Alumni Awards

Alumni Awards

Elizabeth Wall Hanson '82

Alumna of the Year

Beth Wall Hanson with family
Elizabeth Wall Hanson in middle

Ms. Elizabeth “Beth” Wall Hanson was elected to the University of San Francisco Board of Trustees in June 2010.  She is a native San Franciscan and attended Convent of the Sacred Heart High School. She received her undergraduate degree in accounting from USF in 1982 and her graduate degree in financial planning/tax from Golden Gate University in 1985.  She is president of a real estate investment and management company. She is married to Mark D. Hanson. They have two children, David and Sarah.

Beth spent her childhood summers living on a ranch near Cloverdale, and her extended family still gathers on the Italian Swiss Colony property in Asti to drink wine and celebrate together. For Beth, Bricoleur Vineyards is a return to the winemaking roots of her ancestors and a fine opportunity to share the beauty of the tranquil Russian River Valley with family and friends.

Elizabeth Wall Hanson Video Transcript

Mary Willis '78

Alessandri Service Award

Named for the man often referred to as “Mr. USF”, the Al Alessandri Alumni Service Award recognizes a graduate who makes service to their alma mater a priority.

Mary Haran Willis headshot

Mary Haran Willis was born the seventh of 10 children to Margaret and Gregory Haran ’59. Mary attended St. Raphael’s grammar school where she volunteered on Mondays to assist with the afterschool CCD program.  She then attended Marin Catholic High School, graduating in ’74.  Mary worked 3-6 p.m. Monday – Friday and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday to pay her high school tuition. Upon graduation she attended the University of San Francisco Nursing Program.

Mary’s dad, Gregory Haran, started as a USF student in 1940 after graduating from St. Ignatius High School. When World War II broke out, he signed up for the U.S. Navy with two of his St. Ignatius high school and USF friends. Fourteen years after returning home, he graduated from USF with a degree in accounting. With a growing family and working full time he had attended USF night school to graduate.  He was very grateful to USF, and he encouraged Mary to choose USF over other options when she graduated high school.  

USF is where Mary made lifelong friends and found a lifelong career. Clinical rotations at St. Mary’s Hospital, Letterman Army Hospital, Children’s in Oakland Hospital, Sutter Hospital (then Mary’s Help Hospital), and Kaiser Geary Hospital were among her many clinical experiences. Sr. Geraldine, Dean of the USF School of Nursing, and Dr. Green, Assistant Dean, were resourceful, helpful, firm, and kind.  The faculty were great clinicians, teachers and mentors and inspired Mary to become a nursing professor.  It was their example which led Mary to earn a master’s as a Clinical Specialist in Care of Adult Nursing from Boston College ’83 while working weekends in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Massachusetts General.  After Boston College, Mary taught on the faculty at the University of Portland School of Nursing. While on faculty, Mary also practiced nursing on Friday evenings in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at St. Vincent’s Hospital; in addition, Mary volunteered at the Portland Marathon Medical Tent and once a week at the YMCA Cardiac Therapy Phase III Class. 

Mary took a ten-year break from her nursing career to raise her four children. During that time, she volunteered at the children’s grammar school doing health wellness checks, eye exams, scoliosis screenings, and hearing tests.  There were plenty of volunteer hours given to hot lunch and auction programs, too!

In 2006-2012 Mary was asked to help with a surgical team performing general and women’s primary health care in Guatemala.  It was a life changing experience one week per year. The ocean of need was vast as medical and nursing schools were closed during the civil war in Guatemala, resulting in a huge shortage of local RNs and MDs.  Each year, Mary’s team alone performed more than 100 surgical procedures.  After her first year in Guatemala, Mary was inspired to go back to work part-time at home, this time specializing in pre and post-operative care.

Mary retired from nursing in 2016 and served on the USF alumni board until 2022. Giving back to USF was a pleasure, and working with alumni and current students from many different classes and fields was an honor. 

A favorite memory from her time on the Alumni Board was when USF received a 10-year unrestricted accreditation.  The reviewer wrote wonderful comments about the university curriculum, leadership, and student involvement, but what made Mary proudest were the comments on commitment to diversity at USF. The evaluator wrote “USF really walks the talk.” Perfect for a school in a very diverse city.

Mary and her husband, Tom, created the Gregory and Margaret Haran Scholarship Fund at USF and intend to grow it so many more students can enjoy working toward a career in nursing at USF while making lifelong friends.


Mary Willis Video Transcription


Flavio Bravo MA '19

Public Service Award

The Public Service Award recognizes a commitment to community engagement, public service, and the pursuit of the common good.

Flavio Bravo headshot

Senator Flavio Bravo was elected to the Arizona State Legislature in November 2022 and represents the 26th legislative district that includes Phoenix and Glendale within Maricopa County.

