University News

2009 UCLA Awards to honor alumni for outstanding service and achievements

Honorees include prominent names in politics, athletics and philanthropy

UCLA Chancellor Gene D. Block, his wife, Carol, and the UCLA Alumni Association will host the annual UCLA Awards on Friday, Nov. 20, honoring six prominent alumni for their outstanding service and professional achievements.
The event will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Grand Horizon Room at Covel Commons on the UCLA campus. The award recipients are:
Michael Josephson
Josephson '64, J.D. '67, founder and president of the Joseph and Edna Josephson Institute of Ethics, will receive the Edward A. Dickson Alumnus of the Year award, UCLA's oldest and highest alumni tribute. As an ethics commentator, Josephson has assisted more than 100,000 elected officials, editors, jurists, military and police officers, and executives at some of the nation's largest organizations. Through the institute, he founded Character Counts!, the nation's leading character-education framework, which has reached more than 6 million kids, and the Pursuing Victory With Honor sportsmanship campaign.
As chair of the Student Board of Governors at UCLA during the 1960s, Josephson campaigned to make UCLA the first university to provide book discounts to students. At the UCLA School of Law, he served as chief justice for the Honors Moot Court program and delivered the valedictory address at commencement. He went on to become the youngest tenured law professor in the country, at age 28.
Josephson founded the Institute of Ethics after retiring from a successful career as a law professor and publishing entrepreneur. He serves without salary and donates all revenue to support the institute and its mission — creating a world where decisions and behavior are guided by ethics. His radio commentaries can be heard daily on KNX-1070 AM.
Wendy Greuel
Greuel '83 will receive the UCLA Award in Public Service. Greuel was sworn in as Los Angeles city controller on July 1, 2009, becoming only the second woman elected to a citywide office in Los Angeles history. For the previous seven years, she had represented the 2nd district, covering parts of the north and east San Fernando Valley, on the Los Angeles City Council.
As a council member, Greuel focused on reducing traffic by banning road construction during rush hour, creating anti-gridlock zones and lobbying Sacramento to ensure the creation of the carpool lane on the northbound San Diego Freeway. She helped cut the city's business tax, returning millions to local businesses, and saved taxpayers millions by consolidating departments, cutting wasteful government spending and identifying fraud and corruption in city government.
Greuel also served in the Clinton administration as a field operations officer under the U.S. Secretary for Housing and Urban Development, where she championed projects that provided opportunities for homeownership, job creation, economic development and social services for the less fortunate.
Dr. William Dorfman
Dorfman '80 will be honored with the UCLA Award in Community Service. A successful dentist and entrepreneur well known for forming one of the world's leading dental companies, Discus Dental Inc., and for his television appearances on ABC's "Extreme Makeover" and CBS's "The Doctors," Dorfman has committed himself to giving back to people in need by providing free dental care to Third World immigrants in Switzerland, to residents of the Battered Women's Shelter of Los Angeles and to thousands of underprivileged youth through the Los Angeles Children's Dental Center.
Dorfman recently returned from South Africa, where he raised a significant amount for orphaned children. He co-founded the nonprofit LEAP Foundation, which provides mentorship and professional development for high school and college-age students. Dorfman's company has also donated assistance to its charity, Smiles for Life, which has raised more than $25 million for various children's charities throughout the world.
At UCLA, Dorfman served two terms as vice president of the Alumni Association board of directors, and he volunteers to judge Spring Sing and Spirit Squad auditions. A former Spirit Squad member, he provides an annual scholarship and free dental care for the squad.
Gail Devers
Devers '89, a three-time Olympic gold medalist and eight-time world champion known as the "world's fastest woman," will be honored with the UCLA Award in Professional Achievement.
At UCLA, Devers was named the Pac-10 Athlete of the Year in 1988 after winning the NCAA 100-meter dash and setting a U.S. record in the 100-meter hurdles. Her athletic career was threatened when in 1990 she was diagnosed with Graves' disease, a debilitating chronic thyroid disorder, and faced the possible amputation of both feet.
Less than 17 months after the diagnosis, however, Devers staged one of the greatest comebacks in the history of track and field, winning a gold medal in the 100-meter dash at the 1992 Olympics Games in Barcelona and becoming the first woman in 45 years to win both the 100-meter dash and 100-meter hurdles, at the 1993 World Championships. Devers won two more gold medals at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, in the 400-meter relay and the 100-meter dash, becoming only the second woman to win the prestigious 100-meter event in two consecutive Olympics.
Off the track, Devers regularly makes appearances to educate the public about Graves' disease and other thyroid conditions, leading fundraising efforts and testifying before Congress.
Ralph and Shirley Shapiro
Ralph Shapiro '53, J.D. '58 and Shirley Shapiro '59 will receive the UCLA Award in University Service. The Shapiros are leaders and philanthropists at UCLA. They are intricately involved in UCLA activities, supporting the university in a variety of capacities and maintaining a lifelong commitment to helping the Bruin family.
Ralph is a longtime member of both The UCLA Foundation board of directors and the UCLA Medical Sciences executive board and was president of the UCLA School of Law Alumni Association. He has also served on various advisory councils across the university. He currently serves as chairman of Avondale Investment Co., managing portfolios including commercial real estate and diversified securities. Shirley serves on the boards of Women & Philanthropy, the Fowler Museum at UCLA and the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture.
Ralph was honored by the UCLA School of Law with the 2008 Alumni of the Year Award for Public and Community Service and the 1983 Alumnus of the Year award. The Shapiros' support touches nearly every area on campus and every facet of UCLA's mission.
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