Alumni Awards of Distinction
ALUMNI AWARDS OF DISTINCTION
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
Honorees are celebrated and presented their awards at our annual awards ceremony. This year's event will be held virtually.
Saturday, October 17, 2020 | 3:00 p.m.
RSVP by October 2, 2020, to receive your gift package in time for the online celebration.
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Learn about the 2020 award recipients below.
Distinguished Alumnus Award
The most prestigious honor bestowed by the UCR Alumni Association, the Distinguished Alumnus Award is based on national and international distinction in one’s field and significant contribution to humankind.
Anthea Hartig, M.A. ’89, Ph.D. ’01
Anthea Hartig is the Elizabeth MacMillan Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and the first woman to hold the position since the museum opened in 1964. Hartig oversees 257 employees, a budget of more than $40 million, and a collection that includes 1.8 million objects and more than 3 shelf-miles of archives. She officially began her tenure on February 18, 2019.
An award-winning public historian and cultural heritage expert, Hartig is dedicated to making the nation’s richly diverse history accessible and relevant. A third-generation native of Southern California, she grew up in the greater Pomona Valley. Before joining the Smithsonian, Hartig served as the executive director and CEO of the California Historical Society (CHS) in San Francisco. During her tenure, Hartig reinvigorated the organization by raising over $20 million to quadruple the CHS’ annual budget. Under her leadership, CHS doubled its staff, created over 30 exhibitions, created its digital library, and created the Teaching California initiative, a free online history portal for K–12 students that brings the archive into the classroom. Hartig also served as the director of the Western Region for the National Trust for Historic Preservation from 2005 to 2011 and has been involved in historic preservation and public history projects since the 1990s.
Hartig earned her doctorate and master’s degrees in history at the University of California, Riverside, her bachelor’s degree at the University of California, Los Angeles and studied as an undergraduate and graduate student at the College of William and Mary.
Alumni Service Award
This 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.
Dr. Pedram Salimpour ’90
Dr. Pedram Salimpour serves as Chairman, CEO, and co-founder of Pierce Health Solutions, a California-based company focused on the creation of novel health delivery systems for large employers throughout the United States. Dr. Salimpour also serves as a three-time appointed commissioner of the Los Angeles Fire & Police Pensions Board, managing over $25 billion in assets.
Prior to Pierce Health Solutions, Dr. Salimpour co-founded multiple companies including CareNex Health Services, a healthcare technology organization specializing in neonatal disease management, Plymouth Health, and Boss Surgical Group, an ambulatory surgery center organization with locations throughout the U.S. Dr. Salimpour has co-authored major grant awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as well as dozens of peer-reviewed scientific publications. He serves on multiple boards of directors and has been published in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, GQ, Newsweek, der Spiegel, the London Daily Telegraph, and more.
Dr. Salimpour earned his bachelor's degree in biology at the University of California, Riverside, attended the Boston University School of Medicine, and completed his residency training at USC Medical Center.
Outstanding Young Alumnus Award
This award recognizes alumni aged 40 or younger with a significant record of career and/or civic achievement and promise in their profession.
Fatima Farheen Mirza ’13
Fatima Farheen Mirza grew up in the Bay Area and started writing her first book in novelist Charmaine Craig's creative writing class at UC Riverside. Following her passion to pursue writing full time, she changed majors from pre-med to creative writing and went on to become a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her debut novel “A Place for Us” was the first book to be released by Sarah Jessica Parker’s new publishing imprint, SJP for Hogarth. It became an instant New York Times Bestseller and was named one of the best books of 2018 by The Washington Post, NPR, and People magazine.
At the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Fatima was a Teaching-Writing Fellow. She taught creative writing and fiction courses at the University of Iowa and at the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio. Fatima was awarded the Michener-Copernicus Fellowship in 2016 and The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research/Creative Achievement from The University of California, Riverside, she has also received residencies from The Marble House Project and The MacDowell Colony.
Who is eligible for nomination?
Current members of the UCR Alumni Association Board of Directors are not eligible for nomination.
Who can make nominations?
Alumni, friends, former award recipients, professional colleagues and members of the UCR community are encouraged to submit nominations.
Nominations from colleagues and associates will be given greater consideration than self-nominations.
What is required of nominees?
The awardees must attend the awards ceremony. The awards may not be conferred in absentia; however, they may be granted posthumously.
Can an individual be nominated in multiple categories?
Nominations are accepted in multiple categories; however, the Awards Committee reserves the right to consider nominees for the category it deems most appropriate.
When should nominations be submitted?
Nominations for the Alumni Awards of Distinction are accepted year-round. Nominees not selected for the current year will remain on file for three years for future consideration. The same paperwork may be used for an additional two years before a new nomination is required. However, those who wish to submit new paperwork are welcome to do so.