3rd annual UCSC 'Founders Day' gala dinner at Cocoanut Grove to honor five exceptional individuals

UC Santa Cruz will host its third annual Founders Day gala dinner at the Cocoanut Grove on Friday, October 23, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Launched in 2007 to celebrate the spirit of community that resulted in the founding of a University of California campus in Santa Cruz, the event recognizes and honors extraordinary individuals and their outstanding contributions to society.

This year's featured honorees will be:

. Ed Catmull-An Academy Award winner for lifetime achievement in computer graphics for the motion picture industry, he will be honored for his groundbreaking work as co-founder of Pixar and president of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios.

. Patricia and Rowland Rebele-Former newspaper publishers and longtime community and campus philanthropists Patricia (Porter '88) and Rowland Rebele will be honored for their extraordinary support of the arts and education, and their vital role as advocates for the homeless.

. John R. Rickford-One of the world's experts on African-American Vernacular English, Stanford linguistics professor John R. Rickford (Stevenson '71) will be honored for his work studying language spoken by poor and marginalized communities and the application of that research to solve educational problems.

. Dan Friedman-Author of the popular book Morals and Markets, UCSC Professor of Economics Dan Friedman will be honored for his cutting-edge research in the field, including work in experimental economics and evolutionary game theory.

With a theme of "Fulfilling the Promise," the evening will include a celebratory dinner, awards presentation ceremony, and video tributes to each of the award recipients.

Chancellor George Blumenthal will present Ed Catmull with the UCSC Foundation Medal, Patricia and Rowland Rebele with the Fiat Lux Award, and John R. Rickford with the Alumni Achievement Award. In addition, Dan Friedman will be honored for his selection as this year's UCSC Faculty Research Lecturer.

Catmull is often described as the man who defined a generation of moviegoers and animation fans. He is co-founder of Pixar and currently president of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios. Before that, he was vice president of the Computer Division of Lucasfilm, Ltd., where he managed four development efforts in the areas of computer graphics, video editing, video games and digital audio.

Known for his strong emphasis on nurturing creative and interdisciplinary work environments to foster innovation, Catmull has been honored with four Academy Awards--including the Gordon E. Sawyer Award in 2009, for lifetime technological contributions to the film industry.

Catmull has also received the Coons Award--the highest achievement in the computer graphics field for his lifetime contributions, as well as the animation industry's Ub Iwerks Award--for technical advancements that make a significant impact on the art or industry of animation.

The Rebeles have become strong pillars of the Santa Cruz County community, giving valuable financial and volunteer support to a vast array of organizations, charities and causes in the arts, education and human services.

A re-entry graduate of UCSC with a BA in Art History, Patricia served for 11 years as a trustee of the UCSC Foundation Board, as well as on the board of the Museum of Art and History. Rowland has served as President of the Santa Cruz County Symphony Board, and also the California First Amendment Coalition. The Rebeles were additionally instrumental in founding the River Street homeless center in downtown Santa Cruz that now bears their name.

They established the Rebele Chair in Art History at UCSC in 1996, and also created the Rebele Art History Endowment at the University Library. The Rebeles have provided support for a wide variety of other campus programs including Shakespeare Santa Cruz, the Arboretum, the University Center, Arts & Lectures, Pacific Rim Music Festival and Friends of Long Marine Laboratory.

Rickford has spent more than 40 years studying varieties of English spoken by poor and marginalized communities--examining how they are structured, how they evolve, and what role they should have in the classroom. He is the author of several books, including The Spoken Soul: The Story of Black English, which received an American Book Award in 2000.

Rickford received recognition during the Oakland Ebonics controversy of 1996-97, when the Oakland School Board voted to take into account African American vernacular language (Ebonics) in their language arts lessons. Rickford has also been a dedicated mentor to students; among his former students are a member of the U.S. Congress (Barbara Lee, D-Oakland) and faculty at the nation's top linguistics programs.

Rickford graduated from UCSC in 1971 with highest honors, and he has been a professor of linguistics at Stanford University since 1980. Through his scholarly work in sociolinguistics, he has enhanced understanding of the connections between language, ethnicity, and social class.

Friedman is a well-known economist and theorist who has published widely in leading academic journals in economics, finance, psychology, and politics.

The coauthor of four academic books, 12 National Science Foundation grants, and more than 50 original research articles, Friedman joined the UCSC faculty in 1985, after teaching at UCLA and UC Berkeley. He has broad research interests in applied economic theory--with a recent emphasis on learning and evolution, laboratory experiments, and financial markets.

Friedman's recent book, Morals and Markets: An Evolutionary Perspective on the Modern World, contends that our moral codes and our market systems, while often in conflict, are really devices evolved to achieve similar ends.

The 2009 UCSC Founders Day Gala Dinner will be held at the Cocoanut Grove at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (400 Beach Street). A reception will begin at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:30. Black Tie Optional. The public is welcome. For tickets or more information, contact the UCSC Special Events Office at specialevents@ucsc.edu, or call (831) 459-5003.