Christopher Yanov started Reality Changers, a nonprofit that helps at-risk students get off the streets and into college. Robert Mac Kay helped make PepsiCo, Inc. the largest food and beverage company in North America. Both are outstanding graduates who will be honored Saturday night at the University of San Diego’s 15th annual Alumni Honors celebration.
The gala event highlights the accomplishments of nine USD graduates in career and athletic success and service to humanity.
Yanov, who earned a master’s degree in peace and justice studies in 2003 and then a master’s in international relations in 2004, will receive the Author E. Hughes Award for Career Achievement from the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies. Since 2005, some 200 students at Reality Changers have been awarded more than $5 million in college scholarships.
“Our graduates are prepared and inspired to make amazing changes in their organizations and communities,” said USD President Mary E. Lyons. “We are proud to honor these graduates who who have done so much to establish USD’s role as a leader in promoting excellence and public service.”
Mac Kay, who earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1988, will be honored for career achievement by the School of Business Administration. Mac Kay, vice president and general auditor of PepsiCo, works closely with senior management to allow for the company’s continued growth while maintaining the integrity of its financial controls. With two recent acquisitions of large bottling firms, PepsiCo became the largest food and beverage company in North America.
Other honorees for career achievement include Gerald McMahon, who earned his law degree in 1964 and is chair of Seltzter Caplan McMahon and Vitek, one of San Diego’s largest law firms. McMahon has been recognized by “Best Lawyers in America” as one of the nation’s top attorneys each year since 1998.
Patrick Morrin, who earned bachelor’s degrees in English and business in 1983, is a successful businessman whose firm Basis Communications was sold to Intel Corp. in 2000. Morrin now heads the Danvera Foundation, a charitable organization supporting the arts, education and health care. Over the past eight years, the foundation has provided significant financial support to USD scholarships in English, nursing and marine science.
Rich Newman, who earned his doctorate in 2005, will be honored by School of Leadership and Education Sciences. He became principal of Monterey Ridge Elementary School in 2008 and a year later, students there posted the largest growth in student achievement measures in the Poway Unified School District. Before coming to Poway, Newman also worked with the nationally recognized Wallace Foundation to promote school reform around the country.
The honoree from the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science is John Whitcomb, who earned his PhD in 2005. Whitcomb was decorated for his service in the war in Iraq. His awards include three Navy commendation medals and a presidential unit citation. Whitcomb is currently a nursing professor at Clemson University where he’s a recognized expert in critical care research and practices.
Two honorees will be recognized for awards named for USD’s co-founders. David Rivera, who earned bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and political science in 1996, will receive the Bishop Charles Francis Buddy Award for Contributions to Humanitarian Causes. Rivera is the founder of the Nativity Prep Academy in San Diego which provides 10-hour school days and a comprehensive high school program for inner-city students.
John Manson, who earned a bachelor’s degree in history in 1979, will receive the Mother Rosalie Clifton Hill Award for Exemplary Service to USD. Manson, the CEO of GM Mortgage Co., serves on numerous boards and committees, including chairman and founding member of the Chet and Marguerite Pagni Athletic Hall of Fame.
Stan Washington, a three-time All American in basketball who held the university’s all-time scoring record for more than 34 years until 2009, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Washington graduated in 1974 with a sociology degree.
Some 525 alumni, friends and members of the USD community will attend USD’s premier alumni recognition event that begins at 5 p.m. in USD’s Camino Courtyard. Following an awards program in Shiley Theatre, guests will dine under the stars. Barbara-Lee Edwards, co-anchor of San Diego’s CBS 8, is the gala hostess.
In addition to the nine newest honorees, 27 past honorees will also be present. ”This will truly be a special evening for the entire USD family,” said Martin Kaplan, director of Alumni Relations.
— Liz Harman
Click on Alumni Honors or call (619) 260-4819 for tickets or more information.