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Celebrating at Full Speed

The Riordan Programs’ 32nd anniversary gala was the “Ride of a Lifetime”

Riordan Scholar 2019 Christian Alexander, Jada McMichael, Ednilson Rodriguez-Sorto and Riordan Executive Director, Roxanne Mendez

The Riordan Programs’ 32nd anniversary gala gathered more than 200 alumni, sponsors and donors to celebrate the 2019 honorees — and to take the ride of a lifetime at the Porsche Experience Center.

Each year, Riordan acknowledges its alumni by awarding three important awards: the Legacy Award, Excellence in Civic Engagement Award and the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.

Mark Celaya, a 1999 Riordan Fellow, received the Riordan Legacy Award. Celaya is chief investment officer at Oracle Corporation, which he joined in 2010. He has built the company’s corporate cash investment function to handle its growth from $6 billion to $60 billion, implementing new portfolio and analytic systems and staffing the revamped function with new hires to meet its revised mandate. The Riordan Legacy Award is one of the highest honors our alumni can receive.

Darren Jackson, Riordan MBA Fellow 2000

The Excellence in Civil Engagement and Leadership Award recognizes Riordan alumni for their outstanding career and personal achievements and for contributions to the Riordan Programs community. The 2019 recipient was 1996 Riordan Scholar Shmel Graham, an associate in the real estate, land use and natural resources practice group in the Los Angeles office of Sheppard Mullin Richter and Hampton LLP. Prior to joining Sheppard Mullin, Graham served in the City of Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, under Mayors Antonio Villaraigosa and Eric Garcetti. She was responsible for implementing regional technology infrastructure projects, driving social infrastructure investments and leading citywide operational reform efforts in procurement, workers compensation and real estate asset management.

Mark Celaya, Riordan Fellow 1999

The Riordan Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award was presented to 2000 Riordan Fellow Darren Jackson, recognized for his outstanding career, personal achievements and exemplary contributions to society. Jackson is a partner in Bain & Company’s Los Angeles office and an expert in Bain’s technology, telecommunications and private equity practices. With more than 13 years of strategy consulting experience at Bain, he also co-leads Bain’s Internet of Things practice area and serves as the Diversity Champion for Los Angeles.

Housed at UCLA Anderson School of Management, the Riordan Scholars Program, College to Career Program and MBA Fellows Program develop tomorrow’s leaders by providing a transformational experience through the use of mentors, educational workshops and community service.

Our community is thankful to Riordan alumni, donors and sponsors for their dedication and commitment to first-generation students pursuing leadership and management training through the programs.

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