Inside USD

Inspiring Stories and Exceptional Achievements: USD Honors Outstanding Alumni

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The University of San Diego will honor nine outstanding alumni on April 28, including a former U.S. ambassador, an international conservation advocate and an accomplished film and video producer.

Joseph Ghougassian ‘77 (MA) ‘80 (JD), who will receive the Bishop Charles Francis Buddy Award for contributions to humanitarian causes, was appointed as U.S. ambassador to Qatar in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan. In 1989, Ghougassian was honored by Pope John Paul II for his efforts to convince the Qatar government to lift 14 centuries of religious prohibition on the public practice of Christianity and other faiths.

Ghougassian, who is currently serving in Iraq and assisting with regulatory reform of Iraqi laws and management of policy-making in the offices of the President, Prime Minister and Ministries.

Sandra Chew Phillips ‘68 ( BA), a staff technical writer for Qualcomm Inc., who earned her bachelor’s degree in English, will receive the Mother Rosalie Clifton Hill Award for exemplary service to USD. Over the past 40 years, she has served and held positions on a number of university boards, including USD’s Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Susi Menazza ‘03 (MA), a senior policy advisor for The Nature Conservancy, will receive the Author E. Hughes Award from the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies. Menazza, whose work with Europe and Asia focuses on climate change, biodiversity conservation and the establishment of “green economies,” which she sees as an effective conflict prevention tool.

Timothy Lynch ‘95 (BA), producer of award-winning videos for Green Day, the Black Eyed Peas and other groups, along with the film “180º South: Conquerors of the Useless, a documentary championing environmentalism and the adventurers’ spirit, will also be honored for career achievement by the College of Arts and Sciences.

“These outstanding honorees reflect USD’s commitment to graduate ‘changemakers’ who are educated and inspired to make the world a better place,” said USD President Mary E. Lyons. “We are very proud to honor them.”

Other honorees for career achievement are:

Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr. ‘87 (JD), a partner in the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP from the School of Law. The Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals have named Boutrous one of the  100 best lawyers in California for seven years in a row. Lawdragon named him to the 2011 guide to the 500 Leading Lawyers in America, calling him “One of the best media and appellate attorneys in the nation.”

J. Scott Di Valerio ‘85 (BBA), chief financial officer of Coinstar, Inc. from the School of Business Administration. He has more than 25 years of experience in finance, operations and management with high-growth, world-class organizations including the Lenovo Group and Microsoft Inc.

Arnulfo Manriquez  ‘05 (MA), president and CEO of MAAC (Maximizing Access to Our Communities) in San Diego from the School of Leadership and Education Studies. A 19-year veteran of the nonprofit sector, he has dedicated his career to working with underserved individuals, households and communities by promoting self-sufficiency through housing, economic, educational and employment programs.

and U.S. Navy Capt. Jacqueline D. Rychnovsky CPNP’04 (PhD), executive officer of the U.S. Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, Japan from the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science. Formerly she served as head of nursing research at the Naval Medical Center San Diego and completed a six-month tour as the head of inpatient nursing at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.

Kevin Herde ‘93 (BBA), a former Torero baseball star will be inducted into the Chet and Marguerite Pagni Family Athletic Hall of Fame. During his senior year, he batted 372, including a remarkable 430 in league action, guiding the Toreros to 36 wins — the second-most in program history at the time.

USD has recognized more than 150 distinguished alumni since the inception of the Alumni Honors program more than 17 years ago.

The cocktail-attire gala begins at 6 p.m. with the awards ceremony in the Joan B. Kroc Institute of Peace & Justice, follwed by a gourmet soiree under the stars. Tickets are $75 per person and can be purchased at or by calling (619) 260-7889.

– Liz Harman

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