UCLA honored six outstanding alumni with UCLA Awards
at ceremonies on campus on Friday, May 4. The awards tradition, which began in 1946, pays tribute to alumni who manifest outstanding achievement in their professional fields and have demonstrated a commitment to excellence through their contributions to society. The UCLA Awards are bestowed by the UCLA Alumni Association.
The honorees are:
McKellar, an actress, author and mathematician, began her career as a child, playing Winnie Cooper on the television series "The Wonder Years." After high school, she took a break from acting and attended UCLA, graduating summa cum laude in mathematics in 1998. Under the guidance of math professor Lincoln Chayes, she and fellow undergraduate Brandy Winn proved a new mathematical physics theorem, often referred to as the Chayes–McKellar–Winn theorem. Their work was published in the Journal of Physics A: Mathematical and General.
After graduation, McKellar returned to acting, starring as Elsie Snuffin in the fourth season of "The West Wing," and has since appeared on many TV shows, including "How I Met Your Mother," "NCIS" and "The Big Bang Theory." She also is a voice actress, currently performing the voice of Miss Martian on the Cartoon Network's "Young Justice" and providing guest voices for animated series such as "Generator Rex" and "Phineas and Ferb."
A passionate advocate for math education, McKellar has written three New York Times
best-selling books aimed at encouraging girls in math: "Math Doesn't Suck" (2007), "Kiss My Math" (2008) and "Hot X: Algebra Exposed" (2001) ABC's "World News with Charlie Gibson" named McKellar its Person of the Week
when the first of these highly entertaining and illuminating books was published. Her fourth book, "Girls Get Curves: Geometry Takes Shape," will be released Aug. 2, 2012.
Miller, M.D., a member of Phi Beta Kappa, earned his medical degree at UCLA in 1963. He is a professor in the division of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, former chief of plastic surgery at UCLA (2002–11) and surgical director of UCLA's Operation Mend
The pioneering Operation Mend program was created by philanthropist Ronald A. Katz, who, after seeing a severely scarred U.S. marine on television, decided to establish a reconstructive surgical program for wounded warriors. He contacted Dr. Gerald S. Levey, UCLA's vice chancellor for medical sciences and dean of the Geffen School of Medicine, and with Miller's help, Operation Mend was established as a partnership between Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, and the Veterans Affairs–Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.
In addition to providing reconstructive plastic and orthopedic surgery, the program has grown to include neurological, psychiatric and other services for severely wounded veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Miller, an Army veteran who served in Vietnam and received the Bronze Star, has performed some 200 surgical procedures with his team, which includes Dr. Chris Crisera and Dr. Kodi Azari, who performed significant hand reconstruction, improving the quality of life for these veterans. Miller has also been involved in raising the funds for Operation Mend, which survives on donations. The average cost of a surgical procedure is upwards of $500,000.
In recognition of his work with Operation Mend, Miller was named a 2010 Hero of the Year
by People magazine and was honored by the U.S. Marine Corps.
Miller has served on the boards of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the Plastic Surgery Education Foundation. From 1973 to 2006, he was chief of the division of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the VA's West Los Angeles Medical Center, where he maintains a research laboratory focused on the formation of new bone and the creation of a bone-graft substitute. An endowed chair in plastic and reconstructive surgery was created in Miller's name at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
Miller has also served as the editor of the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (1993–99), and in addition to his many scholarly articles, he has published two novels, including the 1992 medical thriller "Practice to Deceive."
Gen. Dailey (U.S.M.C., Ret.), who earned a bachelor's degree from UCLA in 1956, flew more than 7,000 hours in a variety of aircraft and helicopters during his 36 years in the Marine Corps. He completed two tours in Vietnam, where he took part in 450 combat missions.
In 1990, Dailey was promoted to assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, a four-star military rank.
Upon his retirement from the Marines in 1992, Dailey became the associate deputy administrator of NASA, leading the agency's internal operations. In 2000, he was named director of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., where he oversaw the opening of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, which houses the Boeing Aviation Hangar and the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar.
A native of Virginia, Dailey earned his UCLA degree in physical education.
Terasaki, who earned his bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. degrees from UCLA in the 1950s and went on to become an organ transplant pioneer, gave $50 million to the UCLA Department of Life Sciences in 2010 for construction of the Terasaki Life Sciences Building. The building holds 33 state-of-the-art laboratories for research in such fields as cell biology, neuroscience, genomics and stem cells.
In 1984, Terasaki, along with eight of his students, founded One Lambda Inc., which played a central role in the development and advancement of tissue typing, a procedure that assesses the compatibility of organ donors and recipients. He now serves as chairman of One Lambda's board and has continued with his research at UCLA.
Terasaki was born into a poor immigrant family in Los Angeles' Boyle Heights neighborhood. At age 12, he and his family were forced to leave the city and were incarcerated in a Japanese American internment camp in Arizona for three years during World War II. He later returned to Los Angeles and at age 19 enrolled at UCLA as a transfer student. After earning his three degrees, he was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship to work in London for a year under organ transplant pioneer Peter Medawar, who later received the Nobel Prize.
Terasaki was promoted from researcher to professor of surgery at UCLA, a position he held from 1969 until 1999, when he retired. He continued his research and academic pursuits through the establishment of the Terasaki Foundation Laboratory in West Los Angeles.
A member of the World Health Organization and the British Transplantation Society, Terasaki has served as president of the International Transplantation Society and the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics.
Terasaki received the UCLA Award for Professional Achievement in 1973 and the Medawar Prize from the International Transplantation Society in 1996. He is a member of both the UCLA Alumni Association and the UCLA Medical Alumni Association and has served on the UCLA Foundation board of governors (2001–04) and board of councilors (2004–07).
Carlisle, M.D, who earned a master's in public health in 1988 and a Ph.D. in 1992 at UCLA, is president of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science and has been an associate professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA since 1992. For more than 10 years, he served as director of the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, where he managed and directed the health-related programs of an organization with more than 500 employees and a $100 million annual budget. In 2007, he became a senior fellow at the UCLA School of Public Affairs.
While a student, and later a faculty member, at UCLA, Carlisle focused much of his clinical work on treating those with little or no health care access. He also published numerous papers and spoke at countless forums on disparities in health care and access.
As a graduate student at UCLA, Carlisle earned a prestigious fellowship as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar, named for the largest philanthropic organization devoted entirely to health care. As a volunteer physician at the Venice Family Clinic, the largest free clinic in the U.S., he continues to focus his practice on making health care available to the needy.
Behrle, who earned his law degree from UCLA in 1969, is executive vice president of Westminster Capital Inc., a private investment firm. Prior to joining Westminster, he practiced law with the Pacht, Ross firm in Los Angeles.
Behrle has held many leadership positions at UCLA, having served as president (2000–02) and chair (2002–04) of the UCLA Foundation, as a member of the UCLA Foundation board of directors (1977–2007 and 2009–present), and as chair of the UCLA Annual Fund (1991–95). He also was vice president of governmental affairs for the UCLA Alumni Association board of directors (1981–85) and sat on the alumni board again from 2000 to 2002. He sat on the board of visitors of the Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Planning in 1984, was a member of the UCLA Law School Alumni Association board (1999–2001) and in 2006 became a member of the UCLA School of Public Affairs Dean's Policy Circle.
In 1992, Keenan underwent a heart transplant at UCLA and since then has served on the board of directors of United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) and on the UNOS Thoracic Organ Transplantation Committee. He also is chair of the board of directors of the California Heart Center Foundation.