Nobel laureate Sir David MacMillan, Ph.D. ’96, to receive Extraordinarius award

UC Irvine Alumni Association will honor 22 Anteaters at 53rd Lauds & Laurels event.
Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Jessica Arnaldo
UCI News

Sir David MacMillan, who earned a doctorate in chemistry at UC Irvine in 1996, is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry at Princeton University. 

Picture Credit:
Princeton University

Irvine, Calif., May 21, 2024The University of California, Irvine Alumni Association will bestow its highest honor, the Extraordinarius award, on Sir David MacMillan, Ph.D. ’96, at the 2024 Lauds & Laurels ceremony on Oct. 10. This event will recognize MacMillan and 21 other highly accomplished Anteaters for their significant contributions to the university and the broader community.

“David MacMillan’s remarkable achievements not only bring pride to his alma mater but also exemplify the excellence UC Irvine fosters,” said Brian Hervey, vice chancellor for university advancement and alumni relations and president of the UCI Foundation. “His groundbreaking work serves as a testament to the caliber of scholars produced by our institution.”

Since earning a Ph.D. in chemistry at UC Irvine – which he calls transformative – MacMillan has profoundly impacted the scientific world. He received the Nobel Prize in 2021 for his trailblazing work in chemistry, notably for pioneering asymmetric organocatalysis chemical synthesis methods that facilitate medicine development. MacMillan serves as the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry at Princeton University.

“UC Irvine changed, shaped and amplified my life in so many measurable and immeasurable ways,” MacMillan said. “It was the start of my research career, and I am honored to receive this recognition from the institution that played such a pivotal role in shaping my journey.”

MacMillan was also honored as a knight bachelor by Queen Elizabeth II as part of her 96th birthday celebration and Platinum Jubilee. He was acknowledged for his significant scientific contributions and influence, earning him the title of “Sir.”

The Lauds & Laurels ceremony is one of UC Irvine’s most long-standing traditions, hosted by the UC Irvine Alumni Association and its board of directors. It recognizes those who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to the university’s values through exemplary service, professional excellence and personal achievement.

“The Lauds & Laurels ceremony is a testament to the enduring impact of the Anteater community and its dedication to making a difference,” Hervey said. “We are proud to celebrate these individuals who embody the spirit of excellence and service that defines UC Irvine.”

Fifteen Anteaters will be honored as Distinguished Alumni at the October event – each representing a different UC Irvine school or unit:

  • Pamina Barkow ’03, MBA ’16 – The Paul Merage School of Business
  • Tracy Carmichael ’03, Ph.D. ’13 – School of Education
  • Jonathan H. Chen, Ph.D. ’09, M.D. ’11 – Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences
  • Sean Garcia-Leys, J.D. ’16 – School of Law
  • Manu Gulati, M.S. ’95 – The Henry Samueli School of Engineering
  • JohnRey Hassan ’10 – Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing
  • Harry Herr, M.D. ’69 – School of Medicine
  • David Israelsky ’03 – School of Humanities
  • Sana U. Khan ’86 – School of Biological Sciences
  • Kelsey Morgan ’10, Ph.D. ’24 – School of Social Ecology
  • Tony Ortiz ’98 – School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Susan L. Polan, Ph.D. ’94 – Program in Public Health
  • Darcy Prevost, M.F.A. ’09 – Claire Trevor School of the Arts
  • Jeffrey Thomson, MA ’69, Ph.D. ’72 – School of Physical Sciences
  • Shelley Thunen ’90, MBA ’92 – School of Social Sciences

Additional honorees are:

  • Bruce Endsley ’74 – Outstanding Alumnus Athlete
  • Martha Morales Hernandez, Ph.D. ’24 – Outstanding Graduate Student
  • Allison Lim ’15 – Distinguished Young Alumna
  • Amy S. Ricks – Outstanding Staff Achievement
  • Hassan Shaikh – Outstanding Undergraduate Student
  • Toshiki Tajima, Ph.D. ’75 – Outstanding Faculty Achievement

The 53rd Lauds & Laurels ceremony will be held at the Hyatt Regency Irvine. For more information, visit

For sponsorship opportunities, contact Julia Burton, director of UCIAA business development, at For media inquiries, contact Jessica Arnaldo, UCIAA marketing and communications manager, at

UC Irvine’s Brilliant Future campaign: Publicly launched on Oct. 4, 2019, the Brilliant Future campaign aims to raise awareness and support for the university. By engaging 75,000 alumni and garnering $2 billion in philanthropic investment, UC Irvine seeks to reach new heights of excellence in student success, health and wellness, research and more. The UC Irvine Alumni Association plays a vital role in the success of the campaign. Learn more at

About the UC Irvine Alumni Association: In 1968, the UC Irvine Alumni Association was founded to enrich the lives of alumni and engage them in the lifelong advancement of UC Irvine. It fosters the success of the university’s more than 255,000 alumni by connecting them and providing a wide range of campus resources. With UC Irvine’s ambition of being a globally preeminent university, the UC Irvine Alumni Association strives to empower and support its alumni community through its chapters, career recruitment opportunities, social gatherings, membership program, and alumni engagement programs and events. For more information, visit

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UC Irvine is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the nation’s top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The campus has produced five Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UC Irvine has more than 37,000 students and offers 224 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion statewide. For more on UC Irvine, visit

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