CLU Magazine - August 2021

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Shifting Perspectives

Professors who took sabbaticals during the pandemic made the most of changing plans

Alumnus fights the good fight F or Kiyoshi Taylor ’20, supporting social justice causes is natural. Taylor grew up in a family with a long history of activism and fighting for civil rights. A Buckeye kid who moved to California with his family as a child, he has deep family roots in Ohio — and in racial justice activism. His grandmother helped desegregate a school in Dayton, Ohio, when she was a second grader. One of his grandfathers was a sharecropper until he was 14 years old. Another served in the military when it was still segregated. He learned to challenge the status quo from his father, Kenneth Taylor, a former professor of philosophy at Stanford University who founded Philosophy Talk, a syndicated radio show that invites listeners to identify and question their assumptions. His family history helped form Taylor’s sense of advocacy. “I come from a long line of family members who don’t back down … who stand up when something’s not right,” he said. So in 2014 when the killings of Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice by police were in the news, it was no surprise Taylor took up the social justice fight. “I was in my senior year of high school, and I said, ‘Enough is enough,’” Taylor recalled. At Los Altos High School in Northern California, he reached out to his history teacher, Seth Donnelly, for help, and together they organized a protest march. “Six hundred people showed up … and that’s kind of what started it all,” Taylor said. He has been active in the cause ever since, even though he slowed the pace a bit while attending Cal Lutheran as a multimedia major. After graduating from Cal Lutheran in 2020, Taylor moved back to Los Altos, where he continues to be involved in social justice issues, including the Black Lives Matter movement. After the murder of George Floyd, he organized a protest in Mountain View, California, that drew more than 6,000 people. His friend and fellow Los Altos High graduate Kenan Moos organized a protest in a neighboring town that also attracted 6,000 people. The two started discussing how much more they could do if they worked together. Those brainstorming sessions inspired them to start Justice Vanguard, an organization dedicated to creating change through education. They work to raise awareness of systemic inequalities related not just to race, but also to education, women’s issues and mental health. The pair have been working with area school districts on plans to require critical race education for high school students and to remove school resource officers from campuses. They hope the funds saved by the officers’ removal can be reallocated for mental health resources such as school counselors. They also advise other groups — including Black Lives Matter Ventura County — on how to hold successful events and further their causes. 2 CLU MAGAZINE


Out in Front

Kiyoshi Taylor speaks at a 2020 protest in Mountain View, California. The Los Altos Town Crier named him a Los Altan of the Year for his work “educating and mobilizing the local community at a time when the country needed to again examine its tumultuous history of systemic racism.”

The pair has completed a California 501(c)(3) application and hope Justice Vanguard soon will be granted nonprofit status. While they await the decision, they are raising funds for scholarships to be awarded annually to Black graduating seniors in the Mountain View Los Altos High School District “who have demonstrated a dedication to learning both within and outside of the classroom and who have a passion for humanity and the betterment of our society and world.” They plan to award the first scholarships to students in the Class of 2022. Taylor recently organized a Juneteenth festival that included an auction to raise money for the scholarship fund. He works full time in media marketing in addition to running Justice Vanguard. The work can be exhausting and sometimes feels never-ending, but he knows he’s in for the long haul. “The burnout is real, and some days I just couldn’t care less. I just want to bury my head in the sand and scream, but I can’t because I know if I don’t fight this fight, no one else will,” he said. Justice Vanguard’s hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. In January, the Los Altos Town Crier named Taylor and Moos as Los Altans of the Year for their work advocating for racial justice. Although Taylor was honored, the award left him feeling a little empty because he couldn’t celebrate with two special people: his father and his cousin, Christopher Taylor, who both died unexpectedly of heart attacks. He dedicated the award to them. “Everything I’ve done since has just been … I try to make them proud every day,” he said. “And you know, I really think I have.” For more information, visit — Linda Martinez


Michael Pearce’s sabbatical plan was to create a body of paintings to exhibit at the University of North Alabama in fall 2020, but he had to change his focus when COVID-19 closed galleries across the country. Kingsmen pitcher Alexander Rivas, who helped lead the baseball team to a 17-1 record in 2020, relished the opportunity to return to the mound for an abbreviated 18-game season in the spring.



Linda Martinez ART DIRECTOR

Bree M. Montanarello CONTRIBUTORS

Karin Grennan Stephanie Hessemer Karen Lindell Gregg Mansfield Lisa McKinnon Julie Price Jana Weber Michele Willer-Allred PHOTOGRAPHER

Brian Stethem ’84 EDITORIAL BOARD

Jonathan Gonzales ’04, MS ’07 Rachel (Ronning ’99) Lindgren Angela (Moller ’96) Naginey, MS ’03


University leaders work to take Cal Lutheran to the next level.

5 HIGHLIGHTS • Faculty members earn emeritus status. • Cares Day raises more than $1 million. • Commencement '21 is unconventional. • State OKs bilingual teaching program. • Fiore Urízar earns top teaching honor. • Angela Fentiman named chief of staff. • Pastor Scott Maxwell-Doherty retires.

Michaela (Crawford ’79) Reaves, PhD Jean (Kelso ’84) Sandlin, MPA ’90, EdD ’12


New ways of operating during the pandemic increase outreach.

Bruce Stevenson ’80, PhD VOLUME 29, NUMBER 1

Copyright 2021. Published three times a year by University Relations


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9 IN MEMORIAM 10 Q&A: JUANITA HALL After 24 years, she's proud she

made a difference in people's lives.


Alumna Ana M. Garrett is living a life of service as a U.S. diplomat.


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Professors who took sabbaticals during the pandemic emerged more enlightened.

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ON THE COVER Cal Lutheran art professor Michael Pearce’s sabbatical plan was to create a body of paintings to exhibit at the University of North Alabama in fall 2020, but he had to change his focus when COVID-19 closed galleries across the country.

for publication, write to us or visit Click on the links labeled Stay Connected and Share Your News. We hope you’ll request an alumni flag and share photos of your travels with it. CLU Magazine welcomes ideas for articles and nominations for Vocations

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alumni essays (see Page 32).

AUGUST 2021 3

A Letter from President Lori E. Varlotta


Taking Cal Lutheran to its next level of excellence

“I see the fundamental work that the senior cabinet, the Faculty Senate and its executive officers, the Board of Regents, and several task forces are working on right now as downright exciting.”




s I write this column from Kingsmen Park, I am reflecting on my first 10 months at Cal Lutheran and how the leadership team has led the university through an unprecedented pandemic. As we know, the pandemic ushered in an array of challenges for all of us. What strikes me most today, though, is how Cal Lutheran has met those challenges — in timely and innovative ways that both addressed the urgent challenges of the day and bolstered the foundation upon which forthcoming changes will be launched. Now that we can finally see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, it is the latter that is occupying most of my thoughts this morning. Some university presidents would find the foundational work we are doing now — updating the institution’s bylaws, clarifying decision-making processes, crafting an operational definition of shared governance, and creating a structure that allows staff to participate in governance — to be mundane and uninspiring. For those leaders, this foundational emphasis is the drudgery between them and the good stuff. I am not one of those leaders. I see the fundamental work that the senior cabinet, the Faculty Senate and its executive officers, the Board of Regents, and several task forces are working on right now as downright exciting. It’s the stuff that fortifies our foundation and keeps us oriented as we navigate essential daily activities. Such activities include making inclusive and datadriven decisions, charting a clear and deliberate path to the future, differentiating ourselves from peer and aspirant institutions, and more. Already we have made demonstrable strides in such activities. Over the last eight months, for example, a universitywide Task Force on Shared Governance met twice a month to help shape a robust system for shared governance. After months of dialogue, a review of the pertinent literature and interactions with national consultants, the task force brought forward several recommendations, including: a highly detailed decision-making matrix, an operational definition of academic shared governance, and a new entity for involving staff in shared governance. I accepted all of their recommendations, then sought and received board endorsement for each of them. Thanks to the collective efforts of the task force, we have expanded the faculty shared governance that was taking shape via the new Faculty Senate to include structures that officially bring students, staff and administrators into the fold. The task force also has helped design and populate a nuanced decision-making matrix. This matrix will clarify who weighs into which decisions at the university, increasing the opportunities for larger numbers of students, staff and faculty to play a defined role in key decisions. A copy of the decision-making matrix can be found on the Cal Lutheran website. Cal Lutheran has a bright future, and it feels good to have come to the university at a time that is ripe for moving this promising institution to its next level of excellence. Launching that forward movement from a firm foundation makes it all the steadier and all the more connected to our history, including our evolving identity. At universities like ours, neither forward movement nor effective change occurs in a vacuum. They are guided by the institution’s mission and shaped upon a foundation that keeps them connected to the organization’s sense of place and purpose. Unearthing our foundation and calling people to fortify it is cornerstone work. It’s work that guides all who catch a glimpse of Cal Lutheran’s North Star. Let’s focus on that light and follow it — together.


Seven faculty members get emeritus status gious and literary texts, and she has taught a wide variety of courses. Jacobson began teaching at Cal Lutheran’s Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in 1996. She served as director of the Diaconal Ministry Program, chair of the Academic Committee and theses coordinator. Kissinger, whose specialty is animal learning and memory, taught nearly every nonclinical psychology course since arriving at Cal Lutheran in 1991. Students appreciate his fun and inspiring approach to teaching. He also served as the faculty mentor to athletic teams and adviser to mascots. Long, who arrived at Cal Lutheran 32 years ago, has been at the forefront of physiology and neuroscience curriculum. Known for his sense of humor, he helped countless student researchers pursue their passions and has received National Science Foundation grants. Uellendahl, a first-generation college student, has advocated for students from historically underrepresented backgrounds, and her recent research focused on firstgeneration graduate students. She chaired her department for 19 of her 27 years at Cal Lutheran and received the President’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2013. BRIAN STETHEM ’84


he Board of Regents awarded emeritus status to seven retiring Cal Lutheran faculty members who have a combined total of more than 160 years of service. The honorees are political science professor Michael Brint, psychology professor Marylie Gerson, English professor Joan Griffin, associate professor of practical theology Carol Jacobson, psychology professor Steve Kissinger, associate professor of biology Kenneth Long and counselor education professor Gail Uellendahl. Brint served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 2000 to 2005 and as the Uyeno-Tseng Professor of International Studies since 2006. The two-time Diversity Professor of the Year started Cal Lutheran’s study abroad program at Oxford University and the first Diversity Council. Gerson’s love of mentoring brought her to Cal Lutheran in 2001. She served as director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship and received the President’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2012. Griffin served as dean of Cal Lutheran’s College of Arts and Sciences from 2007 to 2017 before returning to teaching. Her scholarship has focused on the intersections of pagan and Christian cultures in Irish reli-

Associate professor of biology Kenneth Long is one of seven faculty members awarded emeritus status by the Board of Regents.

