2011 Founders Celebration Dinner: recognizing extraordinary achievement

Hal Hyde and George Blumenthal
Hal Hyde, left, the founding UCSC vice chancellor for business and finance, receives the Fiat Lux award from Chancellor George Blumenthal. (Photo by Steve Kurtz)

Five individuals received UCSC's highest awards at the annual Founders Celebration Dinner. The event drew a crowd of 350 people to the Cocoanut Grove in Santa Cruz last Friday night.

UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal, who congratulated each of this year's honorees, described a number of recent campus achievements. "Indeed, Britain's Times Higher Education just ranked UC Santa Cruz third in the world for the impact of our research, behind only MIT and Princeton," the chancellor said.

Blumenthal also described the way UCSC "continues to dominate the discovery of new planets. And we continue to propel the world's understanding of evolution. And nobody knows Charles Dickens like we do. Just read the recent New Yorker article on the "Dickens Universe."

Blumenthal also made special mention of UCSC biomolecular engineering professor David Haussler for having assembled "a team that is quintessentially UC Santa Cruz: brilliant, bike-riding computer geniuses who are changing the world."

The following individuals were honored at the Founders Dinner:

Julia Sweig (Porter '86, Latin American studies), an internationally recognized authority on Latin America and U.S. foreign policy, especially with respect to Cuba, who received the Alumni Achievement Award, given annually by the UCSC Alumni Association.

Steven Vogt, professor of astronomy and astrophysics, who has designed, built, and used high-precision spectrometers to find new worlds outside our solar system during his 33 years with UCSC, who received the Academic Senate's Faculty Research Lecturer award. In 2010, Vogt and a team of planet hunters announced the discovery of an Earth-sized planet orbiting a nearby star at a distance that placed it squarely in the middle of the star's "habitable zone," where liquid water could exist on the planet's surface.

J. Michael Bishop, University Professor and chancellor emeritus at UCSF, and Arthur D. Levinson, chairman and former CEO of Genentech, who each received the UC Santa Cruz Foundation Medal, which recognizes individuals of exceptionally distinguished achievement whose work and contribution to society illustrate the ideals and vision of UC Santa Cruz.

Harold "Hal" Hyde, UCSC's first vice chancellor of business and finance, and a central figure in the founding of the university, who received the foundation's Fiat Lux Award for outstanding achievement and service to the campus.