The UMass Dartmouth Alumni Association announced the recipients of the annual Alumni Awards, which will be celebrated for the 49th year on Thursday, April 7 at 6:00 p.m. in Woodland Commons.
This year’s award winners are recognized for their career achievements and dedication to UMass Dartmouth and the community.
Brian Helgeland ’83
Lifetime Achievement Award
Brian Helgeland will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for his career as an award-winning Hollywood screenwriter, producer, and director. In 1997, he won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for L.A. Confidential, along with numerous other industry awards for the film. In 2004, he won the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Screenplay for his screenplay of the movie Mystic River. His other notable films include 42 (The Jackie Robinson Story), A Knight’s Tale, The Order, The Taking of Pelham 123, Conspiracy Theory, and A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. Helgeland received a bachelor’s degree in English from the College of Arts & Sciences in 1983.
Lisa Tedeschi Vergara ’83
Alumni Volunteer Service Award
Lisa Tedeschi Vergara ’83 will receive the Alumni Volunteer Service Awards given to a graduate in recognition of service to the UMass Dartmouth and the community. Vergara founded Storytime Crafts Inc., a nonprofit in her hometown on Needham, Mass., with the goal of uniting communities to promote inclusive childhood literacy opportunities. The grassroots literacy initiative amplifies the voices and stories of diverse children’s book authors and directs literacy resources throughout communities.
Christiaan Rees '12, MD, PhD
Rising Star Award
Christiaan Rees ’12 is selected for the Rising Star Alumni Award, which celebrates the accomplishments of a UMassD graduate of the last 10-15 years whose exceptional achievements in career, public service, or volunteer activities bring honor to UMass Dartmouth. Dr. Rees is a resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he is participating in the Science in Residency pathway of the hospital’s Internal Medicine Residency Program. He holds a Ph.D. in quantitative biomedical sciences and a Doctor of Medicine from Dartmouth College’s Geisel School of Medicine.
Carol Spencer-Monteiro, LMHC ’92, MA ’96
Faculty/Staff Recognition Award
In honor of her investment in and care for the academic, professional, and personal well-being of UMassD students and alumni, Carol Spencer-Monteiro ’92, MA ’96, assistant vice chancellor for student success, will receive the Faculty/Staff Recognition Award. Spencer-Monteiro provides oversight of student success initiatives, programs, and support services including the Academic Resource Center, College Now/START Program, and Upward Bound Program. With more than 20 years of university experience, she has led many student support efforts in the area of recruitment, enrollment, and retention.
Blue & Gold Legacy Award
Jeanne Leduc will be honored with the Blue & Gold Legacy Award, given to an individual who is not a graduate of UMass Dartmouth, but demonstrates a steadfast dedication to UMass Dartmouth and the community. She spent 20 years as an emergency room nurse and is an active community volunteer and mentor. Mrs. Leduc is also a founding member and secretary of the Africa Teacher Foundation, a nonprofit organization that introduces research-based philosophies and strategies to teachers in Africa. Mrs. Leduc and her family are supporters of the Leduc Center for Civic Engagement at UMass Dartmouth and Jeanne's Cupboard (formerly Arnie’s Cupboard).