The Chancellor’s Dinner Focuses on Student Scholarships

UC Riverside donors and campus friends gather for dinner, entertainment and inspiration

Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox applauds at the Chancellor's Dinner on Oct. 19, 2013. His wife, Diane Del Buono, is at his left. Photo by Carrie Rosema

Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox applauds at the Chancellor's Dinner on Oct. 19, 2013. His wife, Diane Del Buono, is at his left. Photo by Carrie Rosema

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — The room was packed Saturday night for the University of California, Riverside’s Chancellor’s Dinner to raise support for the best and brightest scholars, artists, leaders to pursue their academic dreams. An unexpected marriage proposal was also part of the evening.

Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox, who has made increasing scholarship funds a priority for the campus, shared the evening with approximately 400 students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members at UCR’s Highlander Union Building.

The UCR Alumni Association and the Foundation Board of Trustees organized the fifth annual event, which included dinner, student entertainment and UCR’s annual Alumni Awards of Distinction. All proceeds benefit scholarship and fellowship initiatives at UCR.

Chancellor Wilcox, who is only in his second month as Chancellor, presented the UCR medallion to Manuela and Randy Sosa, who have spent their lives devoted to making sure young people from this area have enough money to pursue higher education.

Manuela Sosa, recipient of the UCR Medallion, receives congratulations from Vice Chancellor Jim Sandoval. Photo by Carrie Rosema

Manuela Sosa, recipient of the UCR Medallion, receives congratulations from Vice Chancellor Jim Sandoval as Randy Sosa looks on. Photo by Carrie Rosema

Manuela Sosa, who graduated from UCR in 1966, earned her doctorate of dental surgery at Loma Linda University, and in 1975 she became Riverside’s first practicing female dentist.  Together, she and her husband Randy founded the Inland Empire Scholarship Fund. Over the last 15 years, the Fund has awarded more than $1.4 million to 1,120 scholarship recipients, 200 of whom enrolled at UCR.

“With support from the many dedicated donors and volunteers of the Inland Empire Scholarship Fund, hundreds of high-achieving students have discovered a whole community of people who believe in them, and whose values, challenges, triumphs and life journeys are similar to their own,” said Dr. Thomas Haider, who helped to present the award to the Sosas.

UC Riverside also awarded the 2013 Alumni Award of Distinction Award Recipients. This is the 27th year that these awards have been given.

Virginia Philips ’79
Distinguished Alumnus Award

Diane Del Buono, Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox, and the Honorable Virginia Phillips, who was named UCR's Distinguished Alumnus for 2013. Photo by Carrie Rosema.

Diane Del Buono, Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox, and the Honorable Virginia Phillips, who was named UCR’s Distinguished Alumnus for 2013. Photo by Carrie Rosema

The Honorable Virginia A. Phillips currently serves as a U.S. District Judge for the Central District of California. After graduating magna cum laude from UCR in 1979, she earned her law degree from UC Berkeley.  For many years she practiced law with the Riverside office of Best, Best & Krieger. Later she joined the Riverside County Superior Court in 1991 and the federal bench in 1995 as a U.S. Magistrate Judge. After her nomination to the federal bench by President Clinton, Judge Phillips was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate in 1999.  One of her most high-profile decisions took place in 2010, when she presided over the landmark trial of Log Cabin Republicans v. United States. She ruled that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy prohibiting openly gay service members from serving in the U.S. military violated the First and Fifth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

Ronald Stovitz ’64
Alumni Service Award

Ron Stovitz, who earned the award for Alumni Service, at the 2013 Chancellor's Dinner. Photo by Carrie Rosema.

Ron Stovitz, who earned the award for Alumni Service, at the 2013 Chancellor’s Dinner. Photo by Carrie Rosema

Ron Stovitz was appointed in 1989 by the California Supreme Court as a review department judge of the State Bar Court. In 2001, the Court elevated him to Presiding Judge and he served in that role until his retirement in 2006.  For many years Ron has successfully juggled the demands of family, career and service to his beloved alma mater, earning accolades as one of UCR’s most tireless volunteer leaders. He served on the UCR Alumni Association Board of Directors from 1993-2012, including two years as president. In addition, Ron’s tenure as a UCR Foundation Trustee has spanned an incredible period of growth and transformation for the campus. One of Ron’s signature accomplishments was to help lead the completion of the beautiful and long-awaited Alumni and Visitors Center.  In 2007, he earned the UCR Chancellor’s Medallion for outstanding service. And from 2008 through 2010 Ron served as one of two Alumni Regents on the University of California Board of Regents, reaching the pinnacle of his volunteer leadership.

Ernie Rios, who was named Outstanding Young Alumnus, just after his award. Photo by Carrie Rosema.

Ernie Rios, who was named Outstanding Young Alumnus, just after his award. Photo by Carrie Rosema

Ernesto (Ernie) Rios, M.B.A. ’07
Outstanding Young Alumnus Award

Ernie Rios is a community leader in the Coachella Valley, serving on the Thermal Community Council, as Vice President of the Thermal Chamber of Commerce, and as President of the College of the Desert Alumni Association. He works as the executive Director for the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership’s Pathways to Success program. Recognized throughout California as a model program that helps students—many of whom are the first in their families to attend college— this philanthropic enterprise has generated millions of dollars for college scholarships. Rios’ work has impacted nearly 700 college-bound students, including more than 100 at UCR. He used his speech at the dinner to keep a promise to his girlfriend, Karina Salazar, that they would marry after they both had graduated from college. He got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. She said yes.

Ernie Rios proposed during the Chancellor's Dinner. Photo by Carrie Rosema.

Ernie Rios proposed to Karina Salazar during the Chancellor’s Dinner. Photo by Carrie Rosema

“I thought it was time for me to fulfill my promise,” Rios said. “I couldn’t think of a better way to do it, than on a night dedicated to honoring UCR Alumni who are or have “Lived the Promise.”

Media Contact


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