La Jolla News Nuggets: Student awards, UCSD donations, Geisel Library reopens, book sale, more

Joyce Abrams, Rhys Bugelli, Dave Abrams and Tom Atwell (from left)
Joyce Abrams, Rhys Bugelli, Dave Abrams and Tom Atwell (from left) attend a ceremony to present Bugelli with the Matthew Abrams Memorial Award for water polo.
(Nicola Bugelli)

La Jolla High School students receive athletic awards

Recent La Jolla High School graduate Rhys Bugelli has won the Matthew Abrams Memorial Award, which comes with his name on an award plaque hung at the Coggan Family Aquatic Complex and a $1,000 scholarship.

The award was begun in 2019 by La Jollans Dave and Joyce Abrams as a way to memorialize their son Matthew Abrams, a 1999 LJHS graduate and MVP of its water polo team that year who died of cancer in 2018.

Water polo was Matthew’s passion, Dave Abrams said. “We thought it’s fitting that we tie this memorial into that aspect of his life.”

The LJHS water polo team and coach Tom Atwell select the Matthew Abrams Memorial Award winner every year.

Bugelli said he “feels really great to feel recognized. I feel pretty honored that my coach and my teammates … chose me.” He will play water polo at UC San Diego this fall.

Several other LJHS graduating seniors received awards for athletic achievement. Stella Wineman, who played lacrosse and field hockey, received the Distinguished Athlete Award-Marines, given to a student recognized as an exemplary young citizen and role model who has exhibited courage, poise, self-confidence and leadership as a varsity athlete.

Max Smith, who played football and rugby, won the Distinguished Athlete Award-Marines for males.

The HSSA Academic Female Athlete Award went to Marjorie “Jorie” MacDonald, who played tennis, soccer and lacrosse and had a 4.9 grade point average.

The HSSA Academic Male Athlete Award went to Tynan Walsh, who played lacrosse and had a 4.7 GPA.

Austin Kingston won the Ed Teagle Track Award, given to a cross-country or track and field athlete on the basis of academic and athletic achievement, respect of teammates and contribution to overall team effort.

Diego Solis, who played football, basketball and ran track, won the Brent Woodall Award, given to a student-athlete who combines the academic excellence, athletic achievement, leadership and citizenship exemplified by Woodall, a 1988 LJHS graduate and victim of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Further details about the awards were unavailable.

Two La Jolla students win leadership awards

Natalie Goldwasser (left) and Abigail Holman are recipients of the 2021 Peter Chortek Leadership Award.
Natalie Goldwasser (left) of The Bishop’s School and Abigail Holman of La Jolla Country Day School are recipients of the 2021 Peter Chortek Leadership Award.
(Courtesy of Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego)

Two La Jolla students are among five recipients of the 2021 Peter Chortek Leadership Award, facilitated by the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego to recognize Jewish high school students in the area who are making a difference in the community.

Natalie Goldwasser, who will be a senior next school year at The Bishop’s School, started an organization called Kids Too that has donated more than $5,000 worth of school supplies to students across San Diego County, according to the Jewish Community Foundation.

Abigail Holman, who will be beginning her senior year at La Jolla Country Day School, is the president of Serving Spoons, a nonprofit that prepares and delivers healthy meals to families in need.

Peter Chortek Leadership Award winners receive a $5,400 stipend, $540 to establish a donor advised fund at the Jewish Community Foundation and a professional video made about their project.

$3.25 million donation to aid heart disease research at UC San Diego

A $3.25 million gift will support heart disease research through the creation of a cardiomyopathy center at UC San Diego.

The donation from Steven Strauss and Lise Wilson will be added to $1.75 million the university will raise, with the total of $5 million establishing a research center geared toward creating novel treatment options to slow or halt the progression of heart disease.

The Steven M. Strauss and Lise N. Wilson Center for Cardiomyopathy will be the first such center in San Diego, according to UCSD. The center will operate from the UC San Diego School of Medicine and within the Cardiovascular Institute at UCSD Health.

According to UCSD, cardiomyopathy — a disease of the heart muscle that makes it harder for the heart to pump blood to the body — affects about one in 500 people in the United States, and though treatment is available, there is no cure and some patients require heart transplants. — City News Service

Couple donate $2 million to establish faculty chair at UCSD

Two longtime supporters of Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego donated $2 million to establish an endowed chair for the center’s head and neck surgery division, the university said.

The Iris and Matthew Strauss Chancellor’s Endowed Chair in Head and Neck Surgery will “support excellence in research, education and clinical care,” according to a UCSD statement.

Matthew Strauss said he and his wife “believe in the missions of UC San Diego and UC San Diego Health and their commitment to the community, groundbreaking research and health care.”

