The UCI Alumni Association’s Lauds & Laurels ceremony honors the university’s best for their service to the community, professional excellence and campus involvement. This year, three UC Irvine School of Humanities faculty and alumni will be honored. Michael P. Clark, vice provost for academic planning and professor of English, will receive the highest honor, the Extraordinarius award; Julia Lupton, professor of English and director of Illuminations, will receive the Outstanding Faculty Achievement Award; and Keith Rosten, alumnus, will receive a Distinguished Alumni award.
As an alumnus, professor, department chair, dean, vice provost and provost, Michael P. Clark strove to build the reputation of UCI as a distinguished national research university. He began his professional career at UCI as a member of the English department, where he earned his doctorate. Clark is a highly respected scholar of early American literature, literary theory, contemporary U.S. fiction and popular culture, as well as an ongoing champion of scholarship and leadership. He has played key roles in creating new academic programs in nursing, pharmaceutical sciences, education and statistics. Known for his high level of integrity, calm demeanor and thoughtful consensus building, Clark is especially deserving of the Extraordinarius award, which honors an individual who exemplifies the spirit and purpose of UCI.
"Mike Clark not only fully merits the Extraordinarius Award for his lifetime of truly extraordinary achievements and commitment to UCI but also and even more so for his incarnation of the UCI ethic of academic excellence, creativity and can-do inventiveness,” said Georges Van Den Abbeele, dean of the UCI School of Humanities. “Mike is not only an amazing early alum of UCI but then joined its faculty to become one of our most successful and respected scholars and in turn one of our most capable and effective campus administrators."
Julia Lupton, who will receive this year’s Outstanding Faculty Achievement award, holds several concurrent titles at UCI, including professor of English, associate dean for humanities research, director of Humanities Commons, director of the UCI Shakespeare Center and faculty director of Illuminations: The Chancellor’s Arts & Culture Initiative.
Lupton has served UCI in a variety of faculty and administrative positions, including chair of the Department of English and director of the School of Humanities’ Program in Jewish Studies. She is a renowned Renaissance scholar and one of the world’s leading Shakespeare experts, garnering the highest national honor for humanities scholars when she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for 2013-14. She is extensively published, and her four books on Shakespeare and Renaissance literature are significant influences on contemporary scholarship about the Elizabethan world.
In addition to her scholarly and administrative work at UCI, Lupton has contributed significantly to enriching the community through the public humanities. In 1997, she founded Humanities Out There, which promotes service learning and public engagement for humanities students at UCI through partnerships with arts and culture institutions in underserved communities in Orange County. In 2015, H.O.T. was placed under the purview of Humanities Commons, the school’s faculty and graduate-student research hub, which Lupton directs. In fall 2015, 12 undergraduate students participated in the program with internship placements at Bowers Museum’s Kidseum. Under the leadership of Lucena Lau Valle, H.O.T. Public Fellow and Lupton, the students worked at Kidseum’s afterschool program, which serves 40-80 k-6th-grade students per day.
“Julia couldn’t be more deserving of the Outstanding Faculty Achievement Award,” said Van Den Abbeele. “There isn’t a part of this university that hasn’t benefitted from Julia’s leadership, creativity and hands-on approach. When she isn’t leading several cross-school initiatives and programs, she is mentoring students and honing her graphic design craft. She is truly a Renaissance woman in both her scholarly work and vast talents.”
Keith Rosten, who will receive the Distinguished Alumni award, completed joint degrees in Russian and social ecology from UCI in 1978. He went on to receive his Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois College of Law and his M.B.A from The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. In addition to being an attorney specializing in corporate law and the founder and president of Solar Town, a government contractor for solar energy products, Rosten has specialized in Soviet and post-Soviet studies for more than twenty years. He is the author of Once in Kazakhstan: The Snow Leopard Emerges and his articles have been published in the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle. The Distinguished Alumni award recognizes UCI alumni whose personal or professional achievements bring honor and distinction to a particular school or discipline, UCI and/or the UCI Alumni Association. Past recipients from the School of Humanities have included Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, Michael Chabon, and fashion designer, Taryn Rose.
"A successful author, lawyer, business leader, entrepreneur and international development expert, Keith Rosten superbly exemplifies the fundamental values and professional creativity of a humanities education at UCI, where we educate students for a life-time of multiple possibilities rather than training for a single career,” said Van Den Abbeele. “In and of itself, Rosten's broad and longstanding expertise on the post-Soviet republics -- acquired through extensive time spent there -- makes him a national treasure and an important resource for critical knowledge about a vast part of the world we ignore at our own risk."
This year’s Lauds & Laurels celebration occurs on May 12 at [AV] Irvine, a state-of-the-art venue in the Irvine Spectrum area. The “VANTity Fair” theme is a nod to Vanity Fair’s annual post-Oscar soiree. Actor Robert “Bob” Gunton ’68, a prior Distinguished Alumnus honoree, will host the event.
Elizabeth Beach, marketing and communications manager for the UCI Alumni Association, contributed to this report.