The Caltech Distinguished Alumni Award


The Distinguished Alumni Awards honors California Institute of Technology graduates for their noteworthy achievements throughout their careers.   Caltech has recognized 256 alumni in Science, Engineering, Business, and the Arts since it began presenting this award in 1966.

The nomination period closes on Wednesday, August 23, 2017.


A living alumnus or alumna who has attained any degree (B.S., M.S., Engineer's Degree, or Ph.D.) at Caltech may be considered for this award. 

Graduates who currently are on the faculty or staff of Caltech are not eligible, with the exception of those who have achieved the rank of Professor Emeritus. Awarding the DAA to a retired Caltech faculty or staff member has been and is expected to continue to be a rare occurrence. Sitting members of Caltech’s Board of Trustees are not eligible until they have achieved the rank of Life Trustee.

Selection Process

Selections are made by the president of Caltech based on recommendations from a committee comprising faculty, staff, and alumni. The president’s recommendations are confirmed by the Board of Trustees.

Submitting a Nomination

A narrative nomination letter helps the nomination committee understand the out of the ordinary, remarkable, and distinctive achievements of your nominee. We urge you to write a narrative nomination letter highlighting the achievements of your nominee as it relates to the award criteria. Anonymous submissions are not accepted.

IMPORTANT: Please note the information you submit in your nomination is critical to its success. It is important that you clearly describe how this alumna/us fits the Distinguished Alumni Award criteria of having one of the following: "a particular achievement of noteworthy value, a series of such achievements, or a career of noteworthy accomplishment."

Including letters in support of your nomination, along with a curriculum vitae, list of publications, patents, reprints of newspaper articles, articles from technical journals, and any other relevant information demonstrating the achievements and accomplishments of your nominee are helpful, but a compelling narrative nomination letter is vital.

Before you begin: Please be sure to have all of the materials supporting your nomination available on your computer in PDF, Microsoft Word, or JPG format.

Self nominations are not accepted.