Alumni Awards

Students smiling on campus

Franke Honors Alumni make a difference in our world and their success and accomplishments make us all proud! We encourage you to nominate yourself or someone you know for an alumni award by filling out the W. A. Franke Alumni Award Nomination Form

The application deadline for all awards is June 1, 2024 (for the academic year 2024-2025). 


Applications will be considered for the following Franke Honors College Awards:

Alumna/Alumnus of the Year

Awarded to a Franke Honors College graduate who has bestowed honor on the college through significant contributions and accomplishments that embody the mission of the W.A. Franke Honors College. The award winner is recognized in February at the University-wide AOY ceremony.

Young Alumna/Alumnus Award

Awarded to an early career Franke Honors College graduate who has demonstrated outstanding achievements in their field. The award winner is recognized in the fall during Homecoming.

Honors Legacy Award (not limited to Alumni)

Awarded to outstanding Franke Honors alumni, faculty, staff, and affiliated community members who contribute to the success and mission of the Franke Honors College and have gone on to be leaders in the community, making a difference in the lives of others. The award winner is recognized in the fall during Homecoming.

The Franke Honors Development & Alumni Relations Office will contact the nominee to notify them of their nomination and request additional information.


For questions or more information, please contact:

Candice Crossey, Assistant Director for Donor and Alumni relations





Shelly Lowe ’97, ‘05

Shelly C. Lowe is Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Lowe is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and grew up on the Navajo Reservation in Ganado, Arizona. From 2015 to 2021 she served as a member of the National Council on the Humanities, the 26-member advisory body to NEH, an appointment she received from President Obama. Lowe’s career in higher education has included roles as Executive Director of the Harvard University Native American Program, Assistant Dean in the Yale College Dean’s Office, and Director of the Native American Cultural Center at Yale University. Prior to these positions, she spent six years as the Graduate Education Program Facilitator for the American Indian Studies Programs at the University of Arizona.

Lowe has served in a variety of leadership roles nationally, most recently as a member of the University of Arizona Alumni Association Governing Board and of the Challenge Leadership Group for the MIT Solve Indigenous Communities Fellowship. She has served on the board of the National Indian Education Association and as a trustee on the board of the National Museum of the American Indian.

Lowe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, a Master of Arts in American Indian Studies, and has completed doctoral coursework in Higher Education from the University of Arizona.



Colien Hefferan ‘71

Dr. Colien Hefferan earned her B.S. from the University of Arizona and her M.S. and PhD from the University of Illinois. Before joining the USDA she worked in academia: as a research fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra, an adjunct faculty member at the University of Maryland, and as an assistant professor of behavioral economics at Pennsylvania State University. She joined the USDA in 1979 as an economist with the Family Economics Research Group, Agricultural Research Service. Thereafter she transferred to the Cooperative State Research Service in 1988, where she served as Deputy Administrator for Natural Resources, Food and Social Sciences. When the CSREES was established in 1994, Hefferan became Deputy Administrator for Competitive Research, Grants, and Award Management. She also served as Associate Administrator and Acting Administrator of CSREES. She became Administrator in 2000. In December 2010, Hefferan was appointed director of the U.S. National Arboretum. Colien is currently enjoying retirement in Northern Virginia.



Alok Patel ’07, ‘12

Dr. Alok Patel earned a B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology and an M.D. from the University of Arizona. He is a pediatrician at Columbia University and New York Presbyterian-Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital. Dr. Patel completed his residency in pediatrics at Seattle Children's Hospital. He has a passion for healthcare innovation and using creative strategies for public health communication. He has worked as a contributor for ABC News Medical Unit, is a pediatric content advisor for Medscape, and is on the founding team for a digital health start-up, Medumo, which provides automated patient instructions for treatments and procedures. Dr. Patel is also a co-founder of Healthyouth, a 501c-3 dedicated to addressing global health concerns; the active focus is sex trafficking awareness and prevention. In his spare time, Dr. Patel enjoys improv comedy, traveling, and martial arts.



Alexandria Lau, '06, '12

Alexandria Lau graduated with Honors and B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Engineering from the University of Arizona. She continued to pursue a PH.D. in Pharmacology and Toxicology. Throughout her time at the University of Arizona, Alex showcased her ambition, intelligence, and creativity through several internships and publications. Upon graduating with her PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology, she had sixteen, heavily-cited publications across several journals.

One characteristic that makes Alex a remarkable alumna is her passion for giving back by mentoring young students through the Keep Engaging Youth in Science (KEYS) program – a unique summer opportunity for motivated Arizona high school students to conduct novel research at the UA bioscience, engineering, environmental health, or biostatistics labs.

Alex is currently working as a Toxicology Program Manager at E. & J. Gallo Winery. Her role is integral in ensuring the safety and quality of their products. She has worked for a number of large firms including The Hershey Company and SC Johnson.



Linda Mobula, '04

Linda graduated from the University of Arizona in 2004, with Honors in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. To prepare herself for medical school, Linda participated in a variety of research and professional programs at Cornell, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, and the University of Arizona. After graduation, Linda attended the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine with a concentration of Global Health. She completed her Internal Medicine residency at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in General Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Linda’s dedication to improving the lives of individuals living in under-developed countries is exemplified through her personal and professional endeavors. After multiple volunteer trips to Haiti following the January 2010 earthquake, Linda served for a year as Medical Director of the Samaritan’s Purse-funded medical clinic in a slum outside of Port-au-Prince. Her experience managing a cholera outbreak was the foundation of her master’s thesis at Johns Hopkins’ School of Public Health. 

Linda continued her public service in Liberia during the Ebola outbreak contributing her clinical and public health skills in one of only two functional Ebola treatments in the country. Linda and her team faced adversity as their camp was located at the epicenter of frequent and violent protests, and the team was forced to use an experimental drug that had never been tested using human subjects. 

Linda is currently an Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins Hospital and continues her international work as a Public Health Advisor with USAID. Her global impact has been remarkable as Linda has worked to improve the lives of others. We do not know to what country Linda’s work will take her next, but we know that she will continue to embody the mission of the Honors College through her courage, sense of responsibility to serve others, and commitment to lifelong learning and intellectual engagement.



Heather Lenkin, '79

Heather Lenkin received a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design in 1976, and a Bachelor of Architecture with Honors in 1979. She furthered her education and gained international experience through studies at the Grand Lycée d’Antibes, France, and at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.  

Heather is a leader in the landscape, interior, and architectural design fields, and her designs have garnered numerous awards and international recognition. She is the first two-time recipient of Garden Design magazine’s “Golden Trowel” award that recognizes America’s Best Gardens. Her own garden, ‘Lagunita Heaven,’ was selected as “One of the Top Ten Gardens in the United States” by Great Gardens magazine and as “One of the Ten Most Romantic Gardens in the United States” by Cottage Living magazine.  Her life’s work was honored with a Lifetime Achievement award by the Pasadena Museum of History, and Tom Carruth of Weeks Roses created and named a rose for Heather in 2006.

Heather’s love of history is evident in her work with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Institute for Classical Architecture, and The World Monuments Fund for which Heather is a member of the Board of Trustees. Heather and fellow architectural experts are currently working on a complete conservation program for the ceiling, stucco, and decorative wall finishes in the Carracci gallery at the Palazzo Farnese in Rome, Italy. Once the project is completed, the gallery will become accessible to the public more regularly, following years of restricted access to this cultural treasure.

