Alumni News

Book Fiction Submission Period Opens for Maurice Prize

Attention unpublished Aggie alumni novelists! After a yearlong hiatus, the Maurice Prize for Fiction is back — and bigger than ever before. The $10,000 award, doubled in size this year, recognizes the best book-length prose fiction written by a UC Davis graduate who has not yet published or been accepted for publication by the contest deadline. Manuscript submissions are being accepted through July 15 for the 2022 contest.

UC Davis Medals for 2 Alumni Couples

UC Davis Medals will be presented this spring to two alumni couples — Jacque and Wayne Bartholomew, and Pam Rohrich and Karl Gerdes — each pair having met as students and committing not only to each other but their alma mater. The UC Davis Medal recognizes “extraordinary contributions that embody the campus’s Vision of Excellence.” The Bartholomews and Pam Rohrich are alumni of the College of Letters and Science.

Alumna Debby Stegura Honored for Service

The UC Davis Cal Aggie Alumni Association named Debby Stegura (B.A., mass communications and political science, ’79) as the recipient of its 2022 Aggie Service Award on March 8. Stegura is a longtime community leader and University of California and Aggie advocate.

In Memoriam: Alumnus Scott Lay

Thousands of people kept up with California political news by reading The Nooner, a daily nonpartisan email newsletter produced by UC Davis alumnus Scott Lay. This week, readers learned from The Nooner that Lay had died at age 48.

‘A Monumental Step’ in Reclaiming a California Indigenous Language

For his graduate research comparing languages around the world, Lewis Lawyer couldn’t find a single published reference book on Patwin, an endangered language once spoken in hundreds of Northern California communities, including what is now Davis. So, on his way to completing his UC Davis doctorate, Lawyer wrote one. With the release of "A Grammar of Patwin," the findings of his dissertation are now available to scholars as well as to Patwin/Wintun people working to revitalize their ancestral language.

Alumni Honor Father With Gift to Department of Chemistry

When it came to commemorating their father’s life, two alumni and another sibling followed his lifelong example by giving back. Emery Pharma founder Ron Najafi (Ph.D., chemistry, ’89), ophthalmologist Kathryn (Katy) Najafi-Tagol (B.S., chemistry, ’90), both pictured above, and brother Alex established the Dr. Mohsen Najafi Pharmaceutical Chemistry Research Fund in the UC Davis Department of Chemistry.  

Alumnus Part of Nobel Peace Prize-Winning Organization

Humanitarian work has taken Jon Brause (B.A., international relations, ’83) all over the world — to North Korea, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, the Philippines and more. As director of the Washington Liaison Office at the United Nations World Food Programme, he is immersed in global crises the organization was created to address. That work was rewarded in December, when the WFP won the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.

‘Aggie for Life’ Bill Hollingshead Will Be Missed

A self-described “Aggie for life,” alumnus Bill Hollingshead (B.A., political science, ’60) died in early February. Hollingshead and his wife, Dianne, were longtime donors to UC Davis and devoted patrons of the Department of Music. He was well-known for his enthusiastic love of his alma mater. In 2012, he received the Aggie Service Award from the Cal Aggie Alumni Association, which honors alumni who demonstrate exemplary Aggie pride and commitment of time, energy, volunteerism and leadership to UC Davis.

Young Alumna Awarded Prestigious US State Department Fellowship

Recent graduate Nina Forest is unsure where in the world her UC Davis bachelor’s degree in international relations will take her. But after receiving a prestigious national scholarship, she knows how she’ll get to professional destinations around the globe — via a career in the U.S. Foreign Service.

Alumna Earns Prestigious Marshall Scholarship

A recent UC Davis College of Letters and Science graduate has been awarded a prestigious Marshall Scholarship, a decades-old British government program that pays for American students to pursue advanced degrees at British universities. Valencia Scott (B.A., anthropology and international relations, ’20) will pursue a doctorate in criminology at the University of Oxford, where she will focus her studies on the criminalization of Black immigrants. She is planning a career in international human rights law.