Biology Senior and Biology Alumnus Win Top Awards from UC San Diego Alumni Association

APRIL 2, 2008
Media Contact: Judy Piercey

An internationally acclaimed novelist and physician, an entrepreneurial biotech leader driving to advance diagnosis, a champion of undergraduate diversity, a charismatic professor and administrator, and two outstanding students have all been named by the UCSD Alumni Association as top recipients of the 30th Annual Awards for Excellence distinctions. The prestigious awards will be presented on Saturday, June 7, in the Grand Ballroom of the newly expanded Price Center of the University of California, San Diego campus. Funds generated from the event will benefit the UCSD Alumni Association endowed scholarship programs.

Winners include Afghan-American Khaled Hosseini, M.D. '93, author of The Kite Runner; Gunars Valkirs '74, Ph.D.'82, a biophysicist who was instrumental in San Diego's biotechnology boom; Anthony Jackson '74, a dedicated emergency room physician; David Jordan, professor emeritus, Anthropology, and provost emeritus, Warren College; and students Sapna Iyer and Jeffrey Mounzer.

These accomplished alumni and students will join the distinguished company of former award recipients including J. Craig Venter '72, David E. Shaw '72, Roger Revelle '36 and Nobel Prize in Medicine recipient Susumu Tonegawa '69-all international figures who have brought distinction and prestige to UC San Diego.

Distinguished Service to the University

Anthony Jackson '74

Emergency room physician Anthony Jackson '74 has worked for several years with organizations like the South Central Gifted Scholars Fund and others to mentor and offer high achieving but under-represented middle and high school students from Los Angeles an inside look into higher education, specifically UC San Diego. In December of 2007, Jackson, in partnership with the 100 Black Men of Los Angeles, Inc. and Young Black Scholars Program, rented vehicles to transport students from the LA area to attend "A Day at UCSD," a program that he developed and personally funded. He is credited for recruiting over 25 underrepresented scholars to UC San Diego.

Outstanding Senior Award

Sapna Iyer

The selection of Sapna Iyer and Jeffrey Mounzer for this award is based on scholarly achievement, leadership and campus service. Iyer is a Marshall College student leader majoring in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. She has been admitted to UC San Diego's School of Medicine in the fall. Mounzer, president of the Triton Engineering Student Council, is a Warren College student graduating with a double major in Electrical Engineering and Economics. He accepted a fellowship to attend Stanford University in the fall for graduate study in Electrical Engineering.

The cocktail-attire event, which will benefit student scholarships, is open to the public. Tickets are $150 per person or $1,500 for a table of 10 and can be purchased online, or call (858) 534-3900 for more information.