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‘A Celebration of Stars’ pays tribute to 2012 UCI Medal recipients

UC Irvine’s premier annual event highlights campus contributions

— Irvine, Calif., October 29, 2012 —

More than 550 guests turned out Saturday, Oct. 27, for “A Celebration of Stars – The 2012 Medal Awards.” UC Irvine’s signature event honors recipients of the UCI Medal for their profound impact on the university. The 2012 awardees are Sue and Bill Gross, Elizabeth Loftus, and Drs. Betty Tu and David Tsoong.

“I am thankful to our friends and community partners for joining me to honor this stellar group of individuals,” said Chancellor Michael Drake. “Our UCI Medal recipients have given extraordinary contributions of time, talent and support to UC Irvine, and they exemplify the campus’s mission and values.”

Hosted by the UC Irvine Foundation, the 2012 “Celebration of Stars” was co-chaired by Ruth Ann and John Evans. A senior vice president and regional manager at Wells Fargo Bank, John Evans is a foundation trustee and sits on its executive committee, as well as the Dean’s Advisory Board for UC Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business.

“John and his wife, Ruth Ann, committed time, energy and generous support to make this year’s UCI Medal ceremony more engaging than ever before,” said Gregory Leet, vice chancellor of University Advancement. “I applaud all members of the Medal leadership committee and the UC Irvine Foundation trustees for their vital support. This could not happen without them.”

The theme for Saturday’s event was “Be the Light,” inspired by the University of California motto, “Fiat Lux” (“Let There Be Light”). It was selected to reflect the Medalists’ achievements as well as UC Irvine’s ongoing contributions to the community, nation and world: innovative research, dedicated faculty and inspired students.

Held at UC Irvine’s Bren Events Center, the gala featured a reception and formal dinner, Medalist tributes, and entertainment by students from the Claire Trevor School of the Arts. All of this year’s dance compositions were created specifically for “A Celebration of Stars.” Past Medalists – who include Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners and industry leaders – were also highlighted.

Recipients of the 2012 UCI Medal are:

Sue and Bill Gross

Sue and Bill Gross developed a keen interest in healthcare and stem cell advances at UC Irvine after seeing Hans Keirstead, UC Irvine professor of anatomy & neurobiology and one of the nation’s pioneers in human embryonic stem cell research, on “60 Minutes.” The television news magazine described Keirstead’s use of a treatment derived from human embryonic stem cells to improve mobility in laboratory animals with spinal cord injuries.

The couple toured Keirstead’s lab and later made a $10 million gift to UC Irvine supporting construction of Sue & Bill Gross Hall: A CIRM Institute, which houses dozens of laboratory-based and clinical researchers, a stem cell techniques course, a master’s program in biotechnology with an emphasis on stem cell research, and programs and activities for patients and public education.

Bill Gross is co-founder of the Newport Beach-based international investment firm PIMCO. He is one of the world’s most prominent investors, managing nearly $2 trillion, including the largest mutual fund. The author of several books who has appeared globally on television, Gross has 42 years of investment experience and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. He received his undergraduate degree from Duke University.

Sue Gross, a twin, was born in Phoenix, attended high school in Chula Vista and graduated from Saddleback College. She married Bill Gross in 1985, and between them, they have three children. She’s president of the Gross Family Foundation, the largest such entity in Orange County.

The couple live in Laguna Beach and are devoted yoga students. Known for their generous gifts to educational and healthcare institutions, the Grosses also fund the annual Orange County Teachers of the Year awards and are the largest donors in history to Doctors Without Borders.

Elizabeth Loftus

Elizabeth Loftus, Ph.D, is renowned for her groundbreaking work on the malleability of human memory. A UC Irvine Distinguished Professor, she holds faculty positions in the schools of Social Ecology, Social Sciences and Law.

Since earning a doctorate in psychology at Stanford University, Loftus has published 22 books (including the award-winning Eyewitness Testimony) and 500 scientific articles. Her 30 years of research have focused on the misinformation effect, eyewitness fallibility, and the creation and nature of false memories. Loftus has contributed her expertise to hundreds of high-profile criminal cases, including those of Martha Stewart, the Hillside Strangler, Oliver North, Scooter Libby and Michael Jackson.

Past president of the Association for Psychological Science, she has received six honorary doctorates and been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. In a list of the 100 most eminent psychologists of the 20th century, the journal Review of General Psychology placed Loftus at No. 58 – making her the top-ranked woman.

Betty Tu and David Tsoong

Betty Tu, M.D., and David Tsoong, M.D., have supported UC Irvine for more than a decade. The married couple own Pinnacle Resources International Inc., a holding company focused on international real estate and senior living.

Tu established a private obstetrics-gynecology practice in Anaheim and, until retiring in 2005, was a clinical professor at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. She served as chair and is a member of several committees at the American Congress of Obstetricians & Gynecologists. Tu earned an MBA in 1999 at UC Irvine’s Paul Merage School of Business and in 2007 was honored with its Lauds & Laurels Distinguished Alumni Award.

Tsoong was a surgical intern at UC Irvine Medical Center and, after orthopedic surgical training in New York, returned to Orange County for private practice. He’s a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American College of Surgeons. Tsoong founded and managed Gateway Medical Group, StarCare Medical Group and Pinnacle Health Resources. A former member of UC Irvine Medical Center’s Executive Council, he was on the UC Irvine Foundation’s Board of Ambassadors and is currently a trustee on the foundation’s Nomination & Board Development Committee.

Tu and Tsoong have served on The Paul Merage School of Business’ Center for Health Care Management & Policy Advisory Board, the Humanities Dean’s Advisory Council, UC Irvine Medical Center’s CEO Advisory Board and the UCI Medal Steering Committee.

They made a major gift to help build UC Irvine Douglas Hospital and were honorary co-chairs of “Healing Under the Stars – The 2012 UCI Health Gala.”

Net charitable proceeds from more than $900,000 raised through this year’s Medal ceremony will benefit UC Irvine graduate fellowships, scholarships and other student-focused projects.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system, with nearly 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,000 staff. Orange County’s second-largest employer, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $4 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.

News Radio: UCI maintains on campus an ISDN line for conducting interviews with its faculty and experts. Use of this line is available for a fee to radio news programs/stations that wish to interview UCI faculty and experts. Use of the ISDN line is subject to availability and approval by the university.


2012 UC Irvine Medal Awards
Puma Images
Dancers from UC Irvine's Claire Trevor School of the Arts perform original dance number accompanied by singers doing an a cappella version of "Shenendoah."
Sue and Bill Gross
Bill Ross / University Advancement
Sue and Bill Gross, 2012 Medal honorees, made a $10 million gift to UC Irvine supporting construction of Sue & Bill Gross Hall: A CIRM Institute, which now houses dozens of laboratory-based and clinical researchers and more.
Elizabeth Loftus
Puma Images
Elizabeth Loftus, 2012 Medal honoree, is a UC Irvine Distinguished Professor holding faculty positions in the schools of Social Ecology, Social Sciences and Law.
Drs. David Tsoong and Betty Tu
Puma Images
David Tsoong, M.D., and Betty Tu, M.D., have supported UC Irvine for more than a decade -- specifically in The Paul Merage School of Business, School of Humanities and UC Irvine Medical Center.

Media Contact

Bill Ross
University Advancement
949-824-4859
bross@uci.edu

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