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UCSD Alumni Association to
Recognize Outstanding Alumni,
Faculty and Community Leaders at
Annual Awards for Excellence on June 6

Signature program occurs during inaugural Alumni Weekend, June 4-7

May 21, 2009

By Judy Piercey

The University of California, San Diego—less than 50 years old with just 127,000 graduates—has produced an enviable group of outstanding alumni, including those who will be honored June 6 at the San Diego Marriott Del Mar for the annual Awards for Excellence, part of the UCSD Alumni Association’s inaugural Alumni Weekend.

All three alumni honorees are graduates of the Division of Biological Sciences, a first in the 31-year history of this campus awards event.  But it was bound to happen: UC San Diego has been named “Hottest for Science” by Newsweek, and alumni and faculty have created as least 193 start-up companies including many of San Diego’s local biotech businesses.

The alumni honorees include:

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    Outstanding Alumnus, Donald W. Murphy, ’75.  As former deputy director of the National Park Service, he managed 30,000 employees and a budget of more than $2.3 billion. Today, Murphy is the chief executive officer for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, a museum visited by nearly 900,000 people from all 50 states and dozens of nations around the world since it opened in 2004.
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    Professional Achievement Award, Abbie Celniker, ’80. When she was global head of Novartis Biologics, Celniker built the basic infrastructure for the late-stage discovery and development of protein therapeutics; at Genentech, her group pioneered the use and refinement of many analytical assays currently used to characterize protein biopharmaceuticals. Currently, she is chief executive officer at Taligen Therapeutics.
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    Distinguished Service Award, Gary Curtis, ’69.  An entrepreneur and biomedical pioneer, Curtis has launched eight successful biomedical start-up companies. He established one of the first UC San Diego alumni endowed scholarships, in honor of his father, to help students with financial need. The scholarship supports science students with a specific interest in business and demonstrated leadership.

The event will also recognize:

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    Distinguished Teaching Award, Jeffrey Rabin, Ph.D. Not only do students appreciate this mathematics professor’s teaching abilities, his peers have recognized him with an Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award. Rabin has played a key role in the campus’ CalTeach program, which helps train qualified math and science teachers for California classrooms.
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    Honorary Alumnus Award, Wayne Kennedy.  He is the former vice chancellor of administration at UC San Diego and former senior vice president of business and finance at the University of California Office of the President.  Kennedy is a nationally recognized expert in issues related to the financing of research universities and medical education.

Proceeds from the Awards for Excellence, which is open to the public, will benefit the UCSD Alumni Association’s endowed scholarship programs.  For award recipient and event details, please visit http://www.alumni.ucsd.edu/awards or call (858) 534-3900.  Information about Alumni Weekend, June 4-7, can be accessed at http://www.alumni.ucsd.edu/alumniweekend.

The following sponsors have helped to underwrite this year’s Awards for Excellence:

Gold Level Sponsors

Marye Anne Fox, Chancellor, UC San Diego
Sue Hart, Ph.D. ’86 and Steven Hart, M.A. ’80
Bank of America

Silver Level Sponsors

B. Anderson ’93

Bronze Level Sponsors

Susan and Sheldon ’72 Engelhorn
Juliana Rubenstein ’94 and Ira Rubenstein ’87
RR Donnelley
San Diego Marriott Del Mar

Pearl Level Sponsors

Armin Afsahi ’90
Mary Rose Alexander ’86
Chris Arrott ’80
Rita and Richard Atkinson
Annamarie Bezzerides ’91
Tony Fiori ’98
Colette Rudd ’73 and Marion Weiler ’72
Ross Schwartz ’79
Gary Wollberg ’80
Comerica Bank
Mission Federal Credit Union
MSI Production Services
Pacific Event Production


Media Contact: Malinda Danziger, 858-822-0063, mdanziger@ucsd.edu

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