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2011 HHM Public Policy Conference Closing Luncheon--Awards

CHCI's Distinguished Alumnus and Excellence in Service Awards 
Presented on September 13



Orson Aguilar

Orson Aguilar
Executive Director
The Greenlining Institute

2011 Distinguished Alumnus Medallion of Excellence

Orson Aguilar is part of the new wave of civil rights and community leaders focused on ensuring that the American Dream remains accessible to all Americans.  After completing his undergraduate degree in psychology from UC Santa Cruz, Aguilar was accepted into the 1996-97 CHCI Public Policy Fellows class, where he was inspired to complete his Master of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. 

After graduate school, Orson entered the Greenlining Institute Leadership Academy, which became a turning point in his career.  Impressed by Greenlining’s holistic approach to advocacy, Augilar joined the organization full-time as Program Manager.  In 2009, Aguilar was unanimously selected by the Institute’s board to replace the founding executive director—a prestigious honor—and lead the organization into a new era.  In his role as executive director, he has become a nationally recognized advocate for communities of color on issues such as the environment, community reinvestment, philanthropy, and leadership development. He is a widely sought after consultant on these issues that not only affect Latinos, but the entire nation.

Orson’s entire career has been devoted to community service, which is one of the facets of CHCI’s Fellowship programs—instilling the responsibility to give back to the community.  Outside of his work at Greenlining, he serves on other boards and commissions that help make positive social change.  A tireless activist and inspiring leader, Aguilar continues to be committed to making positive social change, and continues to be an exemplary role model for future CHCI Alumni.


Chris Weitz:  Photo by Dave Roker

Christopher J. Weitz Writer/Director

Photo:  David Roker

2011 Excellence in Service Award

In honor of his enduring excellence in filmmaking, his passion to give voice to the Latino American Dream, and his efforts to create positive change through the arts, CHCI recognizes Writer/Director Chris Weitz with its Excellence in Service Award.  Weitz most recently directed A Better Life, a poignant, multi-generational story about a father’s love and everything a parent will sacrifice to build a better life for his child, which Summit Entertainment released on June 24, 2011.

Weitz previously directed New Moon, based on the second novel in the best-selling Twilight series, which has grossed over $700 million worldwide.  He also adapted, and directed, the Oscar-winning epic fantasy adventure The Golden Compass.  Based on Philip Pullman’s best-selling and award-winning first novel in the His Dark Materials trilogy, The Golden Compass was released by New Line Cinema and has grossed over $350 million worldwide.

Weitz previously co-directed, with his brother, Paul, the award-winning hit film About a Boy, adapting the screenplay from the Nick Hornby novel.  The screenplay received an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay, as well as similar nominations from BAFTA, Writers Guild, Chicago Film Critics and Humanitas; the film was named one of AFI's Movies of the Year and was nominated for the Golden Globe award for Best Comedy, winning Best Studio Comedy Feature at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.

In 1999, Weitz and his brother formed Depth of Field, their Los Angeles-based production company through which he and Paul produced the critically acclaimed film, In Good Company; the comedy American Dreamz, starring Hugh Grant and Dennis Quaid; the hit romantic comedy, Nick & Norah’s Playlist, starring Michael Cera and Kat Dennings; and Tom Ford’s award-winning drama A Single Man, starring Colin Firth and Julianne Moore.