NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The Yale Athletic Department honored the 2017 recipients of the George H.W. Bush '48 Lifetime of Leadership Awards at the gala Blue Leadership Bash on Friday night at the William K. Lanman Center inside Payne Whitney Gym. The Class of 2017 Bush Award winners were Abigail Disney '82, Dick Jauron '73, Carole M. Stanyer '78, Geoff Tabin '78 and Joe Tsai '86. The five former Yale athletes were selected for the BLB awards based on their examples of leadership since graduation.
Disney, who played volleyball at Yale, is an Academy Award nominated filmmaker, philanthropist, and the CEO and president of Fork Films. Disney's longtime passion for women's issues and peace building culminated in producing her first film, Pray the Devil Back to Hell (winner, Best Documentary Feature, Tribeca Film Festival 2008). She then executive produced the five-part PBS series, Women, War & Peace. Her executive producing and producing credits include Fork Films supported films 1971, Citizen Koch, Family Affair, The Invisible War (2012 Academy Award Nominee, Best Documentary Feature), Return and Sun Come Up (2011 Academy Award Nominee, Best Documentary Short).
Her most recent projects include Fork Films original productions The Trials of Spring, which she executive produced, and The Armor of Light, her directorial debut.
In addition, Disney and her husband, Pierre Hauser, created The Daphne Foundation in 1991 in order to fund programs that confront the causes and consequences of poverty in the five boroughs of New York City. In 2008, Disney launched Peace is Loud, a nonprofit organization that inspires action through media and live events that spotlight women leaders on the frontlines of peacebuilding worldwide. The organization's mission is to generate a groundswell of people committed to building a culture of peace.
Jauron, who played football and baseball for the Bulldogs, enjoyed a very successful playing and coaching career in the NFL following graduation. He was selected in the fourth round of the 1973 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions and also was drafted as a shortstop by baseball's St. Louis Cardinals in the 25th round of the 1973 MLB Draft.
Jauron chose football and spent 34 years in the NFL as a coach and player. He started at free safety as a rookie for the Lions and was named to the 1974 Pro Bowl in his second season after leading the NFC in punt return average. Jauron played with the Lions for five seasons (1973–1977) and the Cincinnati Bengals for three seasons (1978–1980). He finished his playing career with 25 interceptions and two touchdowns.
Jauron became the head coach of the Chicago Bears in 1999. In 2001, he guided the Bears to a 13-3 overall record and an NFC Central title, while being named Associated Press Coach of the Year. He later spent four seasons as the head coach of the Buffalo Bills.
At Yale, Jauron was a three-time All-Ivy First Team selection in an era when freshmen were barred from playing varsity football, and a First-Team All-America selection as a senior. He also earned All-Ivy honors in his senior year with the baseball team while serving as captain.
Jauron won the 1972 Asa S. Bushnell Award as Ivy League Player of the Year in football. He is the only athlete to be in the College Football Hall of Fame, win the Bushnell Award, and claim selection as a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete. In 1973, Jauron won the William Neely Mallory Award, the most prestigious athletic award given to a senior male at Yale.
Stanyar played volleyball, basketball and softball at Yale and is presently one of Michigan's most celebrated trial and appellate attorneys. She was awarded the "Champion of Justice Award" by the Michigan State Bar for an extraordinary professional accomplishment that benefits the nation. In 2015, she was counsel to the successful plaintiffs in DeBoer v. Snyder where the United States Supreme Court declared marriage a fundamental right for same-sex couples and outlawed marriage bans nationwide as unconstitutional.
Among her most prominent cases are an appearance before the U.S. Supreme Court on fourth amendment search and seizure issues (Michigan v Chesternut) and the defense of a police officer accused of murder in the line of duty (People v Walter Budzyn). In addition, she has done groundbreaking work in defending abuse victims and victims suffering from post-partum psychosis.
Stanyar has shown deep commitment to public service, serving as a child advocate and working with groups in Michigan and elsewhere which focus on the prevention of discrimination.
At Yale, Stanyar graduated as the second leading scorer in the women's basketball program's history. She was the first captain of the volleyball team in 1978 and played softball in 1977 and 1978 as a club sport before it achieved varsity status. She hit the first home run in team history.
Tabin captained the men's tennis team at Yale in 1977 and 1978 and was a Marshall Scholar. He is the co-founder and chairman of the Himalayan Cataract Project, which works to eradicate preventable and curable blindness in the developing world with a steadfast commitment to training local providers and working with partners to leverage impact.
Tabin is a Professor of Ophthalmology and Global Medicine at Stanford University. Previously, he had served as a professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and Director of International Ophthalmology at the John A. Moran Eye Center and University of Utah.
Dr. Tabin is the fourth person in the world to reach the tallest peak on each of the seven continents. His passion for mountain climbing directed him to his professional career in eye care. After summiting Mt. Everest on one of his expeditions, he came across a Dutch team performing cataract surgery on a woman who had been needlessly blind for three years. It was then he understood his life calling.
Tabin and Nepalese eye surgeon Dr. Sanduk Ruit established the Himalayan Cataract Project in 1995 – with a vow to work to eliminate all preventable and treatable blindness from the Himalayan region in their lifetime. Dr. Ruit, whom the Associated Press heralded as the "god of sight" to the world's poor, and Tabin have proven that hospital quality standards can be applied in impoverished areas devoid of electricity and clean water. Their successful approach to restoring sight and dogged perseverance has made possible what 20 years ago seemed impossible.
The Himalayan Cataract Project has since expanded beyond the Himalayas to encompass Sub-Saharan Africa as well. Dr. Tabin spends a considerable part of the year working abroad throughout the Himalayas and Sub-Saharan Africa.
In addition, Tabin, along with other members of the Oxford Dangerous Sports Club, invented bungee jumping.
Tsai walked on to the men's lacrosse team during his time at Yale, an experience he has called the best of his life.
He later helped co-found Alibaba, China's - and by some measures the world's - biggest online commerce company. He joined Alibaba.com Limited in 1999, led negotiations in the company's early funding rounds and spearheaded the establishment of the Hong Kong headquarters.
In addition, Tsai was the key driver behind several landmark transactions in the company's history, including the $7.6 billion repurchase of shares from Yahoo and related restructuring in 2012.
Tsai is currently vice chairman and cofounder of Alibaba Group, and ranks as its second-largest individual shareholder after chairman Jack Ma. Alibaba's revenue in the 12 months ending in March 2017 rose by 56% to $23 billion.
From 1995 to 1999, Tsai worked in Hong Kong with Investor AB, the main investment vehicle of Sweden's Wallenberg family, where he was responsible for Asian private equity investments. Prior to that, he was vice president and general counsel of Rosecliff, Inc., a management buyout firm based in New York. From 1990 to 1993, Tsai was an associate attorney in the tax group of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, a New York-based international law firm.
Tsai, who serves on the boards of directors of several of Alibaba's investee companies, hasn't lost his passion for lacrosse. He is the owner of the expansion San Diego franchise in the National Lacrosse League, the largest professional indoor lacrosse league in the world. The team will begin play in November of 2018.
Tsai also has remained active in the Yale community. He made the lead gift in 2014 to endow the Yale men's lacrosse team and has generously supported other programs at Yale, including the Yale China Law Center, the Yale Law School, and the Department of Computer Science.
At the event Friday night the Bulldogs also honored Director of Athletics Tom Beckett, who has announced that he is retiring in June 2018 after 24 years at Yale.