150 Awards Mark 150 Years: Alumni Excellence Awards Honor Achievement and Diversity

Columnist
Graduate Division

Extraordinary contributions to healthcare

To mark UCSF’s 150th anniversary, the Alumni Board honored 150 of its best and brightest alumni with an Alumni Excellence Award. Recipients were chosen from 900 anonymous nominations on the basis of excellence and distinction in the major components of UCSF’s mission: education, patient care, research and service—as well as business and industry.

The Award Committee, comprising 14 alumni and representatives from all of UCSF’s schools, brought insight on what it meant to be distinguished in their fields and professions.

“It’s very humbling to see the people who are nominated. They’re just a small fraction of the excellence that we see,” said Susan Walczak (Nursing, ’02), the Award Committee chair.

Diversity

While various annual alumni awards are given out by specialized alumni organizations from different schools at UCSF, these Alumni Excellence Awards were a one-time effort on the part of the Alumni Board to connect with a diverse group of alumni who had not previously been recognized.

“When you have 150 awards, you have the opportunity to really focus on diversity,” said Andrew Kaufteil, executive director of alumni relations. “Schools and degrees, specialties, backgrounds, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation … diversity of every kind that we could find.”

The committee also paid attention to the “age factor”: It recognized not only seasoned alumni but also young alumni who have already proven to be innovative in their practice and research. It took into account success at the global health level as well as within local communities.

Award distribution across the schools is: approximately 50 in the School of Medicine, 40 in the Graduate Division, 25 in the School of Nursing, 17 in the School of Pharmacy and 17 in the School of Dentistry. Six recipients live outside the United States.

The award

All 150 winners will receive a physical prize, and their names will be commemorated on a permanent plaque installed at the Faculty–Alumni House along with past winners of other alumni awards. A celebratory event will take place at the annual UCSF Alumni Weekend in May.

Connecting with alumni

The Alumni Board said it is open to working with student groups looking for panelists or speakers to invite from the alumni community. “This list would be the first place that students can look,” said Kaufteil. They are already working on bringing some winners back to UCSF for a Black History Month event scheduled for Feb. 17 and are excited to facilitate future events, he said.

“Stay tuned. When students see the list, they’ll be thrilled to see the outstanding work that our alumni do, and see what their futures hold ahead of them,” said Kaufteil. The complete list will be released in March.