2018 Founders Celebration

Please join us for Founders Celebration 2018.

Thank you for your interest in the Founders Celebration 2018. At this time online registration is closed, but if you're interested in attending please contact the Special Events Office at (831) 459-5003 or specialevents@ucsc.edu.

  • Founders Celebration Dinner

    In honor of our Year of Alumni, we will take this moment to celebrate alumni and faculty who exemplify the best of UC Santa Cruz.

    Truth, democracy, and the power of the pen: Award-winning alumni journalists will discuss the news industry, the changing perception of facts, and the current explosive political landscape.

The awards presentation will include:

      • Fiat Lux Award

        John LairdJohn Laird (Stevenson ’72, politics)

        A trailblazing public servant

        John Laird was appointed California Secretary for Natural Resources by Governor Jerry Brown on Jan. 5, 2011. He has spent over 40 years in public service, including 23 years as an elected official. Read more »

      • Faculty Research Award

        Lise Getoor

        Lise Getoor

        Data visionary

        Lise Getoor is a professor in the Computer Science Department at UC Santa Cruz and founding director of the UC Santa Cruz Data, Discovery, and Decisions (D3) Data Science Research Center. Read more »

      • Alumni Achievement Award

        Natalie Batalha

        Natalie Batalha (Ph.D. ’97, astrophysics)

        Looking for life

        Natalie Batalha is an astrophysicist at NASA Ames Research Center and served as the science lead for NASA's Kepler Mission from 2011 to 2017. She holds a bachelor's degree in physics from UC Berkeley and a doctoral degree in astrophysics from UC Santa Cruz. Read more »

      • Alumni Journalists Panel

        Martha MendozaMartha Mendoza (Kresge ’88, journalism and education)

        Associated Press correspondent and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner

        Writing wrongs

        Martha Mendoza is a correspondent for the Associated Press, focusing on technology, breaking news, enterprise and investigative reporting from Silicon Valley. Her investigative reports have won numerous awards and prompted Congressional hearings, Pentagon investigations, and White House responses. Read more »


        Carrie KahnCarrie Kahn (College Eight/Rachel Carson College ’87, biology)

        NPR Latin America correspondent

        Southern exposure

        Carrie Kahn is NPR's international correspondent based in Mexico City, Mexico. She covers Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Kahn's reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning news programs including All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition. Read more »


        Mike McPhateMike McPhate (Kresge ‘00, anthropology major, journalism minor)


        Mike McPhate is the founder of the California Sun, a daily newsletter that curates general interest news about California. Last year, he left the New York Times, where he was writing the popular California Today newsletter, to start the Sun, which has since grown to an audience of more than 15,000 readers. Read more »

      • Emcee

        Cynthia Chase

        Cynthia Chase (Merrill '01, psychology)

        Commitment to community

        Cynthia Chase is the inmate programs manager at the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, former director of the nonprofit Gemma program for formerly incarcerated individuals, former mayor of Santa Cruz, a current Santa Cruz City Council member, and faculty at California State University Monterey Bay and UC Santa Cruz. Read more »

Thank you to our sponsors

Gold Sponsor

Boston University School of Law


Santa Cruz Sentinel 90.3 KAZU

Individual Sponsor

Pat (Porter ’88, art history) and Rowland Rebele
Lawrence and Mary Pitts