Rose Award for Excellence in Public Service

The Rose Institute Award for Excellence in Public Service (“The Rose Award”) was created to acknowledge an individual or organization for excellence in public service with an emphasis at the state and local level.  As recognizing an entire organization is difficult, on those occasions that the Rose Institute wishes to recognize such an organization, it will acknowledge an individual as a representative of said body for some outstanding project or program for which he or she is responsible.

Recipients of this award demonstrate an enduring commitment to exemplary public service. Honor, integrity, leadership, and a philanthropic spirit are among the characteristics defining these individuals.

April 11, 2019 | Claremont McKenna College

During a career in public life spanning nearly four decades, Zev Yaroslavsky has been at the forefront of Los Angeles County’s biggest issues, including transportation, the environment, health care, and cultural arts.  He has been a pioneering advocate for the region’s homeless population and has played a key role in efforts to reform the county’s law enforcement agencies.

Mr. Yaroslavsky was first elected to office in 1975, stunning the political establishment by winning the Los Angeles City Council’s coveted 5th District seat at the age of 26.  He was chairman of the Council’s Finance Committee and earned a reputation for being unafraid to tackle controversial issues, including the Los Angeles Police Department’s use of excessive force and its improper spying on law-abiding residents.  He authored two landmark ballot initiatives, one which cut in half the size of new commercial developments near residential neighborhoods in the City of L.A., and the other which banned oil drilling along the city’s coastline.

In 1994, Mr. Yaroslavsky was elected to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.  He served five terms as the Board’s Third District representative.  He retired from office on December 1, 2014.  As a member of the Board of Supervisors, Mr. Yaroslavsky quickly emerged as a leader on fiscal, health care, transportation, cultural and environmental matters.  He authored several landmark ballot initiatives:  the 1996 park bond, which resulted in the preservation of a broad swath of rural open space and the development of urban parks throughout the county, and the 2002 trauma tax, approved by more than 73% of county voters—a measure credited with saving two public hospitals from closure and keeping the county’s emergency services intact.

Mr. Yaroslavsky was the driving force behind several major transit projects, including the hugely successful Orange Line busway across the San Fernando Valley, the Exposition Light Rail line from downtown to Santa Monica which will be completed at the end of 2015, and the subway—Purple Line—extension from Western Ave. to West Los Angeles which broke ground in 2014.

After the closure of Martin Luther King, Jr. hospital in south Los Angeles, Mr. Yaroslavsky proposed a partnership between the University of California and Los Angeles County upon which the recently re-opened hospital was modeled.  Mr. Yaroslavsky also launched the building of three innovative school-based health clinics in largely working-class neighborhoods where many residents are living below the poverty line and rarely seek medical attention.  He also led the effort to provide permanent supportive housing for thousands of homeless persons who’ve been identified as most likely to die if they remained on county streets.

During his public service career, Mr. Yaroslavsky was the county’s leader in the cultural arts.  The Los Angeles Times said of him before he retired, “It would be hard to find another major politician anywhere in the entire country with Yaroslavsky’s record for outright arts support and achievement.” He championed efforts to rebuild and modernize the world famous Hollywood Bowl amphitheater and was instrumental in the development of architect Frank Gehry’s iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall, home of the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra.  He has also funded major investments in the County Museum of Art, the Museum of Natural History and the San Fernando Valley Performing Arts Center.

Mr. Yaroslavsky is also credited with playing a leading role in the sweeping reforms of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.  He is responsible for the creation of the Citizen’s Commission on Jail Violence in 2011 which recommended dozens of measures to restore constitutional policing and integrity to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and its jails.

Apart from his responsibilities as an elected official, Mr. Yaroslavsky has long been associated with the National Democratic Institute (NDI), a non-governmental organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., that promotes the development of democratic institutions in burgeoning democracies.  He has monitored five elections for NDI:  Romania (1990), Mexico (2000), Ukraine (2004), and Nigeria (2011 & 2015).  He has conducted seminars on local government finance and democratic institution-building in Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and Bosnia/Herzegovina.

Mr. Yaroslavsky is currently the Director of the Los Angeles Initiative at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and the Department of History, focusing on the intersection of policy, politics and history of the Los Angeles region.