Heather has truly bestowed honor on the UA Honors College. She embodies the mission of the college through her courage, sense of responsibility to serve others, constant striving to achieve at the highest levels, and commitment to lifelong learning and intellectual engagement. 



Nick Spark, '92

Nick T. Spark, a Flinn Scholar, graduated with Honors in Creative Writing from the UA in 1992. An award-winning writer and documentary filmmaker, he continued his education at the University of Southern California earning a M.F.A. in Film Production.

Nick has directed or produced several successful films that include, Just Puttering Around, for which he won a Student Emmy Award, Regulus: The First Nuclear Missile Submarines (2001) and The Legend of Pancho Barnes, and the Happy Bottom Riding Club (2009), awarded an Emmy in 2009.

In his latest production, RightFooted, Spark profiles the inspiring story of Jessica Cox, a UA graduate who while armless, lives a life full of extraordinary achievements. Jessica is an accomplished martial artist, motivational speaker, world's only armless airplane pilot, a mentor, and an advocate for the disabled. This film shares Jessica’s amazing story and her ongoing work to change the lives of other people – disabled and “normal.” At its premiere at the Mirabile Dictu International Catholic Film Festival in June 2015, Right Footed won Best Documentary

Nick’s long standing passion of telling stories of forgotten or neglected history through film demonstrates his intellectual curiosity and dedication to life-long learning.



Cheri Blauwet, '02

Cheri Blauwet embodies the mission of the Honors College through her courage, sense of responsibility to serve others, constant striving to achieve at the highest levels, and a commitment to lifelong learning and intellectual engagement. Sustaining a spinal cord injury as a toddler, Cheri learned to see disability as just another way of living. Now an elite athlete and winner of seven Paralympic medals, Cheri also won her division in the New York City and Boston Marathons twice each and the Los Angeles marathon four times.

Cheri graduated from the UA in 2002 with Honors in Molecular and Cellular Biology and attended Stanford University School of Medicine. She became chief resident of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Harvard School of Medicine and is now a specialist in that field.

Cheri is dedicated to promoting disability rights and empowerment for individuals with disabilities in resource-poor regions of the world, and promotes these issues through the development of soccer programs for youths with disabilities in Uganda, Ethiopia and Angola.

After competing in the 2004 Paralympic summer games, Cheri completed an 8-week internship at the headquarters of the International Paralympic Committee to investigate how Paralympic sport can enhance both physical health and human rights for individuals with disabilities all over the world. She is now one of just seven physicians serving on the International Paralympic Medical Council.

For her extraordinary achievements, service to others, and commitment to lifelong learning, the Honors College is proud to name Dr. Cheri Blauwet the 2013 Alumna of the Year.



Neil Gehrels, '76

The late Dr. Neil Gehrels devoted his career to untangling some of the most challenging questions of our universe. An experimental physicist working in gammaray astronomy at NASA's Goddard Space Center, Neil studied gamma-ray bursts and supernovae using space telescopes, instrument development and deployment, and data analysis. Neil was chief of the Goddard's Astroparticle Physics Laboratory, principal investigator for the Swift gamma-ray burst MIDEX mission, and the Deputy Project Scientist for the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, a telescope that answers questions about supermassive black hole systems, pulsars and the origin of cosmic rays. In 2009, Neil was awarded the Henry Draper Medal by the National Academy of Sciences for his investigations in astronomical physics and his pioneering contributions to gamma ray astronomy. Neil held a PhD in physics from Caltech and graduated with Honors in Physics (with a double major in Music) from the University of Arizona.

An advocate for education and a great supporter of the University of Arizona, Neil was also a formal educator, serving as an Adjunct Professor of Astronomy at the University of Maryland and an Adjunct Professor of Astronomy & Astrophysics at Pennsylvania State University. In his spare time, he was an avid mountaineer. In 2006, he climbed the Nose Route on El Capitan, a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park, in a six-day solo ascent. 



Gene Bukhman, '96

Dr. Gene Bukhman has five degrees from UA; he graduated with Honors in 1996, with bachelor's degrees in biochemistry and English, and he earned a master's degree in Anthropology in 1999. In 2001, he received an MD and a PhD in Medical Anthropology. Today, Dr. Bukhman serves as Assistant Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and Senior Technical Advisor on Non-communicable Disease to the Rwandan Ministry of Health.

Dr. Bukhman is committed to addressing uncommon challenges across the globe; he is dedicated to improving public health in the developing world and among the poorest populations of Africa. He serves as Associate Clinical Director for Rwanda (where he has worked since 2006) with the global non-profit Partners In Health. Dr. Bukhman is an expert on strategic planning for non-communicable disease control in populations fighting extreme poverty, and his research focuses on the political and historical context of interventions in this area, as well the evaluation of programmatic outcomes.



Bob Gray, '71

Robert (Bob) Gray, a Yuma native, graduated from the University of Arizona in 1971 in English and Philosophy. Bob's spirit of inquiry and discovery took him to Scotland as one of the first UA Marshall Scholars where he earned an Honours Master's degree in English language and literature at the University of Edinburgh. Bob lived and studied in Scotland for two years, typifying the academic excellence and leadership ability that mark this distinguished group of scholars.

After returning to the United States, Bob began a career in agriculture in Arizona and California, ultimately assuming the role of CEO for Duda Farm Fresh Foods. Bob demonstrated his commitment to social responsibility by encouraging talented students interested in the Marshall scholarship. For 15 years, Bob served as a member and then chair of the San Francisco Regional Selection Committee of the Marshall Scholarship. In honor of his service, Queen Elizabeth made him an Honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in May 2010. His efforts to strengthen the ties between the United Kingdom and the U.S. have paid off with increasing numbers of the very best U.S. students now studying and building relationships in the U.K.

Bob's leadership and commitment to excellence were recognized in his selection to serve as President and CEO of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation. Bob used his intelligence, initiative, and determination to develop curriculum and programs that promote community service and leadership among agriculturalists in the West. In 2008, Bob and his wife Patricia established an endowed Honors scholarship to support an Honors student majoring in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Bob's legacy of academic excellence extends beyond his own experiences and sustains a strong foundation for the next generations of scholars and leaders. In 2016, Bob retired from California Agriculture Leadership Foundation, and now does advisory work for family businesses in agriculture. 



Helen J. Kessler, '75

Helen J. Kessler graduated from the University of Arizona in 1975 with a BA in Architecture. While attending the UA she appreciated the opportunity to take Honors classes to gain a broader perspective outside her very full Architecture schedule. The UA, Architecture and Honors gave her a good preparation in problem solving which she applied first in her work with solar energy and uses now in her sustainability consulting practice.

Helen continued her education by earning an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Now the head of her own firm, HJKessler Associates, she has over 25 years of experience in sustainable design, energy efficiency and renewable energy. While most of her projects are in the Chicago area, she was also involved in the passive cooling project at the Environmental Research Facility here at the U of A. In addition to consulting nationally, and writing about green building and energy efficiency, Helen teaches Sustainability in Construction at Northwestern University.

Helen's speaking engagements and articles show her commitment to sustainability is more than just talk. Helen\'s example inspires us to think beyond the rules to the spirit of sustainability.



Marla Smith-Nilson, '91

Marla Smith-Nilson graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1991. While attending the UA, Marla was a Flinn Scholar and interacted closely with Honors faculty and staff. Marla was inspired to make a difference in global water issues during her Flinn travels in Turkey and Egypt. Since the UA is internationally renowned for its research and outreach on water issues, it is even more appropriate that we honor her with this award.

