Presenting the Distinguished Alumni Awards for 2021

The 2021 Distinguished Alumni Awards, which were held virtually on March 6, honored several extraordinary Gaels for their service to their community as well as to Saint Mary’s. 

Mykah Montgomery MBA ’11 was named Alumna of the Year for her community work in the Bay Area. She is the fourth alumna and first Black woman to win the award. Montgomery is the founder of Mylaan Entertainment and Leaders are Readers, an organization committed to “gifting knowledge” that promotes a love of self and others, a love for community, entrepreneurship, self-betterment, and philanthropy. She received the Jefferson Award for Public Service in recognition of Leaders are Readers’ literacy advocacy efforts.

Stephen Perez ’03, RN, PhD, earned the Meritorious Service Award, which goes to an alum who has exemplified the mission of the College for commitment to service in his or her community or the College. He is a lieutenant in the U.S. Public Health Service and a nurse epidemiologist with the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Transmission, and Molecular Epidemiology team at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As part of the COVID-19 response, Perez was responsible for providing clinical and infection prevention consultations to a variety of programs and response efforts.

The Saint John Baptist de La Salle Award went to David R. Ford, PhD. Ford, who came to Saint Mary’s in 2003, has served as the executive assistant to the past three presidents (Brother Craig Franz, Brother Ronald Gallagher, and James Donahue). His primary role is to support the work of the president, Board of Trustees, and Cabinet. The De La Salle Award goes to a member of the faculty or staff who has, over a period of years, demonstrated a personal commitment to the students of Saint Mary’s above and beyond his/her employee responsibilities.

The Emerging Leader Award recipient is Napala Pratini ’12. In 2019, she co-founded Habitual, a company building digital pre-diabetes and diabetes remission programs. Pratini has raised money from prominent U.K. angel investors as well as leading London venture capitalist funds Seedcamp and MMC. 

The rest of the class consists of Bob Kozlowski ’50 (Golden Gael Award), James Donahue and Jane Purinton (Honorary Alumni), Dayna Chatman ’05, PhD (Signum Fidei Award), and Emily Redfern ’17 (Global Gael Award). —Zack Farmer ’08

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