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Alumni association honors recipients at 61st annual Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner

Feb 3, 2020

The Pacific Alumni Association honored four alumni and a former provost for their professional accomplishments, public service and longstanding commitment to University of the Pacific at the 61st annual Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner on January 25, 2020.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards recognize individuals whose outstanding achievements and services to humanity have brought credit to Pacific, according to the association. This year's honorees are John C. Beyer ’62, Dean Butler ’79, Arthur R. Coleman Jr. ’81, Scott Liggett ’71 and former provost Phil Gilbertson.

Distinguished University Service: this award honors alumni whose contributions to, and efforts on behalf of, Pacific are worthy of special recognition.

John Beyer

John C. Beyer ’62, College of the Pacific

Beyer spent nearly 45 years as a consultant, economist and expert witness at the international economics consulting firm Nathan Associates, where he also served as CEO for 30 years. After graduating Pacific, Beyer spent years investing in its students and professors. He created the Beyer Chair in Economics, the Nathan Scholars Experiential Learning Endowment and the John Beyer Endowed Fellowship in 2015. Sadly, Beyer died Jan. 16, so Samantha Johnston ’20, a Nathan Scholar and one of Beyer’s mentees, accepted the award in his honor. Beyer was a visionary, said Sharmila King, chair of the economics department and coordinator of the Nathan Scholars program. He wanted Pacific students to think beyond the confines of economic policy, applied not only within the U.S., but also globally.

President's Award: this award recognizes alumni, nominated by the association president, who have given special service to the Pacific Alumni Association.

Dean Butler

Dean Butler ’79, College of the Pacific

Butler’s professional experience includes more than three decades working as an actor on stage and screen, and as a producer for his company, Peak Moore Enterprises, Inc., through which he has produced more than five years of Distinguished Alumni Awards videos for Pacific. Butler is known for his five-year role as Almanzo Wilder in the Little House on the Prairie and the feature film “Desert Hearts.” Butler is currently a producer for NBC's Golf Channel, where he has produced over 70 episodes of the award-winning interview series "Feherty.”

Distinguished Public Service: this award honors alumni who have made exceptional professional contributions to society through civic or other public service while employed by a non-profit organization or governmental agency.

Arthur Coleman

Arthur R. Coleman Jr. ’81, Music

Coleman was named the "California Teacher of the Year" in 2004 after teaching at Hamilton Middle School for 23 years. Under his guidance, the middle school’s music department won many awards on the local and state level. In 2003, he was chosen as the San Joaquin Teacher of the Year and was selected by Phi Delta Kappa as the Teacher of the Year in 2004. The Stockton Teachers Association named him Outstanding Teacher of the Year In 1995.

Distinguished Professional Service: this award honors alumni who have achieved notable success in their professional field. 

Scott Liggett

Scott Liggett ’71, Music

Liggett, an Emmy Award-winning music and audio producer, has spent more than 50 years as a musician, composer, arranger and executive. In 1997, he founded Media City Sound in Studio City. He also founded LNL Partners, a cinematic graphic novel company, and Shatner Universe LLC, an entertainment content development and production company. Liggett has performed with notable artists including Frank Sinatra, David Bowie, Sarah Vaughn, Bob Marley, Dean Martin, Van Morrison and many others. And as a music producer, he has worked with the Griffith Observatory, American Greetings, Aaron Sorkin, Howard Stern, Robert Goulet, Chelsea Handler’s shows on Netflix, the NFL’s Super Bowl, and has produced hundreds of TV commercials and promos.

Honorary Alumni Award: This award recognizes individuals who through their leadership, personal involvement and support have contributed significantly to the advancement of Pacific.

Phil Gilbertson

Phil Gilbertson

Gilbertson served at Pacific’s first provost starting in 1996. He oversaw educational and research programs, library services, information technology, enrollment, financial aid and continuing education until his retirement in 2010. Prior to Pacific, he was the dean at Valparaiso University in Indiana. While at Pacific, Gilbertson led collaborative partnerships in China, East Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. He is credited for Pacific's rise on the U.S. News & World Report's list of top 100 national schools, increases in enrollment and student selectivity, growth in the number of academic programs, an expansion in the number of graduate and professional programs, and a substantial increase in the quality of the professors who have been attracted to work at Pacific. In 2016, Gilbertson published a comprehensive history of the university titled "Pacific on the Rise: The Story of California's First University.”

2020 Distinguished Alumni Awards

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