After graduating from the University of Arizona, Marla continued her graduate education receiving a M.S. in Environmental Engineering from the University of North Carolina-chapel Hill. There she met Gary White, her co-founder of WaterPartners. For fifteen years, WaterPartners has provided sustainable water systems to communities in the developing world. Their vision is to provide water systems for families around the world. Marla is undaunted by the enormity of the challenge because she focuses on the smaller steps that achieve the goals. The first year, WaterPartners was able to provide a water and latrine system to a village of 400 people in Honduras. By 2003, the organization had grown so that over 100,000 people were served by WaterPartners water projects. Marla is committed to collaboration and partnerships to sustain and facilitate change. Each water project involves a strong partnership with the local community. Marla's perspective involves understanding the local cultural and political context, mobilizing people to participate in building the infrastructure, training residents to maintain their new systems, and educating the community about health and safety issues.

Marla's systems approach derived from engineering facilitates her community building around the world. Marla's Flinn experience created a deep appreciation for interdisciplinary teamwork and her UA Honors education gave her the confidence to pursue her passions. She learns what she needs and does what has to be done to reach her goals. In 2005 Marla launched Water 1st to educate people about water issues and to provide them with opportunities to be involved in bringing safe water to the 1.1 billion people without access to safe water. Through this new endeavor, Marla continues her commitment to sustainable, community-based solutions to water issues.



The Honorable Margaret M. Houghton, '73

A member of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi, Peggy graduated from the University of Arizona with Honors in Anthropology in 1973. Her senior Honors thesis "Male and Female Lawyers in Pima County: Does Gender Make a Difference?" was the catalyst in her decision to attend the UA College of Law, from which she earned a degree in 1976. Peggy co-founded the Arizona Women's Law Association, a vibrant organization that provides peer mentors to beginning law students, raises funds for domestic violence prevention, and is particularly effective in increasing the representation of women on the bench.

The breadth and depth of Peggy's accomplishments as a lawyer and judge reflect her commitments to excellence and social responsibility. In her legal career, Peggy contributed at many levels, first as a prosecutor in the Tucson City Attorney's Office, then in private practice and finally as a judge in Pima County Superior Court. During her distinguished judicial career, she presided over the domestic relations and probate courts and was very active in legal reform. The interests of women and children always are close to her heart. She was a member of the advisory group that designed Arizona's first domestic violence legislation and helped develop child support guidelines to ensure that support awards would be adequate to meet the needs of custodial parents and children. She received many honors and awards over the years acknowledging her contributions in the area of family law. Peggy was a co-founder of both the Gender Bias Task Force in Pima County and the Arizona Women's Lawyers Association and nationally recognized for her leadership in the National Association of Women Judges.

In her personal and professional lives, Peggy demonstrates the courage to face uncommon challenges, a characteristic we nurture in Honors students. A survivor of both polio and breast cancer, Peggy speaks about medical and personal challenges, advocates for women and children's issues, and is a supportive and selfless friend to other women in crisis. She met the challenges posed by these medical conditions in her daily life and found the stamina to lecture in India about family law, women's issues and alternative dispute resolution, raise her own family, mentor countless women law students, and pursue an active career. She was a compassionate judge who cared deeply about the families whose problems brought them into the courtroom. Although she retired in 2000 from the bench, Peggy continues to be an advocate for diversity at the local, state, and national level.



John Olsen, '76

Regents' Professor Emeritus John Olsen is a distinguished graduate of the Honors program who has been an ardent supporter of Honors throughout his career. John graduated from the University of Arizona with Honors in Anthropology; his senior Honors thesis was influential in shaping his graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley. John is an internationally-known archaeologist focusing his research on Tibet and Mongolia. A Fulbright Scholar in 1992, he achieved the UA's highest recognition for academic achievement in 2005 when he was awarded a Regents' Professorship. John is now co-director of the Joint Mongolian-Russian-American Archaeological Expeditions and and affiliated member of both the Russian and Chinese Academies of Sciences.

John has contributed significantly to the mission of The Honors College, specifically our efforts to provide special academic, intellectual, and cultural opportunities to talented undergraduates. John enhanced undergraduate students' research opportunities by serving on the Undergraduate Research Grants committee for many years and by promoting grant applications from students in the social sciences. As a UA department head from 1998 to 2008, John encouraged Honors opportunities in Anthropology by establishing a strong advising system for Honors students, encouraging faculty to offer Honors courses, and providing mentoring and career explorations activities. John has been highly supportive of Honors activities: contacting and meeting prospective students, mentoring Honors students, and attending events on campus that build student-faculty contacts outside of the classroom. Appropriately, he was the speaker at our first Honors Alumni dinner. John retired from UA in 2016 to focus his activities on research and publication but John's allegiance to Honors is nonetheless evident. We are grateful for all he has done and continues to do to build our community of scholars.


Paul Barber, ‘91

Dr. Paul Barber is a professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UCLA. A native of Tucson, Paul studied music and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona, receiving his B.S. with Honors in 1991. Paul did his Ph.D. studies at the University of California, Berkeley, studying the evolutionary history of canyon tree frogs from the mountain islands of the desert southwest. He shifted his focus to evolution and conservation of marine biodiversity as an NSF postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, and began his faculty career at Boston University in 2002. For most of the past two decades, Paul has integrated genetics, ecology, oceanography and geology to understand the origins of high marine biodiversity in the Coral Triangle, the global epicenter of marine biodiversity. He partners with international conservation organizations to use this information to help guide conservation efforts of this imperiled ecosystem. In 2009 he co-founded the Indonesian Biodiversity Research Center to help train the next generation of Indonesian biodiversity and conservation scientists and also helped to establish the American Institute for Indonesian Studies (www. to further advance research in Indonesia, across academic disciplines.

The majority of Paul’s research has been done in the context of education programs such as The Diversity Project, a program focused on increasing participation of underrepresented minorities in marine sciences. At UCLA, Paul leads and has developed numerous programs focused on increasing access and success of underrepresented and underserved students in science. Paul’s integration of research and education and passion for increasing diversity in science has been recognized by numerous awards including the U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering, the UCLA Distinguished Teaching award, the UCLA Diversity Equity and Inclusion Award, and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science Distinguished Student Mentor Award. In 2017, Paul was named an HHMI Professor. Paul credits his success to his family and upbringing in Tucson, his many dedicated mentors, and the support of his amazing wife and two sons.



Armin Sorooshian, ‘03

Armin Sorooshian is Professor, University Distinguished Scholar, and da Vinci Fellow in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at the University of Arizona (UA) with courtesy appointments in the Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, the College of Public Health, and the College of Optical Sciences. He received his BS degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Arizona (UA) with Honors (2003) and his PhD in Chemical Engineering from Caltech (2008). After a brief postdoctoral fellowship at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 2008, he began his career as a professor at UA in 2009.

As a researcher, Armin specializes in understanding the sources, nature, and impacts of particulate matter in the atmosphere. He studies the formation and evolution of clouds and rainfall, and uses a blend of field data, satellite data, and models in his research. Among his recent contributions have been advancements in understanding the interactions between particles and clouds and the subsequent effects on climate. Armin is currently the PI of a $30 million NASA mission to investigate aerosol-cloud-meteorology interactions over the western North Atlantic Ocean using multiple aircraft, satellite data, and a variety of numerical models. His research is supported by agencies such as the National Science Foundation, NASA, NIH, and the Department of Defense, including funding from an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Program Award. He has published over 110 peer-reviewed papers and is active advising a research group with over 10 graduate students with several alumni from his group working at national labs and in academia. He is the advisor of a number of clubs on campus, is a Faculty Fellow, was a five star faculty award finalist in 2014.