CLU ADMINISTRATION Lori E. Varlotta, PhD President Leanne Neilson, PsyD Provost and Vice President, Academic Affairs Regina D. Biddings-Muro, EdD Vice President, University Advancement Karen Davis, MBA ’95 Vice President, Administration and Finance Angela Fentiman ’05, MPA Chief of Staff, Office of the President Rev. Melissa Maxwell-Doherty ’77, MDiv ’81 Vice President, Mission and Identity Melinda Roper, EdD Vice President, Student Affairs and Dean of Students Matthew Ward, PhD Vice President, Enrollment Management and Student Success Gerhard Apfelthaler, PhD Dean, School of Management Lisa Buono, MS ’04, EdD ’11 Dean, School for Professional and Continuing Studies Michael Hillis, PhD Dean, Graduate School of Education Richard Holigrocki, PhD Dean, Graduate School of Psychology Jessica Lavariega Monforti, PhD Dean, College of Arts and Sciences Rev. Raymond Pickett, PhD Rector, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary Rev. Alicia Vargas, MDiv ’95, PhD Dean, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary BOARD OF REGENTS Bill Camarillo, Chair Randall Foster, Vice Chair Ann Boynton ’83, Secretary Candice (Cerro ’09) Aragon Linda Baumhefner Rev. Jim Bessey ’66 Andrew Binsley Joshua Carter-McHale ’21 Sue Chadwick Tracy M. Downs ’88, MD Josyua Gatison ’22 Rod Gilbert, H’16 Arnold Gutierrez, PhD Rev. Deborah Hutterer Jon Irwin Malcolm McNeil Ryan Meddars, PhD Gordon Morrell Rev. David Nagler, MDiv ’93 Rev. Frank Nausin ’70, MDiv ’74 Carrie Nebens Kären Olson ’83 Jim Overton Debra Papageorge ’12 Mike Soules Deborah Sweeney Lori E. Varlotta, PhD Russell Young ’71 The mission of California Lutheran University is to educate leaders for a global society who are strong in character and judgment, confident in their identity and vocation, and committed to service and justice.

AUGUST 2021 5


Annual Cares Day raises



Alumni and Family Relations team members Steven Guetzoian, assistant director, and Rachel Ronning '99 Lindgren, director, participate in Cares Day activities. 6 CLU MAGAZINE



trength indeed comes in numbers — of generous people. And the numbers on April 7, 2021, were powerful: From 12:01 a.m. to midnight, the Cal Lutheran Cares Day: Stronger Together fundraising campaign raised $1,075,515 from 2,812 donations from more donors than ever before. The annual day of giving invites Cal Lutheran alumni, parents, students, regents, friends, faculty and staff to make donations that will assistant students throughout the year and support the university’s mission. Generous matching gifts and challenge activities boost donations and participation. Donors choose an area of interest to support, such as academics, teaching and learning, scholarships, student experiences, support services, athletic teams, diversity and inclusion, global education, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, veterans and spiritual development. Participants are also invited to share a story that shows how they, or someone they know, demonstrates the spirit of “Cal Lutheran Cares” or “Stronger Together.” This year campaign organizers collected 120 such #CalLutheranCares stories. Ryder Christ ’16, for example, shared this message: “Cal Lutheran is a very special school. It was a place for me to grow as a student, a professional, and as a person. Though small, it gave me some of my biggest opportunities.” Gifts in any amount “were kindly offered and appreciatively received,” said President Lori E. Varlotta. “For me, Cares Day and the many activities that lead up to it are quintessential examples of Lutheran generosity. Why? Not because of the dollar amount they raise but because the spirit of the event centers so clearly on helping others and giving to something bigger than ourselves.”

Unconventional commencement for Class of 2021 “Let’s do one thing sort of fun as we start off, because this is terribly unique,” said the Rev. Scott Maxwell-Doherty ’76, MDiv ’81, university pastor. “Designate somebody to put their hand on the horn in their car. On the count of three, honk your horn.” And with his command, a chorus of honks echoed through the Ventura County Fairgrounds parking lot. Maxwell-Doherty was speaking as master of ceremonies at Cal Lutheran’s 58th annual Traditional Undergraduate Commencement on May 8. He repeated the exercise the following week at the Graduate and Professionals Commencement. Cal Lutheran’s 2021 in-person, drive-in ceremonies were a change from last year’s pandemic-induced virtual events. The events were still unconventional, however, with a bit less pomp because of the more informal circumstances. Each graduate was allowed to bring one car of people to the fairgrounds parking lot. Attendees had to stay in or near their vehicles, and some brought chairs and picnics. As graduates walked across the stage when their names were announced, video of the festivities appeared on giant LED screens, with guests tuning in via their vehicles’ sound systems. The

ceremonies were livestreamed for those who couldn’t attend. At the Traditional Undergraduate Commencement, 504 graduates participated. Speaker Rachel Johnson ’21, one of seven valedictorians, discussed how the power of community helped students persevere through the events of the last four years, including fires, the Borderline shooting, the COVID-19 pandemic and the movement for racial justice. At the Graduate and Professionals Commencement, 318 graduates participated. Reegin Lynn Bullard ’21 spoke on behalf of the Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals students. A first-generation college student, she attended Moorpark College, then started working toward her degree in organizational leadership at Cal Lutheran. Bryce Colvard ’19, MS ’21, of Thousand Oaks spoke on behalf of the students earning graduate degrees. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Cal Lutheran in 2019 and returned full time to get a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy with a specialization in trauma. The ceremonies ended with guests invited to sing Cal Lutheran’s alma mater, accompanied by a (virtual) choir. — Karen Lindell


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News briefs

Associate professor Tymika Wesley helped to develop the program.

STATE OKS BILINGUAL PROGRAM Due to interdisciplinary collaboration between undergraduate and graduate programs that is rare at universities, Cal Lutheran has become one of the first institutions in California where students can begin earning their bilingual teaching authorization through coursework while earning their bachelor’s degrees. The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing recently approved Cal Lutheran’s educational program as a pathway to bilingual teaching authorization in lieu of passing the California Subject Examinations for Teachers III language exam in Spanish. By allowing undergraduates to begin taking the graduate-level classes, Cal Lutheran offers them a head start when they enter a teacher-education program. The Graduate School of Education’s Department of Learning and Teaching, chaired by associate professor Tymika Wesley, EdD ’11, worked with the Department of Languages and Cultures in the undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences to develop the program.

“This is a big step for our university as we are the only institution in California that has a department such as ours, Languages and Cultures, involved in educating and assessing students toward this authorization at the undergraduate level,” said Rafaela Fiore Urízar, chair of the Department of Languages and Cultures. The bilingual authorization program prepares teachers to meet the needs of English learners in all instructional settings, including bilingual programs. Cal Lutheran undergraduate students already can begin taking graduate courses toward their teaching credentials, allowing them to focus their attention on other coursework and classroom experiences as graduate students. The new program expands this opportunity to classes needed for the bilingual teaching authorization.

shared her passion for literature during a decade at Cal Lutheran. She guides many Spanish majors in developing research projects and submitting their work to conferences, and helps students showcase their research in applications for graduate programs and employment. The Thousand Oaks resident co-developed two interdisciplinary travel seminars and has helped students find internships in areas that interest them, such as with the Mixteco Indigena Community Organizing Project in Oxnard and Thousand Oaks’ Glenwood Elementary School. In the online acceptance speech Fiore Urízar gave in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Guarani, she said she hopes students leave Cal Lutheran “with a greater sense of wonder and a desire to inquire and to value knowledge for its own sake.”

RAFAELA FIORE URÍZAR RECEIVES TOP TEACHING HONOR A faculty member who has prompted many students to engage in advanced studies of Spanish and Latin American culture has been awarded Cal Lutheran’s highest teaching honor. Rafaela Fiore Urízar, chair of the Department of Languages and Cultures and associate professor of Spanish and Latin American studies, received the 2021 President’s Award for Teaching Excellence. Fiore Urízar “is an inspirational and transformative teacher who personifies excellence in teaching,” President Lori E. Varlotta said during the 2021 virtual Honors Recognition event. A native of Paraguay, Fiore Urízar has

ALUMNA SELECTED AS INAUGURAL CHIEF OF STAFF Angela Fentiman ’05 has been named Cal Lutheran’s inaugural chief of staff. The alumna “had a set of professional experiences, prior positions, and academic credentials that made her extraordinarily well suited for the role,” President Lori E. Varlotta said in an announcement. As the chief of staff, Fentiman will represent the Office of the President on and off campus to ensure consistent communication and will oversee University Relations. “Cal Lutheran means so much to me, and it’s an honor to serve in this newly created role,” Fentiman said. “I am excited to have the opportunity to share my skills in a way that can help support the university’s continued growth and create an inclusive future.” Fentiman, who transitioned to her new job in May, has been an adjunct professor of communication at Cal Lutheran since 2011 and served on the Faculty Senate. She also has worked as an adjunct professor at Woodbury University and UCLA Extension. Outside of academics, she has held jobs in communications, public relations, marketing, media relations and external affairs at utility companies, commerce associations, public relations firms and more. Fentiman has a bachelor’s degree in communication from Cal Lutheran, a master’s in public administration from California State University Northridge, and is pursuing a PhD from Pepperdine University’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology.