A fifth-generation Arizonan, born and raised in the 26th district, Flavio has worked continuously to serve his community as an educator, leader, and an advocate for causes advancing the quality of life in his community. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Central Arizona Shelter Services, Open Hearts Family Wellness, and the Kino Border Initiative. Prior to the State Senate, Flavio served in the State House and sat on the Government and Regulatory Affairs Committees.

For Flavio, education has always been a priority. A proud first-generation college graduate, Flavio received a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University Chicago in political science & philosophy. After receiving his master’s degree in migration studies from the University of San Francisco, Flavio served as a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Graduate Fellow in Washington, D.C. In this role, Flavio focused on housing and economic policy for Arizona's seventh congressional district.

Flavio is an alumni of Valle del Sol's Hispanic Leadership Institute and was recognized as a 30 Under 30 Alumni from the University of San Francisco in 2021. Flavio also works as the Program Director for Cavco Industries, Inc.’s Homes for Our Own program where he helps first-time homebuyers navigate the homebuying process.

Flavio Bravo Video Transcript


Alyssa Nakken MA '15

Professional Achievement Award

The Professional Achievement Award is presented to a graduate who has reached the pinnacle of career success.

Alyssa Nakken headshot

Alyssa Nakken is embarking on her fourth season as an Assistant Coach on Gabe Kapler’s staff in 2023. Nakken will continue to assist Antoan Richardson with baserunning and outfield instruction. Last season, Nakken became the first woman to coach on the field during a Major League game when she took over first base coaching duties on April 12 vs. San Diego in the third inning after Antoan Richardson was ejected from the game.

She began her career with the Giants in 2014 as a baseball operations intern for the 2014 World Series Champions and assisted with the Mission Rock Development initiative in 2015 before transitioning to Giants Enterprises where she played an active role in the event logistics, planning, production, marketing, and content creation and business development of the health and wellness of the San Francisco Giants. She also serves as a chairwoman of the Giants first Employee Resource Group — the San Francisco Giant’s Women’s Network Momentum, whose vision is to foster a company culture of genuine appreciation for and commitment to the empowerment of women. Prior to joining the Giants, Nakken served as the Chief Information Officer for the University of San Francisco baseball team.

Nakken played first base for the Sacramento State Hornets from 2009-2012. A three-time all-conference selection, four-time Academic All-American, four-time Commissioner’s Honor Roll member and the 2012 conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year, Nakken started 184 games for the Hornets. A career .304 hitter, she ranks among the program’s top six players in six different Division One era categories, including home runs (19). Her 1,265 putouts are the most in school history, and she also ranks third with 115 runs scored. She earned her Master’s Degree in Sport Management from the University of San Francisco in 2015.

Alyssa Nakken Video Transcript

Loretta Green-Williams '97 MA '99

Fr. Privett Living the Mission Award

Loretta Green headshot

Loretta Green embarked on her academic journey with a USF returning adult scholarship.  She was the first student to obtain a certificate in ethnic studies, as an undergraduate in sociology.  Loretta understood the importance of community connection, thus the origin of Sister Connection, a student organization for women of color to stay connected.  One year later, Sister Connection inspired Brother Connection. 

As a fitness professional with certifications as a personal trainer, weight training, bodybuilding, and advanced aerobics, Loretta entered USF’s Sports and Fitness Management program. Loretta graduated in '99 with her MA in Sports Management becoming a Double Don.  With the premise to provide women a greater voice in fitness, Loretta studied at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco. She became a founding member of the Bay Area Black Yoga Teachers Association, sat on the community board for the American Cancer Society, and special consultant for the American Heart Association. She was a founding planning committee member for the African American Health Summit convened by the Bay Area Black United Fund. And presented cultural health presentations to the National Coalition of 100 Black Men, Inc, Oakland Bay Area Chapter, and the California State Health Department. 

As a member of the Jamaican American Association of Northern California (JAANC), Loretta was a committee member that created the first Caribbean American Heritage Month celebration for Oakland, CA. Continuing her love for dance and community, she also played mas with JAANC during San Francisco’s Carnivals. Loretta volunteered at the Antioch (CA) Senior Center where she taught her unique style of Caribbean fitness dance. Her dance group attended the Annual Bachata Conference in San Francisco where they showed attendees that age was just a number. 

She transitioned her fitness skills to run the 100 meters during the California Senior Games where she qualified to represent the state of California in the Senior Nationals. With a strong spiritual conviction, Loretta positioned her dance and fitness skills into a spiritual construct as a liturgical dance minister. She developed, coordinated, directed, and choreographed Christian dance throughout the country.

