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Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 8:17 am | Fair 39º


UCSB Alumni Pays Tribute to Distinguished Gauchos

Honorees share university memories

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

UCSB Alumni Honors Actress, entrepreneur, innovator and Santa Barbara volunteers among those recognized

Five accomplished UCSB alumni, including an award-winning actress, a renowned entrepreneur, a brain-research innovator and a volunteer couple with deep Santa Barbara philanthropic connections, were recognized with achievement awards at the 2017 UCSB Alumni Awards event on Oct. 6.

Zappos Founder Nick Swinmurn (’96) and actress and Golden Globe winner Barbara Rush (’48) received the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Kathleen (McCarthy) Scott (’87) and Don Scott were recognized with the Graver Alumni Service Award.

Thomas Harriman earned the Honorary Alumni Award.

Several hundred guests paid tribute to the five honorees, who shared their UCSB memories and appreciation with the crowd.

“It’s really something to be here, and I cannot tell you how impressed I am by this campus. When I was little, it was a marine base,” Rush said.

Since selling Zappos to Amazon in 2009, Swinmurn has continued to create new companies and serve as a mentor providing support and encouragement to other entrepreneurs to pursue their ideas and dreams.

He now runs numerous successful businesses from fine dining to fitness. Swinmurn marveled at the recognition from UCSB Alumni: “I’m getting an award for having an idea,” he said.

He credited 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,” Swinmurn said.

“Yesterday doesn’t really matter. You can reinvent yourself every day, and optimism allows you to embrace uncertainty which is one of the most important things for an entrepreneur,” he said.

Don and Kathleen Scott were honored for their 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 and are kept alive through the incredible network of social media once our international guests have returned home,” Kathleen Scott said.

Don Scott highlighted their family and friends, many of whom were in the audience, for their dedication to philanthropic organizations in the arts, environment, education and social justice. “This award is shared with you,” he said.

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

He described the vision of the Brain Initiative as providing outcomes in brain therapy and reducing costs to keep the healthcare system from imploding as the population ages.

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

For more information, visit http://www.alumni.ucsb.edu/programs/awards/ or contact Sophia Fischer, [email protected], 893-4077.

— Sophia Fischer for UCSB Alumni.


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