The Revelle Medal

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Professor Veerabhadran Ramanathan receives the Revelle Medal.

The Revelle Medal is the highest honor given by the Chancellor to a current or former UC San Diego faculty member.

The Revelle Medal recognizes sustained, distinguished and extraordinary service to the campus. The recipient’s achievements are illustrative of UC San Diego founder Roger Revelle’s vision to attract distinctive and visionary faculty leaders. The Medal honors a record of accomplishment that advances UC San Diego in fulfillment of the campus mission of exceptional teaching, research, service and patient care.

Conceived in 1981 by Chancellor Richard C. Atkinson, the Revelle Medal was first awarded at the Atkinson inauguration. The medal had previously honored distinguished and sustained service to the campus but had excluded faculty or staff.

Nomination Guidelines     Nominate Now

Past Revelle Medal Recipients


Paul W. Drake

Paul W. Drake
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Paul Drake is a distinguished professor emeritus in political science and a widely respected leader and scholar. Under his deanship of the Division of Social Sciences, many of its departments flourished into leading national academic programs. As senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, he worked with faculty and staff to steer UC San Diego through unprecedented fiscal challenges while maintaining its excellence in research and teaching. Drake was a leader in fostering diversity campuswide, and he is a founder of The Preuss School UCSD, a nationally acclaimed charter school.

Marilyn Farquhar

Marilyn Farquhar
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Marilyn Farquhar, distinguished professor emerita of cellular and molecular medicine, entered the field of science when female graduate students were rare. Today, her discoveries are part of the canon of cell biology. She joined UC San Diego in 1990 and served as the school’s first chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. She helped build the UC San Diego School of Medicine to become a top-ranked, national program. Farquhar is a founding member and former president of The American Society for Cell Biology. Her dedication to teaching and mentorship has made a powerful impact on the physicians and medical scientists of tomorrow.

Don Helinski

Don Helinski
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Professor Emeritus Don Helinski dedicated more than a half century to furthering UC San Diego’s mission and goals as chair of the Department of Biology and associate dean of the Division of Natural Sciences. Since retiring, he has remained involved on campus, supporting and mentoring students through the UC San Diego Emeriti Association. Helinski is widely recognized as one of the pioneers of recombinant DNA technology. His fundamental discoveries in the biology of bacterial plasmids and in the early applications of cloning technology laid the foundation for early successes in genetic engineering and biotechnology. Helinski is a Guggenheim Fellow and an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences.



Bert Fung

Y. C. “Bert” Fung
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Widely considered one of the most eminent bioengineering scientists in the world, Y. C. “Bert” Fung was recruited by UC San Diego to establish the bioengineering program in 1966. Fung created the new field of biomechanics, an interdisciplinary field in which engineering principles and techniques are used to solve important biomedical problems. Decades ago, Fung had the foresight to recognize the vast potential contributions that engineering could have on medicine at a time when the two fields were entirely separated. Today, in large part due to his groundbreaking ideas, the barriers between engineering and medicine have disappeared, creating myriad innovations to benefit patients.

Veerabhadran Ramanthan

Veerabhadran Ramanathan
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Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a world-renowned climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, discovered the greenhouse effect of chlorofluorocarbons and showed these superpollutants to be 10,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide in warming the climate. Ramanathan then showed that curbing emissions of the short-lived climate superpollutants, black carbon, methane and hydrofluorocarbons, can cut warming by as much as 50 percent within decades. His research has led to major policy actions by President Obama, the United Nations and Governor Jerry Brown. Ramanathan is now engaging religious leaders such as Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama to educate Earth’s citizens to be good stewards of our planet.

Roger Reynolds

Roger Reynolds
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Composer Roger Reynolds joined UC San Diego’s music faculty in 1969 and has since mentored generations of young composers and won a Pulitzer Prize. He remains a leader in exploring ways to harness new technologies for musical purposes. His work blends elements of theatre, literature, dance, video, digital signal processing and real-time computer spatialization. Reynolds’ music has been commissioned, performed, written about and recorded around the world at venues including the Royal Albert Hall in London, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Suntory Hall in Tokyo and Lincoln Center in New York. Reynolds was appointed University Professor in 2009, becoming the first artist to be honored with that UC-wide title.

Palmer Taylor

Palmer Taylor
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Palmer Taylor founded the Department of Pharmacology in the School of Medicine, and the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. He has played an instrumental role in recruiting top faculty, establishing the first basic science department in the School of Medicine, developing doctoral training in pharmacology, and providing mentorship to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. As founding dean of the Skaggs School, he helped build the professional school to national and international prominence. Taylor’s research and interdisciplinary collaborations have accelerated drug discovery and benefited society—from developing novel antidotes to poisoning from pesticide exposure, to finding avenues for improved pharmacological treatments for central nervous system disorders associated with dementia and aging.



