An infectious disease specialist, a pioneering African American scientist and an advocate for LGBTQIA+ youth are among this year’s recipients of the Alumni Seal Award, which will be presented by the Occidental College Alumni Board of Governors during Virtual Reunion Weekend, June 11–13.
Since 1965, the Alumni Association has paid tribute to inspiring alumni who represent the values and spirit at the core of the Oxy experience. Seal Awards are given annually in the categories of service to the community, professional achievement, service to the College, young alumni achievement, emeriti faculty and alumna/us of the year.
This year’s awardees are:
Kimberly Shriner ’80
Alumna of the Year
An infectious disease and tropical medicine specialist at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, Dr. Kimberly Shriner has been a leader in the regional response to COVID-19, recognizing even before the first cases in the area surfaced that the virus was going to pose a serious challenge. (The Pasadena Star-News has called her “the San Gabriel Valley’s Dr. Fauci.”) In addition to her work with the staff at Huntington, she has served as Oxy’s pandemic consultant, working with trustees, senior staff and numerous committees to ensure that Oxy is prepared and applies best practices to protect the health and safety of the Oxy community. In Fall 2020, the former marine science major co-taught a course on the pandemic with Biology Professor Roberta Pollock, providing ongoing mentorships and preceptorships for students at Huntington Hospital. Shriner is the founder and director of Huntington’s Phil Simon Clinic, which provides complete HIV and infectious disease care for the underserved in the San Gabriel Valley, and in 2001 she founded The Phil Simon Clinic Tanzania Project, a nonprofit global outreach program in East Africa. In 2005, Oxy honored her with an Alumni Seal Award for Service to the Community in recognition of her work with the Phil Simon Clinics.
Namandjé Bumpus ’03
Namandjé Bumpus is the E.K. Marshall and Thomas H. Maren Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She is the first African American woman to lead a department at the medical school, and the only Black woman currently chairing a pharmacology department in the nation. The Oxy biology major went on to complete a PhD in pharmacology at the University of Michigan in 2007 and a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular and experimental medicine at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla. She joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins in 2010. Her laboratory focuses on defining mechanisms that underlie inter-individual differences in drug outcomes. She is internationally recognized for her contributions to the development of drugs to treat and prevent HIV infection. Her many honors include the Leon I. Goldberg Award from the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, the James Gillette Award from the International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics, the John J. Abel Award in Pharmacology from the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers awarded by the Obama administration.
Caroline (Schless) Andres ’84 P’24
Service to the Community
Caroline Andres is a middle school English language arts teacher and writer/performer who is also a passionate advocate promoting affirming policies and procedures for gender expansive children in Illinois public schools. As a parent in the third-largest high school district of Illinois, Andres led an advocacy group that addressed the lack of supports for queer students, with specific emphasis on students who identify as transgender, non-binary, or are questioning their gender. This advocacy also included medically accurate, evidence-based training for teachers and staff, hosting public forums and panel discussions and a myriad of meetings and letter writing. Though opposition was fierce, the campaign helped spur Gov. Jay Pritzker to create an executive task force addressing gender inequities that eventually produced the Gender Inclusive Schools Framework adopted by Illinois State Board of Education in 2020. Currently, Andres is working to create a local drop-in center for LGBTQIA+ youth and allies to offer educational programs addressing LGBTQIA+ issues for youth and adults, mental health services for youth and be a place to gather and have fun. She and her husband, Phil Andres ’84, are the proud parents of Wren Andres ’24, who served as a student liaison and rallied other student voices to help bring about lasting change for LGBTQ+ students in Illinois.
