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Home > News > Press Releases & Media Advisories > Press Release

UC Irvine announces 2008 Medal recipients

Medalists will be recognized at two-day event in October

Irvine, Calif., May 19, 2008

Two individuals and one couple have been selected to receive UC Irvine’s highest honor, the Medal, which annually gives formal and lifelong recognition to those who have made outstanding contributions to the university’s mission of teaching, research and public service.

“Our 2008 Medalists embody the university’s core values, and they deserve its highest honor for their contributions to the campus becoming a nationally recognized center of learning and discovery,” said Chancellor Michael Drake, M.D. “The Medal honors extraordinary individuals whose service, commitment and support pave the way for our students to excel and make valuable contributions to society.”

This year’s honorees:

Carol and Ralph Cicerone

Ralph Cicerone was UCI’s fourth chancellor, and Carol Cicerone served as a professor of cognitive sciences at the university. The couple came to UCI in 1989. By the time they departed in 2005, when Ralph Cicerone became president of the National Academy of Sciences, they had left an indelible mark on the campus.

In 2003, Carol Cicerone received UCI Alumni Association’s top honor, the Extraordinarius Award, for her talent and contributions as an educator, researcher, campus advocate and ambassador. Her scholarly activities focused on the human visual system with an emphasis on the mechanisms of human color vision. While at UCI, she served on both the Academic Senate Committee on Research and the UC Committee on Research Policy. She also chaired the Academic Senate Committee on Academic Personnel and served as vice chair for the UC Committee on Academic Personnel. Over the years, she served on many prestigious panels and boards, and edited numerous scholarly publications.

Originally hired as the founding chair of the Department of Earth System Science, Ralph Cicerone served in this capacity from 1989 to 1994. He then served as dean of the School of Physical Sciences from 1994 to 1998 and as chancellor from 1998 to 2005. He has shaped science and environmental policy both as an atmospheric chemist and as president of the nation’s leading independent scientific body, the National Academy of Sciences. His research on the role of chlorine in destroying stratospheric ozone was recognized in the citation for the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to UCI Professor F. Sherwood Rowland. Honored with many awards for his work, Cicerone also played a pioneering role in understanding how managed agricultural systems contribute to global changes in methane, an important greenhouse gas.

James Mazzo

James Mazzo is chairman and chief executive officer of Advanced Medical Optics, a global ophthalmic medical device company that has rapidly become an industry leader. Prior to AMO’s spin-off from Allergan, which Mazzo joined in 1980, he held leadership positions within that company.

At UCI, Mazzo is a Foundation Trustee, a member of the Chief Executive Roundtable, and chair of The Eye Institute capital campaign, which will bring a state-of-the-art research, education and treatment facility to the campus. He has been a featured speaker at university events and serves on several campus advisory boards.

Mazzo and his wife, Kelly, a philanthropist and community volunteer, co-chaired the 2005 Medal Awards, and their efforts helped raise nearly $1.3 million for scholarships and fellowships – setting a new event fundraising record at the time. Mazzo, both with his wife and through AMO, has generously donated to a wide variety of campus areas over the years.

Mazzo serves on the boards of a number of community organizations, and he is a founding board member of OCTANe, a private, nonprofit corporation that drives innovation and technology in the region. This year, he received a Foundation Fighting Blindness Visionary Award for his contributions to the field of ophthalmology.

Stanley van den Noort

Attracted by an opportunity to build a department of neurology from the ground up, Dr. Stanley van den Noort came to UCI in 1970 as a professor and chief of neurology. From 1973 through 1985, he served as the dean of the College of Medicine – now the School of Medicine.

A pioneer in multiple sclerosis education, research and patient care, van den Noort was also instrumental in influencing the building of Irvine Hall, Hewitt Hall, the Hitachi Research Center and Gottschalk Medical Plaza at UCI.

Van den Noort graduated from Dartmouth College in 1951 and received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1954. He completed his residency training at Boston City Hospital, where he served as senior resident of the neurological unit. In addition, he has been a diplomat of the American Board of Neurology since 1963.

An active volunteer for the MS Society for many years, van den Noort has served the organization as member and chair of the Medical Advisory Board, chair of the Clinical Care Committee, and co-chair of the Long-term Care Committee. He also served as chief medical officer of the MS Society from 1997 to 2001, and he continues to be an active member of the Orange County Chapter.

The Medal is the most prestigious honor the university bestows. Proceeds from A Celebration of Stars – The Medal Awards support key programs such as Regents’ Scholarships and graduate fellowships, which are given to those students who exhibit academic merit and outstanding promise.

One of Orange County’s premier events, the Medal awards celebration will be held this year over the course of two evenings on Oct. 3 and 4. To honor UCI’s past Medalists, whose ranks include Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners and industry innovators, the evening of Oct. 3 has been dubbed “A Parade of Medalists.” It will be held at the Barclay Theatre on campus and will include a reception and entertainment by Syrian artists: Kinan Azmeh, a world-class clarinetist; and Kevork Mourad, an internationally acclaimed painter. Their unique collaborative performance involves Mourad interpreting Azmeh’s music on paper, projected on screens, as the clarinetist plays.

On the following evening, Oct. 4, the main event will be held at the Bren Events Center on campus and will include a reception, sit-down dinner, Medalist tributes and entertainment by the surf band Papa Doo Run Run along with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra. Some of UCI’s most talented students also will perform.

Hosted by the University of California, Irvine Foundation, A Celebration of Stars is the campus’s largest fundraiser. This year’s celebration will be chaired by Hazem and Salma Chehabi. Hazem Chehabi is a board-certified nuclear medicine physician who has been practicing in Orange County since 1989. He is the president of Newport Diagnostic Center, a premiere medical imaging facility. Salma Chehabi, a community leader and philanthropist, earned her bachelor’s degree from the School of Biological Sciences at UCI.

Each year a call for nominations for the Medal Awards is sent out to the UCI community, including alumni, faculty, staff and board members, as well as corporate and foundation leaders in the community. A Medal committee reviews the nominations and makes recommendations to the chancellor.

For information on tickets and sponsorships, call 949-824-9801.

About the University of California, Irvine: UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with more than 27,000 undergraduate and graduate students and nearly 2,000 faculty members. The third-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3.6 billion. For more UCI news, visit

News Radio: UCI maintains on campus an ISDN line for conducting interviews with its faculty and experts. The use of this line is available free-of-charge to radio news programs/stations who wish to interview UC Irvine faculty and experts. Use of the ISDN line is subject to availability and approval by the university.

Ralph and Carol Cicerone Ralph and Carol Cicerone

James Mazzo James Mazzo

Stanley van den Noort Stanley van den Noort

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Thomas Mitchell
University of California, Irvine


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