Outstanding Alumni


Alumnus of the Year Gordon Getty »

Alumni Award Winners »

Gordon P. Getty has played many roles in life, including U.S. Army second lieutenant, businessman, investor, wine enthusiast, international arts patron, and philanthropist. But for Getty, music is the role that he views as his true passion and calling.

“I was born to do it,” says Getty, a lifelong composer whose unwavering support for classical music, the arts, and education has touched hundreds of audiences and organizations.

After graduating from USF, Getty served in the U.S. Army and worked in the Middle East for Getty Oil before going on to study at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. There, he composed his first works for piano and voice. He also sang bass and baritone during those years, studying with one of the vocal teachers of the legendary Maria Callas. But his focus has been on composing — choral works, chamber works, songs, operas, and librettos.

Over the years, his music has been inspired by Emily Dickinson (The White Election), Shakespeare (Plump Jack), Oscar Wilde (The Canterville Ghost), and Edgar Allen Poe (Usher House). Getty’s most recent work, Usher House, is based on the poet’s gothic tale and had its U.S. premiere in December at San Francisco Opera. Like many of his works, Getty says, its theme is redemption.

Through the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, where he is president and chairman, Getty and his wife have directed their philanthropic support to classical music locally, nationally, and internationally, as well as to the arts and education, including the University of San Francisco. He believes that if you have the means, you should give back to support what you believe in.

“You want to make a name that’s something before you turn in your report card to St. Peter,” he told the audience in a video profile shown at this year’s Alumni Awards Gala. 

In presenting Getty with USF’s 2015 Alumnus of the Year Award at the evening gala on Oct. 4, Fr. Fitzgerald told guests that Getty is the perfect example of what a USF education is all about: “creativity, intellect, decisiveness, goodness, and generosity.”

Listen to Getty’s music: https://gordongetty.com/


Alumni Award Winners

USF alumni are changing the world with education, innovation, and passion. In addition to Alumnus of the Year Gordon Getty, these five were honored for their service to the university and the public good.

Doris Cheng JD ’98, an attorney who has won multimillion-dollar settlements and verdicts on behalf of disabled citizens in California, received the Professional Achievement Award. The award recognizes alumni who have brought distinction to the university through exemplary achievements or service in their professions.

Bill Hollingsworth ’70, former president of USF’s Southern California Alumni Regional Council, was the recipient of the Alessandri Service Award. The award is presented to alumni who have provided excellent service to the university or alumni association.

Aaron Horn EdD ’08, MA ’12 , an author and advocate for black youth growing up in dangerous neighborhoods, received the Edward J. Griffin Award. The award, named for the first dean of the School of Education, recognizes alumni dedicated to the common good.

Carlos Menchaca ’04, an advocate for immigration reform and the first elected Mexican-American on the New York City Council, was awarded the Fr. Privett Living the Mission Award. The award is presented to alumni who are living the mission of USF through their professional or volunteer work.

Kevin Mullin ’92, a California assemblyman, received the Public Service Award, which recognizes alumni who have distinguished themselves in the pursuit of public well-being.