Jose "Pete" Garcia ’66
Service to the Community
Pete Garcia retired from state government in January 2015 after serving for four years as New Mexico’s secretary of higher education. Responsible for the oversight of the state’s 24 institutions of higher learning, Garcia created the first performance-based funding formula, rewarding institutions for performance (graduation rates, closing the achievement gap, STEM degrees) rather than simply meeting the costs of operation. He initiated the first sustained agenda between the department and the four New Mexico tribal colleges, advocating for stronger ties between the state and the tribes. He also served as chair of the $2.3 billion Education Trust Fund, strengthening the college savings plan for New Mexicans. Prior to this appointment, he served on the faculty of New Mexico State University for more than three decades, specializing in Latin American politics. He directed the Title VI Latin American program for 13 years at NMSU, as part of a nationally ranked UNM-NMSU consortium, and co-founded the Paso del Norte Water Task Force, an international organization convening water managers and experts in the binational region, chairing it in 2010. He has written a blog since 2008, La Politica New Mexico, dealing with New Mexico politics and the U.S.-Mexico border.
Angel Cervantes ’94
Service to the College
A teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District and a professor at Glendale Community College, Angel Cervantes has served Occidental and the Latino community for over two decades. As a student, he served as a member of the ASOC and MEChA/ALAS, helped to bring César Chavez to Oxy in 1991, co-founded the Latino/a Scholarship Fund in 1994, and served as Oxy’s first Latino ASOC president. Cervantes was a national student leader in the 1990s student movement for immigrant rights, fasted for 16 days as part of the affirmative action movement in 1995, and was appointed a city commissioner for the City of Los Angeles and the City of San Fernando. As an Oxy alumnus, he has served as a member of the Board of Governors, Alumni Council, Alumni Reunion Committee, ViSTA, ALOED, Leadership Giving, and of course, OCLAA. Angel has served three terms as the president of OCLAA, helping to create the History Project in the Imagenes Latinas Room. He currently serves as the executive director of the Cervantes Fund for Social Justice and as a radio personality on KROJ 101.5 FM Radio Ollin—the radio station he helped to found in the San Fernando Valley.
Cheryl Prigodich ’06
Erica J. Murray ’01 Young Alumna Award
A psychology major and women’s studies minor at Oxy, she was a mentee of Alumna of the Year Dr. Kim Shriner, working part time at Shriner’s infectious disease practice and volunteering for The Phil Simon Clinic. Cheryl also played on Oxy’s women’s soccer team and was an all-conference jumper and thrower for women’s track & field. Upon graduation, Cheryl worked as an emergency medical technician for two years, then earned her MPH degree from Dartmouth Medical School, and was awarded a Presidential Management Fellowship at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Cheryl has spent the last 12 years working at the CDC in different capacities, including deputy management officer for its Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services. Currently, Cheryl serves as deputy director of operations for the Office of Safety, Security, and Asset Management, where, since the start of the pandemic she has been leading efforts to operationalize CDC recommendations internally. During the fall semester, Cheryl spoke to Biology Professor Roberta Pollock’s class about her experiences at the CDC and how the CDC responds to public health emergencies. She is also collaborating with the HCC and A&PE on connecting students with a wide variety of internships available at the CDC.
Eric Newhall ’67 P’99 P’06
In his 44 years on the Occidental faculty, English Professor Eric Newhall has filled a multitude of roles: Faculty Council president, director of academic advising, Core director, associate dean, dean of students. As one of the founders and long-time director of Oxy’s Multicultural Summer Institute, his vision of MSI as a model of diversity in higher education was ahead of its time. Newhall demonstrated the same commitment as Core director, when he pushed to elaborate the CSP program into living and learning communities that integrate the curriculum with students’ lives beyond the classroom. For this initiative, he won the 2004 National Student Advocate Award. Newhall is no stranger to awards, as a three-time winner of the College’s Loftsgordon Award and one of the first recipients of the White Teaching Prize. By nominating him for the Janosik-Sterling Award in 2018, his colleagues sought to recognize him for "how directly, profoundly, and persistently he has served the students and faculty of Occidental." One of his colleagues summed it up this way: "We simply would not be the College we are today without Eric Newhall."