Stars Come Out at USD

Nine outstanding University of San Diego graduates will be honored for their achievements in education, business, health care, public service and athletics on Saturday, May 1.

The Alumni Honors celebration begins at 5 p.m. in USD’s Camino Courtyard with a reception. The awards program takes place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Shiley Theatre, followed by dinner under the stars.

Honorees include Christopher Yanov, the founder of Reality Changers, a San Diego-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping low-income urban youth get off the street and into college. Since 2005, more than 200 students have been awarded $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 have done so much to establish USD’s role as a leader in promoting excellence and public service.”

Robert Mac Kay, vice president and general auditor of PepsiCo Inc., the largest food and beverage business in North America, and John Whitcomb, a Clemson University nursing professor decorated for his service in the war in Iraq, also will be honored. 

Other honorees are David Rivera, founder of the Nativity Prep Academy in San Diego which provides 10-hour school days and a comprehensive high school program for at-risk youth and Rich Newman, a principal at Monterey Ridge Elementary whose students posted the largest growth in student achievement measures in the Poway Unified School District in 2009.

Gerald McMahon, chair of Seltzer Caplan McMahon and Vitek, one of San Diego’s largest law firms will be honored, along with John Manson, CEO of San Diego-based G.M. Mortgage and Patrick Morrin, president of the Danvera Foundation.

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 Chet and Marguerite Pagni Athletic Hall of Fame.

The 15th annual Alumni Honors event is the university’s premier alumni celebration. Tickets are $100 for the black-tie optional gala. To purchase tickets, go to or call (619) 260-4819. 


About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 9,000 students from 69 countries and 50 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. The university's eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD's Envisioning 2024 strategic plan capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.