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Chancellor's Medals Awarded to
'Citizens of the Highest Order' to Close 50th Anniversary Year

Former UC San Diego chancellor, civic leaders, entrepreneurs and alumni among honorees

Jade Griffin | May 16, 2011

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UC San Diego today announced the outstanding community leaders and campus supporters who have been selected to receive prestigious Chancellor's Medals as the university's 50th Anniversary year comes to a close. Chancellor's Medal recipients for 2011 are Richard and Rita Atkinson, John and Ann Davies, Sheldon and Susan Engelhorn, Anne Ratner, and L.S. and Aline Skaggs. One of the highest honors given by UC San Diego, the Chancellor's Medal recognizes exceptional service in support of the university's mission.

“I am delighted to honor these remarkable visionaries, who are truly citizens of the highest order, with Chancellor’s Medals,” said Chancellor Marye Anne Fox. “As we conclude our 50th Anniversary celebration and look forward to the next half century, it is only fitting that we recognize these outstanding leaders who have helped make UC San Diego so extraordinary.”

The medal, which was inaugurated in 2000, has been given to a select few individuals whose long-standing contributions have supported promising students and furthered meaningful research, helped the campus and local communities grow and prosper, and inspired the community and enhanced the quality of life for San Diegans through their involvement with UC San Diego. 

The Chancellor’s Medal honorees were chosen from an impressive group of nominees. With excerpts from their nominations, the awardees include:

  • Richard and Rita Atkinson

    “The extraordinary generosity of the Atkinsons has had a tremendous influence on the growth and success of UC San Diego. We are indeed fortunate to have the benefit of Richard and Rita’s continued engagement with our campus.”

    Rita and Richard Atkinson

    Richard Atkinson is president emeritus of the University of California, and former UC San Diego chancellor from 1980-1995. As the fifth chancellor of UC San Diego, he is frequently credited as a pivotal force behind the remarkable trajectory of the university. His tenure as UC president was also marked by great growth and prosperity, as well as innovative approaches to admissions and outreach, and research initiatives to accelerate the university's contributions to the state's economy. Richard, together with his wife Rita—an esteemed psychologist and author—have remained incredibly engaged with UC San Diego, providing invaluable support and insight. Their generous philanthropy to the university has touched nearly every area of the campus, including visual and performing arts, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), Rady School of Management, UC San Diego Health Sciences and the UCSD Libraries. This academic year, the couple designated $5.7 million to support fellowships, representing the largest gift to date for Invent the Future, UC San Diego's $50 million student support campaign.

  • John and Ann Davies

    “John is a visionary who has helped our region and our university grow and prosper. Ann has supported John while he devoted his time and efforts toward building UC San Diego into the great institution it is today, illustrating her strong commitment to its mission. I know of no better couple that is as deserving of this award.”

    Ann and John Davies

    John Davies is a successful attorney, civic leader and dedicated public servant, whose contributions of time, insight and support have greatly benefited and enhanced UC San Diego and the University of California as a whole. A former UC regent and current UC San Diego Foundation co-chair, John has contributed to the advancement of education, research and overall quality of life in San Diego. John and Ann have provided philanthropic support to areas of campus ranging from student scholarships and fellowships to the UC San Diego Health Sciences and UCSD Libraries. Ann has made substantial contributions to the community, including many years of service to the San Diego Museum of Art, Junior League of San Diego and the Del Mar Fairgrounds. John is also a member of the board of Rady Children's Hospital San Diego. Over the years, in addition to his law practice, including partnership in two San Diego law firms, John has served Governor Wilson and Governor Schwarzenegger as judicial appointments secretary, and headed numerous boards and committees, including the San Diego Planning Commission, Centre City Development Corporation and the California Governor's Foundation.

  • Sheldon and Susan Engelhorn

    “While Susie has quietly and steadily encouraged Sheldon, he has given a remarkable amount of his time, talents and alumni insights to the university. The Engelhorns are genuine philanthropists who give time and money for no personal gain or recognition.”

    Sheldon and Susan Engelhorn

    Alumnus entrepreneur Sheldon Engelhorn and his wife, Susan, are longtime supporters of UC San Diego and its student body. The couple has championed the community college transfer path to UC San Diego with a belief that the opportunity is a key way to enhance diversity on campus. Supporting this belief, the Engelhorns gave $1 million to endow a scholarship fund for transfer students. Since the gift was established in 2003, more than 240 students have benefited from their generosity. The couple has also given significant gifts to other areas of campus including marine sciences. A strongly committed alumnus, Sheldon has served as president of the UCSD Alumni Association Board of Directors, a trustee of the UC San Diego Foundation Board, a member and current chair of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Director’s Cabinet, and member and past chair of UC San Diego’s Undergraduate Scholarship Council. The San Diego entrepreneur provides advisory to the UC San Diego Student Foundation, helping to grow the next generation of philanthropists.

  • Anne Ratner

    “Through her leadership and dedication, she has made quality eye care possible for thousands of children from all economic backgrounds in San Diego County. Mrs. Ratner is a passionate supporter of UC San Diego and the greater community.”

    Anne Ratner
    Anne Ratner

    Philanthropist and community leader Anne Ratner is a passionate advocate for improving children’s eye care. Ratner has been a supporter of UC San Diego since 1967, when she and her husband, Abraham, were among the original members of the Chancellor’s Associates donor group. Ratner helped San Diego’s children by founding the Abraham Ratner Children’s Eye Center in honor of her late husband. In an effort to attract outstanding pediatric ophthalmologists to the top-notch facility, Ratner created the Anne F. Ratner Endowed Chair in Pediatric Ophthamology. She then played a key role in establishing the EyeMobile for Children at the Shiley Eye Center. The EyeMobile serves low-income children and offers vision screenings, eye exams and glasses free of charge. More than 30,000 low-income children throughout the county have benefited. Ratner has also supported Friends of Judaic Studies at UC San Diego, The Preuss School UCSD and the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

  • L.S. and Aline Skaggs

    "Without the Skaggs' gift, the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences would not exist as a vibrant academic entity on campus. Much of the groundswell initiative to recommend the Skaggs came from the students—the direct beneficiaries of the gift."

    Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

    L.S. and Aline Skaggs provided the landmark $30 million gift to establish UC San Diego's Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. The Skaggs have been major benefactors of pharmacy education in the western United States, and their naming gift to UC San Diego was historic. With their generosity, the Skaggs helped establish the school's pioneering research program, as well as the recruitment and development of the next generation of pharmaceutical scientists and pharmacy practitioners who will play a key role in developing new pharmaceuticals and therapies. L. S. Skaggs was the CEO of American Stores in Salt Lake City, a chain of food and drug combination stores across the United States. The Skaggs have long been known for their generosity in supporting education, medical research, human needs, religious and wildlife programs.

Other esteemed recipients of the Chancellor’s Medal include Neil Morgan (2000), Malin Burnham (2002), Darlene Shiley (2003), Charlie Robins (2003), and Maurice and Charmaine Kaplan (2005). Chancellor’s Medal recipients of 2010 include: Pauline Foster, Audrey Geisel, Irwin and Joan Jacobs, Jerome and Miriam Katzin, and Ernest and Evelyn Rady.

For more information on UC San Diego’s 50th Anniversary, please visit

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