The Foundation Medal

Award Criteria

The UC Santa Cruz Foundation Medal recognizes individuals of exceptionally distinguished achievement whose work and contribution to society exemplify the vision and ideals of the University of California at Santa Cruz.

To read more about the UC Santa Cruz Foundation Medal's Description and Provenance from artist Sean M. Monaghan (UCSC Alumnus, Kresge '83), click here.

Founders Day 2012


  • September 22, 2020 Margaret Atwood, award-winning poet, novelist and essayist
  • February 2, 2019 Janet Yellendistinguished fellow of Brookings Institution and former chair of the Federal Reserve
  • September 18, 2017 - Sylvia Earle, legendary oceanographer, explorer, and author
  • September 26, 2015 - Alice Waters, chef, restaurateur, activist, and author (awarded at the 2015 Founders Day Dinner)
  • October 25, 2014 - Toni Morrison, Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize-winning author (awarded at the 2014 Founders Day Dinner)
  • October 18, 2013 - Frank Gehry, world-famous architect
  • October 12, 2012Martin Rees, United Kingdom's Astronomer Royal and Intel Corporation co-founder Gordon Moore and wife Betty Moore, founders of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (awarded at the 2012 Founders Day Dinner)
  • October 21, 2011  - Arthur D. Levinson, Chairman and Former CEO of Genentech and  J. Michael Bishop, University Professor and Chancellor Emeritus at UCSF (awarded at the 2011 Founders Day Dinner)

  • October 22, 2010 - Jean-Michel Cousteau, Founder and President, Ocean Futures Society (awarded at the 2010 Founders Day Dinner)

  • October 23, 2009 -  Dr. Edwin Catmull, president of Pixar-Disney Animation Studios (awarded at the 2009 Founders Day Dinner)

  • October 24, 2008  -  The medal was not awarded in 2008.

  • October 18, 2007 -  Robert Sinsheimer, Chancellor Emeritus, UCSC (awarded at the 2007 Founders Day)

  • October 6, 2006  -  Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize Laureate (awarded at a dinner following the 2006 Maitra Lecture which Amartya Sen delivered.)

  • November 3, 2005 -  Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (awarded during Denton Investiture & Diversity Symposium Dinner).

  • November 6, 2004  -  M.R.C. Greenwood, UC Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs (awarded at the 2004 Scholarship Benefit Dinner)

  • October 11, 2003  -  Richard C. Atkinson, UC President Emeritus (awarded at the 2003 Scholarship Benefit Dinner)