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UC Irvine names 2012 Medal recipients

Sue and Bill Gross are among those recognized for the university’s highest honor

by Caitlin AdamsPublished: July 10, 2012 04:05 PM

This fall, five names will join the ranks of Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, scientists, humanitarians, and innovators in almost every industry, as UC Irvine honors the newest recipients of the UCI Medal. The two couples and one individual will be honored at a gala dinner, “A Celebration of Stars,” in October.

This year’s honorees are Sue and Bill Gross, a private couple from Laguna Beach; UCI Distinguished Professor Elizabeth Loftus; and Dr. Betty Tu and Dr. David Tsoong.

"UCI has become a top-tier university because of exceptional people," said Chancellor Michael Drake. "The Medal ceremony is a wonderful way to pay tribute to individuals who have helped pave the way to a brighter future for UCI and its positive impact in our community. We are proud to bestow these awards in recognition of their many contributions."

The award, established by Chancellor Jack W. Peltason and first conferred on the university’s founding Chancellor Daniel G. Aldrich in 1984, represents the institution’s recognition of those who have made profound contributions to the school’s mission of research, teaching and public service.

The Grosses are a private Laguna Beach couple active in their support of local philanthropic causes and research. Bill Gross, cofounder of Newport Beach-based PIMCO, an international investment firm, ranks among the world’s most prominent investors, managing a portfolio of nearly $2 trillion, including the world’s largest mutual fund. Sue Gross is a graduate of Saddleback College and president of the Gross Family Foundation.

After seeing a profile of UCI professor of anatomy and neurobiology, Hans Kierstead, and his research into embryonic stem cells on the TV program “60 Minutes,” the Grosses toured Dr. Kierstead’s lab and subsequently made a $10 million gift to UCI to support the foundation of the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center.

Elizabeth Loftus, a Distinguished Professor at UCI, holds faculty positions in the School of Law and three other departments: psychology & social behavior; cognitive sciences; and criminology, law & society.

Among the most prolific of UCI’s faculty, Loftus has published 22 books and 500 scientific articles during her 30 years of research. An expert in the area of misinformation, eyewitness fallibility, and the creation and nature of false memories, Loftus has contributed expert testimony and perspective to hundreds of criminal cases, including those of Scooter Libby, the Hillside Strangler and the Michael Jackson molestation case. A former president of the Association for Psychological Science, Loftus holds six honorary doctorates and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Betty Tu and Dr. David Tsoong, owners of international real estate and senior living company Pinnacle Resources International, have been involved with UCI for more than 10 years.

Tu held a private obstetrics and gynecology practice in Anaheim while serving as a clinical professor at USC’s Keck School of Medicine, before retiring in 2005. She earned her MBA from the UCI Paul Merage School of Business in 1999 and received the Lauds & Laurels Distinguished Alumni Award from the school in 2007.

Tu’s husband Tsoong began at UCI Medical Center as a surgical intern. After further training as an orthopedic surgeon in New York, he returned to Orange County for private practice. Tsoong is the founder and manager of Gateway Medical Group, StarCare Medical Group and Pinnacle Health Resources, as well as a former member of the UCI Irvine Medical Center’s Executive Council.

Both Tu and Tsoong serve on the Paul Merage School of Business’ Center for Health Care Management and Policy Advisory Board, the Humanities Dean's Advisory Council, UC Irvine Medical Center's CEO Advisory Board and the UCI Medal Steering Committee.

“A Celebration of Stars –– The 2012 UCI Medal Awards” will fete this year’s Medal recipients and highlight past honorees. The gala will be held Oct. 27.

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