Claremont, Calif. (April 21, 2014) — Pitzer College names award-winning investigative reporter Jeffrey Gottlieb ’75 the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award honoree and sociologist Brianne Davila ’04 as the Young Alumni Achievement Award recipient. Gottlieb and Davila will be honored at a special brunch with Pitzer President Laura Skandera Trombley on Saturday, May 3 at 9 a.m. in the Scott Hall courtyard during Alumni Reunion Weekend.
Jeffrey Gottlieb ’75
An investigative journalist with more than three decades experience, Jeffrey Gottlieb won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for a series of stories in the Los Angeles Times that uncovered rampant corruption in the City of Bell. Written with fellow Times reporter Ruben Vives, Gottlieb’s exposé led to the felony convictions of former city officials, statewide reforms and federal investigations.
Gottlieb’s sleuthing and storytelling skills have shaped his distinguished career in journalism. Twenty years before winning the Pulitzer, his work triggered federal reforms and garnered national recognition when he was a reporter with the San Jose Mercury News, where his investigation into Stanford University’s use of federal research funds led to Congressional hearings, changes in federal regulations and the resignation of Stanford’s president. Gottlieb’s coverage of Stanford earned a George Polk Award Polk Award, one of journalism’s most prestigious accolades, which Gottlieb also won for the Bell series.
Gottlieb said Pitzer cultivated his sense of social responsibility and encouraged him to question conventional thinking, traits that ultimately led him to investigative journalism.
“Winning this award from Pitzer, where I spent some of my formative years, is an incredible honor,” Gottlieb said. “Much of my view of the world was shaped at Pitzer, and the award is recognition that I’ve lived up to the goals of the College.”
A sociology major, Gottlieb’s most influential teachers were his adviser and Professor Emeritus of Sociology Rudi Volti and former professor of English Ellin Ringler, who taught a course on major American writers that “opened my eyes to literature,” he said. Gottlieb also played point guard on the College’s fledgling basketball team, shortly after Pitzer and Pomona College joined forces to create the current-day Sagehens. He later earned his master’s from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Before joining the Los Angeles Times in 1997, Gottlieb wrote for a number of papers in California, including the Riverside Press-Enterprise and the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. At the Los Angeles Times, he worked both as an editor and a reporter, covering beats ranging from medicine to higher education.
Gottlieb’s freelance articles have been published in a wide array of magazines and journals, including The Nation, Mother Jones and Sports Business Journal. He has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows, including the PBS NewsHour, CBS Evening News and the Madeleine Brand Show.
Established in 2004, Pitzer College’s Distinguished Alumni Award is the highest honor the College bestows upon a graduate. It recognizes alumni whose achievements reflect Pitzer’s core values. The recipient is selected by a committee made up of alumni, faculty, staff, students, the Alumni Board president and the previous year’s honoree.
Brianne Davila ’04
Brianne Davila is an assistant professor of sociology and American ethnic studies at Willamette University whose deep-seated commitment to social justice has shaped an exceptional academic career.
Only three years after earning her PhD in sociology and feminist studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Davila has established herself as an expert in the sociology of education, social inequality, the Latina/o experience, and racial, gender and class issues.
Davila said Pitzer greatly influenced her career and life path. Her experiences at Pitzer, both inside and outside the classroom, encouraged her to pursue academic research for the purpose of social change.
“I am thrilled to receive Pitzer’s Young Alumni Achievement Award,” Davila said. “I am grateful to my mentors who encouraged me to pursue graduate school and research opportunities: Pitzer professors Ann Stromberg, Dipa Basu, Maria Soldatenko, and especially Jose Calderon, whose courses in Chicana/o studies and sociology were the first formal settings where I was able to learn about my own communities—a truly life-changing experience.”
The recipient of more than 20 awards, fellowships and grants, her work has been recognized by the National Center for Institutional Diversity, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Sociological Association. This fall, Davila will return to Southern California when she takes a tenure-track position in the Department of Psychology and Sociology at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.
The Alumni Association introduced the Young Alumni Achievement Award last year to recognize alumni under the age of 35 who graduated in the past decade and have established careers that exemplify a Pitzer education in action.