Sakarindr Bhumiratana

photo by Cedric Arnold

1971 Sakarindr Bhumiratana

Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand; now Bangkok, Thailand

B.S. in chemistry and B.S. in chemical engineering
Ph.D. in chemical engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1975

On weekends, Sakarindr leaves his college campus of 18,000 in the bustling city of Bangkok for remote farming villages. For 35 years, the president of King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi in Thailand has worked to promote rural development and raise the income of his country’s poor.  A laborer in Yolo County tomato fields during his undergraduate days, he helped bring tomato and other food processing plants to Thailand’s rural areas … he established work industry practice schools in food and chemical engineering to help KMUTT students graduate with work experience: “We are very keen on linkages among the university and industry and service. These are the things we feel we contribute to society.” … led the country’s agencies for genetic engineering and biotechnology and for science and technology development …has published more than 200 papers on science and technology policy, agro-industry, biotechnology … came to UC Davis by way of a Merced high school … enjoyed working with students at the International House and playing varsity soccer … married … two of his three children, Bhume ’03, Ph.D. ’09, and Savisa ’01, graduated from UC Davis.

1979 Lauren Helen LaRue

Hometown: Los Altos, Calif.; now Davis and Potter Valley, Calif.

B.S. in zoology
D.V.M., UC Davis, 1986

When Lauren teaches surgery to veterinary students at UC Davis, she brings a Noah’s Ark of experience to the lab. Before returning to campus three years ago as a senior veterinarian, she was in private practice for more than 20 years: “Most of the places I’ve practiced have been quite rural, so I was the chief cook and bottle washer.” … has worked with companion animals and pocket pets, livestock, wildlife, raptors and exotic animals … she’s treated everything from bad reactions to strange toxicities to injuries from mountain lion attacks: “There were times late at night that I knew I was the difference between life and death for an animal,  and that makes a difference in the quality of life for that owner, too. It’s rewarding.” … now runs a lab where senior students do surgery on shelter animals and pets of owners with low incomes … fills in for vets at private clinics:  “It’s important to keep your hands in things so you’re current.” … raises Morgan horses and Boston terriers on a ranch in Mendocino County … writes and performs cowboy poetry.

1978 Robert Heater Davis

Hometown: Walnut Creek, Calif.; now Boulder, Colo.

B.S. in chemical engineering
M.S. in chemical engineering, Stanford University, 1979
Ph.D. in chemical engineering, Stanford University, 1982

As a freshman eyeing math and chemistry, Robert didn’t know what chemical engineering was or what its study would hold for him. But after a teaching assistant suggested the major, he signed up. Today he is dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado Boulder and holds his second endowed chair … did undergraduate research with UC Davis faculty members including Stephen Whitaker: “That got me very interested in research and graduate school and being a faculty member.” … at CU Boulder for almost 30 years and dean for 10 … has published more than 200 articles on biotechnology, complex fluids and membrane separations … mentored more than 50 doctoral or master’s students and 150-plus undergraduates in his lab … served on the advisory board for Chemical Engineering and Materials Science in UC Davis’ College of Engineering from 2000 to 2011 … “I’m highly appreciative of the four years I had there. Davis always has a fond place in my heart.” ... continues volunteer work with Christian youth groups that began in Davis: “I’m still in touch with some of the kids from that era.” … married with two children.

1977 Sidney M. Gutmann

Hometown: Stockton, Calif.; now Carmichael, Calif.

B.S. in chemistry
M.D., UC Irvine, 1981

Sidney is thrilled to be an eye physician and surgeon: “I’m doing my small part, one patient at a time, to make the world a better place. I have no estimate of the number of eyes I’ve looked into, but it’s probably an even number.” … chose his specialty so he could help make his patients’ lives better, treat both children and adults, and provide both surgical and non-surgical care … has worked with The Permanente Medical Group since 1985 and practices out of the Kaiser Sacramento Medical Center … as medical director for outpatient surgery, he strives to optimize the surgical care experience for every patient at three Sacramento area ambulatory surgery centers … from his university days, he remembers what a great place Davis was to learn and grow during the turmoil of the Watergate scandal and the Vietnam War: “We were dealing with redefining the relationship of individuals with the government.” … married with three children, including Aggies Rachel ’12 and Erica ’15.

1976 Michael Gerard Necas

Hometown: San Jose, Calif.; now Titusville, Pa.

B.S. in zoology
M.D., UC San Diego, 1980

As an ophthalmologist in rural Pennsylvania, Michael never quite knew what he’d see. But over 20 years, it ranged from cataracts and glaucoma to child’s play gone awry — a metal retainer pulled from the mouth and snapped back too high on the face, the proximity of a .22-caliber rifle shell to a cigarette lighter, or goldenrod plant stalks used as arrows: “In a small town, you pretty much handle everything that comes through the door.” … his career path was evident even in his youth: “I’ve always been fishing things out of eyes or patching things together.” … said he didn’t initially understand the significance of the letter announcing he was a finalist for the University Medal: “One of my roommates grabbed me by the ears and shook me.” … later found the award helped opened some doors … deeply touched by the opportunity to perform eye surgery in Haiti on a three-month service trip during his residency: “It resets your lifestyle.” … now retired and remodeling a cabin … smiles when he remembers the burgers at The Graduate … married with two children.

