The UCSD Alumni Association
Announces Top Award Recipients

Honorees to be recognized at June reception

March 6, 2007

By Mary Johnson

An internationally celebrated Italian art diagnostician, the chief scientist and founder of the world’s largest hedge fund, and a legendary campus leader have been named by the UCSD Alumni Association as the top recipients of the 29th annual UCSD Alumni Awards for Excellence distinctions to be presented on Saturday, June 2, at the award-winning Calit2 building in the Engineering Courtyard of the University of California, San Diego campus.


David E. Shaw

David E. Shaw, ’72, chief scientist of D.E. Shaw Group, the world’s largest hedge fund, will receive the prestigious Outstanding Alumnus Award.  The former undergraduate math whiz has brought innovation to the high risk world of finance by incorporating advanced mathematical and computational techniques which search for patterns and predictability to trading on the stock market.  Since founding the D. E. Shaw Group in 1988, which today has more than $20 billion in assets, he has redirected his expertise toward developing precise targeted drug therapies for illnesses and disease.  Dr. Shaw is a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics at Columbia University.

Maurizio Seracini

Maurizio Seracini, ’73, fine art analyst and a former undergraduate biomedical engineering student, will be the recipient of the Professional Achievement Distinction.  Seracini electrified the world with the convergence of art and technology when he uncovered a series of magnificent drawings hidden for 500 years behind the Da Vinci painting, “Adoration of the Magi.”  He gained international acclaim when this discovery was referenced in the #1 bestseller, The Da Vinci Code.  Today Seracini leads a new breed of scientists who bring electrical and bioengineering, chemistry and biochemistry together with art scholarship.  Recently, the University announced the establishment of the Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology (CISA3) to serve as international headquarters for Professor Seracini’s trailblazing work. 

Robert Glushko, Ph.D.

Robert Glushko, Ph.D. ’79, a cognitive scientist and successful Internet entrepreneur, will be recognized for Distinguished Service to the University.  Fifteen years ago, Glushko’s dissertation advisor, former UC San Diego faculty member David Rumelhart, contracted a serious neurological disease that resulted in profound dementia.   In his honor, Glushko created the David E. Rumelhart Prize, which has increased the visibility of the field on a global scale and is recognized today as the Nobel Prize of Cognitive Science.  Glushko’s successful community building and leadership within the Cognitive Science Department at UC San Diego has energized and re-engaged alumni as mentors, host interns, lecturers and employers.  Professor Glushko is an adjunct professor at the UC Berkeley School of Information, the Director of the Center for Document Engineering, and one of the founding faculty members of the Services Science, Management and Engineering Program.


Martin Yanofsky

Martin Yanofsky, ’78, an international leader in biological sciences and a recently named Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, will be honored for Distinguished Teaching.  Regarded as one of UC San Diego’s best instructors, Dr. Yanofsky’s commitment to science education transcends his classroom and the campus.  The popular undergraduate mentor not only opens up his laboratory for research and internships but spends countless volunteer hours in the community teaching young 6th and 7th grade students about genetics and DNA and how to use science in their everyday lives.  In addition to his many diverse service contributions, he is currently the Chair for the Section of Cell and Developmental Biology, a clear indicator of the esteem in which he is held.


Dr. Joseph Watson

Dr. Joseph Watson, a notable campus figure who will retire after 41 years of service as a faculty member and senior administrator, will receive the distinction of Honorary Alumnus.  His campus contributions are a culmination of vision, risk taking, and leadership in support of student affairs, diversity and the development of the UC San Diego campus.  Dr. Watson dedicated 11 formidable years of his promising career as a chemist, to support a collective movement that formed the foundation of Thurgood Marshall College.  His dedication to innovation can be seen with the creation of TritonLink, an online web portal, and the development of a new 75,000 square-foot Student Services Building.  Over the years he has championed diversity and inclusion that has shaped the mission and goals of the campus.  Dr. Watson’s retirement in June will mark the end of an era of a great leader.

Diana Hung Jeffrey Simon

Diana Hung, ’07 and Jeffrey Simon, ’07 will be presented the Outstanding National Merit Senior Award.  The student selection is based on scholarly achievement, leadership and campus service.  Diana is a Revelle College biology major and one of only eight students admitted into the undergraduate UC San Diego Medical Scholars Program.  She will begin her medical studies at UC San Diego Medical School in the fall. Jeffrey is a Marshall College mechanical engineering major whose research has included sorting adult stem cells from whole blood.  Jeffrey plans to pursue a Ph.D. in medical devices.

On June 2, 2007, the UCSD Alumni Association will host the 29th annual Awards for Excellence to recognize outstanding alumni, student scholars and community leaders on campus at Calit2. All funds generated from the event will benefit the UCSD Alumni Association Scholarship Program.

Online event registration, sponsorship opportunities and additional honoree information is available on the UCSD Alumni Association website at    or by calling (858)534-3900.

Media Contact: Pepper Lane, 858-534-6406 or Pat JaCoby, 858-534-7404


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