Loretta created Women of Concern Professionals & Strategic Conscious Networking (WOCPSCN) as a LinkedIn group. WOCPSCN’s gender equity and equality core values present active approaches to community development and socioeconomic sustainability.  With focus on women's health, education, community development, and global sustainability, WOCPSCN provide its members with multiple platforms that are compatible with their community.  There are chapters in Ghana, Nigeria, Indonesia, India, United Kingdom, Canada, and the US.

The first international initiative was created due to the loss of Loretta’s 23-year-old daughter to domestic violence.  In its tenth year, Walking In Silence for the Silenced: DV Solidarity Walk is an annual memorial and awareness Walk.  The first Saturday in November, global participants create their community Walk that silently takes place at 10 a.m. their time zone. 

USF’s past provost, Dr. Jennifer Turpin, and Seth Wachtel USF architecture program director supported WOCPSCN’s education pillar to support God’s Planet for Haiti Elementary School that was founded after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.  Students in the architecture program designed an all-purpose school for the school and presented during the WOCPSCN JazzyJZ Achievement Awards.  To honor the vision of academics, such as Dr. Turpin the first Honoree Lavender Luncheon took place.

Having lost community members and friends to COVID, Loretta utilized her fitness skills to encourage seniors to keep moving, and to help eliminate isolation.  Her virtual fitness website called Silver Fitness Series: Surviving COVID-19 displays multiple levels of exercises, and fitness walks throughout Harlem that Loretta conducted during COVID.

Loretta is founder of the Caribbean Diaspora Professional and Business Association, and co-founder of Caribeme Magazine.  She authored and produced the documentary Caribeme: New Yorkers of the Caribbean Diaspora along with her daughter, filmmaker Dana Verde. She holds a certification in Mindful Management Negotiations from Seattle Pacific University, and Human Rights Advocate certification from the US Diplomacy and Human Rights Institute.  She is an Innovation Island Ambassador, which is a global network that helps to drive sustainable change across island communities. 

In 2020, she obtained a second master’s degree in humanities from the California Institute of Integral Studies’ School of Consciousness and Transformation. The following year she became a licensed-ordained minister under the National Association of Christian Ministers.  Loretta is the past president of the Pan African Chamber of Commerce, South Africa, and former Executive Director for the Ethiopian Cultural Community Center, Oakland, CA.  Loretta has received the New Jersey Historical Commission recognition grant for her current research regarding the history of Southern New Jersey's African American communities.


Loretta Green-Williams Video Transcript


Joe Cotchett

Cable Car Award

The Cable Car Award is presented to an individual or individuals who, though never having attended USF, through their generosity, have promoted the vision and mission of the university and are “alumni” in spirit.

Joe Cotchett headshot

Joseph W. Cotchett has a legendary reputation for his courtroom accomplishments and is considered one of the country’s foremost trial lawyers. The Legal Press has called him one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.  He is the senior partner at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP and has authored numerous books on law, ethics, corporate practices and civil rights.  He has an Engineering degree from California Polytech University and a J.D. from the University of California, San Francisco Law. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Society of Barristers, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and a Diplomate in the American Board of Trial Advocates.  He is a former Colonel in the Army, serving in both Airborne Special Forces and JAG Corp, receiving the Legion of Merit for his services.  He has tried over 100 cases to verdict and received the Trial Lawyer of the Year Award by Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, honored by Disability Rights Advocates and inducted into the American Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame in 2011, and into the State Bar of California Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame in 1999.  He has taken on the FBI, the U.S. Navy, Charles Keating, Bernie Madoff, the National Football League, Wall Street, and other corporate giants, along with their accountants, lawyers, and executives on behalf of consumers, public entities, and those without a voice.

Joe Cotchett Video Transcription

Greg Bonfiglio, S.J.

Cable Car Award

The Cable Car Award is presented to an individual or individuals who, though never having attended USF, through their generosity, have promoted the vision and mission of the university and are “alumni” in spirit.

Gregory R. Bonfiglio, S.J., Pastor, St. Ignatius Parish, San Francisco

Greg Bonfiglio headshot

Upon graduation from Santa Clara University in 1982, Greg spent a year in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, after which he entered the Society of Jesus. He was ordained in 1994 and for four years served as Associate Pastor at Dolores Mission Parish in east Los Angeles. Missioned to Jesuit High School in 1998, he was the Superior of the Jesuit Community and taught Sophomore Theology until 2002, when he became President there. Since 2012, Greg has been Pastor of St. Ignatius Parish, San Francisco. Other ministries have included teaching ESL, chaplaincy at Folsom State Prison, living as a member of a L’Arche Community, and spiritual and retreat director. In his spare time, Greg is an avid cyclist.

Greg Bonfiglio Video Transcript