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UC San Diego Chancellor’s Medal and Lifetime Legacy Award Recipients Announced

Honorees’ contributions have advanced health care and medicine, benefiting countless people around the globe

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The University of California San Diego today announced the recipients of the 2023 Chancellor’s Medal and the Lifetime Legacy Award, who have all helped advance health care and medicine in unique, impactful ways. The Chancellor’s Medalists are Amy and Bill Koman, Gene Lay, and Nancy and Geoffrey Stack. The recipient of UC San Diego’s Lifetime Legacy Award is Darlene Shiley.

The Chancellor’s Medal is one of the highest honors given by UC San Diego to recognize exceptional service in support of the university’s mission. The Lifetime Legacy Award is granted only on the rarest occasions to exceptional campus visionaries.

“We are proud to honor our remarkable 2023 Chancellor’s Medal and Lifetime Legacy Award recipients,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Their philanthropic support and dedication to advancing world-class health care and medicine for the benefit of others have enhanced the quality of lives for countless patients and their families.”

The Chancellor’s Medals and Lifetime Legacy Award will be presented at an event on March 23, 2024.

Established in 2000, the Chancellor’s Medal has been awarded to select community leaders and philanthropists whose long-standing contributions and involvement have supported promising students, furthered meaningful research, and helped the university and region grow and prosper. The 2023 Chancellor’s Medal honorees are:

Amy and Bill Koman

Amy and Bill Koman

Amy and Bill Koman have inspired thousands through their vision to increase translational cancer care access in San Diego and beyond. The Komans are deeply grateful for the lifesaving care that Bill Koman received throughout his two battles with lymphoma, and the family is committed to ensuring the same outcome for others. As staunch advocates for collaborative cancer research and new treatments, Amy and Bill Koman have helped lead a community-wide effort to focus on this disease. 

The Koman Family Outpatient Pavilion, located on the UC San Diego Health La Jolla medical campus, is named in recognition of the family’s generosity and dedication to advance health care in San Diego. Significant donors to scholarships at UC San Diego School of Medicine, the Komans support 11 up-and-coming physician-scientists who aspire to become leaders in next-generation health care. In addition, the Koman Family Presidential Endowed Chair in Cancer Research ensures the recruitment and fellowship support of outstanding top-tier faculty in areas of highest priority for cancer research, personalized medicine and patient outcomes. Bill Koman has also played a key role in his service as a member of the Moores Cancer Center and UC San Diego Health boards.

Notably, the Komans are co-founders of Curebound, a nonprofit organization that raises and invests strategic funding into collaborative cancer research among six local institutions with UC San Diego serving as the hub for clinical treatment and care.

Gene Lay

Gene Lay

Gene Lay empowers breakthrough scientific research as both a philanthropic and business leader. Through his company, BioLegend, Inc., and his foundation, the Laygend Foundation, Lay is propelling novel science that translates scientific discovery into life-changing therapies and fuels innovations that can transform lives worldwide.

Inspired by the counsel and longtime friendship of his mentor, UC San Diego Professor Emeritus Shu Chien, Lay made a gift to name the Shu Chien-Gene Lay Department of Bioengineering within Jacobs School of Engineering in 2022. The endowment supports the department’s efforts to enhance the student experience with graduate fellowships, industry mentorship and access to hands-on learning opportunities. Lay’s deep relationships with faculty and leaders have been pivotal to the strategic growth of the department, as well as the expansion of leading-edge research projects.

In addition to his philanthropy and leadership at UC San Diego, Lay is deeply involved in the global scientific community. BioLegend hosts and sponsors hundreds of local, national and global conferences; scientific symposia and lectures; and student and faculty discussions each year.

Nancy and Geoffrey Stack

Nancy and Geoffrey Stack

For more than 20 years, Nancy and Geoffrey Stack have advocated for research with the potential to improve health outcomes for individuals diagnosed with rare diseases. Spurred by their daughter’s cystinosis diagnosis when she was just a baby, the couple is deeply committed to empowering researchers to pursue novel ideas that can lead to a cure.

Their long-term support and activism work through the Cystinosis Research Foundation, which they founded in 2003, has served as both a catalyst for cystinosis research and an inspiration for other families dealing with rare diseases. The foundation’s support to UC San Diego helped propel research into improved treatment options for cystinosis, including the development of a slow-release medication to manage the disease.

The Stacks support also launched the UC San Diego Gene Therapy Initiative, an important step forward in driving new gene therapy targets for genetic diseases, including cystinosis and other rare diseases affecting individuals at every age. In addition to their leadership at UC San Diego, the Stacks support education, health and community-based programs in Orange County through the Nancy and Geoffrey Stack Family Foundation.

Lifetime Legacy Award Honoree: Darlene Shiley

Darlene Shiley

The recipient of the Lifetime Legacy Award, Darlene Shiley is a visionary leader whose philanthropy has transformed lives here in San Diego and across the country. Shiley’s wide-ranging philanthropic interests are the result of a fierce passion for helping others — a passion she shared with her late husband, Donald. This has led to a truly remarkable legacy of impact at UC San Diego.

More than 30 years ago, Darlene and Donald Shiley made a transformational gift to establish the internationally recognized Shiley Eye Institute at UC San Diego Health. In addition to longstanding support for Shiley Eye Institute, Shiley has made significant and transformational gifts to UC San Diego Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center at UC San Diego Health, undergraduate scholarships and other programs across campus.

Shiley has also played a vital role in steering the campus’s growth through her service on boards and committees across campus. Meanwhile, her leadership in San Diego and nationwide reflects her enthusiasm and dedication to improving the lives of others, whether through access to world-class health care, leading-edge education, public broadcasting or the arts.

“With their visionary philanthropy, Darlene and Donald Shiley helped position UC San Diego as a global hub for world-class eye care with the establishment of what is now the Shiley Eye Institute,” said Chancellor Khosla. “We are so grateful to Darlene for continuing a decades-long legacy of generosity and support for UC San Diego, enabling our renowned researchers and physicians to advance innovative discovery and clinical care to help patients from around the world.” 

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