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In Memoriam SAYING GOODBYE AFTER TWO DECADES After more than 20 years of service at Cal Lutheran, the Rev. Scott MaxwellDoherty ’76, MDiv ’81, retired as university pastor in May. He originally arrived at Cal Lutheran as a junior transfer student in 1974. He met fellow student — and his future wife — the Rev. Melissa Maxwell-Doherty ’77, MDiv ’81, on the Thousand Oaks campus. After completing their undergraduate work, the couple attended Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California, where they continued their relationship. They married after graduating in 1981. They returned to Cal Lutheran as campus pastors in 2001. In his more than two decades at the university, he could be counted on to serve in any way needed — from painting rocks or crafting meaningful worship to visiting area congregations or serving the pastoral needs of colleagues and students. During his tenure, he helped guide the community through times of great joy and sorrow. In 2001, the MaxwellDohertys received PLTS’ President’s Award for Distinguished Ministry in recognition of their efforts in ministry and collaboration with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The campus community celebrated his retirement with an in-person luncheon May 19 in the Pepper Grove and a virtual celebration May 20. In summing up his contributions, President Lori E. Varlotta thanked him for “being a steady source of hope, light and comfort at Cal Lutheran.” The Rev. Mark Holmerud, a former Cal Lutheran regent who retired as bishop of the Sierra Pacific Synod of the ELCA in June, will serve as the interim university pastor for the next academic year.

Ronald E. Hagler

Roald A. Kindem



Ronald E. Hagler, former professor and MBA Program director at Cal Lutheran, died May 6, 2021. He was 87. Hagler was born in Murphysboro, Illinois. He attended Murphysboro Township High School and married his high school sweetheart, Delores Pope. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University, an MBA from The George Washington University and a doctorate from the University of Southern California. He was a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who flew over 4,000 flight hours and 126 combat missions as a command pilot in Vietnam, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross and five air medals. Hagler was an associate professor and the director of the Center for Management Development at Cal Lutheran from 1980-84. He returned in 1996 as an associate professor and director of the MBA Program. In 1999, Hagler became a professor, teaching courses in entrepreneurship, human resource management, organizational theory and development, organizational behavior and consulting to business until he retired in 2011. “Ron was a man of great integrity and someone with a very big heart,” said School of Management Dean Gerhard Apfelthaler. “MBA alumni often speak about their course experiences with Ron and how they are still benefiting to this day from what they have learned from him.” Hagler worked for several law firms and was a Ventura County Civil Service commissioner. He served on the board of directors for the Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club of Westlake Village, where he received multiple Paul Harris Fellow awards. A former professional baseball player, he was the founding president of the Westlake High School Baseball Boosters Club. When Hagler retired from Cal Lutheran, he and his wife moved to Ivins, Utah. Hagler is survived by his wife of almost 69 years, Delores Pope Hagler; daughter, Rhonda Hagler; son Dan Pope Hagler; granddaughters Robyn Hagler Seymour, Grace Hagler and Katie Hagler Dorow; great-grandsons Rhett and Ashton Seymour; brothers Dan Hagler, Luke Hagler and Mark Hagler; and sisters Georgia Herring, Karen Braswell and Mary Hagler. He was preceded in death by his son Ronald Brad Hagler.

The Rev. Roald Amund Kindem, former vice president for Public Relations and Development at Cal Lutheran, died April 28, 2021. He was 91. Kindem was born and raised in Northfield, Minnesota. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Olaf College in Northfield in 1951, then enrolled at Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul. He married Shirley L. Johnson in 1953. Following his graduation and ordination in 1955, he served in parishes in Montana and Minnesota. In 1973, he left parish ministry to serve as vice president for Public Relations and Development at Cal Lutheran. He traveled each year to as many of the more than 300 American Lutheran Church congregations in California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Hawaii as possible, predominantly on weekends. He preached, developed relationships with pastors and congregations, promoted Lutheran higher education and cultivated donors who would help move Cal Lutheran’s mission forward. This deep commitment to Lutheran higher education would find expression in his children’s lives, as well as the lives of many of his grandchildren. When it came time for his children to choose a college, the mandate was clear: “You are welcome to attend the Lutheran college of your choice.” Each of his eight children attended a Lutheran college, and many of his grandchildren followed suit, including Cal Lutheran senior Kirsten Swidler and alumnus Lukas Swidler ’20. In 1978, Kindem accepted a position as national director for “Momentum for Mission,” a comprehensive stewardship, educational and financial support program of The American Lutheran Church, which took the family back to Minnesota. In 1986, he launched his own stewardship consultation ministry: Stewardship Growth for Congregations. He retired in 2003. Kindem was preceded in death by his wife of 65 years, Shirley. He is survived by a sister, his eight adult children and their families, including 19 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. AUGUST 2021 9




Of all her many accomplishments during her 24 years at Cal Lutheran, Juanita Hall is proudest of making a difference in people’s lives. BY LISA MCKINNON


hen Juanita Hall, MS ’99, first stepped onto the Cal Lutheran campus, it was as a grad student pursuing a master’s degree in counseling and guidance. She earned that degree — followed by a doctorate in education from UCLA — and much more: From 1997 until her retirement in July, Hall gained the respect of Cal Lutheran students and colleagues alike as she helped guide the university’s diversity initiatives under formal titles that included director of multicultural and international programs and assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion. Her final post was as senior director for the Office of International Students and Scholars, the title she took on after overseeing the creation of the university’s Center for Global Engagement in 2018. But she also served less formally as someone who could offer one-on-one advice to students of color, in some cases years after their graduation ceremonies. “I really believe that education (is) key to changing how we (often don’t take) advantage of the gifts and talents and intelligence of whole segments of our population,” said Hall, whose personal blog, Fully Present Post Fifty, details “life as it’s happening as an African American woman with a blended family.” What are you most proud of when you look back on your 24 years at Cal Lutheran? I’m most proud of the positive impact students and colleagues have told me I had on them through my interactions, advice, teaching, role modeling and caring. To learn that I’ve made a positive difference in people’s lives and their outlook is the thing I am most proud of, and the one thing I’ve hoped to accomplish. It is why I stayed at Cal Lutheran — to educate leaders for a global society. Being an educator was one of your earliest career choices, but a lot happened before you were able to follow that path. Can you describe some of the side trips you took along the way? I struggled because I was one of those kids who liked a lot of things and was good at a lot of things. I (even) played basketball and volleyball pretty seriously. I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to be. So when I went to USC, I started off as a liberal studies (major) because I thought, “OK, I’m going to be a teacher.” My parents, who were both business people, were completely against it. They were like, “Teachers don’t make any money.” (She laughs.) I bowed down to my parents and switched to business. And I did work in business for a while, but I didn’t like it. I got a certificate in interior design because I do love that and thought, “OK, I can join my business degree with design” — only to discover that I didn’t like clients. (She laughs again.) I got a real estate license, a securities license … I worked for a finance company. And hated it. It just was not me. What inspired you to make a change? Both of my parents died within four years of each other. And (my then-husband and I) got a divorce. All of this happened inside of five years. I saw a therapist and realized that I was not living the life I really wanted to live. I was living the life (others) wanted. It came down to, “What do you want?” And (the answer was) that first love, which was education and learning.

Did you plan on focusing on diversity in education when you enrolled at Cal Lutheran? I wasn’t sure in what capacity I wanted to be in education, (but) I knew that I cared about racial equity. Being a Black person in America, there is no way you can escape race and ethnicity. My Blackness preceded me. I found it when I attended my first all-white school and discovered it had many additional resources like a cafeteria that the previous multiethnic schools I attended did not. So it was one of those things where I knew … I wanted to change that trajectory for my kids. They were living in Moorpark and experiencing things (as) Black kids in a predominately white neighborhood. I was dealing with their teachers on a constant basis (because of) stereotyping and all this crazy stuff that my mother had to deal with on behalf of me and my brothers. There was a company in Thousand Oaks, a nonprofit called Diversity Inc., and (they) were training diversity facilitators to go out in the community and the schools to do diversity training through the Anti-Defamation League. I joined that organization and later applied for a position at Cal Lutheran in Student Activities and Multicultural Programs and have been at Cal Lutheran ever since. I switched over to the multicultural and international-students side completely. I had had experience as a study abroad student and worked in both international admissions and the study abroad offices at USC as an undergrad, so I knew what that was all about. Why is it important to have students from other countries at Cal Lutheran? They bring the world to the campus through their experience, through their worldview (and) their culture. That benefit can be realized only if they are given visibility and a voice and encouragement to share. For a lot of them, the degree they’re getting (here) is not available in their home country. When they return home, they return as teachers, business owners, medical professionals … and as ambassadors for the U.S. They know what it is to be an American, and what Americans are like. Was it hard to think about retiring? I love my job. I love working with international students. I love diversity work, although it can be exhausting. So when one of my sorority sisters from Alpha Kappa Alpha announced she was retiring, I said, “Really?” And she said, “When it’s time, Juanita, you’ll know.” I couldn’t understand what she meant by that. Then my husband (experienced a health crisis) in the middle of COVID-19. It took a toll on (us both). Now that we’re recovering, I realize how short life is. One day I woke up and said, “OK, I’m ready. And I know exactly what I’m going to do when I retire.” Which is? I have a whole list. (She laughs.) But the first thing is to take a painting class. I already paint pots and Christmas bulbs and everybody likes them. But to me, honestly, I think I paint like a 5-year-old. Lisa McKinnon is a longtime Ventura County resident who has written for the Ventura County Star, 805 Living magazine and Central Coast Farm & Ranch magazine. She blogs about the region’s food scene at AUGUST 2021 11


Cal Lutheran professors who took sabbaticals during the pandemic might have had to shift projects or plans, but they emerged energized and more enlightened. BY KAREN LINDELL


Cal Lutheran art professor and oil painter Michael Pearce was starting his sabbatical when the coronavirus lockdown hit. To his surprise, his paintings went from dark to optimistic. This piece is named "Freya Rising."

"Wheel" is the first piece in a series of paintings by Pearce focusing on transcendent experiences.


ichael Pearce’s environment — and art — shrank considerably in 2020. The Cal Lutheran art professor and oil painter was starting his spring 2020 sabbatical when the coronavirus lockdown hit. He’d planned on creating giant paintings, more than 10 feet high and wide, in an airy, spacious studio at Cal Lutheran. When everything closed down, Pearce, forced to work at home in a small room, switched to painting much smaller works, just 18 by 20 inches. Yet despite Pearce’s diminished surroundings, the pandemic expanded his creativity and mindset in a positive way. “My paintings went from being apocalyptic and dark to an optimistic place, which surprised me, because we were faced with an apocalypse in reality,” Pearce said. Pearce is one of several Cal Lutheran faculty whose sabbaticals were upended in 2020 because of the coronavirus. Karissa Oien, manager of faculty affairs, said about 12 to 16 faculty members go on sabbatical each year, and six held off during 2020, mainly because of travel restrictions. For those who took sabbaticals anyway, whether they had to shift travel plans, incorporate the pandemic into their project or scrap an idea altogether, they made the most of the experience, emerging energized and more enlightened scholars, teachers and human beings.


