Alumni News

Book Informed by Alum’s Experience in Haiti Wins Maurice Prize

Kirk Colvin spent a year as U.S. Coast Guard attaché to the American Embassy during the final months of the brutal Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier regime in the 1980s. His time there informed his novel Bloodless Coup, winner of the Maurice Prize for Fiction. The $10,000 prize is awarded to UC Davis alumni and was established in 2005 by bestselling author John Lescroart in honor of his father.

Eco-minded Aggie Entrepreneur Builds a ‘Closet in the Cloud’

As an economics major with a passion for fashion, Jae Allen conceived a plan to help people declutter their closets and to keep unwanted outfits out of landfills. Before graduating last June, Allen found his way to the UC Davis Student Startup Center, where campus and business mentors helped him flesh out his business plan. As the center’s first entrepreneur-in-residence, he is preparing to launch his company, Ouros.

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Attention unpublished Aggie alumni novelists!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.