Alumni Updates

Latest Alumni Updates

2018 - Jodi Connelly

December 03, 2019

Jodi Connelly (M.F.A., art, '18)  has been awarded the first ever Ali Youssefi artist residency award. The award includes studio space and a solo exhibition (December 2019 - February 2020) at the Verge Center for the Arts in Sacramento and a monthly stipend.  Connelly’s work investigates the complexities of the human relationship to nature and the environment. Through site-specific environmental interventions that include photographic documentation, sculpture and drawing, she explores issues of climate change and the effects migration and development have had on native ecosystems. 

1990 - Chris Ransick

November 25, 2019

Chris Ransick (M.A., English/creative writing. ‘90), author of six books of poetry and fiction and Denver’s Poet Laureate from 2006 to 2010, died in early November. He last book, mummer prisoner scavenger thief, was published this year not long after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Ransick, 57, taught English and writing at Arapahoe Community College near Denver for 25 years and for 15 years taught at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop.

Playful and Potent

November 14, 2019
Artist embraces the light and dark.

Tavarus Blackmon (M.F.A., art, ’18) has been making art his entire life. First comics as a kid, then experimental music, tattoos, video and film, short stories, poetry, painting, and now art that brings it all together. His work gives viewers a noisy, candy-colored, loop-the-loop ride that journeys to darker places, and tackles issues of poverty, labor, and violence.

2004 - Ben Wang

July 15, 2019

A movie directed by Ben Wang (B.A., Asian American studies, '04) is streaming on The World Channel during July 2019. Breathin': The Eddy Zheng Story tells about a Chinese immigrant teenager tried as an adult. The documentary follows Eddy Zheng as immigrant, son, prisoner and activist on his journey to freedom and rehabilitation. Wang is co-director of the Asian Prisoner Support Committee. Read more about Wang. 

1986 - Todd Calvin

June 04, 2019

Todd Calvin (B.A., political science, ’86) was recently elected vice president of the Opera League of Los Angeles board of directors. He has served on the board for nine years. Calvin has been vice president for business and legal affairs for Viacom Media Networks (Nickelodeon and TV Land) for nearly eight years. He worked for the Walt Disney Company in business and legal affairs for seven years and also held jobs at the San Francisco Opera and Showtime.

2007 - Hasan Minhaj

May 01, 2019

Comedian Hasan Minhaj (B.A., political science, '07) has been named to Time magazine's list of the 100 most influential people of 2019.  He came to prominence as senior correspondent on The Daily Show starting in 2014 and in 2018 began hosting Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj on Netflix. His first stand-up comedy special, 2017’s Homecoming King won a Peabody Award. 

1996 - Christopher Markus

May 01, 2019

Christopher Markus (M.A., English, ’96) was co-writer, with Stephen McFeely (M.A. English,’96), of the just-released movie "Avengers: Endgame.” The two met at UC Davis in the creative writing program. They've written scripts for the "Captain America" films, the "Chronicles of Narnia" movie franchise, and won an Emmy for their screenplay of HBO movie, "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers."

1996 - Stephen McFeely

May 01, 2019

Stephen McFeely (M.A. English, ’96) was co-writer, with Christopher Markus (M.A., English, ’96), of the just-released movie "Avengers: Endgame.” The two met at UC Davis in the creative writing program. They've written scripts for the "Captain America" films, the "Chronicles of Narnia" movie franchise, and won an Emmy for their screenplay of HBO movie, "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers."

2017 - Jamil Jan Kochai

April 09, 2019

Jamil Jan Kochai (M.A., English, ’17) is receiving widespread acclaim for his debut novel, 99 Nights in Logar. Published in early 2019 by Penguin/Random House, it has received positive and extensive reviews by Harper’s, National Review, Time and others.

2011 - Maria Kuznetsova

April 08, 2019

The debut novel by Maria Kuznetsova (M.A., English, '11) was published in March 2019 by Spiegel & Grau/Random House. OKSANA, BEHAVE! is a coming-of-age story about a young woman whose family has emigrated from Ukraine to Florida. Kuznetsova, a native of Ukraine, also received an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her writing has been published in The Threepenny Review, The Normal School, The Bennington Review, The Iowa Review and Indiana Review.

1979 - Debby Stegura

March 05, 2019
Debra A. “Debby” Stegura (B.A., mass communications and political science, ’79), immediate past president of the UC Davis Cal Aggie Alumni Association, will soon be representing all UC graduates as an alumni regent.

1997 - Rene Olivas

February 19, 2019

Rene Olivas (B.A., anthropology, '97) is a special agent with the fraud detection office in the U.S. Office of Inspector General, Department of Justice. Last year, Olivas won the Inspector General’s Award for Fraud Prevention and completed an investigation of a former Department of Justice trial attorney accused of stealing and attempting to sell sensitive, sealed court documents. In November he received a Law Enforcement Award from the U.S.

1992 - Heidi Sanborn

January 22, 2019
Heidi Sanborn (B.A., political science - public service, ’92) was sworn in Jan. 17 as a member of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s board of directors.

1997 - Tom Dyer

December 17, 2018
Tom Dyer (B.A., philosophy, ’97) has been appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to the Yolo Superior Court bench.

1984 - Dan Hawkins

December 17, 2018
UC Davis’ Dan Hawkins (B.A., physical education, ’84) was named the nation’s coach of the year among Football Championship Subdivision schools.