The recipients of this year’s Antioch University Los Angeles (AULA) Alumni Awards include an award-winning poet and author; an educator who developed an innovative school garden program that integrates environmental awareness and the performing arts; and a psychologist who helped to create one of the seminal classes in Clinical Psychology. The three will be honored at an October 22 luncheon at the Marina City Club in Marina del Rey, CA.
“The three Alumni Award honorees this year have an impressive history of living and enacting the values at the core of an Antioch education,” said AULA Provost Mark Hower, PhD. “The entire Antioch Community is joined in celebration and draws inspiration from the dedicated service of the honorees and their accomplishments in promoting a society that works for all.”
Gayle Brandeis will receive the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award. Brandeis is an author and award-winning poet. Gayle is an acclaimed author and poet whose novels include The Book of Dead Birds, which won Barbara Kingsolver’s Bellwether Prize for Fiction of Social Engagement; Self Storage; Delta Girls; and My Life with the Lincolns, which received a Silver Nautilus Book Award and was chosen as a statewide read in Wisconsin. Other notable works include Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write and The Selfless Bliss of the Body, a poetry collection recently released by Finishing Line Press. Her poetry, essays, and short fiction have received many honors, including a Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Award and a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2016. Her memoir, The Art of Misdiagnosis: Surviving My Mother’s Suicide, will be published this November. Gayle received her MFA from Antioch University in 2001.
Daryl Bilandzija is the recipient of the 2017 AULA Alumni Association Award for Exemplary Community Service and Activism. Daryl has spent his career as an educator creating curriculum that, like the real world, is interdisciplinary and dynamic. He was featured in the book American Teacher: Heroes in the Classroom and earned a national innovative teaching award in 2012 for a nature-based learning project he created that fused English, history, theatre, science, and gardening into a fully integrated program at Odyssey Charter School. The program included the conversion of a half-acre of the campus into an edible schoolyard, complete with an outdoor theatre stage where Daryl pioneered and directed the school’s first-ever theatre shows. A 2013 graduate of AULA’s MA in Urban Sustainability program, Daryl is currently an English teacher at La Cañada High School.
Roger Ford is the recipient of the 2017 AULA Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Service to the University. After a distinguished career in corporate America and as a consultant, Roger returned to graduate school in his 50s. He made his impact at AULA by actively promoting the establishment of Clinical Psychology’s foundation class “Society and the Individual,” a course in inclusion and diversity raising awareness and sensitivity to one’s impact on others and society overall. After graduation Roger excelled as an adjunct faculty member in the Psychology Department. As the Community Coordinator for the Bridge Program, he has established strategic partnerships with the diverse communities of Los Angeles and helped build the program by recruiting from those communities. He works closely with other Bridge staff to provide support and direction for Bridge alumni. He also collaborates with volunteers to organize community events and support networks for Bridge recruits, alumni, and community partners. Roger is a 1994 graduate of the MA in Psychology program.
Brandeis, Bilandzija and Ford will be honored on Sunday, October 22, 2017, at the 2017 AULA Distinguished Alumni Awards luncheon and reunion at the Marina City Club in Marina del Rey, CA.