Susan Shirk

Susan Shirk
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Susan Shirk is considered one of the most influential experts on Chinese politics and U.S.-China relations. She is founding chair of UC San Diego’s 21st Century China Program, the nation’s largest and most prominent academic research program on contemporary China, and helped create UC San Diego’s renowned School of Global Policy and Strategy and the top-ranked Department of Political Science. Shirk has also directed the University of California systemwide Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation and served as deputy assistant secretary of state (1997–2000) responsible for U.S. policy toward China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mongolia.

Bud Mehan

Hugh “Bud” Mehan
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Hugh “Bud” Mehan has applied his research in sociology and education studies to make major contributions to educational reform in San Diego, helping countless students from around the county become better equipped to succeed in college. Mehan was the founding director of UC San Diego’s Teacher Education Program (now the Department of Education Studies) and the Center for Research on Educational Equity, Assessment and Teaching Excellence (CREATE), which coordinates efforts at UC San Diego to improve the academic preparation of underrepresented students in the community through partnerships with K-12 schools and districts. He also played an integral role in the establishment of The Preuss School UCSD and Gompers Preparatory Academy.

Cecil Lytle

Cecil W. Lytle
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Cecil Lytle is a world-renowned classical and jazz pianist, former professor and chair of the UC San Diego Department of Music, and former provost of UC San Diego’s Thurgood Marshall College. Lytle has dedicated his life and work to providing educational opportunities for aspiring youth. He co-founded The Preuss School UCSD and played a key role working with parents, teachers and the community to establish Gompers Preparatory Academy, located in the Chollas View neighborhood of San Diego. He also established and raises funds for the Lytle Endowed Scholarship, which supports Preuss graduates who attend Thurgood Marshall College.



Shu Chien

Shu Chien
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National Medal of Sciences recipient Shu Chien is a world leader in the study of how blood flow and pressure affect blood vessels. He is one of only a handful of scholars who are members of all three U.S. national institutes: the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine. Chien played a crucial role in forming the Jacobs School of Engineering Department of Bioengineering, and as director of the UC San Diego Institute of Engineering and Medicine, he has strengthened collaborations between all departments of the Jacobs School, the School of Medicine and the Skaggs School of Pharmacy.

Peter Gourevitch

Peter Gourevitch
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Regarded as one of the most highly respected political scientists in the world, Peter Gourevitch has revolutionized the study of international relations and comparative politics by conceptualizing how the international economy shapes domestic politics and vice versa. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has received distinguished fellowships and numerous awards for his research. As founding dean of the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, Gourevitch lifted UC San Diego to the top echelons of social science research and teaching. He also played a key role in establishing The Preuss School UCSD.



Walter Munk

Walter Munk
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Referred to as the “greatest living oceanographer,” Walter Munk is widely recognized for his groundbreaking investigations of wave propagation, tides, currents, circulation and other aspects of the ocean and Earth. The 95-year-old scientist and alumnus is still active at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. His accomplishments have been recognized by prestigious organizations around the world, from the Kyoto Prize to the Crafoord Prize.



Robert C. Dynes (by exception)


Irwin and Joan Jacobs

Herbert Kunzel


Jerome Katzin

Ellen Revelle


Richard C. Atkinson (by exception)

Audrey Geisel


James S. DeSilva

James U. Lemke


Mandell Weiss


Cecil H. Green


Kenneth and Dorothy Hill


Clark Kerr


DeWitt A. Higgs

Nomination Guidelines

The deadline for nominations is May 4. Nominations received after May 4 will be considered for the following year’s Founders Day. Nominees not selected may be considered the following year.

Nominators must be associated with UC San Diego. Each nomination must be reviewed by the relevant senior academic officer (Executive Vice Chancellor – Academic Affairs, the Vice Chancellor – Health Sciences, or Vice Chancellor – Marine Sciences) in advance of submission for consideration. The Chancellor will issue a call for nominations and will encourage the Academic Senate to nominate faculty for the Revelle Medal. In making the selection, the Chancellor will confer with the campus academic leadership and the Chair and Vice Chair of the Academic Senate.

The Revelle Medal recipient must be willing to be present at the Founders Day celebration to receive the Medal.

The decision of the Chancellor is final. The Chancellor may choose to approve an exception to the preceding guidelines, including the possibility of awarding more than one Medal at the Founders Day celebration; however, exceptions will be rare.

A complete nomination will include:
  1. A narrative (no longer than two pages) that describes the individual’s sustained, distinguished and extraordinary service to the campus. Brief description of how the faculty member’s achievements are illustrative of Roger Revelle’s vision for UC San Diego.
  2. A one-page summary resume (optional).
  3. A one-page letter from a secondary nominator in support of the nomination (optional).

How to Submit a Nomination

Submit a nomination by completing the form below or mail your nomination to:

Chancellor’s Medal Nomination
c/o Chancellor’s Office
UC San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive # 0005
La Jolla, CA 92095-0005

If you have further questions about your nomination, or the process in general, please phone (858) 534-6861.

Nomination Form

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