What guarantees success at the University of California, Riverside? It’s not whom you know, and it’s not who your parents are. It’s what you know and who you are.
That’s the message that Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox imprinted upon his guests at the annual Chancellor’s Dinner, held Oct. 18, 2014. That night, more than 300 campus friends, students, alumni and donors gathered to raise support for the best and brightest UCR students.
After reading a lengthy list of UCR’s recent accomplishments, Wilcox said, “We are so proud of who we are and where we are going, but we’re also excited about the time in which we’ve arrived.”
UCR has hit its stride and is currently at a place of distinction for faculty research and for putting education within reach for students who rely on Pell grants and are the first in their family to go to college.
“We are so proud of who we are and where we are going, but we’re also excited about the time in which we’ve arrived.”
Wilcox spoke of the transformative role that UCR plays in the lives of more than 21,000 students and thanked all those who contribute their personal and financial resources to sustain the institution’s mission.
The evening was also the 28th anniversary of the UC Riverside Alumni Awards of Distinction. Colorful lights transformed Highlander Union Building’s main ballroom into a showcase for the stories of UCR’s outstanding alumni, scholarship recipients and the donors who make those scholarships possible.
This year, the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award was presented to Shah Selbe ’04 for his work and research on ocean conservation. Partnering with organizations such as the Center for Ocean Solutions and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Selbe earned the recognition of the National Geographic Society as one of its 2013 Emerging Explorers.
The Alumni Service Award was presented to Bill Kroonen ’60. In addition to serving on the Desert Sands Unified School District’s Board of Education and the Riverside County Board of Education, Kroonen has volunteered on behalf of many Coachella Valley community organizations over the years, including the educational programming committee for UCR Palm Desert.
Michael Devirian ’66, a former ASUCR president, was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award for his extraordinary career at JPL and NASA. Among his many achievements, Devirian worked as Mission Control for the Mars Mariner and Lunar Lander Missions from 1966-70. He was also the operations manager for the Hubble Space Telescope and Camera Installation.