John C. Harris (Photo: Courtesy of Harris Farms)

8 Alumni and Friends Honored

by | Dec 16, 2019 | Culture, On Campus

The 2020 UC Davis Alumni Awards honor the accomplishments of eight dedicated alumni and friends, ranging from one of the nation’s top trial lawyers, to health care professionals improving treatments for deadly diseases, to a rising star among women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM. The 47th annual Alumni Awards Gala, a banquet event, will be held Feb. 7, at Peter J. Shields Library, on campus, with the theme “A Novel Night.” The Cal Aggie Alumni Association, or CAAA — now serving 260,000 graduates — selected the following leaders for their impact on UC Davis and the world.

Jerry W. Fielder Memorial Award: John C. Harris ’65

John C. Harris is receiving the prestigious Jerry W. Fielder Memorial Award for his leadership in the field of agriculture and for support that has elevated UC Davis’ position as a leading agricultural university. The alumnus has been at the helm of Harris Farms, an integrated multigenerational agribusiness, since 1981. He is a former UC Davis Foundation Board trustee (1983-90) and a lifetime member of CAAA.

Harris’ contributions have helped UC Davis maintain its prominence in agriculture and animal health. He served on the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council and the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Center for Equine Health Advisory Board. Harris welcomes faculty and students to Harris Farms for learning purposes and has donated both money and horses for UC Davis teaching and research programs.

Harris continues to be active in many organizations supporting agriculture, often taking leadership roles. He has been elected to the California Thoroughbred Hall of Fame and the Meat Industry Hall of Fame, in addition to being the recipient of numerous local and national awards.

Distinguished Achievement Award: Davis Campbell ’68

Davis Campbell has been an esteemed leader in public education for 50 years. He is a UC Davis Foundation trustee, chair and founding member of the School of Education’s Board of Advisors, and a senior fellow at UC Davis Center for Applied Policy in Education.

At the School of Education, Campbell made a gift to help establish the Dean’s Innovation Fund, which has been used to support outreach to graduate students from diverse backgrounds and to fund science camp scholarships for low-income elementary school children. In 2009, he gave generous gifts to establish the Guardian Teacher Scholarship, which supports former foster youths who dream of becoming teachers. The program has grown into the Guardian Professions Program and helped more than 50 former foster youths gain admission to advanced-degree programs in education and other fields.

Outstanding Alumnus Award: Arturo J. Gonzalez ’82

Arturo Gonzalez is one of the nation’s top trial lawyers and chair of Morrison & Foerster’s Commercial Litigation and Trial Practice Group. Gonzalez’s dedication to championing equity is evident not only in his career but through his philanthropic endeavors.

At UC Davis, Gonzalez has devoted time and support to the Special Transitional Enrichment Program, or STEP — the same program that helped him succeed as a first-generation college student more than 40 years ago. In 2008, Gonzalez established a scholarship at UC Davis in his parents’ name for students from farm-working families who plan to attend law school. When STEP celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2016, Gonzalez contributed $40,000 to the program and issued a matching challenge to motivate others to give. He regularly visits campus to speak to STEP students, allowing them to see themselves in him as a proud Chicanx, first-generation, UC Davis alumnus who pays it forward and the first Latino partner of his international law firm.

Emil M. Mrak International Award: Brian H. Sway ’74

Brian Sway has dedicated more than 25 years to international service and leadership, recently completing work in South Africa with the Peace Corps. There, Sway has drastically improved HIV and AIDS care at public health facilities by implementing strategies to reduce wait times for appointments — bringing them down from an average of six hours to just over one.

The U.S. Department of State recognized this enormous contribution by awarding Sway the Benjamin Franklin Award for Public Diplomacy earlier this year. Sway has also worked to improve international literacy, child and maternal health, and water and sanitation service. He is a 25-year member of Rotary International and SurgilMed Volunteers, which runs missions in the Philippines to provide cataract surgeries. Sway also co-founded Academics Without Borders USA, a Davis-based nonprofit organization that supports higher education institutions in developing countries.

Young Alumna Award: Hope M. Bovenzi ’12

Hope Bovenzi personifies the women-in-STEM ideal as the youngest sector general manager for automotive infotainment at Texas Instruments — doing this work while earning her MBA at UCLA. She is both a professional star and an advocate, helping found the Silicon Valley chapter of High-Tech High Heels, or HTHH, a nonprofit organization that strives to eliminate the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Bovenzi co-chairs the Bay Area Women’s Initiative at Texas Instruments and is an avid mentor for girls and women in STEM fields through UC Davis’ Mentor Collective; for EngineerGirl, a company that brings national attention to the exciting opportunities engineering offers women; and for young women starting their careers at Texas Instruments. She serves on the UC Davis Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering’s Industrial Affiliate Board, a platform for research and industry collaboration.

Aggie Service Award: David Loury ’79, Ph.D. ’84

Throughout his career, David Loury has helped save lives through his work on the preclinical development of numerous pharmaceutical medications. One of these drugs, Imbruvica, showed remarkable efficiency in early clinical trials against certain types of lymphoma and leukemia, and it is now prescribed worldwide to extend the life of patients with blood cancers.

Loury worked in preclinical safety and drug development at Pharmacyclics, where Imbruvica was developed, later becoming chief scientific officer and executive vice president of toxicology. He has served on the UC Davis Foundation Board of Trustees and the Graduate Studies and Tahoe Environmental Research Center, or TERC, advisory boards. In retirement, Loury continues to give back through the David and Dana Loury Foundation, advancing professional development for all UC Davis graduate students through many generous gifts. He has also supported graduate research through an endowed fellowship at TERC.

Distinguished Friend of the University Award: Bill and Nancy Roe

As leaders of the community, Bill and Nancy Roe have made an impact that can be seen across the entire city and campus. The couple donated the dramatic grand canopy that welcomes visitors to the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. In addition, Bill served on the committees that brought the Davis Arts Center, Pence Gallery and U.S. Bicycle Hall of Fame to the city.

The Roes are longtime friends of UC Davis and have shown their dedication through campus involvement. They give volunteer hours and philanthropic gifts across the university, notably to the arts and intercollegiate athletics. Nancy is a former UC Davis Foundation Board trustee and currently serves on boards of the College of Letters and Science, Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, and Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art.