30th Annual Alumni Awards of Distinction Award Recipients

Since 1986, the UCR Alumni Association has honored graduates who personify the university’s tradition of excellence and service.  Through their personal and professional achievements, these individuals bring distinction to UCR, contribute to the betterment of society, and enhance their communities. This year marks the 30th anniversary of honoring our prestigious alumni. Honorees will be recognized at the Alumni Awards of Distinction on November 18, 2016. We invite you to save the date to join us for the event.*

Distinguished Alumnus:

The most prestigious of the honors bestowed by the UCR Alumni Association. The award is based on national and international distinction in one’s field and significant contribution to humankind.

Shola Lynch documentary film maker photographed in Harlem, NY on 24 May 2013

Shola Lynch
documentary film maker
photographed in Harlem, NY on 24 May 2013

Shola Lynch, M.A. ’95, is an award-winning filmmaker. She has written and directed for CNN, ESPN, HBO Sports and PBS. Her first independent documentary, Chisholm ’72 – Unbought & Unbossed which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, won a Peabody Award and has since become classic. Her second feature, which was co-produced with De Films En Aiguille, recounts the politically charged events that thrust academic and activist Angela Davis on to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. The Toronto International Film Festival premiered Free Angela and All Political Prisoners. The film sold internationally in Brazil, France, South Africa and Sweden. In the US, Code Black/Lionsgate distributed the film theatrically and BET broadcast it. Free Angela has been honored with numerous awards including a NAACP Image Award for Best Documentary.

In 2013, Sundance selected Shola for the prestigious Women’s Filmmaker Initiative. Her current project, The Outlaw, her first narrative feature, has been honored with a highly competitive 2015 Creative Capital grant.

Alumni Service Award:

Honors superior service in the public sector or a sustained pattern of volunteer service in the community, arts or for the benefit of UCR that has positively represented the University and fellow citizens.

Ofelia Valdez- Yeager

Ofelia Valdez-Yeager ’69 graduated with a BA in Spanish in 1969 and earned her elementary teaching credential in 1971. Ofelia worked as an Upward Bound residential tutor-counselor, a high school counseling assistant, an elementary school teacher, a bilingual resource teacher and in several consultant capacities with public agencies.

Ofelia’s volunteer commitments took her to leadership positions in Little League and PTA as well as several community organizations through their committees and boards. She was elected to the Riverside Unified School district Board of Trustees in 1992; this was her first publicly elected position, and she was the first Latina ever elected to the local school board. She went on to serve as its Vice President and to extend her city commitments with a part-time position as administrative assistant to the Mayor, focusing on youth, education and crime issues. She also served as the executive assistant to the Superintendent of Riverside Unified School District.

Ofelia retired as the Chief Administrative Liaison to the Riverside County Superintendent of Schools in 2010. She is the President of the Latino Network and most recently spearheaded the effort to successfully erect the Cesar E. Chavez Memorial on the Downtown Mall. She continues to serve on numerous boards and committees of local agencies and human service consortia.

Outstanding Young Alumnus Award:

Presented to alumni 35 or younger with a significant record of career and/or civic achievement and promise in their profession.

David Gutierrez

David Gutierrez ’04 has over a decade of experience working with fortune 500 as well as early stage, high-growth companies as a trusted finance and accounting leader. David is the corporate controller for Radiology Partners, the largest hospital based radiology physician practice in the country. He also manages GA Investment Holdings and actively invests in entrepreneurial businesses, including Convoy Technologies, an international technology company based in Orange County that was recently recognized by the Inc 5000 and the OC Business Journal as one of the fastest growing companies. David is also Partner at Gutierrez & Anderson, a boutique business advisory and accounting firm providing services to clients throughout Southern California.

David is committed to the community, serving on the board of directors of the Bresee Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Los Angeles that helps low-income youth, adults and families, as well as the Youth Business Alliance, an organization focused on connecting high school students with real experiences of local business leaders. He remains active on campus at UC Riverside as an active mentor to students, guest lecturer and member the Dean’s Advisory Council for the A. Gary Anderson School of Management.

*Tickets are $200 per person. Official invitation and event details to be available soon. For more information and for sponsorship opportunities contact Bill Cole by email at bill.cole@ucr.edu or by phone at 951-827-3384. 

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