Zeb Hogan, ‘96

Dr. Zeb Hogan (’96) graduated with a B.S. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. He was a Flinn scholar, participant in the Undergraduate Biology Research Program, and received a Fulbright scholarship to investigate the impact of 12 proposed dams on the Mekong River’s migratory fish species. Zeb earned a Ph.D. in Ecology at the University of California, Davis, completed a post-doc at the University of Wisconsin. Today, he teaches at the University of Nevada-Reno.

Zeb is an aquatic ecologist passionate about research, science, and exploration that aids endangered species and the livelihood of people who share these habitats. He has had a decades-long research focus on migratory fish ecology, multi-species fisheries management, the status and conservation of giant freshwater fish, endangered species issues, and conservation genetics.

His research is motivated by his belief that he can offer real hope to both fish and fishing communities and has been published in Nature, Science, Conservation Biology and the Environmental Biology of Fishes, as well as popular publications including Time Magazine and National Geographic Magazine. He has traveled from Mongolia to the Pacific Northwest to find, study, and protect the world’s largest freshwater fish. Partnering with National Geographic, Zeb documents his travels on the National Geographic Television show “Monster Fish.”

Allison Titcomb, his nominator, says, “Zeb Hogan is inspired by his passion for discovery and learning. He is a person who loves research, science, and exploration. His motivation for his projects is to be able to combine the three things he loves and convey that excitement to others in order to motivate them to take action.”



Benjamin Woodbury Driggs, ‘96

Benjamin Woodbury Driggs (’96, Latin American Studies and Economics) is the President Honeywell’s Connected Aircraft division which provides internet connectivity, software analytics and prognostics, and flight efficiency solutions to all types of aircraft. Previously, Ben was the Americas President for Honeywell Aerospace, President of Honeywell Latin America, and Vice President of Propulsion Engines.

He is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona but has also lived in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Shanghai, China, and Los Angeles, California during his career.

As an Honors College student, Driggs was a Flinn Scholar, Student Body President, a member of Sigma Chi Fraternity, and a UA Bobcat. Through a UA-sponsored summer international research program, he traveled to Argentina, Chile, and Honduras, which unlocked several future learning and discovery opportunities.

Ben received a Master’s Degree from Oxford University in England which he attended as a Swanson Scholar. After graduate school, he began his career at the renowned consulting firm McKinsey & Co advising leading companies in the Aerospace, Transportation and Mining Industries. He joined Honeywell International in 2004; he was named President of Latin America in 2014, and President Connected Aircraft in 2018.

Driggs has been an active participant in the communities in which he has lived, including serving on the Honors College Board, the Arizona Board of the Hugh O’Brian Leadership Foundation, Sao Paulo Brazil Business Federation, and as a Sunday School teacher for his church in 3 countries.

Jennifer Nelson, his colleague and nominator, said, “As an accomplished Flinn Scholar and alumnus of the University of Arizona Honors College, Benjamin Driggs launched into his life after college full of promise and ready to change the world and he did not disappoint. The principles of constant discovery and learning continue to help him accomplish new challenges and roles.”



Jerry Gin, ‘64

Jerry has been in biotech for 40 years. He is an inventor, founder, and entrepreneur, focusing most recently on novel drug delivery products. He is president, CEO, and founder of Nuvora, an oral care company that makes drug delivery products for the mouth. He's also the founder and chairperson of Livionex, which is developing toothpaste to treat gingivitis and an eye drop to prevent cataracts.

Jerry Gin graduated in 1964 as one of the very first Honors graduates. Science—especially using it to create things—has always been Jerry’s passion. After graduating from UA with a Bachelor’s in Chemistry, he went to Berkeley for a PhD in Biochemistry. After a post-doc at the

National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, he worked for Biosciences Labs, setting up diagnostic labs all over the country.

He augmented his science background with an MBA from Loyola College in Maryland, and joined Dow at their corporate headquarters in Michigan. After five years working in business development for pharmaceutical company Syntex, he decided he wanted to bring his science and business background to bear on his own companies.

As they do for many Honors students today, research opportunities, and outstanding Honors courses were what made his UA Honors experience so great. Jerry loved doing chemistry research and found his Honors humanities class to be “A really exceptional exposure to all the humanities.” Jerry also enjoys playing tennis and is a sculptor, crafting animals and large abstract pieces out of wood.

Jerry embodies the mission of the UA Honors College because he is devoted to lifelong learning and is motivated by a spirit of inquiry.



Gerry Morton, '95

Gerry is an energetic entrepreneurial leader dedicated to enriching lives by making people healthier and happier. Gerry founded NutriScience Corp in 2003 as a platform to build, grow and acquire nutrition products brands with the potential to lead their categories. Gerry is the CEO of EnergyFirst, an industry leading natural products company ranked by Inc. magazine as one of the fastest growing private companies in North America. He is also CEO at Greens Plus, an industry leader since 1989 with over a million customers.

Gerry holds a Masters of Science in Nutrition with Honors along with an Executive MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. He is a graduate of the MIT Entrepreneurial Masters Program and earned a Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship with Honors from the University of Arizona.

On the non-profit side, he was recently named Rotarian of the Year for the Manhattan Beach Rotary Club, and is a Manhattan Beach Planning Commissioner. Gerry is Past-President of the Entrepreneur's Organization (EO) in Los Angeles, Past-President and Chair of the Greater LA Area Council of the Boy Scouts, and a chapter board member of YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization), a premier peer network of chief executives and business leaders.

Gerry is a veteran of four Ironman Triathlons (including Hawaii), over thirty marathons (including Boston), the Catalina Classic 32 mile paddle board race and numerous other top athletic competitions. He completed the 230 mile John Muir Trail in 7 days. He is a private pilot, ship captain, and licensed real estate broker. Gerry is an expert in the fields of entrepreneurial leadership, nutrition, peak performance, and non-profit governance.



Paul Nussbaum, '85

Dr. Paul Nussbaum graduated from the University of Arizona in 1985 with Honors in Psychology. A "triple Wildcat," he has a master\'s degree and a PhD from UA in Clinical Psychology, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh. He is passionate about the field of neuroscience, and he has an impressive record of research and academic publications in neuropsychology, brain health, and the treatment of dementia and related disorders. However, this relentless pursuit of scientific knowledge is matched by his desire to share it with diverse audiences. Dr. Nussbaum's work today focuses on bringing neuroscience to the general public. He presents and writes extensively to educate people (from K-12 students and educators to corporate America) on the basics of the human brain and how to keep it healthy over the entire lifespan.

Through his academic scholarship in neuropsychology and his passion for inspiring others to embrace discovery on their own, he embodies The Honors College's commitment to lifelong learning and a spirit of inquiry. Paul's website is



Shaun Kirkpatrick, '91

Shaun Kirkpatrick graduated from the University of Arizona with a dual major in economics and biology. While attending the UA, Shaun was a true wildcat, living in Yuma Hall, serving as President of Bobcat Senior Honorary, and being involved on campus. He went on to complete a Master's degree in international economics and science/ technology in international relations from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced Studies in Washington DC and Bologna, Italy.

