On May 11, 2017, the Cal Alumni Association (CAA) and the University of California, Berkeley Foundation hosted the annual Berkeley Charter Gala. Esteemed members of the UC Berkeley community came together to celebrate the achievements of several outstanding alumni, as well as commemorate the chartering of the University almost 150 years ago.
Hailing the 2017 Alumnus of the Year
Paul Jacobs ’84, M.S. ’86, Ph.D. ’89 received the honor of being Alumnus of the Year. Jacobs first became a part of the Cal community as an undergrad and a member of the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship program. After earning his bachelor’s degree at Cal, he then went on to also earn his master’s, as well as his Ph.D. from Berkeley.
“A techie as a toddler and a design-minded entrepreneur as a teen,” is how Chancellor Nicholas Dirks described Jacobs. He added, “It should come as no surprise that [Jacobs] went on to envision and create Berkeley’s premier maker space, the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation.”
After completing his education at Berkeley, Jacobs went on to become a design engineer in Qualcomm Incorporated’s mobile phone digital signal processor software team. Jacobs’ incredible work and pioneering visions ultimately allowed him to rise to the role of vice president, CEO, and now finally the executive chairman and chairman of the board of Qualcomm Incorporated. Jacobs has played an integral role in helping guide the development of new technologies and Qualcomm’s long-term opportunities and has been granted more than 82 patents throughout his career.
About the 2017 Achievement Award Honorees
Michael Gilroy ’09 and Jonathan Stein M.P.P./J.D. ’13 were both awarded the Mark Bingham Award for Excellence in Achievement by Young Alumni to celebrate the contributions they made to their communities.
Gilroy is currently a technology venture capitalist at Canaan Partners in New York City and serves as the co-chair of Berkeley Alumni of New York. Stein’s work is local; he sits as the head of the voting rights program at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, and plays an active role within many of California’s public policy programs.
The Fiat Lux Faculty Award went to Associate Dean of Biology Edward Penhoet. Penhoet’s work in biomedical technology began at Cal back in the 1970s. His influence has now reached far beyond the borders of campus through his work as the president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, as well as a member of President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
Three alumni—Vanessa Morrison ’90, Margaret Murnane Ph.D. ’89, and James Schamus ’82, M.A. ’87, Ph.D. ’03—were honored with the Campanile Excellence in Achievement Award.
A daughter of two Cal Bears, Morrison joined Twentieth Century Fox as a paid intern two decades ago, rising to her current position as president of Fox Animation Studios. Murnane, the first of her family to attend college, is now a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder who plays a large role on the Council of the National Academies of Sciences. Schamus, an award-winning screenwriter, director, and producer, is renowned for his work and partnership with director Ang Lee and continues to maintain his professorship at Columbia University.
President emeritus of the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, Ira Hirschfield received the Berkeley Founders Award in recognition of the long-standing service and leadership he has provided to many programs at Cal. Hirschfield worked to strengthen programs at the Haas School of Business, as well as implement the campus-wide Initiative for Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity.
Learn more about Charter Gala and the 2017 Achievement Awards.