UCSB Alumni Honors Distinguished Gauchos

Posted on Nov 17 by SEASONS Magazine

Five accomplished UC Santa Barbara alumni were recognized with achievement awards at the 2017 UCSB Alumni Awards event last month. Award recipients include an award-winning actress, a renowned entrepreneur, a brain research innovator and a volunteer couple with deep Santa Barbara philanthropic connections. Several hundred guests paid tribute to the five honorees who shared their UCSB memories and appreciation with the crowd.

Courtesy UCSB Alumni Association.

Zappos Founder Nick Swinmurn ’96 and longtime actress and Golden Globe winner Barbara Rush ’48, received the Distinguished Alumni Award.  Kathleen (McCarthy ’87) Scott and Don Scott were recognized with the Graver Alumni Service Award, and Thomas Harriman earned the Honorary Alumni Award.

For many alumni, years go by before coming back to visit the campus and fond memories quickly return. “It’s really something to be here and I cannot tell you how impressed I am by this campus.” Rush says.

UC Santa Barbara facilitates the accomplishments of students year after year, and graduates leave with the tools for success and lifelong lessons to support them throughout their careers.

Since selling Zappos to Amazon in 2009, Swinmurn continues to create new companies and serve as a mentor to other entrepreneurs. He now runs numerous successful businesses in various industries, from fine dining to fitness, and he marvels at the recognition from UCSB Alumni.

“I’m getting an award for having an idea,” Swinmurn remarks. He credits the university with continuing to provide him with the stability he experienced from his parents as a child. “My parents always encouraged me and that created a springboard for me. The stability that family and school provided me allowed me to take risks because I always had something to fall back on.”

UCSB alumni honorees Barbara Rush, Don Scott and Kathleen (McCarthy) Scott, Nick Swinmurn and Thomas Harriman. Photo by Allie Kole.

Don and Kathleen Scott were honored for three decades of involvement in helping international students and visiting scholars transition to life in the United States and on the UCSB campus.

“We can tell you that these UCSB friendships are lasting and deep—they are kept alive through the incredible network of social media once international guests have returned home,” says Kathleen Scott.

Harriman, a university Trustee, was honored for his support of the UCSB Brain Initiative, and its quest to find cures to diseases of the brain.

“UCSB does such a marvelous job of pushing the envelope and taught me to appreciate the power of collaboration,” says Harriman. “It’s easy to be proud of an institution that hits the mark like that.”

UCSB has over 200,000 alumni, many of whom are celebrated every year for bringing innovation, creativity and philanthropy to Santa Barbara County.

For more information, visit http://www.alumni.ucsb.edu/programs/awards/.

—Lohana Richmond

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