UC Davis to Honor Alumni and Friends

A leader in equine health, one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World and one of America’s Top 50 Givers are all among this year’s UC Davis Cal Aggie Alumni Association award winners. These award recipients — along with other outstanding individuals — will be honored at the 45th Annual Alumni Awards Gala on Friday, Feb. 2, at the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

CAAA — which serves more than 250,000 UC Davis alumni — selected these exceptional individuals to recognize the amazing impact they have on UC Davis and the world: 

  • Liliana Ferrer ’87 of Sacramento, California
  • Margaret Lapiz ’89 of Alamo, California
  • Jesse Rodriguez ’13 of Elk Grove, California
  • Ernest E. Tschannen of Orangevale, California  
  • Cynthia Murphy-Ortega ’91 of Vallejo, California
  • John E. Madigan ’70, MS ’72, DVM ’75 of Woodland, California
  • Patrick John Sherwood ’86 of Danville, California

Emil M. Mrak International Award: Liliana Ferrer ’87

Ferrer began her international career working for the Association of National Olympic Committees, and has been a Mexican career foreign service officer since 1992, serving in roles including head of the Section of Political and Boarder Affairs at the Mexican embassy in Washington D.C., congressional affairs officer there, and later, as the deputy chief of mission at the Mexican embassy in Paris. Having lived in various parts of the world, Ferrer has recently taken the reins of the Mexican Consulate in Sacramento. In this role, she continues to help build on California’s multibillion-dollar relationship with Mexico and protect the 1 million Mexicans living in her 24-county jurisdiction in California, which affects UC Davis students and families. Ferrer was involved in the recent delegation that went to Mexico City to act as a liaison to build partnerships between Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico and UC Davis to increase diversity and support of Chicano/Latino students, and she looks forward to advancing existing partnerships with the UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic, nongovernmental organizations and other universities to provide free legal advice for Mexican immigrants.

Outstanding Alumna Award: Margaret Lapiz ’89

Named one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World by the Global Filipina Women’s Network, Lapiz is recognized as an outstanding alumna, in part, because of her creation of Prep Médico, a pipeline program focused on building the next generation of physicians who will advance Latino health. She was instrumental in advancing the Accelerated Competency-based Education in Primary Care program, which allows a select group of eligible students to complete medical school in three years. After majoring in economics at UC Davis, Lapiz received her MBA and MPH from UC Berkeley. In 2016, the Aspen Institute selected her for its Health Innovators Fellowship, and she is also a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. She currently chairs the UC Davis Chancellor’s Club and is a trustee of the UC Davis Foundation Board. In partnership with UC Davis Health, Lapiz helped sponsor a conference to educate health professionals about health care reform in Latino/a communities, advancing the reputations of UC Davis and Kaiser Permanente (where she had served as a senior executive) as experts in Latino/a health. In 2014, she was named to Diversity MBA Magazine’s “Top 100 Under 50” Diverse Executive and Emerging Leaders list. The child of immigrants who worked as farm laborers in California, she established the Lapiz Family Scholarship Fund in 2003 in honor of her parents and her family’s experience pursuing the American dream. With 30 scholarship recipients to date, the fund provides tuition assistance to the children of farmworkers attending a UC campus, the majority of whom have been UC Davis students. 

Young Alumnus Award: Jesse Rodriguez ’13

Since graduating from UC Davis with a bachelor’s in economics and a minor in sociology, Rodriguez has dedicated his time to working for the community and empowering youth. Rodriguez is currently pursuing his MBA at the Graduate School of Management and is the director of Latino Affairs and a communications consultant in the California State Senate. In these roles, Rodriguez helps members understand issues facing the Latino community and builds partnerships with Latino organizations across the state. He also serves as the co-chair for the California Latino Capitol Association Foundation and mentors community college and high school students through the Puente and Improve Your Tomorrow programs. He has made a positive impact on UC Davis by helping to plan the Cesar Chavez Youth Leadership Conference.

