Five Order of Pacific honorees to be recognized at commencement

University of the Pacific has selected five of its most impactful leaders and teachers to receive the Order of Pacific, the university’s highest honor.

University of the Pacific has selected five of its most impactful leaders and teachers to receive the Order of Pacific, the university’s highest honor.

The award, which began more than 70 years ago, recognizes faculty, staff and regents who have made a significant contribution to the university over many years. Recipients will be honored at the May 11 commencement ceremony.

The 2024 Order of Pacific honorees are:

  • Virginia Chan, former regent
  • Peg Ciccolella, professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Sciences
  • Eve Cuny, professor and executive associate dean at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry
  • Cindy Lyon, professor and associate dean for oral health education at the Dugoni School
  • Allen Wong, professor and program director for Advanced Education in General Dentistry at the Dugoni School


Virginia Chan

Virginia Chan

Virginia Chan ’77

Chan’s generosity has had a transformative impact across Pacific’s three campuses for more than 40 years. Gifts from Virginia Chan and her husband, Regent Tony Chan, have supported numerous learning and residential spaces and created scholarships.

A 1977 graduate of the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy, Chan also served on the Board of Regents for three terms, completing her final term in 2023 after nine years.

“Virginia Chan embodies the Pacific spirit of service,” said President Christopher Callahan. “I am deeply grateful for her leadership over the years, from serving as co-chair of our hugely successful Leading with Purpose campaign to providing immeasurable guidance as a regent. Her immense contributions have made a meaningful difference in the lives of our students.”

Chan is a member of the 1851 Society, which acknowledges the university’s most generous donors.

In 2023, the Chans were awarded the university’s highest alumni honor, the Medallion of Excellence. They also received the Outstanding Family Award from the Pacific Alumni Association in 2016. Twelve family members have attended Pacific, including their two children Jonathan ’09 and Megan ’13.

Chan is the former president of Covina Pharmacy and successfully operates 16 community pharmacies with her husband.

“Virginia never missed an opportunity to show extra care and kindness to her patients,” Regent Consuelo Callahan ’75 wrote in her nomination letter. “She had a loyal following of patients because she always made her patients feel special and ensured that their medical needs were met.”

Peg Ciccolella

Peg Ciccolella

Peg Ciccolella

From creating new academic programs to driving gender equity in athletics to championing change in student life, Ciccolella has had a monumental impact across the university.

“In a nearly 40-year career at Pacific, Peg’s contributions have extended significantly beyond the expectations of her position; she has enriched the life of the university,” said Mark Van Ness, professor and chair of health and exercise sciences. “Peg is a faithful and dedicated teacher, mentor, leader and servant.”

Ciccolella joined Pacific in 1985. During her time at Pacific, she has designed degrees in health and exercise science as well as public health and community wellness.

Her background in law (she earned a law degree in 1993) has also helped drive the Pacific Legal Scholars and pre-law program in College of the Pacific.

As a member of the Athletics Advisory Board and former athletic director and coach at two different colleges, Ciccolella was a driving force in changing how Pacific compensates its women coaches and how women’s sports teams are served.

In 2009, she chaired a program review of Pacific Recreation, leading to several substantial improvements. Her dedication to students over the years earned her Student Life’s highest honor, the Judith Chambers Excellence in Student Life Award.

She also has served on numerous committees, including chair of Academic Council.

She has received the Spanos Award for Distinguished Teaching, Athletic Training Recognition Award and Women of Distinction award, among others.

Eve Cuny

Eve Cuny

Eve Cuny

One of the country’s leading infection control experts, Cuny has been educating students at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry since 1984.

She helped develop the Dugoni School’s Personalized Instruction Program, which provides students an opportunity to work with a mentor on a special-interest project. She also has worked closely with students to organize annual global service-learning trips to Jamaica, the Philippines, Mexico and other locations.

“Professor Cuny exemplifies the humanistic approach we value so much at the Dugoni School,” said Professor Cindy Lyon, associate dean for oral health education. “She’s one of our best role models for life-long learning, servant leadership, evidence-based problem solving and global citizenship.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Cuny led COVID-19 vaccine clinics on the San Francisco campus and for the community. She also became the Dugoni School’s first female executive associate dean in 2020.

Cindy Lyon

Cindy Lyon

Cindy Lyon ’86, ’09

Lyon began teaching at the Dugoni School in 2001 and was founding director of the school’s dental hygiene program from 2002-07.

She began working in the field as a dental assistant in 1974 and eventually went on to earn her DDS degree from Dugoni in 1986. She also earned a doctorate in education from Pacific’s Benerd College in 2009.

The impact of her leadership has had a marked difference on the dental school, especially during the pandemic.

“Cindy worked tirelessly to ensure our students received the same high level of education when programming was completely remote due to local health orders,” said Dean and Vice Provost Nader Nadershahi. “Her ability to quickly process information, determine the best course of action and implement effective interventions was truly invaluable during that challenging time.”

Lyon also is a prolific researcher, authoring 17 peer-reviewed publications and written two book chapters, among other publications.

She received the Dugoni School Alumni Association’s highest award, the Medallion of Distinction in 2019 for her significant contributions to the school and dentistry profession.

Allen Wong

Allen Wong

Allen Wong ’83, ’86, ’09

Described by colleagues as a “Pacifican through and through,” Wong has been part of the Pacific community for more than 40 years.

He graduated from College of the Pacific in 1983, earned his dental degree from the Dugoni School in 1986 and completed his residency in the school’s Sacramento program in 1987 before joining the faculty the same year. He later earned a Doctor of Education degree from Pacific’s Benerd College in 2009.

One of his most impactful roles was as program director of the Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency program, which he took over in 2012.

“Dr. Wong brought to the program a humanistic compassion for underserved patients, a broad knowledge of the care of patients with special needs and an incredible work ethic,” said Paul Subar, chair of the Department of Diagnostic Sciences, adding that “he is incredibly supportive of the students fortunate to have crossed his path, educating and inspiring hundreds of students along the way.”

As part of his deep commitment to service, Wong has supervised students providing care on global missions to Fiji, served as a Global Clinical Advisor for the Special Olympics Special Smiles program and was instrumental in spearheading COVID-19 vaccination distributions for hundreds of developmentally and physically disabled people during the pandemic.

Among his numerous awards, he received the American Dental Association’s Humanitarian Dentist recognition in 2011 and was awarded the Medallion of Distinction from the Dugoni School in 2022.