Pearce’s original sabbatical plan was to create a body of paintings to exhibit at the University of North Alabama in fall 2020. COVID-19, he said, “threw a giant wrench in the works” when galleries everywhere closed. He had been working on large, apocalyptic “neo-pagan” paintings, including one that featured figures from the Burning Man festival carrying lights in the darkness.

Pearce says optimistic painting is in his nature. He named this piece "Maddie Sees the Light."

He did finish the Burning Man painting — although not before it fell off his easel because it was too big — then shifted to a series of small “transcendent” paintings. “I got interested in everyday transcendence,” he said. “Ordinary people can have transcendent experiences. The spiritual experience that lifts you out of the normal world is available to all of us.” The first work in the series features a man and woman inside a recreational vehicle, floating near the ceiling, about to kiss, suggesting a “very romantic sense of being happy in a place,” Pearce said. The darkness in his previous paintings came from a series of “endings” that happened around the same time: His parents had died, and he’d sold a home in England. “Optimistic painting is much more in my nature; the new work is so much more cheerful, accessible and liberated,” he said. “I’ve always loved sci-fi and fantasy and imaginative paintings, and the sabbatical pushed me harder in that direction.” He’s eager to return to teaching in person instead of online — and in a much less cramped studio. AUGUST 2021 13


for the special section, students in a newsroom class partnered with students in a Spanish conversation and composition class to produce articles in Spanish. When Hettinga taught the Latinx media class at Cal Lutheran in spring 2021, students dove into such issues as newspaper coverage of Hispanics during the Great Depression, and how “the language, themes and stereotypes” from the 1930s still exist, she said. The class also discussed current events, including coverage of COVID-19, and how Latinx communities have been less likely to receive the vaccine even though they were among the hardest hit. Hettinga said she is “most proud that all of this stems from a student and her desire to fulfill Cal Lutheran’s identity as an HSI (Hispanic Serving Institution), and to serve her community as a Latina.”

Associate professor of communication Kirstie Hettinga taught a three-week “Spanish-Language Media” course (in English) in February 2020 as part of a study-abroad program at the Universidad de Alcalá near Madrid, Spain.


Kirstie Hettinga, associate professor of communication and faculty adviser for Cal Lutheran’s student newspaper, The Echo, completed her spring 2020 sabbatical project with just days to spare, because it involved teaching in Spain right when the coronavirus was starting to rage through Europe. Hettinga taught a three-week intensive “Spanish-Language Media” course (in English) starting in February 2020 as part of a study-abroad program at the Universidad de Alcalá near Madrid, Spain. The class included Cal Lutheran’s Shariliz Poveda ’21, an editor from The Echo. Hettinga finished teaching the class, but left Europe earlier than she had planned when pandemic travel bans began. “We were wandering around Madrid the last day I was there, with the streets empty and shops closing,” Hettinga said. “It was a little frightening.” The sabbatical trip was done, but Hettinga’s project continued. The course in Spain was a pilot for a class she planned to teach at Cal Lutheran in spring 2021, “Latinx Media in the U.S.,” connected to her work to help develop a Spanish media minor. The idea for the Spanish media minor, a proposal that has been approved to start in fall 2021, actually began with one of her students, Hettinga said. A Latina student told her about another school that offered a Spanish-language publication to students and said, “I want to do that.” Cal Lutheran students published the first El Eco Spanishlanguage insert in The Echo in fall 2018. To come up with stories 14 CLU MAGAZINE


Jamie Bedics, associate professor and director of clinical psychology programs at Cal Lutheran, used his spring 2020 sabbatical to complete the edit of a book on dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). DBT is a form of therapy that helps people manage painful emotions and relationships using four skills: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness. It was created for suicidal patients, especially those with borderline personality disorder, but has expanded to help people with depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, drug and alcohol addiction, and bipolar disorder. Science, however, has not exactly caught up to that expansion, Bedics believes. “There are lots of signs that the treatment can be useful,” he said. “At the same time, the general conclusion from the state of the literature is that we know a lot less than we think.” He is a strong proponent of DBT, but as a scholar thinks the science behind it needs to be stronger. “If you like something a lot, you have to be critical of it,” he said. He asked contributors to The Handbook of Dialectical Behavior Therapy to think critically about the scientific evidence related to DBT treatment. Unlike other DBT texts, “this one points out where the evidence is both strong and weak,” he said. Bedics said his sabbatical work was not affected directly by the pandemic. But the goal of his research can be applied to our understanding, or misunderstanding in some cases, of the coronavirus. “The key to this book was understanding how to be better producers and consumers of research,” he said. “It is through a balance of questioning and understanding, change and acceptance, that a field of study can advance.” Karen Lindell has been a newspaper, magazine and website writer and editor for more than 15 years, including work at the Ventura County Star, L.A. Parent magazine, Los Angeles Times, Ojai Valley News, VC Reporter and She lives in Los Angeles.


Ariana Young, associate professor of psychology and Bachelor's Degree for Professionals, presents her sabbatical project during the Festival of Scholars in April. Young explored the relationship between prayer and decision-making.



aculty on sabbatical in 2020 presented their projects as part of the Festival of Scholars in April 2021. Here are a few samples of their work:

of his work/ideas by means of his successors.”

Kristine Butcher, chemistry professor Project: “The Use of Lego Bricks to Model Structural and Stoichiometric Concepts in General Chemistry” Butcher worked on developing in-class activities that use Legos, including worksheets with questions for student groups. “I had previously developed one that I’d used a few times, so I used my sabbatical to develop a few more, and work on a manuscript for a paper discussing them,” she said.

Karrolyne Fogel, mathematics professor Project: “Irreducible L(2,1) Labelings of Torus Graphs” Fogel said her project “works on a topic that is a bit like assigning radio frequencies to antennae: The closer the antennae are to each other, the more chance there is for interference, so the farther apart the assigned frequencies need to be. Using natural numbers as our labels/frequencies, we look for the smallest number of labels that meet specific distance conditions (the irreducible L(2,1) part) for a given arrangement of dots and edges (the torus graph part).”

Rainer Diriwächter, psychology professor and department chair Project: “Remembering Wilhelm Wundt and the Second Leipzig School of Psychology” Few people in the U.S. seem to know about Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920), “generally considered the founding father of modern psychology,” Diriwächter said. And U.S. psychology textbooks, he said, wrongly present Wundt as a structuralist. His sabbatical research, published in the journal Human Arenas, explored how Wundt’s works should be seen, “and what became

Ariana Young, associate professor, psychology and Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals Project: “Prayer and Decision-Making” Young and colleagues explored the relationship between prayer and intuitive decision-making. “Across three studies,” she said, “we found evidence that praying to God causes people to rely more on intuition (i.e., automatic, gut responses) when making decisions.” An article about the research is under review for publication. AUGUST 2021 15


Technology tools used during the pandemic such as the 360-degree camera, on the desk to the left of professor Dan Hieu Vo, and the digital whiteboard, behind him, will be used to present classes in a HyFlex format in fall for the Bachelor's Degree for Professionals and Fifty and Better programs.


Silver linings

Adjustments made necessary by the pandemic brought new understanding about how Cal Lutheran can better serve students and increase its outreach in the future. BY MICHELE WILLER-ALLRED


he COVID-19 pandemic caught most people off guard, including Cal Lutheran faculty challenged with continuing their programs virtually during stay-at-home restrictions. Lessons were learned, and some unexpected silver linings emerged: By forging new ways of doing things and embracing technology, many departments increased their outreach. While offering most classes and activities in person is key to the engaging and personal Cal Lutheran experience, there are a few areas where retaining virtual options can better serve students and the extended community. “Moving forward out of this pandemic, faculty and staff are more comfortable using technology as an instructional tool and able to spearhead exploring endless possibilities on how to improve learning engagement for student success,” said Ada Crutchfield, learning technology coordinator with Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and Cal Lutheran’s Digital Learning Department. The School of Management had a head start moving to the virtual realm, having offered some courses specifically developed for online delivery, with adapted teaching methods that leverage technology, since 2009. While it plans to return to its pre-pandemic mix of in-person and online courses in fall, Dean Gerhard Apfelthaler said faculty members will accelerate the long-term development of more fully online courses. “What that means is, we’re not just preparing for another emergency situation. We’re actually developing fully online courses that are also fully built with all the technological assets, so it’s much easier to flip the switch,” Apfelthaler said. They will be not only refreshing courses in programs like the online MBA but also creating plans for new online summer classes, which have been popular. The option to take all traditional undergraduate summer classes virtually in 2020 and 2021 resulted in record enrollment. “It’s a matter of catering to student demands,” Apfelthaler said. While faculty members had been reluctant to offer online summer session courses before the pandemic, this year more offered than could be accommodated, said Provost Leanne Neilson. Post pandemic, half of summer session courses might be in person and half online.


