Carnegie Corporation names two UCLA professors “Great Immigrants”

Dr. Antoni Ribas is director of the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center's tumor immunology program and president of the American Association for Cancer Research.

The Carnegie Corporation of New York named two UCLA professors, Dr. Antoni Ribas and Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, “Great Immigrants” as part of a selected group of naturalized citizens who have made notable contributions to the progress of American society.

Launched in 2006, the Great Immigrants Initiative has honored more than 500 exemplary naturalized U.S. citizens. For 2018, the honorees represent 30 different countries of origin, a range of personal immigration experiences, and high-level leadership in numerous fields. Each honoree is united through their experience of becoming Americans.

Dr. Antoni Ribas

Past honorees include chef and humanitarian José Andrés, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Johns Hopkins University president Ron Daniels, designer Diane von Furstenberg, numerous Nobel Prize winners, entrepreneurs, judges, politicians, entertainers, and athletes.

"I am deeply honored and humbled to join this extraordinary roster of immigrant Americans,” said Suárez-Orozco, who leads the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. At a time when immigrants are dehumanized and scapegoated for all kinds of chagrins, all citizens of good will would do well to reflect on how 'Great Americans' then and now, have shaped and re-shaped American culture and society. Today, we have better science, better literature, better music, better cuisine, better theater, better film, and so much more thanks to the last 150 years of immigration."

”This recognition represents being part of the new generation of immigrants joining the confluence of cultures that has made America a great country. Immigrants not only increase diversity, but also bring in new inquisitive minds and energy to society,” said Ribas, professor in medicine at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. “It is a proud moment to be recognized for enriching America through work that this country has enabled me to do here.”

Dr. Antoni Ribas

Ribas, director of the tumor immunology program at UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and member of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA, grew up in Barcelona, Spain, where he attended medical school and completed his residency before coming to UCLA. Now, more than 20 years later, the physician-scientist has made UCLA his second home and has helped lead the development of new therapies for malignant melanoma, for which few effective therapies exist.

His research focuses on understanding how the immune system can be effectively used to fight cancer in order to develop more effective and less toxic therapies for people with cancer. Focusing on unleashing an immune response to cancer, his laboratory research has demonstrated significant advancements in the treatment of the aggressive skin cancer melanoma and he continues to develop new immunotherapies for this disease.

Ribas is also the director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Center at UCLA, which brings together the nation’s leading cancer centers to maximize the potential of cancer immunotherapy research by building strong collaborations between researchers, nonprofits and the industry, who are all working together to get new treatments to patients faster.

Marcelo Suárez-Orozco

Wasserman Dean Suárez-Orozco, a native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, heads the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, where he leads two academic departments, 16 nationally renowned research institutes, a ground-breaking teacher preparation program and two innovative community schools. His research focuses on cultural psychology and psychological anthropology, with an emphasis on mass migration, globalization, and education. Upon arriving at UCLA in 2012, he founded the Institute for Immigrant Children, Youth, and Families, which he co-directs with Carola Suárez-Orozco, UCLA Ed & IS professor of education. He is also co-founder of Re-Imagining Migration, a project that studies the lives of migrant children and youth and their multiple identities throughout their emotional, academic, and civic growth.

Suárez-Orozco arrived in the United States at 17 from Buenos Aires, and attended a community college before transferring to the University of California, Berkeley, where he completed his undergraduate degree and obtained his Ph.D.

In 2004, Dean Suárez-Orozco was elected to the National Academy of Education, and in 2006, was awarded the Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle Mexico’s highest honor to a foreign national. He has served as special advisor for education, peace, and justice to the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague and authored briefs for the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Pope Francis’ main scientific advisory board.

In 2014, Suárez-Orozco was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and appointed as the inaugural Wasserman Dean of Education & Information Studies. Earlier this year, Pope Francis appointed Suárez-Orozco as an Academician of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.