Shaun exemplifies the spirit of inquiry and discovery through his educational and professional achievements. At the forefront of biomedical innovations and development, Shaun has led Research Corporation Technologies (RCT) as its President and CEO. He has more than 15 years of experience managing venture investments and technology development programs that advance the fields of cancer, inflammation, metabolic disease, neurological disorders, and technology platforms related to biotherapies and antibodies. Shaun also was instrumental as a member of the operations board in the establishment of the Critical Path Institute, formed by the Federal Drug Administration, SRI International and the University of Arizona to accelerate the development of safe human therapeutics.


Bruce Burke, '71, '75

Bruce Burke has a passion for community service. An active supporter of the University of Arizona Honors College, Bruce has served on the college's Advisory Board since 2010. Prior to that, from 2003 to 2010, he served on the TUSD School Board, and was board President in 2005. He is a Fellow of the UA Law College Association, and a lifetime member of the UA Alumni Association. He serves on the boards of the Marshall Foundation and the John and Helen Murphey Foundation, both of which fund scholarships for University students and support charitable causes in Tucson. 

Over the years, Bruce has served on numerous other boards, committees, and commissions. In 2018 he served as co-chair of the Yes on Prop 407 Committee in a successful $225 million bond campaign to improve amenities in Tucson's parks and recreational facilities.  He was co-chair of the Yes on Proposition 101 Committee that, in 2017, successfully campaigned for a temporary sales tax increase to fund capital improvements for Tucson’s police, fire, and roads. He chaired a successful campaign in 2012 to adopt a $100 million road improvement program for Tucson. Bruce currently serves on Tucson's Road Bond Oversight Commission, which monitors  road improvement projects.  He has also served on the Tucson Redistricting Advisory Committee, the Tucson City Magistrate Merit Selection Committee, the Pima County Commission on Trial Court Appointments, and the Arizona Legislative Election Reform Study Committee. 

Bruce grew up in Phoenix and moved to Tucson to attend the University of Arizona. In 1971 he graduated with Honors in English Literature and a Bachelor of Science degree with high distinction from the College of Agriculture, where he majored in Agricultural Economics. In 1975 he received a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Arizona College of Law.  Bruce practiced law as a civil trial attorney for 42 years and retired in 2017. In 1987, he received a Public Service award from Southern Arizona Legal Aid for service to indigent clients. 

A lifelong member of Common Cause, a non-partisan campaign watchdog group, Bruce was the state’s first chair in 1979-80. In the 1980’s, he served two terms on the national governing board. In 1985, he chaired the Common Cause Ballot committee that successfully campaigned for a Tucson Charter amendment limiting campaign expenditures and allowing public financing of city campaigns. Bruce has also served as a board member and President of the Tucson Girl’s Chorus, President of the San Clemente Neighborhood Association, and a board member of the St. Mark’s Preschool and Kindergarten. Married to Melinda Burke, they have three adult daughters and four grandchildren.



Corinne Cooper, '75, '78

Corinne Cooper was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She received her BA and JD degrees from the University of Arizona. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and the Order of the Coif.

After graduation, she practiced law in Phoenix, Arizona, specializing in banking law. In 1982, she joined the faculty of UMKC School of Law, and taught contracts and commercial law for almost 20 years. She has been a visiting professor at the universities of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Kansas, and Colorado. She was elected to membership in the American Law Institute in 1994. She was named a Professor Emerita of Law in 2000. 

In 1993, Professor Cooper began to focus on the realm of professional communication, culminating in her leaving teaching to start Professional Presence®, a communication consulting company. She has represented professional firms and organizations throughout the United States. Her work has won numerous national communication awards.

Her most popular communication book is How to Build a Law Firm Brand. She has also published on communication for women (ABA GP|Solo 2004). She also edited the ABA Spanish Legal Phrasebook, to help lawyers serve their Spanish-speaking clients

Professor Cooper devoted several years to the development of visual tools to teach law. She wrote two books on the subject: Getting Graphic®, on the use of visual tools to teach commercial law, and Getting Graphic2®, about the use of visual tools to teach law.

Professor Cooper was a member of the Board of Editors of the ABA Journal from 1999 to 2005. She served on the Councils of the ABA Section of Business Law and the Division of Solo and Small Firms. She served as Editor of Business Law Today. In 1996, she received the Business Law Section's Glasscutter Award. She served twice on the ABA Standing Committee on Continuing Legal Education, as well as on the Standing Committee on Communication. She was founding chair of the Women's Business Law Network, and the Business Law Section's representative to the ABA Commission on Women.

Her most recent scholarly work is Attorney Liability in Bankruptcy (ABA 2006), which focuses on attorney liability under the 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Act. A widely-recognized work, "Letter to a Young Law Student," is an anthropological study of the first year of law school. Another narrative work, "The Madonnas Play Tug-of-War with the Whores," explores the role of industry lobbyists in the law reform movement. 

Most of her academic scholarship has been devoted to the Uniform Commercial Code, including The New Article 9 (ABA 1999; 2d ed. 2000) and The Portable UCC (ABA 20012), now in its 5th edition. Her work on the scope of Article 2A of the UCC is the principal work in the field.

In 1988, she studied finance in the MBA program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. In 1990, she served as the Director of Issues for the campaign of Terry Goddard for Governor of Arizona. She retains a lifelong interest in politics, although she has retired from her radio talk show, "The Week in Dispute."

In 2017, Professor Cooper retired from her communication consulting practice, but she continues to volunteer, and contribute communication expertise to local and national nonprofit organizations, including Habitat Tucson and the Committee for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).



Courtney Cooper, '04

Courtney Cooper is a career public servant who served on the White House National Security Council staff as Director for Afghanistan (2015-2017), where she worked to develop, implement, and advance U.S. foreign policy in South Asia, as well as support and brief our nation’s senior-most leaders including the President, Vice President, and National Security Advisor. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Honors College with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and International Studies and she later earned a Master’s degree in International Affairs from George Washington University.

Over the last ten years, she has worked to advance U.S. interests in various capacities within the government on international trade, development, and national security issues. Driven by her interest in global issues, Courtney has traveled to more than 60 countries in professional, academic, and personal capacities. Isabel Sepulveda, her nominator, says, “Courtney has demonstrated courage by supporting U.S. efforts in complex environments, and has consistently proven herself willing to take risks to better serve those around her. Her accomplishments are undoubtedly only a preview of her future achievements.” We bestow this award upon alumni whose meritorious service to their community demonstrates a commitment to promoting social responsibility throughout their lives. This award reflects Courtney’s professional and social achievements and contributions on a national and global level.



Pauline Koelbl (Mujawamariya), '07

An Innovation Catalyst, Angel Investor, Speaker, Strategic Advisor and seasoned impact-driven Team Leader with over 20 years’ experience in international affairs and philanthropy industries, Pauline’s passion lies in innovation, entrepreneurship and empowerment of youth and women. Pauline is a leading expert and influencer on the transformation of developing countries to emerging economies by designing programs & policies fostering inclusive innovations. During the last seven years and half, Pauline’s work focused on catalyzing marketable, scalable and impactful home-grown innovations for African-led growth across the African continent, building strategic partnerships and innovation ecosystems that will invigorate economic growth across Africa. She was the Managing Director of the African Innovation Foundation and Director of the Innovation Prize for Africa where she has been actively promoting innovation-catalytic policies and actions at the highest governmental levels across the African continent. Prior to that, Pauline worked for a number of UN bodies and NGOs in Africa, Europe and USA including WHO in Geneva, UNESCO in Paris, UNICEF in Goma, Enda Tiers Monde in Dakar, and Jewish Family and Children’s Services in Arizona etc.