When the pandemic hit, Cal Lutheran’s School for Professional & Continuing Studies had to postpone its inaugural Fifty and Better courses, which were to be offered in person for older adults wanting to take university-level classes without grades. Dean Lisa Buono, MS ’04, EdD ’11, said being the first such program in the area to make the pivot to virtual, faculty didn’t know if they could teach over Zoom or if students would respond positively. “But, we tried it. And, holy cow, it worked, and we’ve been virtual ever since,” she said. Going virtual tripled enrollment, from 90 students in the first session to 280 students in spring 2021, Buono said. Many students called the program a “lifeline” during the pandemic. People with disabilities said going virtual allows them to attend classes when they can’t come in person. “Knowing that by shifting virtually we impacted people positively that way made it all worthwhile,” Buono said. Going virtual also allowed the program to gain an audience it otherwise wouldn’t have reached, with 40% of the students from outside Ventura County. To continue providing everyone with the opportunity to attend when Fifty and Better plans to finally offer in-person classes in fall, the two face-to-face courses will have a remote option and the rest will be fully online. The plan is to continue offering many online courses beyond fall. The fall in-person courses will be in the HyFlex format used for traditional undergraduate classes during the pandemic. Technology tools in classrooms like 360-degree cameras and digital whiteboards that capture written content in real time enable faculty to teach students attending in person and over Zoom at the same time. The Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals program, which offered some online classes pre-pandemic, plans to offer all of its courses in the HyFlex format for the next couple of years, pending approval from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, to increase accessibility for those hit hard by the pandemic. Most students are working adults and many are caring for children and other family members. “For some students, if they can’t take their courses virtually, they’re not going to be able to continue, so we found that the AUGUST 2021 17




lmost a year after the pandemic shut down most activities for Cal Lutheran students, the Class of 2020 finally got the in-person graduation experience during a unique drive-in ceremony held May 15 at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. With decorated masks on, and elbow bumps replacing handshakes, almost 300 alumni from 2020 returned to celebrate at the ceremony, where family members and friends cheered them on from vehicles parked around the elevated center stage. The university originally honored the graduates who earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees during virtual ceremonies in May 2020. “This might be the most special of the three commencements that were held over the last week since all of you have waited more than a full year for this (in-person) moment,” Cal Lutheran President Lori E. Varlotta told the graduates during what she called a “special and highly unconventional ceremony.” “It was heartbreaking to think that you might not get the opportunity to experience the thrill and the pride of walking across a graduation stage like this one. Therefore, I’m elated that you will get to have that experience, even though it’s a little late,” she said. Varlotta said earning a college degree is an impressive feat under normal circumstances, but earning it in 2020 was extraordinary due to the pandemic. “It’s almost like you earned one degree in your field of study and a second honorary degree in navigating the unknown,” she said. Aracely Fox, MEd ’03, EdD '20 recalled during her speech not knowing last year if doctoral candidates like herself would get the same hooding by their professors as previous generations did. Fox said that, regardless, she made sure to celebrate last year with her family, including her parents “who during my childhood had toiled day in and day out in the fields picking the crops of the season in hopes that they would be able to provide their children opportunities that they never had.”

HyFlex model would be really important for that population to provide access and make sure they continue on their journey toward degree completion,” Buono said.


The university’s art galleries also benefited from technology, providing virtual exhibits for the first time during the pandemic. “Now I can’t imagine that we would have an exhibit in the future that doesn’t have a virtual component,” said Rachel Schmid, curator of collections and exhibitions at Cal Lutheran. “It increased our audience reach to London, Cairo and Sydney, among others, and offered us a platform for global exchange of ideas.” Schmid said pre-pandemic, cost and logistics limited the speakers and exhibits she could bring to the galleries. In a virtual world, those restraints were lifted, and Schmid said it left more funds to invest in artists. However, even she admitted that “some art can only be experienced in person.” 18 CLU MAGAZINE

Katie Dixon '20 takes part in the commencement for the class of 2020 held May 15, 2021, at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. Undergraduate speaker Francheska Nicole Tanglao ’20 noted that she was giving two commencement speeches to the same graduating class a year apart, providing her with the perspective of looking back at what she wrote in 2020. In a new speech, Tanglao, who received her degree in psychology, said the class had post-graduation experiences that are not mentioned at most commencements, such as job rejections. However, she said the past year taught them to overcome odds. “By no means is life’s path going to be a smooth one with so many unknowns that we cannot account for. But we are graduates of Cal Lutheran and, knowing this, I have no doubt in my mind that we are all destined for greatness,” Tanglao said. When the name of graduate Jacqueline Licoscos ’20 was called, her family cheered from its car, which was decorated with celebratory words and balloons. “I’m just happy that we’re here and able to do something like this even if it’s not fully back to normal. It’s something, and I’m happy for that,” said Licoscos, who graduated with a degree in criminology and criminal justice, and will be studying forensic science as a graduate student at University of California, Davis. — Michele Willer-Allred


Mirwais Azizi, Cal Lutheran’s director of digital learning, said that while the response to the pandemic was successful, work still needs to be done so that pedagogy adapts to changing technological realities. Kaitlin Hodgdon, lecture capture specialist with the digital learning team, said that as the pandemic hopefully nears its end, education as a whole doesn’t just walk away like nothing happened. “I think we’ve learned this past year so much about inequalities with students, whether from learning disabilities, access to online learning and technology, the lack of Wi-Fi we assumed was available to all … and we addressed those issues. We absolutely don’t want to revert back to where everything was before this,” she said. Michele Willer-Allred is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in the Ventura County Star, Malibu Surfside News and Central Coast Farm & Ranch magazine. She lives in Moorpark, California.

Success story

Six years after it was launched, Cal Lutheran’s Hub101 is thriving. BY JULIE PRICE // PHOTOS COURTESY OF HUB101


ub101 is a special place where college and commerce commune and grow to everyone’s benefit. Launched six years ago under Cal Lutheran’s direction, it is an inviting, 10,000-square-foot coworking space inside the university’s Westlake Center in a sprawling commercial office building tucked into the hills. Hub101 is a place where Cal Lutheran students and new entrepreneurs share open office space and a world of ideas. The random networking among students and businesspeople regularly evolves into deep bonds that can change the courses of their college careers, commercial ventures and, ultimately, contributions to society. “I can’t properly overstate the importance that Hub101 played in my company’s first year,” said Michael McCrary, founder and CEO of PureSpectrum, a burgeoning online sample platform formed in 2015 within the walls of the thennew Hub101.

During office hours, Hub101 mentors and community leaders meet regularly with students and entrepreneurs to offer guidance and feedback on specific challenges they are facing.

TOP: In addition to private offices and multipurpose rooms that double as smart classrooms, Hub101 features spacious areas that provide a flexible working environment and offers amenities to balance the fast-paced environment of the startup reality. RIGHT: Entrepreneurs Gary Livingston, president of 805 Startups, and Jen Martinelli, cofounder of Canvas Me, collaborate for a fireside chat at Hub101.

From the day he “stumbled into” Hub101 and gladly agreed to pay $100 for a 10-by-10-foot work area, McCrary has watched his small startup grow exponentially, to the point where it recently received $17 million in Series B investment funding. Having long sized out of Hub101, McCrary now runs PureSpectrum out of 8,000 square feet in the same Westlake Village office building. “There was some nostalgia that this is where we started,” he said. “I wanted to stay close and connected to it.” That he has done, regularly hiring people out of Hub101 and volunteering as an entrepreneur-in-residence for the School of Management. During the pandemic, he spoke at virtual events and did some online mentoring; now he looks forward to increasing in-person interaction. “If there’s any way I can help Cal Lutheran and its students, I’m all in,” said McCrary, who did not attend the university but feels “very much like part of the Cal Lutheran family.”


Credit for the success story that is Hub101 goes to Gerhard Apfelthaler, dean of the School of Management, and Mike Panesis, the Steven Dorfman Professor of Practice in Entrepreneurship. “I think Gerhard is a genius,” McCrary said, “and a vision that he had, which Mike is a massive part of too, was brilliant.” To the visionaries, it’s a simple equation: “Entrepreneurship is one of those topics where you can learn about it in the classroom to an extent, but you really have to experience it,” said Panesis, who leads the operation from his post as executive director of Cal Lutheran’s Steven Dorfman Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Panesis cites PureSpectrum’s success as a classic case of Hub101 doing its job. “When a company tells us they’re leaving 20 CLU MAGAZINE

Hub101,” Panesis said, “even if we’re losing revenue, that’s a huge reason to celebrate.” There are a lot of success stories. Take alumnus Evan Brandt ’18. He graduated with a degree in business administration and — like others at Hub101 — an emphasis in entrepreneurship. While at Cal Lutheran, he was a go-getter, serving as president of the Entrepreneur Club and spending his last three years as an intern at Hub101. Known as “doers,” the interns are so called to make it clear that they are there to do everything they can to broaden their experience — from working the front desk to working directly with entrepreneurs. Brandt made vital connections at Hub101 and co-founded out of the facility soon after graduation. Today, he oversees a team of 45 people who are helping make his 3-yearold company the largest commercial real estate technology firm of its kind in the United States. “You can’t really create a better environment for someone who is young and very interested and hungry,” Brandt said. “There are all kinds of cool, interesting people at Hub101 who have different businesses, in different industries, in different geographical locations. … If you’re ambitious, you have the opportunity to really take advantage of all the opportunity that exists at that space.”


The heartbeat and ultimately the reason for Hub101 is the diverse group of Cal Lutheran students who work there as doers, bringing a world of knowledge and receiving an unparalleled educational experience. When Tamar Haddad ’21 arrived, she already had a degree in English and literature from Bethlehem University. At Cal Lutheran, the native of Palestinian territory earned another

“I can't properly overstate the importance that Hub101 played in my company's first year. ... If there’s any way I can help Cal Lutheran and its students, I’m all in.” — Michael McCrary, founder of PureSpectrum bachelor’s degree this year, in music. She minored in entrepreneurship, which is what led her to work as a doer at Hub101, getting invaluable insights into the business world after an education steeped in the arts. As a recent graduate, Haddad moved off campus, but she still lives nearby, while she plans her next move. And she still works as a doer, riding the bus an hour and a half to get there. “It’s absolutely worth it,” she said. “Hub101 is the best place. I feel inspired there.” Fellow doer Ina Svanes ’20 concurs. After graduating with a degree in business management, Svanes is now pursuing her MBA at Cal Lutheran — and is happily back to work as a doer. Like most international students, the Norway native is not allowed to work off campus but can work at Hub101, which makes it “an especially great option” for foreign students. But that’s not her main motivation for being there. “My favorite part is that we’re always encouraged to do things that we’re good at,” said Svanes, who was given work at Hub101 that aligned with her major. “Everyone has different talents, and we get to explore our interests and talents while we work. That’s just the ideal.” And that’s the whole point, said Hub101 community manager Kristin Bell, MBA ’20. “In this common working space, seren-

dipitous, genuine conversations take place,” said Bell, a former doer herself. A Thousand Oaks native who got her undergrad degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and then spent four years in London, Bell returned in 2018 to earn her MBA. “I chose Cal Lutheran because it had an enterprise innovation and entrepreneurship track,” she said. “I also was attracted because it had Hub101.” In November 2019, Bell took over as Hub101’s community manager, and then the pandemic hit. For more than a year, people made it work from home, but something vital was lost. And now, that something is coming back. “As people are starting to get a taste of this environment again, it’s naturally a good reminder that this is a place where collaborative relationships flow,” Bell said, “and that there’s a priceless value in that.” Hub101 is located at 31416 Agoura Road in Westlake Village. For more information, visit Julie Price is an award-winning journalist, former senior editor and features editor at the Ventura County Star, and former staff writer and special sections editor at the Los Angeles Daily News. She lives in Ventura, California.

