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October 21, 2002

Alumni Association names winners of highest awards

By Louise Donahue

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a Writing Program lecturer, and the technical production director and operations manager for UCSC's Theater Arts Department have been selected to receive the UCSC Alumni Association's highest honors for 2002-03.

Martha Mendoza, top; Conn Hallinan, center, and Joe Weiss Photos: Don Harris, UCSC Photo Services

Martha Mendoza, an Associated Press reporter who shared the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for the story about a massacre in the opening weeks of the Korean War, will receive the Alumni Achievement Award.

Mendoza is the third UCSC graduate to win a Pulitzer Prize.

Uncovering the story involved poring over military records and maps, interviewing hundreds of veterans, and filing Freedom of Information Act requests.

The exhaustive investigation won numerous awards, including the prestigious George Polk Award for international reporting. Mendoza was selected for a John S. Knight Fellowship at Stanford, where she completed the book, The Bridge at No Gun Ri: A Hidden Nightmare from the Korean War, with coauthors and Pulitzer winners Charles J. Hanley and Sang-Hun Choe.

While continuing to report for the Associated Press, Mendoza--a 1988 Kresge College graduate (B.A.) with an individual major in journalism--has returned to UCSC's Writing Program as a journalism lecturer.

Mendoza is now a colleague of her mentor and former teacher Conn Hallinan, winner of the 2002-03 Distinguished Teaching Award.

Noted for his outstanding lectures and his untiring support of student writing, Hallinan has been inspiring students to follow him into journalism since he began as a lecturer in the UCSC Writing Program in 1982. In nominating Hallinan, former student Mark West wrote, "Students have often compared Conn to a drug. His writing advice is so beneficial it's addictive."

Hallinan works closely with student editors of City on a Hill Press as teacher of the newswriting seminar and oversees the campus's on-campus and off-campus news media internship programs. In addition to teaching and serving as Associate Provost of Kresge College, Hallinan writes a column for the San Francisco Examiner.

"If the Alumni Association were to honor Lecturer Hallinan, you would also be honoring the students he has taught, 20 years of alumni who have gone on to work at newspapers, radio and television stations, internet publications, nonprofit organizations, socially-committed law practices, elementary school classrooms, universities, and other locations too many to name," wrote Roz Spafford, Chair of the Writing Program; and Don Rothman, senior lecturer and chair of the Personnel Subcommittee, Writing Program, in a joint letter nominating Hallinan. These alumni "have carried out and redefined the mission they first acquired in Writing 64: to use words to humanize the world."

Making his mark on an especially public stage is Outstanding Staff Award winner Joseph Weiss, technical production director and operations manager for the Theater Arts Department. Weiss was described as "the rock upon which this department is built," in a nomination letter from Anana Integre, administrative manager of theater arts.

Since coming to UCSC in 1989 as head of the Performing Arts Scene Shop, Weiss has helped make the physical aspects of theater arts student productions a reality and has also served as a tireless mentor to students. "His expertise in technical theater is wonderful, but he can do more than make redwoods rise and fall for a Shakespeare Santa Cruz set in the glen," wrote Kathy Foley, professor of theater arts. "He empowers students with an understanding of how to make miracles happen nightly in the theater."Weiss has served as technical director for Shakespeare Santa Cruz since 1994.

"It is his hands-on approach to education that makes the Theater Arts Department at UCSC so distinguished, producing students who are more than ready to enter their field," wrote alumna Marina Smith. "'Ask Joe,' is a mantra of the department."

A luncheon honoring these award winners and 26 student award recipients will be held on Saturday, February 1, in the new Colleges Nine and Ten Dining Hall. The Awards Luncheon, which costs $12, is open to the public. Those wishing to attend should e-mail the Alumni Association or call (831) 459-2530.

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