Alumni Awards honor remarkable individuals and their achievements

Since 1960, UC Santa Barbara Alumni has presented awards of achievement and recognition to outstanding alumni and friends of the university. Held in person this year at Lagoon Plaza, the event was a celebration of Gaucho spirit and an opportunity to honor four special individuals in the university community.

Yvett Merino ’94, the Academy Award-winning producer of “Encanto” and the first Latina to receive the Oscar for best animated feature, was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award. Alumni Board director and philanthropist Diane (Hilbert ’68) Dodds was posthumously awarded the Graver Service to Alma Mater Award, accepted in her honor by her husband, David Reichert. Receiving the Honorary Alumni Award were Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin, co-founders of

The gathering, which took place Friday, Oct. 7, was hosted by Chancellor Henry T. Yang and Michael Citron ’10, Alumni Board president. Both paid tribute to an audience filled with elected officials, UC Regents, current and past board members, and students.

“The event marked for us not only a return to celebrating our award recipients in person but a chance to share with our Gaucho community our new vision — for UC Santa Barbara alumni network to be a reason people choose to come to UCSB,” said Citron. “Nothing exemplifies that more than our incredible awardees.”   

Each recipient was presented with a plaque from Chancellor Yang and shared remarks of gratitude and pride. Also addressing the crowd, Regent-designate Joel Raznick ’81 acknowledged Regent Sandra Timmons of UC San Diego, Regent-designate Keith Ellis of UC Merced and Regent Emeritus of UC Santa Barbara, Fran Mancia ’80.

“There is a motto we say as UC Santa Barbara alumni: Your story continues here,” Raznick said. “I am a living testament to this. I have been afforded an incredible honor to represent UC alumni on the Board of Regents.”

Yvett Merino ’94

David Reichert

Lynda Weinman and Bruce Heavin