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Meet Our Council

Our council members are active ambassadors for Chancellor’s Associates, expanding our network at home and abroad. Through thoughtful leadership, they establish a culture of collaborative philanthropy, to address UC San Diego’s critical priorities and advance Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla’s vision for academic excellence.

David E. Buccigrossi ’79, MD ’84, Chair

David Buccigrossi HeadshotDr. Buccigrossi is board certified in internal medicine and geriatrics, with interests in HIV, Anticoagulation, and Altitude Medicine. His medical school thesis was on acute mountain sickness, doing research in the Himalayas of Nepal in the shadow of Mount Everest.

Past administrative responsibilities at Kaiser Permanente San Diego include Service Line Leader and Physician Director for Quality, Director of Radiology Utilization, Director of Anticoagulation Services and as attending physician for residents on the inpatient medical services. He was a principal investigator in San Diego for the BRIDGE trial.

Twice voted Internist of the Year by his peers at Kaiser Permanente San Diego, he is also a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. 

Nina Bacas ’87, Vice Chair

Nina Bacas

A 3rd generation native San Diegan, The Rev. Nina Bacas is the Rector of St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in Poway. 

Upon Nina’s graduation from UCSD with a double major in Cognitive Science and Computer Science, she worked as an Artificial Intelligence engineer at Northrop Aircraft in Los Angeles and then later at Boeing Helicopters in Philadelphia. While at Boeing, she earned an M.S. in Computer Science from Drexel University. When the couple moved to Texas and started their family, Nina served as Adjunct Faculty in Information Systems at the University of Houston. Upon moving to Arlington, Virginia, Nina volunteered her time at The American Red Cross National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. There she led the Information Technology volunteer group, and she was awarded a Special Citation for Exceptional Volunteer Service at a White House ceremony in 2010.

Several years ago, Nina received a call to ministry in The Episcopal Church. She graduated from Virginia Theological Seminary in 2020 and was ordained that same year. Prior to St. Bart's, Nina served at a bilingual church where her work supported the local Central American immigrant community. 

Nina was the second person in her family tree to go to college and the first woman. She is passionate about helping those in financial need navigate the pathways to an undergraduate university education. Last year, Nina offered her support to UC San Diego by pledging funding for The Nina Liggett Bacas Chancellor’s Associates Scholarship Endowment.

Enrico Bernardo ’96

Enrico Bernardo HeadshotEnrico was born in Cebu, Philippines and moved to Glendale, CA with his family when he was 10 years old. He graduated from UC San Diego in 1996 with a B.S. in Biochemistry & Cell Biology and a Minor in Music Technology. This is where he met his partner, Patty Arraraz ‘96, who also attended Revelle College with the same major. They have 2 children, Enzo (who will be a sophomore in H.S. next year) and Eden (who will start 6th grade in the fall), as well as a 3-year-old terrier/schnauzer mix named "Eliza comma or Ellie for short." They live in San Diego near campus.

Enrico has served as the Vice President of Software Quality Assurance and DevSecOps at American Specialty Health for 7 hears. Before joining ASH, he was the Software QA Director at FICO in their fraud banking department. Prior to that, he was the Software QA Director for Sony Online Entertainment and Sony Network Entertainment, leading the teams who developed the platforms for online gaming and the PlayStation Network.

He is a sucker for anything techie, enjoys playing tennis or distance running, and loves to cook and bake at home. He enjoys traveling with his family, both domestically and internationally, having visited a handful of countries that includes the Philippines, Mexico, France, Russia, Netherlands, England and Scotland. Their next adventure will be exploring countries in Asia.

Starr Culver ’14

Starr Culver

Starr Culver is a Program Manager for the Research Ethics Program at UC San Diego. Prior to that she worked at the Rady School of Management as part of the Student Affairs team. Before finding her home at UC San Diego, she worked in a variety of restaurant and retail jobs, most notably following a family tradition working as a Carhop at a drive-in restaurant in Seattle for many years.

As a returning student, she developed her passion for the student experience at MirCosta Community College. During that time, Starr worked as a student ambassador, doing outreach at local schools and hosting events on campus for middle and high school students. She recognized that by creating opportunities for familiarity and comfort with the college ecosystem some barriers to obtaining a college degree were alleviated.

Starr transferred to UC San Diego in 2012 and graduated magna cum laude with a double major in Study of Religion and International Studies - History. She attended Eleanor Roosevelt College and inspires to emulate her commitment in service of educational transformation. She carriers that mission with her through her work and activities at UC San Diego.

In 2018, Starr worked as a communications intern in Chancellor Khosla’s office. She attended several Chancellor’s Associates Scholars Program events that year and was impressed with not only the monetary support but with the program’s peer-to-peer support that accompanied these scholars. She looks forward to being a part of our scholar’s journey and continued success as a GOLD Chancellor’s Associates council member.

