UCSB Alumni Association Inducts 2017 Award Winners

Alumni gathered for the awards dinner at Corwin Pavilion. (Frances Castellón/The Bottom Line)

Gwendolyn Wu

A Golden State Warriors co-owner and a Golden Globe-winning actress were among the five people who joined the ranks of the University of California, Santa Barbara Alumni Association’s award-winners on Friday night in a ceremony at Corwin Pavilion.

At the annual dinner, Barbara Rush (class of 1948), Nick Swinmurn (class of 1996), Thomas Harriman, and Don and Kathleen Scott (class of 1987) were presented with a series of awards commemorating their service to UCSB.

Chancellor Henry T. Yang attended with his wife, Diling Yang. The chancellor gave a short speech to open the ceremony lauding UCSB’s accomplishments and recently-released college rankings.

“The reputation of our university is defined by the reputations, accomplishments, and the contributions of our alums,” said Yang, who with his wife received an Honorary Alumni Award in 2001.

Swinmurn, founder of Zappos.com and a member of the Golden State Warriors ownership group, accepted a Distinguished Alumni Award. In his speech, Swinmurn recalled his time at UCSB and how the stability offered by both his family and the university allowed him to flourish as he pursued entrepreneurial projects.

“What I realized was from stability comes optimism,” Swinmurn told the crowd. “It’s O.K. to fail. Focus on today and tomorrow instead of yesterday, because yesterday doesn’t really matter. You can reinvent yourself every day.”

Clockwise from left: Zappos Founder Nick Swinmurn, Volunteers Kathleen and Don Scott, brain research innovator Thomas Harriman and longtime actress Barbara Rush. (Image Courtesy of UCSB Alumni Association)

Rush accepted a Distinguished Alumni Award for her career in motion pictures and television. She starred in television series “All My Children” and the film “It Came from Outer Space,” for which she won the Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer – Female. A UCSB Alumni Association press release states that Rush, who grew up in Santa Barbara, was in a production of “The Little Foxes” while attending UCSB.

The Alumni Association awarded Harriman, who did not attend UCSB but serves as one of the UC Santa Barbara Foundation trustees, the Honorary Alumni Award. Harriman has long supported neuroscientists at UCSB through the campus’s Brain Initiative.

The final award of the night, the Graver Service Award, went to Don and Kathleen Scott, a local couple with nearly 30 years of experience working with international students on campus. Some of their contributions, in conjunction with the Office of International Students and Scholars, include teaching English classes, hosting social events, and chaperoning field trips.

UCSB has over 200,000 alumni, a small percentage of whom have received awards from the Alumni Association. Previous award recipients include Rep. Lois Capps (M.A. class of 1990), Jack and Kim Johnson (class of 1997), and Sara Miller McCune.