UC San Diego News Center


UCSD Alumni Announces 2013 Alumni Honorees

Recipients to be honored during Alumni Weekend June 6-9

Four distinguished alumni and supporters of the University of California, San Diego will be honored at the university’s annual Alumni Celebration June 8.

"These four alumni represent the very best of UC San Diego," said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. "From a star charter school teacher and an investor, to a highly prized member of the U.S. Department of State and a research scientist, these individuals exemplify the diversity and strengths of UC San Diego graduates."

The 2013 Alumni Celebration will mark the 35th year UCSD Alumni has honored outstanding alumni and supporters who have exemplified the commitment to leadership, advocacy, philanthropy and service to UC San Diego. The awardees are selected by a committee made up of elected and former members of the Alumni Association’s governing board.

"On behalf of the 2013 awards selection committee, I congratulate this year's distinguished alumni award winners, and we all look forward to celebrating their accomplishments in June,” said Bill Proffer, ’76, M.S. ’78, chair of the 2013 Awards Selection Committee.

From left: Kurt Campbell, Leo Spiegel, James Rohr, and Kelly Kovacic

The following individuals will be recognized during the 2013 celebration:

  • Outstanding Alumnus, Kurt Campbell, ’80

Muir College, Special Project Major

Kurt Campbell was appointed assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs at the U.S. Department of State. He has also received Department of Defense medals for Distinguished Public Service and Outstanding Public Service. Campbell is the architect of the Obama administration’s diplomatic initiative known as “the pivot” or “rebalancing,” which has restored U.S. leadership in the Asia-Pacific region. His strategic vision has guided President Obama and former Secretary of State Clinton in their diplomatic efforts and frequent travels to the region.

  • Distinguished Leadership, Leo Spiegel, ’83

Revelle College, Management Science

Leo Spiegel is a managing partner at Mission Ventures, a Southern California venture capital firm that invests in early stage IT companies. Spiegel is the co-founder, EVP and CTO of LANSystems, a network utilities software developer and international systems integration firm, which was sold to Intel Corporation and RR. Donnelley & Sons Company. He currently serves on the Rady School of Management’s Dean’s Advisory Council, is a trustee of UC San Diego Foundation and chairman of its Development Committee, and serves as a board member of UC San Diego’s Entrepreneur Challenge.

  • Distinguished Service, James Rohr, Ph.D. ’85

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Jim Rohr is a research scientist at SPAWAR Systems Center and a lecturer at UC San Diego. For the past 10 years, he has been deeply committed to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, demonstrating remarkable initiative, leadership and dedication in implementing K-12 outreach programs with UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering. In 2008, he worked with Jacobs in launching the Enspire Program, Jacobs largest outreach program, focused on introducing and inspiring middle school students to the field of engineering.

  • Emerging Leader, Kelly Kovacic ’00

Marshall College, History

Kelly Kovacic, a former teacher at the Preuss School UCSD, was the 2009-2010 California Teacher of the Year and was one of four finalists of the National Teacher of the Year. She has been recognized as an outstanding charter school teacher and was one of two teachers appointed by the California State Board of Education to the Advisory Commission on Charter Schools, an advisory board to the State Board of Education.  She is currently enrolled in the Doctor of Education Leadership Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Campbell, Spiegel, Rohr and Kovacic will all be recognized at the 35th annual Alumni Celebration on Saturday, June 8, during the fifth annual Alumni Weekend. The Alumni Celebration is open to the public, with proceeds benefiting student scholarships at UC San Diego. For award recipient and event details, please visit or call (858) 534-3900. Information about Alumni Weekend, June 6-9, can be accessed at