Young talented students from around the world come to Pacific to experience a vibrant, student-centered learning environment. Once they graduate, they leave prepared to practice their professions at the highest level, engage in international affairs, and lead global businesses and organizations. Here are a few alumni who have left indelible marks throughout their careers.
Khushwinder Gill '06, Principal
In a time when low test scores and a lack of physical activity are major issues for school children across the country, 2006 Pacific graduate Khushwinder Gill has implemented successful afterschool programs to combat both. The school principal was awarded "Principal of the Year" by Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 14., 2011. The award includes a check for $10,000 to help support the programs that she helped establish at the school.
Yoshiaki Onishi '04, Composer
From Emmys to a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement, musicians from University of the Pacific's Conservatory of Music have won some of the most prestigious awards in the music industry. Following in that tradition, Yoshiaki Onishi received the 2011 Gaudeamus Prize for his composition "Départ dans..." at Gaudeamus Music Week in Utrecht, The Netherlands, on Sept. 11, 2011. The work by the 2004 Pacific graduate was picked from nearly 400 compositions.
The son of migrant farm workers, Jose Hernandez went from dreaming under the stars to actually reaching them. The 1985 Pacific graduate and former NASA astronaut was one of seven crew members aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery on Aug. 28, 2009 when it launched into space. Hernandez served as a flight engineer and operated the shuttle's robotic arm. As a child of migrant farm workers, he helped pick strawberries and cucumbers in fields throughout the Central Valley. Born in French Camp and raised in Stockton, Hernandez attended Pacific through the Community Involvement Program (CIP), a scholarship program for underrepresented students, and earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. He later received a master's degree in electrical engineering from University of California-Santa Barbara.
Mark Amodei, '83, Congressman
Mark Amodei became a U.S. congressman after winning a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 13, 2011. With an easy victory in a special election to fill a vacant House seat, the 1983 Pacific graduate now represents Nevada's congressional district two. The former GOP state chairman and state senator took 58 percent of the vote against his Democratic opponent and two minor-party candidates. Amodei, who worked as an attorney in Carson City, was first elected to the Nevada Assembly in 1996 and two years later won a seat in the State Senate.
Scott Boras '77, '82, Sports Agent
Scott Boras is one of the most powerful people in Major League Baseball. The former minor league outfielder has negotiated some of the game's biggest contracts, including a 10-year, $252 million contract for Yankees' infielder Alex Rodriguez. At Pacific, Boras was known as "Scotty B" and was an outfielder and captain of Pacific's baseball team. After knee injuries ended his career while playing in the minor leagues, Boras went on to earn a pharmacy degree in 1977 from Pacific's Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and a law degree from Pacific McGeorge School of Law in 1982. Shortly after working as a lawyer in the pharmaceutical defense department of a Chicago law firm, he negotiated his first multimillion-dollar contract.
Larry Groupé '79, Composer
Larry Groupé has composed music for countless films, earning awards and praise for his work. Among his accolades, the 1979 Pacific graduate has received two Emmys for the documentary scores for "Jonas Salk: Personally Speaking," and "Residue." He also was nominated for an Emmy for the score to the television series "Mind of a Married Man." His work has also appeared in feature films, including "Straw Dogs," which was released in September 2011. The remake of the 1971 classic tells the story of a married couple who moves to a new town and faces increasing hostility and harassment. Other films featuring Groupé's music include "Nothing but the Truth," "Resurrecting the Champ" and "The Contender." Over his career, the San Diego resident has composed, conducted and produced more than 80 CD recordings. Groupé's music has also been performed by a number of symphony orchestras.
Dave Brubeck '42, Pianist and Composer
Jazz icon Dave Brubeck is a world-renowned pianist and composer of jazz and classical music whose experimentation with unexplored time signatures introduced millions of listeners to jazz. A 1942 graduate of Pacific, Brubeck has achieved extraordinary success throughout his music career, including the Dave Brubeck Quartet's highly acclaimed album "Time Out" (1959), which sold more than one million copies. While attending Pacific, he met his future wife, Iola Whitlock, who would later become his business manager and his primary lyricist. A plaque can be found inside the Faye Spanos Concert Hall that marks the spot where Dave first met Iola when they were both students at Pacific.