Dr. Joseph Califano III, a professor in the Department of Surgery at the UCSD School of Medicine, was named the inaugural chair holder.

“This gift will allow us to continue transforming the way we understand and treat head and neck cancers through surgical interventions and I am eager to see what kinds of discoveries we make thanks to the Strauss family’s partnership,” Califano said. —City News Service

UCSD’s Geisel Library reopens with limited capacity

Geisel Library at UC San Diego
Geisel Library at UC San Diego, pictured in 2019, currently is offering study space for at least 300 students, faculty and staff at a time on the first and second floors. It will fully reopen Sept. 13 and welcome the general public.
(K.C. Alfred / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

UC San Diego’s Geisel Library, the inverted pyramid-style building beloved by students and architects alike, reopened in a limited capacity June 29 as the campus took a major step toward the post-pandemic era.

University officials said the library, which turned 50 in September, will offer study space for at least 300 students, faculty and staff at a time on the first and second floors. The library was serving upward of 6,000 people a day when it closed in March 2020 because of COVID-19 restrictions.

The library initially will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays through Fridays. The eight-story building will fully reopen Monday, Sept. 13, and the general public will be welcome, as it was in the past. — The San Diego Union-Tribune

Friends of La Jolla Library outdoor book sale July 3

Friends of the La Jolla Library will hold an outdoor book sale from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, July 3, in front of the La Jolla/Riford Library at 7555 Draper Ave. Books, magazines, jigsaw puzzles and DVDs for all ages will be available, with prices starting at 25 cents. All proceeds will go to support the library.

During sale hours, the Friends will accept donations of gently used books, magazines, puzzles and DVDs for future sales. For more information, visit

Tickets for San Diego Coastal Art Studios Tour go on sale

The San Diego Coastal Art Studios Tour will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 19.

The self-guided tour of 36 local artists at nine venues throughout La Jolla and Pacific Beach will feature realism, abstracts, watercolors, photography, mixed media, pastels, jewelry, fiber arts, ceramics, glass, wood and gourds.

Proceeds will benefit children’s scholarship programs at The Village Arts & Education Foundation of Spanish Village in Balboa Park.

Tickets are $10 and are on sale beginning Thursday, July 1, good for both days. Maps and event wristbands will be distributed beginning at 9 a.m. Sept. 18 at The Gallery at Land’s End, 4984 Cass St. in Pacific Beach. For more information, visit

UC San Diego Extension announces new dean

Hugo Villar is the new dean of UC San Diego Extension, effective July 1.
(Emilio Azevedo / Courtesy of UC San Diego Extension)

Hugo Villar has been selected as the next dean of UC San Diego Extension, effective Thursday, July 1. Villar, previously the associate dean for professional and continuing education at UCSD Extension, succeeds Mary Lindenstein Walshok, who is stepping down to focus on the UCSD Park and Market project slated for 2022 in downtown San Diego.

Villar, who has experience in the biotech industry, joined UCSD Extension in 2008 as an academic advisor and has served in a leadership position for more than a decade.

As associate dean for professional and continuing education, Villar developed, implemented and evaluated new educational offerings, with particular attention to accessibility and equity. Select programs addressed the career development needs of employees from local industries, and others focused on international, postgraduate and graduate students.

“Dr. Villar has been a highly valued partner in UC San Diego’s strategic initiatives to build innovative educational programs for matriculated and non-matriculated students,” said UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla. “His inclusive and thoughtful approach to leadership, deep institutional knowledge and vision for the future of Extension will strengthen its mission to be the nexus between UC San Diego and the broader community.”

Walter Munk Foundation for the Oceans team returns from research trip abroad

A team from the Walter Munk Foundation for the Oceans, a nonprofit formed to further the legacy of famed Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientist Walter Munk, returned recently from a research trip to Lake Altaussee, Austria, continuing an annual study of the lake environment as it pertains to various projects and processing discovery of an underwater forest.

The team, which includes Dimitri Deheyn of SIO; Chris Verlinden, Munk’s last student and co-founder of ocean consultancy group Applied Ocean Sciences; and Mary Coakley Munk, Munk’s widow, joined 30 other scientists, researchers and postdoctoral, master’s and local high school students.

Deheyn studied plastic pollution in the glacier lake and surrounding mountains; Verlinden collected temperature and acoustic readings throughout the lake; and a group from the University of Innsbruck took long core samples of sediment from the lake bottom.

Scientists from the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (BOKU Vienna) discovered an underwater forest with more than 50 trees about 67 feet tall standing upright in about 164 feet of water. A BOKU dendrochronologist is working to determine the age of the submerged trees.

Walter Munk, who was born in Austria, spent childhood vacations at Lake Altaussee. The Walter Munk Foundation for the Oceans plans to return for another expedition to the lake next spring.

— Compiled by La Jolla Light staff