2006 marked the inaugural year for the Alumni Association’s special event. On October 24, three individuals—all guardians in their own right—were honored at the Inaugural SPPD Alumni Guardian Awards dinner, held at Town & Gown on the University Park campus.
The honorees—Sheriff Leroy D. Baca, John Bedrosian, and the Honorable Joyce L. Kennard—have served as guardians for USC, Los Angeles and their respective communities through their visionary leadership and professional commitments, according to Jack H. Knott, SPPD’s C. Erwin and Ione L. Piper Dean.
“Plato’s idea of ‘guardians’ speaks to what SPPD works to instill in its graduates: virtue, knowledge, doing good for our communities,” says Knott. “Through their actions and their example, these alumni have honored the school and the university. I am pleased that now, with the Guardian Awards, we in turn were able to honor them.”
The awards were bestowed in three categories. Baca received the award for alumni service; Bedrosian, the award for vision and leadership; and Kennard, for alumni merit.
The SPPD Alumni Association created the event to recognize alumni and friends whose personal and professional achievements advance the mission of the school to help improve public problem solving and to make practical contributions toward the betterment of communities.
Baca holds two degrees from SPPD—an MPA received in 1973 and a Doctor of Public Administration that he earned 20 years later. Since 1998, he has led the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department, where he oversees 15,000 sworn and professional staff.
Bedrosian, who earned his law degree from USC in 1959, serves on the SPPD Board of Councilors. In 2004, he and his wife, Judith, made a gift of $10 million to the school to create the Judith and John Bedrosian Center on Governance and the Public Enterprise. He is the co-founder of Autobytel Inc., the world’s largest Internet car marketing referral service. Prior to founding Autobytel, he was senior executive vice president, director and co-founder of National Medical Enterprises, now called Tenet Healthcare Corp.
Kennard earned a B.A. in German from USC in 1971; three years later, she received an MPA from SPPD and a JD from the USC Gould School of Law. She has served as an associate justice on the California Supreme Court since 1989 and has received dozens of awards for achievement and for her service to California communities.
“All our alumni, students, faculty, friends, and staff are invited to participate in this annual event,” says April Gallegos, SPPD’s director of alumni relations and the event’s producer. “No matter where you’re from, there’s a community here at SPPD.”