Distinguished Friend Award: Ernest E. Tschannen        

Tschannen’s support of the UC Davis Eye Center and the Sacramento region has been extremely transformative and has made him the largest individual donor in the university’s 108-year history. Tschannen, a successful real estate entrepreneur, grew up in a small town of Aarwangen, Switzerland, before ultimately moving to the United States. Tschannen is a grateful patient of UC Davis Health, a member of UC Davis’ Leadership Giving Society and of the Shields Society. His generosity includes a $1.5 million gift to UC Davis to expedite optic nerve research and find a cure for glaucoma and other eye diseases, as well as an $18.5 million gift to name the future home of the UC Davis Eye Center. Tschannen was also named one of America’s Top 50 Givers by Forbes in 2016. He is a supporter of several other Sacramento-based organizations and says, “My primary goal in life is to give to society what the United States has given me.”  

Aggie Service Award: Cynthia Murphy-Ortega ’91

After graduating from UC Davis with a bachelor’s in chemical engineering, Murphy-Ortega continues to volunteer and donate to UC Davis. Murphy-Ortega is in her 26th year with Chevron and is currently a manager in the University Partnerships and Association Relations group of the company. Her role is to develop strategic relationships with universities and national associations, including UC Davis, to help support the curriculum, faculty and facilities that are needed to lead students to success after college. She also serves on the Engineering Dean’s Executive Committee and the program advisory committee for the Leadership in Engineering Advancement Diversity and Retention program at UC Davis, where she was influential in Chevron’s founding partnership of the program, as well as Avenue-E (community college transfer) programs designed to recruit, retain and graduate diverse populations of students. Further, she directed Chevron’s support to establish 22 scholar awards for deserving engineering students.

CAAA Distinguished Achievement Award: John E. Madigan ’70, M.S. ’72, DVM ’75

Madigan’s academic career has made a profound impact on the advancement of equine health and animal welfare worldwide. Madigan earned both his bachelor’s and master’s in animal science and his doctoral degree in veterinary medicine from UC Davis, where he is now a distinguished professor of equine internal medicine. As an accomplished equine internist, infectious disease specialist, and equine neonatologist, Madigan has spent his career devoted to research discovery of disorders and diseases affecting large animals, and developing equipment and methods for animal rescue while expanding the field of veterinary disaster medicine. He also founded and serves as director of the International Animal Welfare Training Institute. Madigan acts as the principal liaison for the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in disaster planning and established the Veterinary Emergency Response Team, a volunteer rescue team that is trained and educated on Madigan’s protocols serving local animal emergency response and disaster management.

Jerry W. Fielder Memorial Award: Patrick John Sherwood ’86​

The recipient of the most prestigious alumni award, Sherwood has stayed connected and contributed significantly to UC Davis since his graduation. A 30-year veteran of Wells Fargo Bank, he is currently executive vice president and Western regional manager of the U.S. for the bank’s Financial Institutions Group. Sherwood’s many connections to UC Davis include previously serving as an officer of the Central Coast chapter of CAAA, finance committee chair of the board of directors, and as CAAA president; actively recruiting students to UC Davis; and donating to the university as a Leadership Giving Society member, including supporting current students through the CAAA Scholarship program and the Student Alumni Association. Joining the Dean’s Advisory Council for the College of Letters and Science in 2014, he has endowed additional undergraduate scholarships in his family’s name, leaving a lasting impact on students and faculty. Sherwood is a trustee for the UC Davis Foundation, where he is a member of the Global Campaign Leadership Council. He also serves as co-chair of the Conservation Society of California, which oversees the operations of the Oakland Zoo, where UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine enjoys a partnership where students can work at the zoo’s new, state-of-the-art veterinary hospital.

Visit the One Aggie Network to register for this black-tie event.

Media Resources

Laura Pizzo, Development and Alumni Relations, 530-750-3115, lpizzo@ucdavis.edu

Kimberly Hale, UC Davis News and Media Relations, 530-752-9838, klhale@ucdavis.edu

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