Mr. Yaroslavsky was born and raised in Los Angeles and earned an M.A. in British Imperial History and a B.A. in Economics and History, both from UCLA.  He is a graduate of Fairfax High School in Los Angeles.


November 18, 2016 | Los Angeles

Dr. Jane G. Pisano is President of the Board of Trustees of the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation and chairs the Foundation’s Committee on Research and Grants. During her distinguished career, she has served as president and director of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

She is former Dean of the School of Public Administration and Senior Vice President of External Relations at the University of Southern California. Her teaching career began in 1972 at the School of Foreign Service and the Department of Government at Georgetown University.

Outside the classroom, Dr. Pisano served as a White House Fellow (1976-1977) for national security affairs at the National Security Counci. In 1991, she was elected to the National Academy of Public Administration, where she formerly served as chairman of the board. Dr. Pisano also was named president of the Los Angeles bicentennial committee (LA 2000), president of the Los Angeles 2000 Committee and the 2000 Partnership. She was director of Olympic Programs at Times Mirror Company. She has been active on many boards, including services as chairman of the board of the California Community Foundation. She was recently elected vice president of ASPA, the American Society of Public Administration and will become the administration’s president in 2018.

Dr. Pisano holds a B.A. in political science from Stanford University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in international relations form the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

Dr. Pisano received the Rose Institute Award in a luncheon presentation on Friday, November 18, at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles in front of friends and family and delivered a wonderful acceptance speech.

March 28, 2014 | Sacramento

On Friday, March 28, the Rose Institute of State and Local Government presented the Rose Award for Excellence in Public Service to Kirk West at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel.

Kirk West’s career in the California government was long and storied. He has been the Chief Deputy State Controller, Under Deputy Director of the Department of Finance, and Secretary of Business, Transportation, and Housing, where he was responsible for 33,000 employees and a $3 billion budget. Mr. West also spent many years in public advocacy, leading the California Chamber of Commerce in its activities as President and Chief Executive Officer for twelve years. Other distinguishing highlights of his career include Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the California Taxpayers Association for eight years and Chairman of Goddard Claussen Porter Novelli, a leading public affairs and advertising firm. Since his retirement in 2003, Mr. West has been working as a public affairs consultant in Granite Bay, California. Mr. West is known for his longtime advocacy of California businesses through his actions fighting for California’s job market and supporting education, transportation, and water program initiatives.

The award luncheon began with a reception at 11:30 A.M., followed by lunch at noon, with the presentation of the award and remarks. Rose Institute Board chair Darryl Wold ’63 and Rose Institute director Andrew Busch, CMC’s Crown Professor of Government and George R. Roberts Fellow, gave the welcome speech. Claremont McKenna College President Hiram Chodosh then made opening remarks, noting the hard work, dedication, and stellar example of leadership that Mr. West presents. President Chodosh also recognized the students in the room, encouraging all professionals to share their business cards with students to encourage the next generation of leaders in public service.

A committee of Sacramento notables and Rose Institute staff presented the award, with the award luncheon featuring former California Governors George Deukmejian, Pete Wilson, and Gray Davis on the Honorary Host Committee. In his acceptance speech, Mr. West reminisced about his time in California government, touching on the highlights of his career and presenting a prognosis of California and national politics in the future.

March 25, 2012 | Pasadena

Ray Remy (CMC’59) was awarded the 2012 Rose Institute Award for Excellence in Public Service at a reception held at David and Katherin Mgrublian’s home in Pasadena on Saturday, March 25th. Dinner conversation was shared between Remy’s friends, family, co-workers, and affiliates of the Rose Institute. After the last chocolate mousse was served, Dr. Andrew Busch, Director of the Rose Institute, introduced the speakers for the evening. David Mgrublian ’82, one of Ray Remy’s close acquaintances, and fellow board members, talked about the commonplace yet unrecognized aspects of Remy’s contributions to Southern California, such as water regulation and road construction in Southern California.

