UCSD Alumni


UC San Diego Alumni Awards



The 2017 UC San Diego Alumni Celebration will mark the 39th year the university has recognized the accomplishments of outstanding alumni and university friends.

We’re looking for alumni who have brought honor and distinction to UC San Diego through their leadership, professional accomplishments or personal achievements. We invite you to consider nominating alumni for the following award categories:

Outstanding Alumnus/a
Awarded to an alumna or alumnus of an undergraduate or graduate program of UC San Diego, who has rendered special or outstanding service, or, through personal/professional achievement, has brought honor and distinction to the University.

Emerging Leader
Presented to an alumna or alumnus who has made a significant impact on their profession and/or community-at-large since graduation. The nominee must be 35 years of age or younger at the time the award is presented.

The Awards Selection Committee, made up of elected and former members of the UC San Diego Alumni Association's governing board, reviews the submitted materials on each candidate and selects those persons whose achievements most closely fit the category for which they have been nominated.

Deadline to submit nominations has passed.

See a list of all previous recipients


UC San Diego Alumni Celebration 2017

June 3, 2017

The Alumni Celebration will be held during the ninth annual Alumni Weekend. Net proceeds from the evening event will benefit UC San Diego student scholarships.

If you have any questions, please contact Eliza Wiggins at ecwiggins@ucsd.edu.

2016 Award Recipients

Distinguished Alumni

Bruce Beutler, ’76, Biological Sciences
Bruce Beutler is an immunologist, geneticist and a professor and director of the Center for Genetics of Host Defense at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He received the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Jules Hoffman for their discoveries surrounding the activation of innate immunity.

Timothy Gallaudet, M.S. ’91, Ph.D. ’01, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Rear Admiral Timothy Gallaudet has been instrumental in the development of the U.S. Navy’s climate change policy. He provides naval leadership on all issues related to oceanography, meteorology, hydrology, precise time, climate change, the Arctic, maritime domain awareness and geospatial and celestial referencing.

Sherri Lightner, ’72, M.S. ’78, Mathematics, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Sherri Lightner serves as Council President for the City of San Diego. She is the first female engineer to serve on the Council, and the first female Council President. She has served as the councilmember for District One, which includes La Jolla and UC San Diego, since December 2008. Her priorities include economic development and expanding the tech, cyber tech and blue tech industries in San Diego.

Emerging Leaders


David Peterson, M.A. ’05, Linguistics
David Peterson is a writer and language creator, best known for creating the Dothraki and High Valyrian languages for the hit HBO series, Game of Thrones. In 2011, he became the alien language and culture consultant for the Syfy original series, Defiance. He is also the language creator of Syfy’s Dominion. He is the author of Living Language: Dothraki and The Art of Language Invention.

Ashley Van Zeeland, M.B.A. ’12, Rady School of Management
Ashley Van Zeeland is co-founder and CEO of Cypher Genomics, a San Diego-based company revolutionizing human health through genomic interpretation. Today, she is chief technology officer at Human Longevity, Inc., which acquired Cypher Genomics, to help build the world’s largest and most comprehensive database of genomic, phenotypic and clinical data, transforming the practice of medicine.

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