LAURELS: Gala Held for Professor Paw U


  • Kyaw Tha Paw U, Department of Land, Air and Water Resources
  • Dana Topousis, Office of Strategic Communications
  • Ed Imwinkelried, School of Law
  • Irene Joe, School of Law


UC Davis honored Professor Kyaw Tha Paw U at a Dec. 16 gala honoring him as the recipient of the 2020 UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Scholarly Achievement.

The gala (watch the recording above) included remarks by Chancellor Gary S. May; Darryl Goss ’83, chair of the UC Davis Foundation Board; Helene Dillard, dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; and Paw U, a biometeorologist in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

The recording includes a profile of the professor’s life and career (starting at :12:37) and footage from one of his classes, March 11, when university leaders surprised him with the prize announcement. That informal celebration would be one of the last in-person events to be held on campus before the coronavirus pandemic forced the suspension of operations. The very next week, finals were held remotely, to be followed by remote instruction for the most part through spring 2021.

Dana Topousis headshot

Dana Topousis, who has led the Office of Strategic Communications since 2015, recently received a national award for her work in public relations — named by the PRNEWS Group industry association as a “Top Woman in PR” after being nominated by Chancellor Gary S. May.

Topousis joined UC Davis in June 2105 as the executive director of News and Media Relations and subsequently became the interim director of the Office of Strategic Communications, serving in that capacity until 2017 when Chancellor May, after a national search, appointed her chief marketing and communications officer in charge of Strategic Communications.

She works closely with the chancellor on his communications and oversees an award-winning staff of writers, photographers and videographers, graphic and web designers, bloggers and podcasters, and marketing and social media professionals on the Davis and Sacramento campuses — all tasked with conveying university news and other content to external and internal audiences, including prospective students.

Her office also is responsible for the university’s branding, including the new mantra, “Outgrow the Expected.”

In a letter of congratulations, Chancellor May described Topousis’ PR award as a significant distinction that speaks to her outstanding leadership skills on two fronts: organizing effective, multilayered communications strategies to share how UC Davis is addressing critical issues and working to make positive change; and informing, assisting and uniting the campus community.

“I’m honored to be recognized by PRNEWS, and I thank Chancellor May for his support over the years,” Topousis said. “I have an incredibly talented team and wonderfully collaborative colleagues here at UC Davis. To be recognized during such a challenging year for those of us in communications, I am grateful for working with great people within a supportive environment.”

PRNEWS Group serves the communications and PR community at corporations, agencies and nonprofit organizations, with a focus on honing and growing PR and marketing professionals’ skills in social media, crisis management, digital PR, measurement, employee relations, media training and writing.

With the launch of its weekly newsletter more than 75 years ago, PRNEWS has remained dedicated to supporting the growth of communicators and marketers all while keeping them abreast of the latest news affecting their industries.

Two members of the law school faculty recently received section awards from the Association of American Law Schools, honoring excellence in legal education:

  • Ed Imwinkelried, professor emeritus — Section on Evidence John Henry Wigmore Award for Lifetime Achievement. “John Henry Wigmore was a giant,” Imwinkelried said in a news story on the School of Law website. “His treatise on evidence is regarded as the most famous treatise in American law. So, it is a great honor to receive this award.” It honors a person who has made leading contributions to the understanding of the process of proof, the reform of evidence law, or both. Imwinkelried is the co-author of 18 evidence treatises and texts and the author of four other texts as well as more than 100 law review articles. He is retired from the School of Law but continues to update the treatises and texts.
  • Irene Joe, acting professor — Section on Professional Responsibility Fred C. Zacharias Memorial Prize for Scholarship. Her research focuses on how the design of the criminal process affects the ability of institutional attorneys to manage overwhelming caseloads and comply with ethical requirements.

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