Pauline recently Co-founded PROWAH (Professional Women of African Heritage) in Switzerland, and she is currently serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the Flame Tree Initiative, a US-based NGO that partners with African universities to foster scalable, socially-minded businesses that accelerate regional change.

In addition, Pauline serves on a number of Advisory Boards including: GreenTec Capital, which focuses on transformative investments in African innovations and start-ups; iLEAD (Innovation in Laboratory Engineered Accelerated Diagnostics), an African laboratory initiative supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and EurAfrican Forum, an annual Forum which promotes the power of diasporas as a connecting force between cities, regions and continents, between cultures, companies and people. Pauline holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honors) in International Studies from the University of Arizona, a Masters of Arts in Poverty & Development from the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University where she was a Fulbright Scholar, and an Executive Education Certificate in Innovation for Economic Development from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.



Vanessa Bechtol, '00

Vanessa Bechtol (’00, Honors in Latin American Studies) is Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Visit Tucson, where she oversees the Partnership and Visitor Services departments, stakeholder communications and community partnerships, and implementation of the Metro Tucson Tourism Master Plan. Vanessa is also President of the Santa Cruz Valley Heritage Alliance, the local non-profit organization that is coordinating projects of the Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area, which connects people to the cultural, historic and natural treasures of Southern Arizona’s Santa Cruz Valley. She is skilled collaborating with other organizations, decision-makers, and community members. Vanessa has a master’s degree in Planning from the University of Arizona. She was recognized as one of Tucson's 40 Under 40 professionals and community leaders in 2011, is a graduate of the Greater Tucson Leadership class of 2013, and received the 2014 “Up & Comer” award from Inside Tucson Business. 



Alan Kaye, '84, '85, '89

Dr. Alan David Kaye, MD, PhD, is Chairman, Program Director and Tenured Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. He is also Director of Interventional Pain Services at the LSU School of Medicine and is a Professor within the Tulane School of Medicine Departments of Anesthesiology and Pharmacology. Dr. Kaye graduated from the University of Arizona in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a bachelor's degree in Biology in 1985, and in 1989 with an MD. He trained in Anesthesiology at Massachusetts General Hospital through Harvard Medical School and Tulane University where he was chief resident, and completed a pain management fellowship at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center. He also earned a PhD in pharmacology in 1997 from Tulane School of Medicine. Dr. Kaye has authored or co-authored over 35 books, over 250 book chapters, and over 750 manuscripts on anesthesia, pharmacology, pain management, and herbal medicine. He has a lifelong interest in education and enjoys teaching medical students, residents, and fellows.

Dr. Kaye created LSU’s Interventional Pain Clinic, the only one in the state for those who are indigent. He has marshaled support from 18 interventional pain physicians from throughout Louisiana to help perform interventional pain procedure for people who are typically unable to work or function well because of complex pain states. There are typically over 700 patients waiting for these procedures. Dr. Kaye also created LSU’s Anesthesia Residency Program in 2007; this was the first new Anesthesia training program in two decades. He has been instrumental in rebuilding and strengthening Anesthesiology in New Orleans by working tirelessly to serve patients, colleagues, and residents even after the destruction of many hospitals during hurricane Katrina.

Dr. Kaye’s steadfast commitment to his discipline, his students, and his community has earned him the 2013 Social Responsibility Award.



Michael LaMar, '84

Dr. Michael LaMar graduated from the University of Arizona in Philosophy and Biology in 1984, and from the UA College of Medicine in 1989. Originally practicing in pediatrics, and then in Emergency Medicine, Dr. LaMar embodies lifelong learning. He recently completed training in Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and is developing a curriculum to bring palliative care to the emergency department. However, it is his service to the community that merits his selection for the Social Responsibility Alumni Award. Dr. LaMar founded and administers the charity Operation Caregiver, which provides caregiver kits full of items of basic hygiene and comfort to combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dr. LaMar is also a member of The Nice Guys, a non-profit group in San Diego that provides assistance to local families and individuals that have fallen on tough times, including wounded service members and their families.

Through these endeavors and his work with numerous other charitable and service-oriented organizations, he strives to meet the needs of his community and demonstrates his initiative in rising to meet local and international challenges.



Dylan Taylor, '93

Dylan Taylor graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering with Honors and continued his education at the University of Chicago where he earned an MBA. He currently is Chief Executive Officer of Colliers International, the third largest commercial real estate firm in the world. Dylan's passion, however, is children and health. Dylan decided to become involved with the March of Dimes and has served on the State of Colorado Board of Directors. As Chair of the fundraising event, March for Babies, Dylan led the March of Dimes to set a fundraising record of nearly $1.1 million. Dylan also serves on the Board of Directors of the Kempe Foundation for the prevention of child abuse and neglect. The Kempe Center trains doctors from all over the world on how to recognize, treat and in some cases, prevent child abuse and neglect.

Dylan's life exemplifies his belief that business leaders have an obligation to find a way to make a positive impact in people's lives. Dylan shaped his career and life through choices that would enable him to engage in social responsibility and fulfill his obligation to making society a better place. Dylan faces challenges and takes on the greatest needs when investing himself as a volunteer and leader. He finds great joy in helping our youngest citizens in the best way that he knows how.



The Honorable Nanette Warner, '73

The Honorable Nanette Warner has devoted much of her career to justice and equality. Judge Warner graduated from the University with Honors receiving a BA in sociology and political science. After attending Georgetown University for law school, she returned to Arizona and practiced law at Miller, Pitt, and Feldman for nine years until she was appointed by Governor Bruce Babbitt to the Arizona Superior Court in Pima County.

Judge Warner has made significant contributions on the Civil, Criminal, Family Law and Juvenile benches serving as Presiding Judge of both the Family Law and Juvenile benches. Her efforts to improve the community including work with the Mental Health Court, the Restitution Accountability Program, the Victim/Offender Mediation program and the Model Court Process in Juvenile Court. Her dedication to children and families is evident in her appointment to the Ad Hoc Legislative Committee on Child Welfare where she was instrumental in revising abuse and neglect statutes, institutionalization of the Model Court processes to improve the treatment of juveniles and helping lead the Pima County Families for Kids Project.


Natalie Lucas, '13 

Natalie Lucas graduated from the University of Arizona with her Masters in Development Practice, and in 2013 she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics, Economics, and Law. She completed both of these degrees with honors. Since graduating from undergrad she has been a national leader in the environmental movement, specifically devoted to taking on climate change. She has been to five UN Climate Negotiations including the negotiations in Paris where the Paris Agreement was finalized; has done research for the Center for International Forestry Research on fuelwood use in Lombok, Indonesia; started a nonprofit, Care About Climate, during graduate school to increase international cooperation on climate action with young people as well as improve climate communications, and she also currently serves on the Board of Directors for Sierra Club. She keeps her hands full with all of this work, but the successes she sees in the movement keep her going. 



Heather Hiscox, ‘99

Heather Hiscox (’99) is a social entrepreneur passionate about creating communities focused on assets, abilities and abundance, not scarcity and powerlessness. Heather graduated from the Honors College with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with an emphasis on Africana Studies and social inequality. She earned a Master’s in Public Health in Health Education and Behavioral Sciences with an emphasis on health disparities.