After Mgrublian’s warm and personal tribute, Pamela Gann, the President of Claremont McKenna College, shared her positive experiences working with Remy on Claremont McKenna’s Board of Trustees and then offered sincere gratitude on behalf of CMC. Darryl Wold ’63, the Chairman of the Board of Governor’s noted how the Rose Institute directly benefited from Remy’s leadership on the Board of Governor’s; yet he also acknowledged how Remy’s influence extends beyond the Claremont Colleges. Remy has served as a Deputy Mayor of the City of Los Angeles, the President of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Director of the Employment Development Office. After mentioning just a few of Remy’s positions, Wold then presented the award and allowed Remy to offer an acceptance speech after the proud applause died down.

In accordance with Remy’s selfless spirit, he dedicated the length of his acceptance speech to recognizing other public servants seated around the large room. Remy shared his impression of other powerful leaders and then stressed the importance of exciting today’s youth to pursue roles in local government. At the end of his moving speech, Remy was met with a standing ovation.

In honor of Remy’s dedication to higher education and service to local and state government, the Rose Institute has created the Ray Remy Student Research Fund to support research projects at the institute.

About Ray Remy

Ray Remy is known for his years of service in government and the private sector, serving as deputy mayor of the City of Los Angeles, and chief of staff for former mayor Tom Bradley, as director of the State Employment Development Department, as a board member of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, as a member of the State’s Fair Political Practices Commission, as executive director of the Southern California Association of Governments, and as president of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. He also served on the boards of numerous nonprofit organizations and academic institutions and has received a commensurate number of awards for his service in those capacities.

Mr. Remy is also known for his commitment to Claremont McKenna College: as a member of the Board of Trustees from 1987 to 2010 and now as a life member; as a long-time member of the Board of Governors of the Rose Institute; as a member of the Board of Directors of the CMC Alumni Association; for his role as a mentor to numerous CMC students; and as a vocal advocate and supporter of the College.

He is a 1959 graduate of CMC, cum laude, and he and his wife Sandra live in South Pasadena.

April 17, 2010| Indian Wells

Richard OliphantIn selecting Mr. Oliphant for the award, the Rose Institute noted his many contributions to the economic development of the Coachella Valley (CV), as well as his extensive community service and generous philanthropy.

A native of Iowa, Dick Oliphant attended the University of Iowa before launching a career in real estate development and construction in Arizona and Southern California. He moved to the CV in 1962 and over the past five decades has greatly contributed to the region’s economic growth.

Oliphant Enterprises, Inc., has been responsible for the development and construction of some of CV’s most prominent residential, commercial, and recreational properties. Some of Mr. Oliphant most notable projects include the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the Classic Club in Palm Desert, and Palm City (California’s first retirement community, now known as the Palm Desert Resort County Club).

Mr. Oliphant has also served the City of Indian Wells for two years as a planning commissioner, six years as city councilman, two years as vice mayor, and eight years as mayor.

Among his many other community activities, Mr. Oliphant helped found the Coachella Valley Economic Development Conference, the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership, the Palm Springs Desert Resorts Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Lincoln Club of the Coachella Valley. He has also served as president of the Indian Wells Rotary Club and the Coachella Valley Boy Scouts of America.

Mr. Oliphant has also made lasting contributions to higher learning in the region through his long-term service as a member of the CSU San Bernardino Advisory Board, as well as his work as co-chair of fundraising for the public/private partnership that has built facilities for the new Palm Desert campus of CSUSB.

Over the years, Mr. Oliphant has received numerous awards for his service. Among other honors, he has been inducted into the Building Industry Association Hall of Fame, named a Fellow at UC Riverside, and presented an honorary doctorate by CSU.

April 24, 2008 | Sacramento

The Rose Institute celebrated the 35th anniversary of its founding with a reception and luncheon on Thursday, April 24 at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento.

The program featured the inaugural presentation of the Rose Institute Award for Excellence in Public Service to Elizabeth Hill, Legislative Analyst for the state of California.

“Ms. Hill represents the finest attributes of a true public servant and one of the most outstanding members of the public administration community in the nation. She has been nationally recognized by a number of organizations such as the National Academy for Public Administration; and by the magazine Governance, considering her to be one of the best in the nation. Her work with the Legislature and the various administrations in Sacramento has earned her enormous respects as a public servant who puts interests of the public in the development of public policy as her first priority. Her year-after-year in-depth analysis of fiscal issues and major policy questions have earned her the fear and respect of all elements of state and local government.” – Ray Remy’59