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UCLA Engineering 2023 Award Recipients

Profile of the Alumnus of the Year

Awards dinner Alumnus of the Year

May 1, 2023

UCLA Samueli Newsroom


very year, the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering selects and recognizes outstanding achievements by a number of its alumni, faculty members and students who have excelled in various fields. Below is a profile of the 2023 Alumnus of the Year.

Tim Frei

Alumnus of the Year
Timothy Frei ’85, M.S. ’87, CERT ’01

For nearly 40 years, Timothy Frei has exemplified the very best of the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering. He is a veteran technology executive with aerospace and defense industry giant Northrop Grumman. As a Bruin engineer, he has also been an active contributor to his alma mater. 

Since 2013, Frei has served as a member of UCLA Samueli’s Dean’s Advisory Council, which evolved into the Dean’s Corporate Advisory Board (DCAB) in 2016 when he became chair of the board. He has also served on the Dean’s Executive Board since 2017, and in these two roles, he has led an extraordinary group of high-level executives in meaningful partnerships with the school to groom the next generation of engineers and computer scientists who can meet the growing demand of industry.

As chair of DCAB, Frei has been a key collaborator in spearheading the board’s efforts to support the top strategic goals of the school — providing critical leadership, facilitating meaningful conversation and guiding the direction of this significant industry-academia partnership toward outcomes with distinct and impactful results. His thoughtful considerations and acute understanding of the issues facing higher education and industry in science, technology, engineering and mathematics have been invaluable to the UCLA Samueli community. Thanks to his efforts, Northrop Grumman has supported many of the school’s programs and initiatives, including those launched by Women in Engineering at UCLA, the Center for Excellence in Engineering and Diversity, and the UCLA Samueli Transfer Center.

Frei has had a long and illustrious career with Northrop Grumman. In addition to his current role as sector vice president of Research & Advanced Design at Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems, he previously served as sector vice president of Strategy and Business Development at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, and as sector vice president of the firm’s Global Strategy and Mission Solutions. He also served as vice president and general manager of the Space Systems ISR, Communications Systems and Advanced Systems business units. He held other engineering and leadership positions at Northrop Grumman, with experience spanning more than 25 different air and space programs in 15 mission areas, covering all phases of engineering — from concept definitions, to design, production, integration, test, launch and operations.

A double alumnus of UCLA, Frei has earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering with an emphasis in applied dynamic systems control. In addition, he completed the UCLA Executive Program in 2001 at the Anderson School of Management and is a chartered financial analyst. His wife of 36 years, Lisa, is also a UCLA alumnus.

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