Heather is the co-director and co-founder of the Nonprofit and Social Impact Core of Moves the Needle, a company that teaches how to use lean innovation to create social change. She is also the creator of Wish List, a website that unites nonprofit needs and the community, as well as owner of Seven Degrees Consulting which provides nonprofit fundraising and business development counsel. She is the co-founder of Startup for All, which delivers entrepreneurship education to women, older adults, and people of color. Heather also publishes the greatest wishes of nonprofits each week in the Arizona Daily Star and co-founded Women of Purpose, a Tucson-based Lean In Circle for female nonprofit professionals and entrepreneurs.

Heather has received numerous awards for her leadership and commitment to the community and was recognized as a 2015 TEDx Starr Pass Women Local Leader, was the Greater Tucson Leadership, Class of 2014 Ronald L. Kurth Awardee, and, in 2013, was recognized as a 40 Under 40 and Inside Tucson Business Up and Comer.



Adeel Yang, ‘08

Adeel Yang graduated with Honors from the UA in Molecular and Cellular Biology in 2008 and went on to pursue an M.D. from the University of Arizona, College of Medicine.  

While in school, he saw that there was a need for education reform in the medical field so, he and a couple of friends created and patented Picmonic, an educational software company offering audiovisual mnemonics to help students master learning for premed, medical and nursing contexts. As a co-founder of the company, he led early stage legal, fundraising, recruiting, team building, marketing, branding, product development, sales, public outreach, and business development efforts. Since inception, he has raised over $1.3 million, grew the company from 2 to 20 full time team members, and launched a proprietary online learning system that is currently transforming the learning experience of over 35,000 students in medical education worldwide.  Picmonic was named one of the 16 best companies in the Venture Madness 2015 competition.

The work he and his co-founders have done is now being utilized in nursing, studying for the MCATs, and for several other applications. Yang continues to identify and collaborate with exceptional and inspirational people who want to make a difference in this world by revolutionizing education, creating an immense value for students globally.



Andrea Brodie, '06

Andrea M. Brodie is a Partner at Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman, Eisman, Formato, Ferrara, Wolf & Carone, LLP in the Family and Matrimonial Law group. Prior to joining Abrams Fensterman, Ms. Brodie worked at another prominent family law boutique firm as their senior associate with an emphasis almost exclusively on family and matrimonial cases.

While in law school, Ms. Brodie interned for Hon. Jeffrey S. Brown in the Nassau County Supreme Court Matrimonial Center, Hon. Conrad D. Singer in the Nassau County Family Court, and the Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She also represented children in abuse and neglect cases as well as special immigrant matters in Nassau and Queens Family Courts as part of Hofstra's Child Advocacy Clinic.

Ms. Brodie is actively involved in numerous legal organizations and associations, including: the Board of Directors for the Nassau County Bar Association, the Nassau County Women’s Bar Association's Executive Committee as Vice President and the New York Family Law American Inn of Court. Ms. Brodie presently serves as Co-Chair with the Hon. Jeffrey Goodstein to the Steven J. Eisman New Lawyer/Judiciary Relations Task Force. She previously served as a co-chair of the Nassau County Women’s Bar Association’s Matrimonial and Family Law Committee from 2011-2015 and advisory member to the Nassau Academy of Law from 2012-2017. Ms. Brodie was a prior Chair of the Nassau County Bar Association's Young Lawyers Committee and served as a member of the Nassau County Bar Association Board of Directors as the Young Lawyers Chair. Ms. Brodie is an active member of the Matrimonial Committee of the Nassau County Bar Association, as well as, other committees within these organizations.

Ms. Brodie was selected as a 40 Under 40 by Long Island Business News in 2018, an Outstanding Woman in Law by Hofstra University School of Law in 2017, 40 Stars Under 40 by Star Network (The Queens Courier) in 2016 and Top 40 Under 40 by The National Advocates in 2015 through 2017. She has also been selected as a "Rising Star" in New York Family Law by "Super Lawyers" since 2013. She also received the Nassau County Women's Bar Association's Bessie Ray Geffner Memorial Award in June 2012 and the 2012-2013 Young Alumni Award from the Honors College at the University of Arizona.

Ms. Brodie received her J.D. from Hofstra University School of Law with a Concentration and Citation of Excellence in Child and Family Advocacy. Ms. Brodie graduated magna cum laude from the University of Arizona as an inducted member into the scholastic honorary, Phi Beta Kappa, and a President and Provost Scholar. Ms. Brodie is admitted to practice law in the State of New York and the District of Columbia.”



Lon Huber, '09

Lon Huber leads Navigant’s North American retail regulatory offering. In this capacity, Lon provides strategy, new pricing frameworks, and policy solutions on behalf of clients across the energy sector. Specifically, Lon pushes advances in renewable energy programs, energy storage, and community solar. He is frequently cited in trade press and speaks regularly at conferences across the country. With over 10 years in the energy industry, his experience spans public and private sectors, as well as academia. Lon has a rich history with university sustainability programs, having founded the University of Arizona’s Green Fund, which at the time, was the largest pool of student managed money for campus sustainability in the country.

Lon got his start in the energy policy field at a University of Arizona based energy research institute. Subsequently, he worked in the private sector for several years in positions related to energy policy and economic development. Due to his efforts in the community, Lon received a congressional recognition award for his work in solar energy education. During this time, he was also recognized as an Arizona Daily Star “40 under 40” winner for leadership, community impact, and professional accomplishment. Lon recently won the top award from the Energy Storage Association and was named Utility Dive’s Innovator of the Year for 2018. Finally, he landed on Public Utilities Fortnightly Top Innovator Honor Roll in 2018.


Christena Tenney

Christena Flint Tenney has been an educator in Tucson for fifteen years. She has spent the majority of time as a Title I reading specialist with her focus on elementary students in the Flowing Wells School District. Her mission is to support fellow educators, students and their families, and community stakeholders in not only developing reading proficiency, but also developing a love of reading. She has provided professional development and reading activities to engage within her school district and community and continues to engage wherever possible to help strengthen her school, district, and community.

Christena graduated from the University of Arizona in 2003 with honors. She then went on to get two Master’s degrees from Northern Arizona University with emphasis in Reading and Administration. She is a National Board Certified teacher. She keeps busy being the mom of two boys (Rustin, 8 and Chase, 5). The two best parts of her time at the University of Arizona were meeting her husband Nathan Tenney and time spent with the Honors College. 



Wayne Decker

A person’s life and career are not determined, or well described, solely by formal education and professional accomplishments.  Wayne Decker’s work, motivations and priorities were heavily influenced by a working class upbringing that involved housing construction and factory labor, growing up amidst the civil rights movement, and leadership of a U.S. Army artillery section during the Vietnam War.

A non-traditional academic, Wayne is grounded in reality, proud of the students he has motivated to address serious public concerns, and ambitious about undertaking more of his own international challenges. He loves working in collaboration with academics, the private sector, government, international organizations and African science/technology innovators. 

In traditional academic language, Dr. Decker is Professor Emeritus of Geography and Development at the University of Arizona, where he was Director of the Masters in Development Practice (MDP) graduate program. After completing undergraduate work in political science and geology, he took his PhD from Johns Hopkins University in international politics (political economy). He held fellowships at Harvard and Stanford while researching and collaborating with others, inside and outside academia, to reduce US-Northeast Asian political, military and economic tensions. Wayne was the founding Director of International Studies at Arizona (based in the Honors College) and previously held appointments as Associate Director of International Programs, where he built foreign study programs in China, Mexico, Brazil and Japan. 