1975 Lauri J. Adams

Hometown: Rio Vista, Calif.; now Anchorage, Alaska

B.S. in plant pathology
J.D., Harvard University, 1978

For Lauri, practicing law has ranged from protecting age-old trees to providing legal guidance for a modern telecommunications corporation. Currently an environmental attorney for the state of Alaska, she was senior counsel for Alaska Communications for the past five years. … previously, she spent a combined 20 years as managing attorney and director of international programs for EarthJustice, a non-profit public interest law firm, and as the regional solicitor for the U.S. Department of Interior in Alaska. … handled many cases to preserve the Tongass National Forest — the country’s largest national forest — and protect fish and wildlife resources … as an undergraduate, began thinking about how to combine her passion for things green with her interest in public policy … designed her own degree  … worked in the university’s laboratories and greenhouses and interned with the California Legislature … thanks Professor Emeritus David Gilchrest of plant pathology: "He took time and energy to help me with my career.” … trekked to the northern-most state to clerk for a justice of the Alaska Supreme Court and then made Alaska her home.

1974 Richard Neil Astorino

Hometown: Stockton, Calif.; now Carmichael, Calif.

B.S. in animal science
M.D., UCLA, 1978

Richard and his UC Davis classmates stepped up to the lab table where a sheep’s head and organs were laid out, and the experience wasn’t promising: “I looked at that sheep’s eyes and started to crumble.” Nevertheless, Astorino he has helped diagnose disease or bring sighs of relief to tens of thousands of patients over a 29-year career as a pathologist. … has performed hundreds of autopsies: “It’s a visceral, emotional process, but you just get used to it.” … now analyzes biopsy, surgical and other specimens at Kaiser Permanente’s Roseville Medical Center: “It’s kind of the lynch pin for directing treatment, especially for cancer patients.” … he took to heart a lesson from his late grandfather who, expelled from school at age 12, did physically demanding work for a rail company for 53 years: “He said, ‘When you go to school, stay in school as long as you can because you’re going to work until you’re an old man like me.’ It gave me a great deal of motivation.” ... “The most important thing is how hard you work and how focused you are on your goal. Few of us are brilliant.” … found himself on the Quad near Jerry Brown during his first campaign for governor ... married with two children — son Michael is transferring from American River College to UC Davis in fall 2012.

1973 Anthony Novak Perovich Jr.

Hometown: Lodi, Calif.; now Holland, Mich. 

B.A. in philosophy
M.A. in philosophy, University of Chicago, 1974
Ph.D. in philosophy, University of Chicago, 1978

NIck was in the inaugural class of the interdisciplinary studies program at UC Davis when he heard philosophy professor Marjorie Grene — an internationally known scholar — explain Descarte’s Meditations: “I had developed a bit of an interest in philosophy before coming to Davis but after encountering her, I was hooked.” He became a philosophy professor himself and has taught for more than 30 years at Hope College in Holland, Mich. … has published on German idealism, especially Immanuel Kant and Johann Gottlieb Fichte, and mysticism … co-edited a book of essays presented to Grene on her 75th birthday … has done much interdisciplinary teaching and helped develop courses at Hope integrating philosophy, history and literature: “I have always felt that I was continuing a personal development that began with my involvement with the Integrated Studies Honors Program at UC Davis.” … thanks two philosophy professors: Bill Bossart for making him “fall in love” with Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, and Michael Wedin for showing him how to extract an argument from a philosophical text … associates his undergraduate days with “a wildly happy period” in his life: “I can remember reading John Locke while sitting on the bank of Putah Creek and thinking life didn’t get better than this.” … married. 

1972 Michael James Yancey

Hometown: Davis, Calif.; now Puyallup, Wash.

B.S. in engineering

Mike spent his summers in UC Davis machine shops and agricultural fields to help build prototypal equipment for grading tomatoes and harvesting cantaloupes. Since then, he’s built a 40-year career designing and creating machines and processes for various industries: “I’ve always been very much into hands-on things.”… has been with Weyerhaeuser Co., one of the world’s largest forest products companies, for 35 years and is now the senior engineering adviser in its research and development technology group … holds 16 patents for things that range from equipment for harvesting seedlings out of a nursery to using the speed of sound to test lumber quality: “I am what I do. I think in terms of solving problems.” … attended the California Maritime Academy for one year before coming to UC Davis … married Diane Bartsch, ’74, and has two children and two grandchildren.

1970 Fredrick Clinton Doolittle

Hometown: Fair Oaks, Calif.: now Brooklyn, N.Y.

B.A. in economics
M.A. in economics, UC Berkeley, 1973
J.D., UC Berkeley, 1976
Ph.D. in economics, UC Berkeley, 1977

Fred has devoted his life to research and education. He’s been with the social policy research organization MDRC since 1986. Today as its vice president and director of the K-12 education policy area, he oversees studies – some national in scope – of strategies to improve teaching and learning … he’s directing a demonstration project to help low-income students with strong academic records in Chicago and New York City get into more selective colleges … also evaluating elementary reading programs, piloting enhanced professional development for teachers of middle school math and assessing effectiveness of summer programs for early grades … considers his ability to be involved in such work “great good fortune” … has taught at Yale and Harvard universities, served as a public affairs analyst at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and as an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York … neither parents graduated from college, so UC Davis was “a great new adventure” … worked as grader and took an independent reading class with economic historian Alan Olmstead: “He got me deep inside economic history and literature. He gave me a feel for what real scholarship was like.”… married and enjoying his ongoing education as the father of three.