Irvine, Calif., March 5, 2014 — Thomas Yuen, entrepreneur, philanthropist and community leader, will receive UC Irvine’s Extraordinarius award May 15 at the 44th annual Lauds & Laurels ceremony, sponsored by the UCI Alumni Association. He is among 18 campus faculty, staff, students and alumni who will be honored.
“Lauds & Laurels is our opportunity to publicly recognize and thank those people who make a positive impact on the university and our community,” said Jeff Minhas ’04, interim assistant vice chancellor for alumni relations and UCIAA executive director.
The event, which is being held in the UC Irvine Student Center’s Pacific Ballroom, begins with a reception at 6 p.m.
A 1974 graduate of UC Irvine, Yuen has been widely recognized for his superlative business accomplishments, philanthropy and volunteer work. He is the first of the university’s 150,000 alumni to garner both the Extraordinarius award and the UCI Medal, presented in 1990 for his exemplary service.
Yuen arrived in the U.S. from Hong Kong in 1970 and four years later received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from UC Irvine’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering. In 1980, he and two friends founded personal computer manufacturer AST Research, which grew into a Fortune 500 company. Later, Yuen became chairman and CEO of SRS Labs, a world leader in audio and voice technology. Today he’s chairman and CEO of PrimeGen Biotech LLC, a private stem cell research company.
He has served on the UC Irvine Foundation board of trustees and continues to be a major donor – along with his wife, Misa – to the campus and UC Irvine Douglas Hospital, particularly in support of cutting-edge stem cell research.
This year’s Outstanding University Service award will be presented to Frank LaFerla, renowned Alzheimer’s disease researcher and newly appointed Hana & Francisco J. Ayala Dean of the School of Biological Sciences. A Chancellor’s Professor, LaFerla joined UC Irvine in 1995 as an assistant professor in the then-named Department of Psychobiology. Since then, he has held numerous leadership roles, including current chair of the Department of Neurobiology & Behavior and director of the Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND), a research center internationally acclaimed for its work on age-related brain disorders.
The Faculty Achievement award will go to Barbara Dosher, Distinguished Professor of cognitive sciences and National Academy of Sciences member. Also a fellow of the Society of Experimental Psychologists and the Association for Psychological Science, she is widely known for her research on attention, perceptual learning and memory. Dosher began her tenure at UC Irvine in 1992 and served as dean of the School of Social Sciences from 2002 to 2012.
Eleven distinguished alumni will be recognized for their outstanding achievements. These include Jackie Lacey, Los Angeles County district attorney, and U.S. Rep. Ami Bera, the first Anteater elected to Congress.
Since the first Lauds & Laurels event in 1971, the UCI Alumni Association has recognized more than 800 people, but Lauds & Laurels is more than an awards ceremony, Minhas noted. Net proceeds from table sponsorships and individual ticket sales go to the UCIAA student scholarship fund. Last year’s Lauds & Laurels gala raised about $35,000.
Tickets to the May 15 event are $250, with 10-person tables available by calling 949-824-2586.
The complete roster of 2014 Lauds & Laurels honorees is:
Outstanding Undergraduate Student
Sasha Sabherwal (social sciences)
Outstanding Graduate Student
Sandra Holden (biological sciences)
Water polo player Mitch Wise (physical sciences)
Claire Trevor School of the Arts
Steven Lam, M.F.A. ’04
School of Biological Sciences
Carl Ware ’74, Ph.D. ’79
The Paul Merage School of Business
Jack Toan ’94, MBA ’02
School of Education
Steven Keller, Ed.D. ’00
The Henry Samueli School of Engineering
Douglas Thorpe ’82
School of Humanities
Taryn Rose ’89, M.D.
Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences
James Patrick Berney ’89
School of Medicine
Ami Bera ’87, M.D. ’91
School of Physical Sciences
Shimon Eckhouse, M.A. ’76, Ph.D. ’78
School of Social Ecology
Arif Alikhan ’90
School of Social Sciences
Jackie Lacey ’79
Barbara Dosher, Ph.D.
Outstanding University Service
Frank LaFerla, Ph.D.
Thomas Yuen ’74
About the University of California, Irvine: Located in coastal Orange County, near a thriving employment hub in one of the nation’s safest cities, UC Irvine was founded in 1965. One of only 62 members of the Association of American Universities, it’s ranked first among U.S. universities under 50 years old by the London-based Times Higher Education. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UC Irvine has more than 28,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.3 billion annually to the local economy.
Media access: UC Irvine maintains an online directory of faculty available as experts to the media at communications.uci.edu/for-journalists/experts/. Radio programs/stations may, for a fee, use an on-campus ISDN line to interview UC Irvine faculty and experts, subject to availability and university approval. For more UC Irvine news, visit news.uci.edu. Additional resources for journalists may be found at communications.uci.edu/for-journalists.