Wayne is Founder and President of the Flame Tree Initiative, a Tucson-based group that partners with African universities to train and launch development-focused social entrepreneurs (  Flame Tree is creating a network of university-based Centers for Development Entrepreneurship and Innovation that will launch hundreds of social enterprises to confront African challenges of natural resources, agriculture, health, and women’s empowerment.



Southwestern Foundation

The Southwestern Foundation for Education and Historical Preservation was created by a generous bequest from Jane Ivancovich to fund projects that examine “the marks left by those who have explored, lived in, built in, and written about the American Southwest, and by those making new marks in those fields.”

At the University of Arizona, the Foundation’s support of the Honors College Southwestern Foundation Scholars echoes Ivancovich’s personal love for scholarly pursuits, Jaynie Adams,  a current Southwestern Foundation Scholar, put it beautifully: “Thank you for everything the foundation does – not just for Katelyn, Jacob, Manny and myself, but for all of the students you have and will inspire.”

The Southwestern Foundation embodies the true spirit of philanthropy. Their giving quietly ripples through the community with each gift and inspires other individuals to make similar commitments for the betterment of our Southern Arizona community.

“Through its history, the Southwestern Foundation has created the standard for a purposeful philanthropy that meets the highest critical demands as well as the most timely and practical support of community achievement.” says Wilder. “The Southwestern Foundation has become essential to our common intellectual and cultural life in this time and in this place.”



Laura and Arch Brown

Laura and Arch Brown arrived in Tucson soon after their marriage and have been contributing members to the community ever since. They are avid fans of the UA Honors College and, for their unprecedented support of our Honors students, they are the recipients of this year’s Advocates for Education award. 

While their philanthropy extends beyond the University of Arizona, their interest in education and wanting to have a direct impact on students led them to establish a scholarship at the Honors College. They find it “gratifying and uplifting to support deserving and talented students;” their scholarship is awarded to students with financial need to help cover the cost of tuition, books, study abroad, or any educational-related expense.

Their support of students and the UA can be see campus-wide: UA Libraries, UMC Trauma Center, Arizona Public Media, College of Fine Arts (Schools of Dance and Theatre), College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, UApresents, Arizona State Museum, the College of Science, Arizona Cancer Center, Center for Creative Photography, and Athletics. Arch also serves on the UA Foundation Board of Trustees, and the National Leadership Council.

Laura and Arch were both born in Shelburne, Vermont. Laura attended Briarcliff College in New York, and Arch graduated from Boston University and went on to receive his MBA from the University of Arizona. Arch spent his career as Owner, President, and Media Director for the ad agency Merlin Inc.

We are truly grateful to them for their kindness and generosity.



Patrick Marcus, '99

Dr. Patrick Marcus graduated from the University of Arizona with Honors in Electrical Engineering in 1999. He earned his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from UA, and is also a graduate of the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program in the Eller College of Management. Dr. Marcus is president of Marcus Engineering, LLC, a Tucson electronics engineering firm that supports product development, project management and instrumentation development for a variety of industries, focusing on medical devices and medical instrumentation. Dr. Marcus is also a public art sculpture designer who creates sculptures located locally and around the country that incorporate solar powered displays of light.

Dr. Marcus is passionate about education. He teaches, mentors, and serves on UA advisory boards the College of Engineering, Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Arizona Center for Innovation. He also teaches solar oven workshops at TUSD schools and organizes outreach programs to bring STEM professionals into local elementary schools.

Dr. Marcus is invested in the success of the Southern Arizona community, and is involved in the Arizona Bioindustry Association, the Bioindustry Organization of Arizona, the Arizona Technology Council, and the Arizona Optics Industry Association.  Dr. Marcus is also a graduate of the prestigious Flinn/Brown Arizona Civic Leadership Academy and is a member of SALC, the Southern Arizona Leadership Council.

For his extraordinary devotion of time to education outreach, encouraging entrepreneurship, and promoting Arizona’s technology sectors through service, teaching, and mentoring, Dr. Marcus is the recipient of the 2013 UA Honors College Advocate for Education Award.



Donn Silberman, '83

Donn Silberman graduated from UA in 1983 with Honors in Physics. He continues to embody the mission of the Honors College in both his career and personal life and has been fortunate to have them blend. He retired February 2021 as the Technical Services Manager for Starrett Kinemetric Engineering where he directed post-sales support of Vision Metrology Systems and Optical Comparators. His career in the optics industry allowed for and supported his educational outreach “hobby.” 

He is the Founding Director of The Optics Institute of Southern California (OISC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of math, science, and engineering education through the use of art, color, optics and related technologies and phenomena. The Institute’s educational approach is to offer hands-on, student-centered, and engaging learning opportunities to foster the curious scientist, the artful mathematician, and the creative engineer in every student, regardless of age. The professional societies to which he belongs have shown their gratitude and support with grants to assist with his outreach activities. Donn is a Past President & Fellow of the Optical Society of Southern California (OSSC), a Senior Member of Optica (formerly the Optical Society of America - OSA) and a Fellow of the International Optical Engineering Society (SPIE). Donn Founded and serves as the Advisory Committee Chair for the UC Irvine Optical Engineering and Optical Instrument Design Programs and is a long-time advisor to the Irvine Valley College Laser Technology Program (now moved to Pasadena City College).

In 2019, Donn renewed his interest in learning and teaching about the world of quantum mechanics and is a volunteer in the EdQuantum program. 

Donn maintains a personal website for his educational activities at  OpticsAge (

Donn has been married to Ana Maria for over 38 years and they have a son, Michael "Six" Silberman who received his B.S. in Applied Mathematics from Columbia Univ. and his M.S. & Ph.D. from the UC Irvine.  

It is for his impressive and long career as a volunteer educator in the sciences, that Donn was chosen to be the 2012 Advocate for Education Award from the Honors College. 


Adam Rex, '96 

Adam Rex is the New York Times best-selling author and illustrator of Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich. His other books include The True Meaning of Smekday, which was made into the hit animated movie Home, and School’s First Day of School, illustrated by Christian Robinson. He also illustrated the Brixton Brothers series, Billy Twitters and his Blue Whale ProblemChloe and the Lion, and How This Book Was Made, all by Mac Barnett, and Chu’s Day, by Neil Gaiman. He lives in Tucson, Arizona. Visit him at or follow him on Twitter @MrAdamRex.



Aryo Wicaksono, '04

Musician, educator, and enthusiast of gastronomy, travel and the aviation industry, musician-and-educator Aryo Wicaksono served for five years as Chamber Music America’s membership manager, and two years as the Artistic & Executive Director of the Yogyakarta International Music Festival Academy. Aryo’s former students have been accepted to the Curtis Institute of Music, New England Conservatory, and University of British Columbia Vancouver. As a US State Department Artist Grant Recipient, Aryo gave concerts, masterclasses and lectures in four cities in Serbia. He served as a juror for the 20th Serbia International Competition for Young Pianists in 2016 and 2012 Mozart International Competition in Thailand.

A grateful and thankful graduate of the Colburn School and the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music and Dance, Aryo recently received the 2016-2017 Honors Excellence in the Arts Award. He is also a 2017 New York Community Trust Fellow. Outside the music and arts philanthropy world, his hobbies include traveling for plane-spotting, especially for Boeing 777 series. He is currently the Music Director of Improv Asylum NYC, and also works in the corporate law world, as part of Morgan Lewis. Please visit Aryo Wicaksono's personal Website.