Mary Lowther Ranney Distinguished Alumna Award

Each year a Distinguished Alumna is nominated by fellow alumnae to be honored at the annual alumnae luncheon. The first recipients were chosen in 1988 and were two members of the Westridge student body from its founding in 1913. The citation for the award reads: 

To honor Mary Lowther Ranney the award is given annually by Westridge School to an alumna whose life embodies the spirit of the Westridge motto, Surgere Tentamus, and who, by her commitment to her chosen path, her dedication to lifelong growth and learning, and her habits of heart, mind, and action is an example and inspiration to the Westridge community.

Above: 2020 Mary Lowther Ranney Distinguished Alumna Award Recipient Jinko Gotoh '75

About our 2020 Mary Lowther Ranney Distinguished Alumna Award Recipient

Jinko Gotoh ’75 is one of the film industry’s most sought-after animation producers and consultants.

Her career began on Warner Bros.’ Space Jam, after which she moved to Disney Feature Animation. There, as director of digital production, she oversaw the inevitable move to CGI animation and its extensive application on such features as Dinosaur and Fantasia 2000 and, later, on Pixar’s Finding Nemo for which she served as associate producer.

She is currently producing Escape from Hat for Netflix. Her other producing screen credits include 2020 Oscar-nominated Klaus, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, The Little Prince, The Illusionist, and 9.

Jinko serves as vice president for Women in Animation, an advocacy organization to advance women and people of diversity in the industry. She is co-president of The Symphonic Jazz Orchestra, bringing essential musical education to children in underserved Los Angeles neighborhoods. She is also a member of the EC, and an A2020 member of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences, representing diversity. She holds a Bachelor of Science in applied math, and an MFA in film from Columbia University.

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Distinguished Young Alumna Award

The Westridge Distinguished Young Alumna Award was established in 2020 to honor each year a young alumna who has made a meaningful impact in her community and notable strides in her chosen field. The citation for the award reads:

This award is given annually by Westridge School to a young alumna who exhibits excellence, leadership, and agency during her educational and career path, and who continues to serve as a role model and inspiration for Westridge students.

Above: 2020 Distinguished Young Alumna Award Recipient Lauren Yang '09

About our 2020 Distinguished Young Alumna Award Recipient

Lauren Yang '09 (a Westridge lifer!) has forged an interesting career path, founded a non-profit, and earned her MBA. And she is just getting started.

After graduating from Middlebury College with a degree in environmental science and architecture, Lauren took a job as manager of business development at a small food-manufacturing firm. Wanting to understand the business from all aspects, she started on the assembly line trimming raw chicken. Talking with co-workers she discovered that many of their children were struggling in school and she offered to tutor some of their kids. When the demand became too big, she created a non-profit, the Early Bird Tutoring Center, for first generation college-bound students. Six years later, the center has 41 children, ages 3-19, and seven tutors. One former student is now attending college, with special thanks to past tutors Natalie Shum ’09 and Cameron Marsh ’14.

In 2017, Lauren received her MBA from UCLA Anderson, where she was her class commencement speaker and recipient of the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Service. There, she was co-president of the Anderson Basketball Club, which had 180 members, just two of whom were women. After business school, Lauren spent a year working at Capital Group with Jill Peterson Dennis ’94.

She is now back in Pasadena running her non-profit, working at the food manufacturing firm and planning to start her own business in the near future.

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Past Ranney Award Winners

* denotes deceased