2015 Cal Aggie Alumni Association Awards

Alumni Awards 2015

UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi and Cal Aggie Alumni Association award recipients René González Mejía, Alfred Chuang and Gita Ram toast to the spectacular achievements of fellow Aggies. (Karen Higgins/UC Davis photo)

On February 6, the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento hosted the annual Cal Aggie Alumni Association Awards Gala, where seven alumni and friends of UC Davis were recognized for their excellence. It was an evening of celebration and joy for just a few of the most extraordinary things that members of the UC Davis community are doing to make the world a more productive and more fruitful place. View photos from the evening in our online Flickr photo album.

Jerry W. Fielder Memorial Award Recipient: Kevin Bacon ’72

Kevin Bacon

“My parents sacrificed to get us into college, and you have to understand that you didn’t do this by yourself. There’s a community of people involved in it.” — Kevin Bacon

Kevin Bacon ’72 (College of Letters and Science) is the recipient of the Jerry W. Fielder Memorial Award—CAAA’s highest honor—for his extraordinary service to CAAA, the UC Davis Foundation and the university overall. Bacon is the past chair, vice chair and stewardship committee chair of the UC Davis Foundation Board and was integral to the success of the university’s $1 billion comprehensive fundraising campaign, The Campaign for UC Davis, in his role as a member of the Campaign Cabinet. In addition, Bacon served as the first chair of the College of Letters and Science Deans’ Advisory Council and is a member of the UC Davis Chancellor’s Club and the Herbert A. Young Society. Bacon was the 2012 Robert A. Fox Executive-in-Residence at the Graduate School of Management. His wife Kim and he recently funded an innovative lecture series and research white paper program at the UC Center in Sacramento. Bacon worked in public sector management consulting for nearly 30 years and was a vice president at IBM Business Consulting Services at the time of his retirement in 2004. Since his retirement he has taught graduate courses in public management at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

Distinguished Friend of the University Award Recipient: Emmy Werner

Emmy Werner

"Obviously, UC Davis has given me in terms of the opportunity to do the work that I want to do, and the least I could do is pass it to others." — Emmy Werner

Emmy Werner is the recipient of the Distinguished Friend of the University Award. This award recognizes a non-alumnus(a) whose extraordinary service has advanced the university and made significant and lasting contributions to the campus. An internationally recognized developmental psychologist, she has spent a lifetime studying how children cope with adversity and how resilience impacts individuals across their lifespan. A professor of human development for 32 years before her retirement in 1994, Werner was the first UC Davis faculty member to win the Constantine Panunzio Distinguished Emeriti Award. She remains active in her scholarship and plays a key role in UNICEF. Werner and her husband recently made a $1 million gift to endow the Emmy Werner and Stanley Jacobsen Fellowship to support Ph.D. students researching the genetic aspects of human behavior and development.

Distinguished Achievement Award Recipient: Garen J. Wintemute MD ’77

Garen Wintemute

"I am one of those lucky people who has had the opportunity to give everything I have to give to rectify an injustice, to address a social ill." — Garen Wintemute

Garen J. Wintemute MD ’77 (School of Medicine) is the recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award for exemplary professional achievements and service to the university. In addition to saving lives as a front-line emergency medicine physician at UC Davis Medical Center, Wintemute works to prevent people from ever becoming patients in an emergency department. Previously honored with the UC Davis Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award, Wintemute is internationally known for his groundbreaking studies on gun violence and has been quoted in The New York Times, BBC, and PBS. As the director of the Violence Prevention Research Center at UC Davis, Wintemute has been a powerful voice for change and the author of two books on the subject. He was featured in the 2010 HBO documentary “Gun Fight,” directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple, which brought to light the complex issues surrounding firearms and the debate over how best to reduce violence.

