Since 1960, the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association has presented awards of achievement and recognition to outstanding alumni and friends of UC Santa Barbara. The awards program has evolved over the years to honor success, service and philanthropy.
The UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association established its awards program with an Alumnus of the Year Award in 1960. An Honorary Alumnus Award was added in 1970 when it was presented to Theodore Harder, the UC Santa Barbara football coach. A year later, the Distinguished Alumni Award was inaugurated to recognized alumni achievements in specific areas, such as public service, education, and business.
The 1980s saw the expansion of the program with the addition of two award categories. In 1980, a year after the death of Santa Barbara conservationist Pearl Chase, the Alumni Association presented an award in her name. In 1981, the Alumni Association began giving the Teaching Award to honor faculty. The Alumni of the Year Award evolved into the Lifetime Achievement Award during this decade.
In 1991, the Alumni Service Award, named after influential Association board member Chuck Graver, was created to honor those who demonstrated exceptional leadership and service to the University through involvement with the Alumni Association.
In the last 50 years, the Alumni Association has honored more than 200 individuals. As the excellence of UC Santa Barbara and its alumni has grown, these awards have highlighted the men and women who have brought distinction to their alma mater.