Gala attracts $1.26 million in community support

More than 530 people joined a celebration of community and philanthropic leaders, faculty and students who are shaping the future of healthcare at the 2013 UC Irvine Health School of Medicine Gala, “Creativity & Magic: Discovering Tomorrow’s Medicine Today."

The gala, held April 6 in a magnificently decorated tent on the UC Irvine campus, raised $1.26 million to benefit innovative education programs and groundbreaking medical research at the UC Irvine Health School of Medicine.

“The synergy between our university and a generous, compassionate Orange County community is transforming the future of health care,” said School of Medicine Dean Ralph V. Clayman, MD. “The 2013 gala celebrated two examples of this transformative relationship—recognizing visionary leaders who have been integral to creation of the Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders of Southern California and debuting the future home of the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, which has been funded entirely through philanthropic support.”

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Paying Tribute to Bill and Nancy Thompson

Clayman, the evening’s host, presented the Dean’s Leadership Award to retired PIMCO chief executive officer Bill Thompson and his wife, Nancy, for their financial support of pioneering research and treatment for autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders. More than $400,000 from gala's proceeds were directed to autism treatment and research.

In tribute to the Thompsons, Derek Paravicini, an autistic, blind piano virtuoso performed the “Tiger Rag” and “Flight of the Bumble Bee.” Paravicini’s awe-inspiring performance celebrated triumph over the challenges that the Thompsons and the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute seek to eliminate.

Orange County’s first academic eye center held center stage as James (Jim) Mazzo, retired president of Abbott Medical Optics and chair of the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute steering committee, announced it was time to “shine the light” on the impressive new building. Gala guests watched through the 23,000-square-foot tent's clear siding as the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, which is set to open in September, all but came alive with dramatic exterior lighting.

The gala was co-chaired by Mazzo and his wife, Kelly, alongside Tom and Elizabeth Tierney. Both Jim Mazzo and Tom Tierney are UC Irvine Foundation trustees; Elizabeth Tierney is a former trustee. All three are past recipients of the university’s highest honor, the UCI Medal.

The Tierneys received the CEO Leadership Award at the 2012 gala, hosted by UC Irvine Medical Center CEO Terry Belmont, for their contributions as co-chairs of the successful capital campaign to complete UC Irvine Douglas Hospital.

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Recognizing Faculty Excellence

Also honored at the 2013 gala was Dr. Laura Mosqueda, a professor of clinical family medicine, chair of the Department of Family Medicine and the Ronald W. Reagan Endowed Chair in Geriatrics.

Mosqueda received the Thomas C. Cesario Distinguished Clinician Award for her nationally recognized work in geriatrics and elder care, and for serving as a role model to students as a compassionate and skilled physician.

In addition to directing the School of Medicine's Program in Geriatrics. Mosqueda also is a founder and co-director of the Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse & Neglect.

Dr. Shahram Lotfipour, a UC Irvine Health professor and vice chair of emergency medicine, was presented the Stanley van den Noort and Elliot Frohman Distinguished Mentor Award for his commitment to mentoring the next generation of emergency medicine physicians.

The award also honors Lotfipour's leadership in clinical teaching as associate dean for clinical science education.

Guests closed the evening by dancing to the music of JT & California Dreamin’ — the band led by UC Irvine philanthropist and drummer, John Tu, who is co-founder of Kingston Technology.

The event was underwritten by Abbott Medical Optics Inc., Arbonne International, Kelly and Jim Mazzo, and Mary and John Tu. Dr. Laura Mosqueda Dr. Shahram Lotfipour Dr. Laura Mosqueda