Outstanding Alumnus Award Recipient: Alfred Chuang MS ’86

Alfred Chuang

"Education has to be the way we can change the world. I think for anyone to think you can just go to these schools, earn a degree, be successful and think you don't have to go back and contribute to it... I don't think that's an option." — Alfred Chuang

Alfred Chuang MS ’86 (College of Engineering) is the recipient of the Outstanding Alumnus Award for displaying outstanding achievement, promoting innovative change and making professional contributions to the community and to UC Davis. One of the most well-known and respected innovators in Silicon Valley, Chuang’s work on platforms for e-commerce applications have greatly influenced the way in which web services for e-business are built. Chuang graduated with a MS in Computer Science in 1986. He is a co-founder and former CEO of BEA Systems, Inc., one of the world’s leading e-business infrastructure software companies. Venture capitalist Ben Horowitz called Chuang “the greatest CEO of my time.” Chuang recently founded Magnet Systems, which offers companies cloud-based enterprise applications, where he currently serves as chairman and Chief Executive Officer. An active employer of UC Davis engineering alumni at BEA and now Magnet, Chuang regularly visits campus as a Distinguished Lecturer and serves on the College of Engineering Dean’s Executive Committee.

Emil M. Mrak International Award Recipient: René González Mejía ’86

René González Mejía

“I'm committed with passion to work and to my loved ones and hope that I am remembered as someone who lavished love and energy upon the people and change someone’s life for the better.” — René González Mejía

René González Mejía ’86 (College of Letters and Science) is the recipient of the Emil M. Mrak International Award for his distinguished career and service outside the United States. He is the executive director of the Nicaraguan Development Institute (INDE), the country’s first organization dedicated to the promotion and defense of the economic and social importance of private enterprise. In addition to serving on the boards of the American Red Cross in Yolo and Sacramento counties and numerous Nicaraguan non-profit organizations, he has actively supported the Young Entrepreneurs of Nicaragua for more than 15 years. This organization reaches over 48,000 students with programs that teach financial literacy, entrepreneurship and workforce readiness in rural Nicaragua. González Mejía is the recipient of the Blue Centennial of the Rubén Darío Order in the degree of Grand Cross, the Major General José Dolores Estrada Vado Municipal Order, the Civil-Military Meritorious Medal of Honor from the Nicaraguan army and the Order of Civil Merit from the government of Spain, in addition to several other awards for his community service. He is a Knight of Honor of the millenary Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem and Commander at the Meritorious Fire Department of Managua. Since 2008, he has presided over the Nicaraguan Institute of Hispanic Culture, the country’s most prestigious and active cultural institution.

Aggie Service Award Recipient: Eamonn Dolan ’83

Eamonn Dolan

"I'm really grateful for what UC Davis gave me in terms of the quality education, the relationships I developed and the inspiration for my later career." — Eamonn Dolan

Eamonn Dolan ’83 (College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences) is the recipient of the Aggie Service Award for his exemplary Aggie pride and dedication to UC Davis through his commitment of time, energy, volunteerism and leadership. Dolan has served the UC Davis Foundation since 2006, both as a Trustee and on its Finance and Investment Committee. During his tenure as chair of the committee, he and his colleagues successfully implemented an innovative approach to managing the Foundation’s endowment investments, developed guiding principles and new processes to strengthen the Foundation’s finances, and recruited seven new Foundation volunteers. Dolan also serves as a lecturer and Dean’s Advisory Council member for the UC Davis Graduate School of Management. He retired in 2009 as C.M. Capital’s Chief Investment Officer and Managing Director, where his responsibilities included asset allocation, strategy formulation, portfolio management, manager selection, process design and management of the investment team.

Young Alumna Award Recipient: Gita Sai Ram ’07

Gita Sai Ram

"The work that I'm most proud of is really working to represent minorities. What motivates me every day is really just making a difference." — Gita Sai Ram

Gita Sai Ram ’07 (College of Letters and Science) is the recipient of the Young Alumna Award, which honors outstanding professional contributions to the community or to UC Davis within 10 years of graduation. In the seven years since she graduated, Ram has helped promote notable federal legislation affecting Americans worldwide, led efforts to serve and represent minority communities, and has completed a certificateat Stanford University and a graduate degree from The New School University. In her four years working at The Pew Charitable Trusts, one of her most significant accomplishments was contributing to the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act. In early 2011, her team assisted 47 states and the District of Columbia in complying with the MOVE Act. With Ram’s contribution, Pew was recognized for its military and overseas work by Stephen Colbert. During her time as Chair of the board of directors of the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL), she expanded the organization’s outreach to more South Asians, women and LGBT groups. She also helped place 24 Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) interns and scholars in public service. During Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Ram and other distinguished AAPI community leaders from across the country were invited to a reception held at Vice President Biden’s residence.