UCR Honors gala

UCR’s first gala celebration honors leaders

See photos from the event

April 9, 2024
Author: UCR News
April 9, 2024

UC Riverside paid tribute to alumni, philanthropic, and humanitarian leaders at UCR Honors: A Gala Celebration on Saturday, April 6.

More than 200 guests attended the first-of-its-kind event, held at the Student Recreation Center, which was transformed into a blue carpet, black-tie venue for an evening of music, drinks, dining, and tributes.

In remarks to open the evening, Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox noted how the university has evolved from being one of the “fastest rising universities” to becoming a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. He added that was possible because of the exceptional contributions of the people in that room.

“We’re now one of the best universities in America,” Wilcox said. “We long have been one of the best universities in America. But now, we’re one of the best by nearly every measure you can come up with.

Those honored at the event included actor Cheech Marin with the UCR Medallion in recognition of his contributions that led to the creation of The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture in downtown Riverside. 

The inaugural Distinguished Philanthropist Award was presented to Byron and Teresa Pollitt, UCR alumni and members of the UCR Foundation Board of Trustees who have supported university causes for decades.

Three Alumni Awards of Distinction were presented. 

Christy Lopez ’90, a professor of law at Georgetown University, received the Distinguished Alumni Award. 

Manav Sachdeva ’99, a senior policy advisor and emergency expert for the United Nations Development Programme, received the Alumni Service Award. 

Jesse Melgar, MPP ’17, received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award. Melgar is senior advisor for strategy and public affairs at the University of California Possibility Lab and a former communications director for California Governor Gavin Newsom. 

UCR will hold its next gala April 5, 2025.