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2021’s Best and Brightest Alumni, Faculty Honored at Berkeley Charter Gala

June 1, 2021

In partnership with the UC Berkeley Foundation, the Cal Alumni Association honored this year’s Achievement Award recipients at the all-virtual Berkeley Charter Gala on May 13, 2021. Get to know the esteemed award recipients, who are pushing through the boundaries of what’s possible.

(left) george a. miller | Photo courtesy of george a. miller

george a. miller M.B.A. ’61
Berkeley Founders Award

“Working with Cal is a two-way street. The benefit we get out of Cal is being involved with things you can be really proud of.”

george a. miller MBA ’61 is passionate about environmental policy, student success, and combating global poverty. He worked to restore the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, and is a founding member of Oxfam America’s leadership council. The george a. miller Scholars Program has provided more than 240 transfer students at Cal with two-year scholarships, mentoring opportunities, and summer resources to pursue independent research.

Timothy Guertin | Photo courtesy of Timothy Guertin

Timothy Guertin ’72
Campanile Excellence in Achievement Award

“Cal changed so many of my views and opened my mind up to so many new ideas and thoughts.”

Timothy Guertin ’72 is an advocate for cancer patients all over the world. Guertin serves as CEO Emeritus of Varian Medical Systems, a leading cancer therapy company. Through his work on the board of the Radiation Oncology Institute, he has helped leverage resources to accelerate practice transformation, fund major research projects, and sustain the future of the specialty.

Maureen Orth | Photo courtesy of Maureen Orth

Maureen Orth ’64
Campanile Excellence in Achievement Award

“Who can resist an institution that is conducting the leading study on the phenomenon of awesomeness itself?”

Maureen Orth ’64 is an award-winning journalist, author, and special correspondent for Vanity Fair. Her best-selling book Vulgar Favors was the basis for the second season of the Emmy Award-winning television series “American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace.” A former Peace Corps volunteer, she is the founder of the Marina Orth Foundation, which provides STEM, English, and leadership training for students and teachers at 21 public schools in Medellin, Colombia. Her all-girls robotics team, “Little Engineers,” won the gold medal at the RoboRAVE global robotics competition.

Aaron Rodgers | Photo courtesy of Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers ’07
Campanile Excellence in Achievement Award

“My time at Cal has always been so meaningful to me.”

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers ’07 earned the Super Bowl MVP in 2011 and is known for his leadership both on and off the field. In 2004, Rodgers led one of the best teams in Cal’s history to a 10–2 overall record and a 7–1 conference mark, finishing the regular season ranked No. 4 in the nation. Green Bay selected Rodgers in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft, and he has since become one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. Rodgers established an endowed scholarship for transfer football players at Cal while also making a significant gift to renovate Cal football facilities. In 2014, he received the Community Service Award from the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Bart Starr Award, which honors an NFL player who exemplifies leadership on and off the field.

Robert Tjian | Photo courtesy of Robert Tjian

Robert Tjian ’71
Fiat Lux Faculty Award

“Cal enabled and defined my scientific career these past 50 years.”

Robert Tjian ’71 has made major contributions to our understanding of how genes work since joining the Berkeley faculty in 1979. A professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, he has held several leadership roles on campus, including director of the Berkeley Stem Cell Center and faculty director of the Li Ka Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences. He currently holds the Li Ka Shing Chancellor’s Chair in Biology and serves as scientific adviser to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the BioHub. Tjian pioneered the discovery of human proteins called transcription factors.

Christopher Ategeka | Photo courtesy of Christopher Ategeka

Christopher Ategeka ’11. M.S. ’12
Mark Bingham Award for Excellence in Achievement by Young Alumni

“When I was a little kid growing up in Uganda, I never thought in a million years that I, too, can go to UC Berkeley. As long as I live, I’ll try my best to ease someone else’s pain—people who were dealt the wrong cards, who were born in the wrong zipcode—one person at a time.”

Chris Ategeka ’11, M.S. ’12 is an award-winning entrepreneur, author, and philanthropist. He is the founder and CEO of UCOT Inc., a company with a unique model creating solutions for the unintended consequences of technology. His forthcoming book, The Unintended Consequences of Technology, deals with the same subject. Previously, he was the founder and board chair of Health Access Corps, which uses local talent to combat the shortage of healthcare services in underserved areas of Africa.He was named to Forbes’ 2014 30 Under 30 list and is an Ashoka Fellow, TED Fellow, and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. As a former Achievement Award Program (TAAP) Scholar, Ategeka returned to offer support for 50 graduating TAAP Scholars at a recent Senior Brunch event.

Tam Ma | Photo courtesy of Tam Ma

Tam Ma ’02, J.D. ’11
Mark Bingham Award for Excellence in Achievement by Young Alumni

“I fell in love with Cal the moment I stepped foot on campus. Cal is a place where students use their privilege to fight for justice.”

Tam Ma ’02, J.D. ’11 is deputy legislative affairs secretary in the office of California Governor Gavin Newsom, where she oversees the administration’s legislative agenda on health and human services issues. Her work is guided by her experience as a child of Vietnamese refugees, and she has dedicated her career to serving public interests, using public policy as an instrument for social change. Since 2003, Ma has worked with the Women’s Policy Institute, helping train and mentor grassroots and nonprofit leaders to advance racial, economic, and gender justice through policy advocacy.

Watch the presentation of the 2021 Achievement Awards at Berkeley Charter Gala