ABOVE, LEFT: Hub101 offers a variety of work environments and a community of thinkers, creatives and doers. This outdoor courtyard is only one of the areas included in the center's 10,000 square feet of space. ABOVE, RIGHT: Participants brainstorm during Startup Weekend, a three-day event at which participants form teams with other entrepreneurs and mentors to develop a startup idea, receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs and mentors, then present their plans to a panel of judges. AUGUST 2021 21


Team players

Cal Lutheran athletes, coaches and staff work together to stay safe and enjoy a successful season. BY GREGG MANSFIELD // PHOTOS COURTESY OF CAL LUTHERAN SPORTS INFORMATION


hen universities across the country decided to cancel spring sports because of the pandemic, California Lutheran University wanted to give its studentathletes a chance to compete. It was an unprecedented undertaking that required developing health and safety guidelines, instituting weekly COVID-19 testing, and scheduling practices and games for 22 sports in a condensed spring season. The students, coaches and staff did their parts, and there were no COVID-19 cases during the season. “It really is going to be a mark in history, not only for Cal Lutheran, but for anyone who was involved because it was an extremely challenging time,” said Daniel E. Kuntz, MA ’02, EdD ’11, director of athletics at Cal Lutheran. “I feel extremely thankful to the university leadership for making the courageous decision to move forward for our students on all levels of athletics.” Students who compete in traditional spring sports, such as baseball and track and field, were looking at two partially lost seasons after California COVID-19 restrictions cut the 2020 season short. Students were sent home to learn virtually with a limited number returning to campus last spring. The full campus will reopen in the fall. Kuntz said he expects a traditional fall sports season for Cal Lutheran with fans returning to the stands — provided health guidelines allow it. Fans will be able to watch football, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer, cross country and more in person for the first time in almost two years. The university is still developing new COVID-19 testing guidelines for the fall in accordance with requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California Department of Public Health, Cal-OSHA, Ventura County Public Health, NCAA and the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Senior starting pitcher Alexander Rivas helped lead the baseball team to a 17-1 record in 2020, and the top-ranked team had NCAA Division III title hopes until the shutdown occurred. Re-

turning to the mound this spring for an abbreviated 18-game season, Rivas relished the opportunity to face a competitor who was not a teammate. “I started the very first game of our season, and when I got out there I was a little nervous just because I hadn’t pitched in a real game in over a year,” said Rivas, who picked up the win against rival University of Redlands. “I think myself and everybody were just ready to go and thankful to be out there getting the opportunity to play.” As much of a shock as it was for student-athletes to go from the fields and swimming pool to learning virtually, coaches had to keep their teams together, recruit new athletes and navigate an avalanche of safety protocols for their teams to compete in person. The athletic department set up weekly COVID-19 testing, where the students and staff visited the trainers and provided saliva that was sent off to the lab for testing. The department administered more than 5,000 tests, Kuntz said. The goal was to provide a safe experience for students so they would feel comfortable competing. “They did what they needed to do to stay healthy and to make good decisions so they could (compete), because one mistake and the season could be over,” said Kuntz, noting Cal Lutheran participated in almost 100 events during the spring season. Women’s lacrosse coach Laura McIntyre said Zoom meetings were the norm, and she encouraged her players to keep up their individual fitness routines until the team could get back together. When restrictions eased, McIntyre’s practices involved individual drills with physically distant players, face masks and frequent wipe-downs of equipment with sanitizer. “That first day when all we were doing was running, just to see them back together and hear them laugh together again and just enjoy being back together, that to me was a great day,” McIntyre said. “I think they all recognized, especially then, how important it was for them to stick together and kind of keep pushing through.”

Athletes, coaches and staff worked hard to stay safe, and there were no COVID-19 cases during the spring season. On opposite page, clockwise from top left are: Charlie Lee, Alexander Rivas, Zaria Opara and Carolina Groff Hinojosa. AUGUST 2021 23

Women’s tennis player Carolina Groff Hinojosa, now a senior, was able to keep tennis games and conditioning going after returning home to Guadalajara, Mexico. She regularly practiced with her father, Christopher Groff '88, who had been a top tennis player at Cal Lutheran, but nothing beat getting back on the court with her teammates. “We felt a little sense of normalcy, and that was something that we needed after so many months of being locked down and not knowing what was going to happen next,” Groff Hinojosa said. “Being on the court gave us a little stability and gave us a little sense of structure and it was great to be able to not only practice, but to compete as much as we did.” Zaria Opara, a junior thrower on the Cal Lutheran track and field team, remembers a lot of yelling when returning to practice as the players had to raise the volume to speak to friends and teammates. She said the prospect of having a season — which included four meets — kept her training even as a season was uncertain.

When restrictions eased, women's lacrosse practices involved individual drills with physically distant players wearing face masks.


“I’ve been way more focused on just honing in and trying to train as well as I can for next season,” Opara said. “I was pretty focused just because I had the motivation and the optimism of getting back on campus.” Men’s basketball player and senior Charlie Lee credits the coaching staff for keeping the players motivated and informed, even when the coaches didn’t have all the answers. “Every time we would talk to Coach (Russell White ’94), he’d be like, ‘Get ready to play. We’re going to play. Keep your heads up. Remain optimistic,’” Lee said. “I think that really helped all of us because we felt like we weren’t in the dark and gave us the optimism to not give up.” Gregg Mansfield is an editor for Poker Runs America and Center Console Life magazines. Based in Ventura, California, he previously wrote for the Ventura County Star, Hispanic Business and Powerboat magazine.

The Kingsmen football program is in good hands with Anthony Lugo (right) taking the reins as interim head coach following the departure of Ben McEnroe (above) in May.



al Lutheran Athletic Director Daniel E. Kuntz, MA ’02, EdD ’11, knows he has big shoes to fill with the departure of longtime head football coach Ben McEnroe ’93, MA ’99, in May, but he is confident the program will not miss a beat with offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Anthony Lugo taking over as interim coach. “I have confidence in Coach Lugo and so does Coach McEnroe,” Kuntz said. “He’s one of these people who is an amazing leader and would give you the shirt off his back. He’s totally invested in the program. No question in my mind, I see success.” Lugo has 13 years as an assistant coach for the Kingsmen under his belt. “I started here as a grad assistant and all I wanted was just to be around the guys and I fell in love with this community,” Lugo said. “There’s nothing quite like it; that’s part of the reason why I’ve been here for so long.” Only the fifth head coach in the program’s history, Lugo said he has learned some important lessons from McEnroe, who spent 14 years at the helm. “It’s not just one man or one coach or coaching staff,” Lugo said. “It’s really about the traditions and values, and that’s something that we’re going to really push toward these guys.” McEnroe resigned to take the head coaching position at Grace Community School in Tyler, Texas, returning to his high school football coaching roots. After earning a bachelor’s degree in history from Cal Lutheran in 1993, McEnroe was a high school football coach before returning to his alma mater in 2007. McEnroe led the Kingsmen program to great success, winning the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference his inaugural season and four more SCIAC championships from 2009 to 2012. During that time, his teams compiled a 35-2 record and won 27 consecutive conference games. Those teams made four

NCAA III playoff appearances. McEnroe has been a part of the coaching staff for every SCIAC championship in program history. “Here’s a coach (McEnroe) who came in here and within a very short period of time had four years of undefeated seasons in football, went to the NCAAs and the program had never done that before, and then hosted the first ever NCAA game at Cal Lutheran. Ben also inspired many players and coaches to seek opportunities in the game beyond their time at Cal Lutheran,” Kuntz said. “That tells you that Ben’s leadership was key in developing a successful program.” The program has produced numerous All-Americans and AllSCIAC selections. Current Toronto Argonauts wide receiver and Cal Lutheran Alumni Athletic Hall of Famer Eric Rogers ‘13 is one of seven McEnroe-coached Kingsmen to appear in NFL training camps or regional workouts. “(McEnroe) has the special ability to balance the discipline that’s required in a sport like football with a deep caring for the students,” Kuntz said. “He could set expectations and have very straightforward conversations with students to help guide them in their life beyond football.” Lugo looks forward to leading the young 2021 team, one that hasn’t played competitively in more than a year because of the pandemic. He’s counting on four-year starters linebacker Connor McDermott and defensive lineman Caleb Casimere to lead the team on the defensive side, while wide receivers James Holland, Jajuan Thomas and Cameron Jones and running back Jackson Taylor will lead the offense. He will serve as the interim head coach for the 2021 season, and the university will conduct a nationwide search starting in September with a decision expected in March 2022. Lugo will be among the candidates, Kuntz said. — Gregg Mansfield AUGUST 2021 25

CLASS NOTES SUBMISSIONS FROM FEB. 18, 2021, TO JUNE 6, 2021 Not sure how to submit a note? See Page 3


’80s a professor of urologic oncology for the University of Wisconsin. Gail (Johannsen ’88) Miller, San Diego, California, has been named national vice president of operations for Lincoln Military Housing (LMH). In this role, Gail will help plan, direct, coordinate and support daily operations of the organization. Gail joined LMH in 2003 and has worked tirelessly to spearhead actions that directly improve the lives of military families while serving the Southwest Navy region.

’90s Gerald Price ’68, Lancaster, California, and daughter Christa Price ’14, West Hills, California, fly the Cal Lutheran alumni flag proudly as they gather with family at Knott’s Berry Farm’s Boysenberry Festival on April 3.

