Best and Brightest


Alcalá Park welcomes its best, brightest and most renowned alumni home for Alumni Honors, which will be held on April 30. Each year, this on-campus event commemorates the exceptional achievements of illustrious alumni, recognized for their volunteer service, contributions to humanitarian causes, athletic excellence, outstanding career achievement or promise as emerging leaders in their fields.

Sam K. Attisha ’89 (BBA) is the recipient of the Mother Rosalie Clifton Hill Award, which is given to alumni who embody the mission and values of the university. Attisha served as vice president of Associated Students in 1988 and president of Associated Students in 1989. He also spearheaded the Senior Class Legacy with a small group of fellow classmates. He was a member of the Alumni Association Board from 1989 to 1995, various committees and served as Class of 1989 Reunion Chair.

Leigh Ann (Robinson) Brown ’08 (BA) is the 2016 inductee in the Chet and Marguerite Pagni Family Athletic Hall of Fame. She played a key role in leading the women’s soccer team to two NCAA Tournament appearances (2004, 2007) and to a total of 45 victories. Following her graduation, Brown was drafted by FC Gold Pride of the Women’s Professional Soccer league, and later won two championships as a member of the U.S. senior team.

The Honorable Dave Camp ’78 (JD) will receive the Hughes Career Achievement Award from the School of Law. He serves as the senior policy advisor within PricewaterhouseCooper’s Washington National Tax Services practice. A member of Congress for more than 24 years, Camp is recognized for his leadership in advancing federal tax reform.

Janice Deaton, JD, ’10 (MA) will be the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies’ recipient of the Hughes Career Achievement Award. She is a federal criminal defense attorney who is often court-appointed to represent low-income clients. Deaton is the training course director with Justice in Mexico’s OASIS initiative at USD, which supports Mexico’s constitutional reform to improve human rights for those accused of and victimized by crime in Mexico.

Vincent J. Kasperick ’84 (BBA) will receive the Hughes Career Achievement Award on behalf of the School of Business. He is the founder, president and CEO of AimLoan, a private mortgage company based in San Diego. Kasperick served on the board of Father Joe’s Villages for many years and was named interim CEO when Father Joe entered retirement. He supports several nonprofits throughout the region, including USD and its Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate.

Maj. Gen. William M. Matz Jr. (Ret.) ’73 (MA) is the College of Arts and Sciences’ recipient of the Author E. Hughes Career Achievement Award. Matz is a U.S. Army combat veteran with a distinguished military career that spanned four decades. He has been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star and Purple Heart. In 2005, President Bush appointed him to the Veterans’ Disability Benefits Commission. He has also served as president of the National Association for Uniformed Services, which advocates for service members, veterans and their families.

Diana Combs Neebe ’08 (MEd) is receiving the Alumni Emerging Leader Award from the School of Leadership and Education Sciences. A high school English teacher and instructional technology peer coach at Sacred Heart Preparatory, Neebe is the coauthor of Power Up: Making the Shift to 1:1 Teaching and Learning. She was named the 2014 Outstanding Young Educator for the International Society for Technology in Education and is a Google for Education Certified Innovator.

Andrew Putnam ’03 (BS/BA) was chosen as an Alumni Emerging Leader by the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering. Now a principal research hardware design engineer at Microsoft Research’s New Experiences and Technologies (NExT) team, his research focuses on expanding the boundaries of what’s possible in computing by improving the energy efficiency and performance of the data centers that power cloud computing.

Miguel D. Vasquez ’94 (BBA) will receive the Bishop Charles Francis Buddy Award, given to alumni exhibiting extraordinary contributions and commitment to humanitarian causes. He is CEO and chair of the California Foundation Fund, a nonprofit organization focused on breaking the cycle of poverty for the state’s low-income population.

Pablo Velez ’06 (PhD) will be given the Hughes Career Achievement Award by the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science. He is the senior vice president and CEO of Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, a 343-bed hospital located in San Diego’s South Bay. He says becoming a nurse is one of the greatest things he’s ever done.

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