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UC Davis gala celebrates alumni contributions

Jan and Bob Morrison will receive the Fielder Award for extraordinary service to the Cal Aggie Alumni Association, the UC Davis Foundation and UCD. Courtesy photo

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From page A1 | October 25, 2012 |

UC Davis will honor seven alumni and one friend — including Janice Eberly of the U.S. Treasury and celebrity chef Martin Yan — at its Alumni Awards Gala on Feb. 1 in San Jose.

The Cal Aggie Alumni Association invites the public to attend the gala at the San Jose City Hall Rotunda. Tickets are required.

Award winners are:

* Stockton couple Bob Morrison, a retired business attorney who graduated from UCD in 1968 (and earned his law degree in 1971), and Jan Morrison, a 1969 graduate and retired teacher from the San Joaquin County School District;

* Janice Eberly, a 1986 grad from Evanston, Ill., and Bethesda, Md., the U.S. Treasury’s assistant secretary for economic policy:

* John Bissell II, a 2008 graduate from Sacramento and an award-winning entrepreneur;

* Martin Yan, a 1973 graduate (1977 master’s degree) from San Mateo County and television host and cookbook author;

* Ann Pitzer, a 1958 graduate from La Jolla, a retired software developer and a trustee of the Pitzer Family Foundation;

* Jose Carmine Dianese, a 1970 graduate from Brasilia, Brazil, and a professor emeritus at the University of Brasilia; and

* Barbara Jackson of Davis, a major philanthropic donor and volunteer for the university.

The Morrisons will receive the Fielder Award for extraordinary service to the alumni association, the UCD Foundation and the university. Bob became a CAAA board member in 1994 and served as president in 1998-2000. He was a UC alumni regent in 2000-02.

He’s been a member of the Davis Chancellor’s Club and served on the board of trustees for the UCD Foundation. The couple helped found the North San Joaquin chapter of the alumni association and endowed a scholarship to support students from San Joaquin County.

Jan, who has been on the CAAA board of directors since 2007, is past chair of the CAAA scholarship committee and is current chair of the San Joaquin County scholarship committee. Bob earned a bachelor’s degree in rhetoric and a law degree, and Jan earned an English degree.

Eberly is the winner of the Outstanding Alumna Award, which honors a UCD graduate who is in the mid-point of his or her career, and who has displayed outstanding achievement, promoted innovative change and made outstanding contributions professionally, to the community and to campus.

Eberly, who continues as the John L. and Helen Kellogg Distinguished Professor of Finance at Northwestern University, advises Secretary Timothy Geithner on economic issues and leads the analyses of U.S. and global economies and financial markets.

A UC regent in 1985-86, she graduated with a degree in agricultural economics and was honored as the year’s top graduating senior. She earned a doctorate in economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology while serving as a junior economist in President George H.W. Bush’s Council of Economic Advisers. She formerly served on the current administration’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Bissell II is winner of the Young Alumnus Award for a graduate within the past 10 years who has made outstanding contributions professionally, to the community or to UCD. He is founder and CEO of Micromidas, which converts wastewater sludge into petrochemicals and plastics. The technology has won the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Annual P3 — People, Prosperity and the Planet — design competition and UCD’s Big Bang! Business Plan Competition.

Bissell, who graduated with a degree in chemical engineering, was named one of Sacramento Business Journal’s top “40 Under 40” in 2010.

Yan is recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award, which recognizes a UCD graduate whose professional, personal and community service accomplishments reflects exemplary achievement. The Chinese master chef is known for his 30 best-selling cookbooks and popular television series “Yan Can Cook.”

A native of Guangzhou, China, he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1973 and master’s degree in 1977, both in food science. Yan has received honorary doctoral degrees from several culinary universities and frequently returns to campus to share his passion for fresh and healthy Asian food.

Pitzer is the winner of the Aggie Service Award for exemplary Aggie pride and dedication to the university through time, energy, volunteerism and leadership. The class valedictorian when she earned her bachelor’s degree in home economics, Pitzer went on to earn a master’s degree from UC Berkeley. Since 1994, she has been a trustee of the Pitzer Family Foundation, which carries on the tradition established by her grandfather Russell K. Pitzer, who founded Pitzer College in Claremont.

At UCD, she has served on the UCD Foundation board of trustees since 2010 and on the Student Affairs Development Leadership Council. She established the Class of 1958 Scholarship and the Ann E. Pitzer Scholarship Fund for students with financial need and demonstrated academic achievement.

Dianese is the winner of the Emil M. Mrak International Award, which honors a graduate who is distinguished in his or her career or in service outside the United States. In 1970, he was the first Brazilian to earn a doctorate in plant pathology from UCD. In a career spanning more than 40 years, he trained 37 plant pathologists, including 16 university professors, and made significant contributions to the study of fungal biodiversity of Brazil’s endangered tropical savanna region.

Jackson is winner of the Distinguished Friend of the University Award for extraordinary service that has advanced the university and made significant and lasting contributions to the campus. In 2008, she was awarded the UC Davis Medal, the highest tribute bestowed by the university.

In appreciation for her $5 million donation for the performing arts center at UCD, the university named the Mondavi Center’s main venue Jackson Hall, in honor of her and her late husband, UCD history professor Turrentine Jackson. Jackson has served with the advisory boards of the Friends of UCD Presents and Mondavi Center as well as on the UCD Foundation’s board of trustees.

A graduate of the University of Texas, Austin, Jackson retired as a staff member of the UCD English department.

The gala begins with a wine reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by a dinner and awards ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Tickets to the black-tie-optional event are $125 for CAAA members and $175 for nonmembers. For more information, contact Jennifer Thayer at 530-754-9098 or jsthayer@ucdavis.edu.

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Wendy Weitzel

Wendy Weitzel

Wendy Weitzel is a longtime journalist and Davis resident. She is a former managing editor of The Davis Enterprise, working there from 1998-2008. She has written her Comings & Goings business column since 2001. Today, she does freelance writing, editing, marketing and design.
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