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Distinguished Alumnus Award
The most prestigious honor bestowed by the UCR Alumni Association, this award is based on national and international distinction in one’s field and significant contribution to humankind.


Anthea Hartig, M.A. ’89, Ph.D. ’01

Hartig is the Elizabeth MacMillan Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and the first woman to hold the position since the museum opened in 1964. Hartig, who began her tenure in February 2019, oversees 257 employees, a budget of more than $40 million, and a collection that includes 1.8 million objects. An award-winning public historian and cultural heritage expert, Hartig is a third-generation native of Southern California and grew up in the greater Pomona Valley. Hartig previously served as executive director and CEO of the California Historical Society in San Francisco where she raised over $20 million to quadruple the society’s annual budget and started the Teaching California initiative, a free online history portal for K-12 students. Hartig served as the western region director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation from 2005-11, and has been involved in historic preservation and public history projects since the 1990s. She earned her doctorate and master’s degrees in history at UC Riverside, her bachelor’s at UCLA, and studied as an undergraduate and graduate student at the College of William and Mary.


Dr. Pedram Salimpour ’90

Salimpour serves as chairman and CEO of Pierce Health Solutions, a California-based company he co-founded that creates novel health delivery systems for large employers throughout the United States. Salimpour also serves as a three-time appointed commissioner of the Los Angeles Fire & Police Pensions Board, managing over $25 billion in assets. Prior to Pierce Health Solutions, Salimpour co-founded multiple companies including CareNex Health Services, Plymouth Health, and Boss Surgical Group. Salimpour has co-authored major grant awards from the National Institutes of Health and dozens of peer-reviewed scientific publications. He serves on multiple boards of directors and has been published in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, GQ, and more. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biology at UC Riverside, attended the Boston University School of Medicine, and completed his residency training at USC Medical Center.

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Alumni Service Award
This award honors superior service in the public sector or a sustained pattern of volunteer service in the community, arts, or for the benefit of UCR that has positively represented the university and fellow citizens.


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Outstanding Young Alumnus Award
This award recognizes alumni aged 40 or younger with a significant record of career and/or civic achievement and promise in their profession.


Fatima Farheen Mirza ’13

Mirza grew up in the Bay Area and started writing her first book in novelist Charmaine Craig’s creative writing class at UC Riverside. Following her passion to pursue writing full time, she changed majors from pre-med to creative writing and went on to become a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her debut novel “A Place for Us” was the first book to be released by Sarah Jessica Parker’s new publishing imprint, SJP for Hogarth. An instant New York Times Bestseller, it was named a best book of 2018 by The Washington Post, NPR, and People magazine. Mirza taught creative writing and fiction courses at the University of Iowa and the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio. She was awarded the Michener-Copernicus Fellowship in 2016 and The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research/Creative Achievement from UC Riverside. She has also received residencies from the Marble House Project and MacDowell artists’ colony.