Wendell Brase | Donald Bren | Susan V. Bryant | Jenny Doh | Michael V. Drake
Diane Geocaris | Manuel Gomez | Michael R. Gottfredson | Fred Kavli | Spence Olin
Richard & Cheryll Ruszat | William Schonfeld | Joan Irvine Smith | Thomas T. Tierney

Jack was able to connect with people, not merely communicate. As a Midwesterner, I appreciated his plainspoken way of explaining the most complex problems in ways that made sense. I still remember the exact way Jack explained key problems that concerned him some 18 years ago. It’s no accident that these problems were all subsequently solved, no doubt in large measure due to Jack’s ability to connect with and engage people. People sensed that behind Jack’s words there was a reservoir of good humor, modesty and – most important – an underrated quality that marks the best leaders: immense good will.

Wendell Brase
Vice chancellor, administrative & business services

I cannot think of a more deserving recipient of the lifetime achievement award from the American Council on Education than Jack Peltason. In addition to his distinguished career in academia and public service, perhaps no other individual has more positively influenced the growth in quality and stature of UC Irvine. As chancellor, Jack provided visionary leadership that played a key role in establishing UCI as one of the nation’s top research universities. And as 16th president of the entire University of California system, he was instrumental in bringing it further international prestige and admiration. Jack has been an especially significant community leader in Orange County and has lent his expertise and thoughtful advice to numerous endeavors that have enriched the communities in which he has served. I am blessed to count him as my friend and want to wish him very hearty congratulations.

Donald Bren
Chairman, Irvine Company

One of Jack’s lasting contributions to the campus was his founding of the Chief Executive Roundtable. This important linkage between the university and local business leaders has firmly embedded and integrated UCI into Orange County, and that relationship continues to be dynamic and evolving.

Susan V. Bryant
Vice chancellor, research

Part of why I admire Jack so much is that without too much flashiness or self-absorption, he’s worked a lifetime to champion ways to advance diversity and excellence within the higher education arena.

Jenny Doh ’91
Past president, UCI Alumni Association

I don’t think a day goes by that I do not benefit from the advice Jack has given me, the example he has set, the legacy of his many contributions to higher education, and the lives he and Suzie have led. Brenda and I are grateful for the blessing of knowing them. No one is more deserving of this honor.

Michael V. Drake

When Chancellor Peltason hired me as counsel to the chancellor in 1990, my only university experience had been “student” and various volunteer positions at Stanford. He instructed me not to worry about legal work for the first few months, but to follow him around to get an idea of university life and the issues he encountered. I learned invaluable information about UC, UCI, our constituencies and politics, and the issues of the day. He was my mentor and teacher, for which I am ever grateful.

Diane Geocaris
Chief campus counsel

Jack has always been the consummate diplomat. His lifelong study of democratic governance seems to have imparted a unique genius to his own leadership style – a man of the people who has always understood how to build consensus for even the most unpopular decisions. He’s also a great storyteller with a wicked sense of humor, which makes for the most unforgettable punch lines.

Manuel N. Gomez
Vice chancellor, student affairs

Jack understands the importance of integrating the university into the community and involving the community with the university. He knows that the development of Orange County and UCI have been and continue to be ineluctably linked. The relationships he established as chancellor continue today. And his great innovation – the Chief Executive Roundtable – has created immeasurable benefits for the university and for Orange County.

Michael R. Gottfredson
Executive vice chancellor and provost

I am delighted the American Council on Education is honoring Jack. As a board member of The Kavli Foundation, Jack’s counsel and direction proved instrumental during our formative years and are reflected in what we are today. And while I always greatly valued his insight into how to build the foundation, I took particular personal pleasure from his warmth and levity, whether over dinner or during our board meetings. It’s something that still brings a smile, as does knowing Jack is receiving this lifetime achievement award.

Fred Kavli
Founder and chairman, The Kavli Foundation

I had the great pleasure of working closely with Jack Peltason in an administrative capacity for a couple of years after UCI opened in 1965. In addition, he was chancellor when I served for two years as chair of the Academic Senate in the late 1980s. He always impressed me, at those times and at others, as an extremely intelligent and politically savvy academic administrator who served our campus and the UC with unflappable tenacity and dedication.

Spence Olin
Professor emeritus, history

Jack Peltason deserves this and many awards for his brilliant contributions to higher education and his charming ability to engage others.

Richard & Cheryll Ruszat
Owners, University Montessori

Jack Peltason understood that the university is first and foremost a community. In turn, his leadership always sought to advance our collective interests. He never took himself too seriously, was never pretentious, and systematically used his great intelligence, wisdom, experience and wit to move UCI closer to being a distinguished university. More recently, in dealing with Parkinson’s, he has also exhibited a level of courage that is truly extraordinary.

William Schonfeld
Professor, political science

My mother – Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke – and I, as well as the Joan Irvine Smith & Athalie R. Clarke Foundation, worked closely with Chancellor Peltason in the field of medicine and in the creation of a law school at UCI. There is no one more deserving of the American Council on Education’s lifetime achievement award than Jack Peltason, for his many contributions to higher education throughout his illustrious academic career.

Joan Irvine Smith

Jack Peltason is the ultimate master of understatement. When he speaks, value is immediately created. To not heed his wise counsel is to place oneself at personal peril and the risk of being mired in the morass of ignorance when true enlightenment is right in front of you.

Thomas T. Tierney
President, Vita-Tech International Inc.