mother was imprisoned in Italy during the Nazi regime, Capecchi’s rise to academic success in the United States is nothing short of amazing, and the honor he has brought to our university is unbelievable.

After many highs in academia, athletics and student body accomplishments, Capecchi’s Nobel Prize takes its place as the most important award the U has ever been associated with. Words could not hope to express the monumental nature of this award and what it has done for the U community. A Nobel Prize is the objective standard for excellence, and Capecchi’s award has truly given everyone at the U something to be proud of.

As we celebrate the success of Capecchi and the honor he has brought to the U, it should also be noted that the effects of this award will be felt here for years to come. By lending its credibility, the award is likely to recruit students who want to study genetics with one of the foremost professors in the field.

Additionally, it is expected that donors will be interested in donating money to the U’s human genetics department. With more eager students and the chance for increased funding, the U is likely to be able to continue its research success in the genetic field.

The U should also be congratulated for the role it played in making it possible for Capecchi to obtain the Nobel Prize. In his early career, Capecchi was a faculty member at one of the most distinguished universities in the nation — Harvard. He left Harvard for the U because at Harvard, the focus for research was on immediate results, but the U was willing to wait for the fruits of his research. By facilitating a research environment that allowed Capecchi the time he needed to find results, the U opened the doors for the most prestigious achievements it has ever known.

Capecchi has done something for the U that we cannot begin to thank him enough for. Regardless, thank you, Mario Capecchi. You have given us the best possible reason to be proud to go to school here at the U.