(Pictured: Phyllis Easton, Jim Easton (UCLA '59), Marion Anderson, UCLA Anderson Dean Judy Olian, Peter Liberti)
On May 8th, 2014, UCLA awarded James (Jim) L. Easton (UCLA ’59) the UCLA Medal. Established in 1979, it is the highest honor for extraordinary achievement that may be bestowed upon an individual by UCLA. Past recipients have included national and international leaders in government, education, science, industry and the arts, as well as men and women who have advanced UCLA’s development into one of the world’s preeminent universities. They include Eugene S. Rosenfeld (’56), for whom UCLA Anderson’s library is named; Richard Ziman, for whom UCLA Anderson’s real estate center is named; UCLA Anderson Board of Visitor member Stewart Resnick (’59), honored along with his wife Lynda; John E. Anderson (’40), for whom UCLA Anderson is named; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; and Janet Reno, former attorney general of the United States among many others. (For a full list of UCLA Medal recipients, please click here.)
Other 2014 UCLA Medal recipients include former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, physician Larry Brilliant and former U.S. Secretary of State and Senator from New York Hillary Rodham Clinton.
In a statement provided to the UCLA Anderson Blog, Easton said, “I gratefully accept the UCLA Medal. What an honor to be among the ranks of such esteemed men and women, all talented leaders that have achieved so much. It is humbling and acceptance of this recognition carries with it the responsibility and obligation to face future challenges and solutions. I thank UCLA for the life changing opportunities it afforded me and countless others. To be recognized with the UCLA Medal, the school’s highest honor, makes me very proud.” His wife, Phyllis, also a prominent member of the UCLA Anderson family said, “I’m thrilled for Jim. UCLA and the many talented people at UCLA have played such a significant role in his and our lives. We are deeply touched and this recognition is certainly a highlight for us. The UCLA Medal is a tribute not only to what Jim has accomplished, it’s a tribute to what he will – with resolve and determination – continue to accomplish.”
Easton was nominated for the UCLA Medal by UCLA Anderson Dean Judy Olian, who praised his five decades of “remarkable contributions” to UCLA. Her nomination cited Easton’s contributions to the Olympics movement, including his membership with the International Olympic Committee as well as his tenure as president of the World Archery Federation. Olian also noted Easton’s contributions to UCLA athletics (among other things, the school’s softball facility is named Easton Stadium) and his contributions to the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease. Of his valued relationship with UCLA Anderson, she wrote:
“At UCLA Anderson School of Management, we consider Jim to be one of our most distinguished leaders. He works closely and tirelessly for the school. As a member of the Board of Visitors, Jim has provided valuable strategic guidance to the school and has greatly enhanced our ability to provide competitive learning opportunities for our students.”
The dean went on to recognize Easton’s generosity to UCLA Anderson, including the creation of the Easton Global Connection Classroom and the Easton Technology Leadership Program.
The dean’s nomination of Easton transcended the honoree’s financial contributions. Olian wrote, “While Jim has made very generous financial contributions to UCLA, I am nominating him for the UCLA Medal for deeper reasons. Jim is an exemplar of engaged citizenry and philanthropic leadership in the community, the nation and the world. He is a champion of sports, science, business and education. Jim has served as a shining ambassador for the values of leadership and public engagement we hold dear, and to which we aspire at UCLA. As an alum, through his community and global impact, Jim brings honor to the University. He embodies the ideals of the UCLA Medal recipient with great distinction, and is most deserving of this honor.”