’70s Rod Marinelli ’74, Henderson, Nevada, recently was selected by the Professional Football Writers of America as one of two winners of the 2021 Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman Award for lifetime achievement as an assistant NFL coach. The former Kingsmen helped lead Cal Lutheran to a national championship as a player in 1971. He has been an NFL coach for 25 seasons and currently is in his second year as the Las Vegas Raiders’ defensive line coach. (See Page 35.) Rev. Scott Maxwell-Doherty ’76, MDiv ’81, Thousand Oaks, California, recently retired as pastor of Cal Lutheran. Scott has faithfully served the campus community for over 20 years. (See Page 9.) 26 CLU MAGAZINE

Rich Watkins ’86, Escondido, California, was honored as the Pupil Services Administrator of the Year for San Diego and Imperial counties by the Association of California School Administrators on May 1. Rich is pictured with his wife, Laura. The two celebrated 30 years of marriage in July. Tracy M. Downs ’88, Charlottesville, Virginia, has been named the inaugural chief diversity and community engagement officer for UVA Health. A Cal Lutheran regent and a urologist who specializes in surgical cancer treatment, Tracy will serve as UVA Health’s leading voice on diversity and be a powerful advocate for related initiatives across the health system, and more broadly, the Charlottesville community. Previously, Tracy served as associate dean for diversity and multicultural affairs and as

Charlotte Sweeney ’91, Denver, Colorado, is one of three people who have been recommended by Colorado senators to President Joe Biden to fill a seat on the U.S. District Court in Colorado. Charlotte is a partner at Sweeney & Bechtold, where she represents public- and private-sector employees in discrimination, civil rights and wrongful-discharge cases. She helped draft Colorado’s 2019 Equal Pay for Equal Work Act. Ben McEnroe ’93, MA ’99, Tyler, Texas, has taken a coaching position at Grace Community School in Tyler, where he will return to coaching younger student-athletes. Ben was the head coach of Kingsmen football for 14 years and led the team to great success at the NCAA Division III level. After winning the SCIAC championship in 2007, Ben’s squads won four more SCIAC championships from 2009 to 2012, with an unprecedented record of 35-2 in SCIAC regular season games. (See Page 25.)

Mary Mitchell Wingate ’94, MBA ’97, Erie, Colorado, has been named chief operating officer of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine effective July 6. Mary previously served as senior vice president and chief operating officer of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. In the new role, Mary will be responsible for ensuring efficient operations, strengthening organizational culture, and executing the organization’s strategic plan and policies. Seth Davis ’96, Phoenix, Arizona, has joined Arixa Capital Advisors LLC as managing director. Seth has over 15 years of banking industry experience. In this new role, Seth will originate loans with a focus on multi-unit residential properties.

’00s Amie Krause ’02, MBA ’06, Santa Rosa Valley, California, has been appointed senior vice president and chief people officer of South San Francisco-based Atara Biotherapeutics. Amie will be joining the ranks of a gender-diverse leadership suite and continue to focus on fostering a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace in which all employees feel a sense of belonging and purpose to achieve the company’s mission. A founding leader of Atara’s Women’s Alliance and active member of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, Amie is proud to join the company’s leadership team and work to provide opportunities for women seeking leadership positions at Atara and beyond. Manny Mosqueda Jr. ’02, Westlake Village, California, has joined Angel Oak, a mortgage solutions firm, as a new account executive. Manny will help Angel Oak with its heavy volume driven by a record purchase market this year. Rebecca “Beckie” (Lewis ’04, MS ’08) Keenan, Petaluma, California, joined the College Board as a senior product analyst in March 2021. In her new role, Beckie will be working on the development of the next generation of the PowerFAIDS Financial Aid Management system in the cloud to better serve schools and students.

Lindsey Carnett ’05, Camarillo, California, is the CEO of Marketing Maven and an expert in marketing and public relations. Marketing Maven has been named a Top Public Relations and Event Management Firm for the second consecutive year by Clutch, the leading B2B ratings and reviews platform. Chris Holmes ’07, San Diego, California, was recently named head football coach at Grossmont High School in El Cajon, California. Chris is a special education teacher and was previously the offensive coordinator at Granite Hills High School. Jake Cousineau ’09, Van Nuys, California, published an informative book, How to Adult: Personal Finance for the Real World, in March. Jake is a teacher at La Reina High School in Thousand Oaks, California, and draws on his many years of teaching personal finance in the high school classroom.

’10s Ryan Townsend Strand ’12, Chicago, Illinois, is the executive director of Constellation Men’s Ensemble, a Chicago-based vocal group founded in 2013 to create distinct performances in unique spaces, empower the next generation of singers, and expand the repertoire for men’s vocal music by commissioning new works from emerging and established composers. Ryan recently premiered a vocal oratorio about the nation’s foster care system in a free virtual concert called “NOVA IV: House & Home” to raise money for three Chicagoland organizations dedicated to improving the foster care experience for children. Abhi Dharan ’14, Chevy Chase, Maryland, has released his latest album, Cable Car/ Mexico. Since graduating in 2014, Abhi has accrued over 1 million monthly listeners on Spotify. His stage name is Abhi the Nomad.

Mike Frieda ’14, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was sworn in to the First Judicial Department of New York after obtaining admission to the New York State Bar in March. Mike is a litigation associate at Milbank LLP in New York, New York. Christa Price ’14, West Hills, California, has completed a professional development certificate program in assistive technology applications. Christa is employed as the alternative media specialist for Disability Resources at California State University Northridge.

ALUMNI BOARD OF DIRECTORS EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Candice (Cerro ’09) Aragon President and Regent Representative Andrew Brown ’09, Vice President, Alumni Involvement & Recognition Irene (Tyrrell ’00) Moyer Vice President, University Relations Mark Schoenbeck ’96 Vice President, Development Jean Helm, MBA ’00 Secretary Erin (Rivers ’97) Rulon, MBA ’06 Immediate Past President/At-Large Representative REPRESENTATIVES Angela Rowley ’02, MS Faculty Josyua Gatison ‘22 ASCLU-G VOTING MEMBERS AND ALUMNI ALLIANCE CHAIRS Joshua Carter-McHale MBA ‘21 Vice Chair, LGBTQ+ Alumni Alliance Sergio Galvez ’03, MPPA ’09 Vice Chair, Latinx Alumni Alliance Reggie Ray ’92, MBA ’04 Vice Chair, Black Alumni Alliance VOTING MEMBERS Joanne (Satrum ’67) Cornelius, MA ’74 Brandi Schnathorst, MBA AT-LARGE MEMBERS Michelle Blas ’92, MPA ’99 Kevin Cooke ’20 Russ Gordon ’76 Karsten Lundring ’65 Oscar Madrigal ’06, MPPA ’10 Wes McCurtis ’14 Cristy Richey McNay ’03, MA ’13, EdD ’17 Paulina Nunez ’17 Felecia Russell ’13 J.R. Woods ’93 OFFICE OF ALUMNI & FAMILY RELATIONS Rachel Ronning ’99 Lindgren, Senior Director Stephanie Hessemer, Associate Director Steven Guetzoian, Assistant Director Jana Weber, Administrative Assistant

AUGUST 2021 27

Class Notes Su Ji Hong ’15, Lincoln, Nebraska, earned a doctorate in mathematics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in May. Su Ji studied algebraic combinatorics and presented her dissertation on diagrammatic description of real Schur roots. Su Ji will be working at Yale University for three years as a lecturer, teaching mostly calculus courses. She hopes to earn a tenure-track position at a liberal arts college in the future.

First Lt. Jacob Medoza ’18, Palmdale, California, has been commissioned in the U.S. Space Force (USSF) and is an Air Force Research Laboratory launch mission manager. Jacob served as the mission’s program manager for the first USSF small launch mission for 2021 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

apprenticeship as an inside wireman journeywoman electrician with IBEW Local 595 in Alameda County. She is now working on the life safety/fire alarm crew at a hotel being built near the PLTS campus. During her apprenticeship, Rachel worked at several locations in the Bay Area including a hospital, schools and the airport. She is very excited to bring some light and power to the people. Courtney Geibert, MDiv ’20, Redwood City, California, was ordained in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as a minister of word and sacrament on April 11. Courtney received a call to serve as the pastor of Messiah Lutheran Church in Redwood City, California, on May 10.

Russell “Russ” Kaurloto ’16, Denver, Colorado, has joined the University of Denver as the vice chancellor of information technology and chief information officer. Previously, Russ served as vice president and chief information officer at Clemson University and held various leadership positions at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, the city of Los Angeles and the University of Southern California.


Cody Jones ’17, Simi Valley, California, published a children’s book, Henry Makes it on Top. Proceeds from his book help fund Angel City Sports, a nonprofit organization that provides free sports programming to children, adults and veterans with physical or visual impairments.

Ben McEnroe ’93, MA ’99 (See Pages 25 and 26.)

Elizabeth Johnston ’20, Stevenson Ranch, California, is serving with the National Civilian Community Corps, a 10-month, full-time AmeriCorps program. As a Corps member, Elizabeth is completing a series of different service projects across her assigned region as part of a team. Projects support disaster relief, the environment, infrastructure improvement, energy conservation, and urban and rural development. Elizabeth will complete over 1,700 hours of service and graduate from the program in November.

GRADUATE Daniel Lacey ’17, Simi Valley, California, and Ashley Whitwell ’18, Irvine, California, opted for outside fun and hiked with their Pandemic Quarantine Friend Group throughout Yosemite National Park in March. This photo was taken at the base of Yosemite’s El Capitan. 28 CLU MAGAZINE

PACIFIC LUTHERAN THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY Rev. Scott Maxwell-Doherty ’76, MDiv ’81 (See Pages 9 and 26.) Rachel Hoobing, MTS ’02, Emeryville, California, recently finished a five-year

Jane Wagmeister, EdD ’06, Calabasas, California, has been appointed assistant superintendent of instruction of the Moorpark Unified School District. Jane is a recognized and respected leader throughout the state in the areas of universal design for learning, multitiered systems of support, and response to intervention. She has served in a number of curricular and administrative positions, and holds multiple educational credentials.

HONORARY ALUMNI AWARD Each year, the Cal Lutheran Alumni Board of Directors awards the title of “Honorary Alumni’’ to individuals who have brought honor and distinction to the university. These Honorary Alumni have earned high recognition from outside individuals or organizations and demonstrate achievement in service to Cal Lutheran.