Tom Dillon

DillonTom-Photo.jpgTom Dillon retired as Group Senior Vice President from Science Applications International Corporation after 18 years where he led 15 diverse business units that focused on the company's most advanced technologies and applications. During the Carter and Reagan Administrations, and before relocating to California, he was a presidential appointee responsible for a $4B/year Department of Energy (DoE) civilian nuclear research program. Prior to DoE, Tom was the Deputy Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a 4,000 person National Laboratory operating in Maryland and Colorado.

An active volunteer, Tom has been involved with several UC San Diego councils and boards including the Dean's Advisory Council for UC San Diego Engineering, the Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center Board, and the Dean’s Advisory Board for the UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy. He has also lent his leadership to countless organizations and non-profits including the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, San Diego Science Alliance, Classroom of the Future Foundation, San Diego Zoo, Asian Arts Council of the San Diego Art Museum, and Water for Africa.

Tom received a PhD in Chemistry and Physics from the University of Colorado in 1969 and an AB from Harvard College in 1966. He was born and raised in a suburb of New York City. He and his wife, Carol, have two children: Dan Dillon and Kate Levin, and two grandchildren: Lucas Levin and Stella Dillon.

Charles Hopper 

Hopper Headshot.jpg

Charles Hopper is the Chief Operating Officer for the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

He is an experienced strategy and business operations professional with a passion for growth, community wellness, and helping companies define and achieve clear goals. As a results-driven leader with over 10 years of experience in program development and implementation. Charles’s diverse professional background lends itself to understanding various business segments and that the core strength of any good business is its ability to define values, develop a strategy, and execute its mission.

Prior to Birch Aquarium, Charles served as the senior manager of business operations at the Seattle Aquarium for 15 years, and received a BA in Finance and an MBA in Management from Seattle Pacific University. Charles also served in the United States Air Force, and was a member of the Recording Academy’s Pacific Northwest Chapter, an organization of music professionals dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music.

Kayana Hudson ’22

Kayana Hudson headshot

Kayana Hudson is a UC San Diego Chancellor’s Associates Scholar Program (CASP) alumna from the class of 2022 where she studied Sociology and Cognitive Science. Kayana currently serves as a Fiscal/HR Assistant for the Department of Visual Arts at UC San Diego. As a recent graduate with plans to grow her career in Human Resources, Kayana Hudson embodies a commitment to supporting the success of students, particularly those who, like her, are navigating the challenges of being the first in their families to attend college and pursue untraditional career paths.

During her academic journey at UC San Diego, Kayana actively contributed to CASP as a Lead OASIS Learning Communities Facilitator. In this role, she played a crucial part in assisting first-generation students in navigating campus life, accessing resources and integrating into the university community. Additionally, she gained valuable experience as a student assistant at the Teaching and Learning Commons and Executive Vice Chancellor's office.

Kayana is deeply passionate about creating opportunities for first-generation students to thrive post-graduation, drawing from her own experiences as a first-generation student. Recognizing the unique challenges faced by this demographic, she aspires to leverage her career in human resources to focus on talent acquisition, retention and professional development. Her goal is to contribute actively to the Chancellor's Associates Council as a GOLD member, utilizing her experience to enhance the resources available to CASP scholars.

Sophia Lum '91

Sophia Lum HeadshotDr. Sophia Lum is board certified in Family Medicine. She is a Class of 1991, UC San Diego Revelle College alumna with a General Biology major. Her interest in medicine began when she was a UC San Diego Student Health Advocate, educating peers on nutrition, healthy practices, and women’s health issues. She graduated from the USC Keck School of Medicine and then completed her family practice residency at Kaiser Riverside. After residency, she became a fulltime staff physician for 15 years at Kaiser Carlsbad. Her contributions included being a module team leader in her clinic and she often volunteered to do sport physicals in the community.

Work life balance is important to her. To have enough quality time with her children, she transitioned into a part time role. She enjoyed teaching art to elementary school students as an art master’s mom and later teaching and helping with the Science Olympiad while her kids were in middle and high school. Now that her children are in college, you will find her in her new favorite happy place, her backyard garden, tending to her various succulents and plants. She enjoys nature and the outdoors with her husband, Dr. Wesley Low, also a UC San Diego alumnus.

Together with her family, she has visited over 35 national parks. She and her husband support Chancellor Associates and have been members for over 17 years.

Danielle Valenciano '97, MA '99


As Director of Community Scholarships, Danielle oversees the overall vision, planning and management of the Community Scholarships Program, which annually awards more than $3.5 million to San Diego college students. She works to implement strategic direction, generate new funds and champion the advancement of educational equity for scholarship recipients - the majority of whom are first-generation, low-income and underrepresented.

Danielle started at SDF in May 2011, providing local nonprofit organizations with services and tools to help increase their sustainability, and served as donor manager for more than 300 nonprofit funds.

Danielle earned both her bachelor's master’s degrees in cultural anthropology from the UC San Diego.