High-profile alumni to be recognized for accomplishments and impact
A top sports agent, a Title IX pioneer and renowned philanthropists are among the six alumni being honored by the Pacific Alumni Association in recognition of their professional success, substantial contributions to society and lasting impact on University of the Pacific.
The 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients are: Leonard Armato ’75, Tony Chan ’77 and Virginia (Chang) Chan ’77, Cindy (Bava) Spiro ’76, ’84, Ted Leland ’70, ’74 and Daniel Idzkowski ’12. They will be recognized in a dinner ceremony Jan. 28 on the Stockton Campus.
“We are incredibly proud to honor these alumni,” said Scott Biedermann ’05, ’20, vice president of development and alumni relations. “Through their dedication to the university, which will impact generations of students, and their extraordinary professional accomplishments, these alumni truly represent what it means to be a Pacifican.”
Medallion of Excellence Award, honoring alumni who are faculty, staff or regents and have exhibited exceptional service to the university, their profession and the community: Tony and Virginia Chan
Current Regent Virginia Chan and former Regent Tony Chan have had a transformative impact on Pacific over the past 40 years through their immeasurable leadership and support.
Both alumni of the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy—where they met at graduation—they have contributed to Pacific in a multitude of ways, from scholarships to building renovations; from program enhancements to faculty innovation funds; from classrooms to clinics and beyond.
The couple most recently chaired the largest fundraising campaign in the university’s history, Leading with Purpose. The campaign surpassed its $300 million goal raising more than $317 million from nearly 23,000 donors.
Their magnanimous generosity in leading and contributing to the campaign and other funds has enhanced university facilities, student success and programming.
More than 12 of the Chans’ family members have graduated from Pacific, including their children Jonathan ’09 and Megan ’13. The entire family received the Distinguished Alumni Award for Outstanding Family from the university in 2016.
The Chans reside in Southern California where they own several independent pharmacies.
Distinguished Professional Service Award, honoring alumni who have achieved notable success in their careers: Leonard Armato
Since graduating from College of the Pacific in 1975, Armato has risen to the top of his field as a business executive, entrepreneur and strategic advisor.
He is founder and CEO of Management Plus Enterprises, creating transformative marketing strategies for high profile CEOS, athletes, brands and celebrities, including Shaquille O'Neal and Oscar De La Hoya.
Armato was chief marketing officer of Skechers, one of the largest footwear brands in the United States, and president of Skechers Performance Division. He also was founder and CEO of the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball tour and a board member of the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters.
Outstanding Young Alumni Award, honoring alumni of distinction who have graduated in the previous 15 years: Daniel Idzkowski
Idzkowski, a 2012 graduate from the Eberhardt School of Business, has built a successful career as an entrepreneur, investor and inventor.
In 2020, he co-founded Sidepocket, an investing platform. One of his earliest ventures was co-creating the SKUNKLOCK, a bike lock that “fights back” using noxious chemicals if someone cuts the lock.
He also works with aspiring entrepreneurs as a lecturer and mentor at the Founder Institute, Alchemist Accelerator and 500 Global, which work with startup companies. He also helps companies raise funds through venture capital firms American Pillar Partners and LvlUp Ventures.
Distinguished University Service Award, honoring alumni who have made notable contributions to and on behalf of Pacific: Ted Leland
Leland has been inducted into the Hall of Fame of eight different organizations, including Pacific, Stanford University, Chabot College and Stockton.
He was Pacific’s director of Athletics from 1988-91. He returned in 2006 as vice president for university advancement and later became vice president for external relations and athletics. Under his leadership, many of Pacific’s facilities were upgraded, including the Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center, the Raney Beach Volleyball Courts and Chris Kjeldsen Pool upgrades, among others.
Leland also was director of Athletics for Stanford University and Dartmouth College. He has won more national college championships than any other athletics director in NCAA history.
Distinguished Public Service Award, honoring alumni who have made exceptional contributions to society: Cindy Spiro
Recognized as a “Title IX pioneer” by the West Coast Conference, Spiro was instrumental in advancing women’s sports as a student-athlete, fundraiser, administrator and advocate.
The landmark legislation adopted in 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. Only a year after it was passed, Spiro did an independent study on Title IX’s impact on Pacific and other regional schools as a student.
In 1979 she became the first full-time women’s athletics coordinator at Pacific and started a fundraising organization to support women’s athletics.
Her work continued in later years overseeing the university’s athletics facilities and helping secure a grant from USA Water Polo to start a women’s program.
To request an invitation to the Jan. 28 awards ceremony, please email PacificAlumni@Pacific.edu or on the Pacific Alumni Association site.