Dennis J. Erickson, PhD Honorary Alumni

I value my liberal arts education, because it’s what gave me the foundation to move out into the world.

Dennis J. Erickson, PhD, found his passion for physics through his liberal arts undergraduate education at Augsburg University. An active member of his ELCA community, he was called in 2007 to serve on Cal Lutheran’s Board of Regents, where he spent 12 years focusing on academic and student affairs. At his first Board of Regents meeting, he voted to approve the appointment of University President Chris Kimball (’08-’20), and helped oversee the university during a time of tremendous growth, from campus expansion to becoming a Hispanic-Serving Institution. Erickson is also a strong advocate for Cal Lutheran’s growing STEM programs. He served on advisory committees for the new Swenson Science Center and was an early donor to the project. He has a PhD in physics from the University of Tennessee and spent his 35-year career at the world-changing Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. During his career, he directed laboratory organizations, oversaw core mission programs, participated in historic international exchanges, and led nuclear research and development during the Cold War era. He and his wife, Mary Lou, take great pride in the lives and accomplishments of their three children and their spouses, and four grandchildren. Erickson remains a committed Cal Lutheran champion and keeps up with university staff, former colleagues and special friends. For more of Dennis J. Erickson’s story and for other Alumni Profiles, visit

Save the Date

Oct. 22-24, 2021


Alum runs virtual Loop da Lu 2020 in Germany

Loop da Lu 2018

Virtual Loop da Lu 2020 Website

Homecoming Festival 2019

Cal Lutheran is looking forward to welcoming you back to campus this October. Our team is working toward a safe return to in-person activities. The Homecoming schedule will have a mix of traditional in-person events, as well as a virtual component to include alumni who aren’t able to join us in Thousand Oaks. AUGUST 2021 29

Class Notes Rebecca “Beckie” (Lewis ’04, MS ’08) Keenan (See Page 27.) Ricardo Cota, MA ’18, Santa Barbara, California, will join Carpinteria Middle School as the new assistant principal. Ricardo, who grew up in Ventura, California, was an active member of the Army from 2004-2008 and has worked at various middle schools in Ventura County. Cristiane Galvão Morgan, EdD ’18, Thousand Oaks, California, has published her first book in a series titled Quando Estou no Brasil (When I Am in Brazil). All the books are about the Brazilian culture from the perspective of a child visiting relatives and friends. The first book, Quando Estou no Brasil: Na Casa da Vovó (When I Am in Brazil: At Grandma’s House), describes weekends spent with Cristiane’s grandmother visiting the farmers market, enjoying family gatherings and playing with cousins.

SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT Mary Mitchell Wingate ’94, MBA ’97 (See Page 27.) Mark Gage, MBA ’05, Thousand Oaks, California, has been named the director of strategic affairs and communications


at the Center for Civic Education. Since 1965, the center’s mission has been to promote an enlightened and responsible citizenry committed to democratic principles and actively engaged in the practice of democracy. Mark has worked in various publishing and communications roles for the center for 18 years. Amie Krause ’02, MBA ’06 (See Page 27.) Salina Erazo, MBA ’07, Miami, Florida, has joined Idea Financial, a leading provider of small-business lending solutions, as the new director of marketing. Salina will be responsible for the strategic planning, development and execution of marketing and advertising strategies and tactics that drive growth. Previously, Salina served as regional sales director at Mutual of Omaha Advisors. Belen Islas, MBA ’16, Simi Valley, California, was part of the show Reflect 2020 organized by the Ventura County Arts Council and on display through June in Ventura, California. Belen’s art installation, Tree of Life, was inspired by the idea that a healthy community relies on symbiosis and a mutual need to build a resilient society. Influenced

Linda Arriola, MBA ’20, Reseda, California, celebrates her MBA journey with Mickey while visiting Disney’s California Adventure in June.

Milestones MARRIAGE 1 Pia Aquije ’18 and Nick Bermudez

Sumoward Harris, MTS ’91, on Jan. 13, 2021

were married in a small ceremony on Dec. 16, 2020. The couple plans to celebrate their marriage with family and friends in 2022.

Allen Kanner, MBA ’84, on April 1, 2020

DEATHS Marlena Roberts Daly, MS ’91, on April 5, 2021


by the colorful Tenango textiles from Mexico, the installation depicts the symbiotic alliances of the natural world.

Gayle Kirkendoll, MS ’00, in June 2021 Richard Lochert ’78 on March 26, 2020 Isabella McNeely ’18 in May 2021 Cyndy Murphy ’10 on Jan. 10, 2021

Joanna Erdos, MS ’01, on Jan. 7, 2021

Deborah Schulze ’78 on Jan. 25, 2021

Karen Olson Guetschoff ’72 on March 26, 2021

Bonnie Wagner, MS ’84, on May 15, 2021

Your gift matters to

Olivia Rubin ’22 Major: Hospitality and Tourism Management Hometown: Sherman Oaks, CA Year: Senior

| Why did you choose Cal Lutheran? I chose Cal Lutheran because of the programs, the resources and the services it offers to students. I also love the friendly atmosphere, small class sizes and the variety of amenities and activities the campus has to offer. | What do you like best about your major or area of study? I love my major because it covers such a broad variety of careers. While I am learning specifically about the hospitality industry, so much of what I am learning like business management, marketing and accounting, can apply to many different occupations. I’ve been given so many opportunities to meet professionals in the hospitality industry and really experience what the industry is like. I’m well suited to hospitality because I love working with all kinds of people and helping them solve problems. | What is your favorite Cal Lutheran tradition? My favorite Cal Lutheran tradition is the free late-night breakfast meal they serve on the first day of finals week. I think it’s a great way to bring students together during stressful times and for the university to show the students that it’s there for them. | Why is Cal Lutheran special? The small class sizes make it easier for students to build personal relationships with both professors and our peers. Many professors at Cal Lutheran also have been professionals in the industry that they teach, which allows the ability to offer first-hand experience in the business world. | What are your career plans? I plan to work in the hotel industry. I would like to become the general manager of a luxury hotel. In the long term I hope to own a hotel one day. | How are you funding your education? The majority of my tuition is covered by grants and scholarships as well as the money I earned while working as a student caller during the university’s fall and spring phone campaigns. And, during this difficult past year, I was grateful to receive the COVID Support Grant. I would not be able to attend Cal Lutheran, or enjoy the experiences I’ve had, if it weren’t for the generosity of others who have, and continue to, support my education through their annual unrestricted giving.

Thank you. Your gift to Annual Giving has made college education a reality for students like Olivia. To support more of our students, please visit



U.S. diplomat Ana M. Garrett walks in her neighborhood in Nouakchott, Mauritania, in West Africa. Garrett handles logistics at the U.S. Embassy in the former French colony.


A life of service

Coursework I took as part of Cal Lutheran’s MPPA program helped me realize it was time to pursue my dream of becoming a diplomat. BY ANA M. GARRETT, MPPA ’14


n 2018, I received an email that would change my life: It was an offer to begin working as a diplomat for the U.S. Department of State. The Department of State is an executive branch of the federal government that focuses on diplomatic international relations and foreign policy. Usually when people think about it, they think of U.S. embassies abroad that help Americans with lost passports. Often, the perception of diplomats is that they spend their time at fancy luncheons or cocktail parties in their black-tie apparel. I can tell you that both perceptions are true — there are black-tie events, and we do help with lost passports. However, there is much more to what the Department of State does. It is hard work; in fact, I have never worked harder at any other job in my life, and I have never been prouder to serve my fellow Americans. On the day I received my offer letter, I had been working in the auto industry for over 15 years. I was a business consultant who helped dealerships improve profitability through analysis of many different metrics and observations. I was proud of the work and the relationships I had built. It was during this time that I enrolled at Cal Lutheran in the Master of Public Policy and Administration program. While working full time, I took a couple of courses each semester and found that I loved the subjects. I particularly was interested in how policy affects people, and I was fascinated with how government, as the vessel for policy, could significantly impact lives. I realized that something was missing from my life: service. Before I worked in the auto industry, I served in the Air Force for seven years, and it was important for me to feel like I was making a difference on a grander scale. My three children were adults, so it seemed the perfect time to pursue my dream of being a diplomat. The goal of the Department of State “is to shape a freer, more secure, and more prosperous world through formulating and implementing the president’s foreign policy, while supporting and protecting American interests abroad.” With 270 diplomatic locations around the world, the work we do varies by location and by job. When I started the recruitment process, I chose management

as my career track. All incoming foreign service officers choose a career track into which they would like to be hired: consular, economic, political, management or public diplomacy. There also are options for specialists, who are hired for their expertise in facility management, information technology, office management and more. I chose management as it seemed to match my skills as a business consultant. The hiring process is complex and long. It starts with a computerized test that covers myriad subjects like history, current events and grammar. Those who pass are invited to write a series of essays describing their leadership skills using examples and stories. Those who pass that step are invited to an oral assessment in Washington, D.C. The oral assessment is a full-day interview. On the day of my interview, I was one of two people who received conditional offers of employment pending the passage of physical exams and background investigations. After that, you are sorted by score and placed on a hiring register. If you are not called up, you may expire off the register and must start the process over from the beginning. The process requires patience: Most people who get hired try several times to pass all the steps. After I was hired, I joined a group of 85 colleagues from all walks of life — interesting people who had lived extraordinary lives. We began our introduction into how the Department of State works with eight weeks of classes that included how to answer interrogations by reporters and how to give speeches. It was an exhausting yet invigorating time. It was my first time living on the East Coast, and I enjoyed brunches, sightseeing and going to museums in Washington, D.C. At the end of the eight weeks, we attended a ceremony called Flag Day, at which we learned where our first assignments would be. I was surprised to learn I would be the general service officer at a post in Nouakchott, Mauritania, in West Africa. It was a place I had never heard of. I also was told I would need to learn French to a professional level, since Mauritania was a former French colony. For almost a year, I studied French for six hours a day in a small group setting with colleagues headed to other FrenchContinued on Page 35 AUGUST 2021 33


FELECIA RUSSELL ’13 New DREAMer Scholarship reflects a culture of giving back. Inspired by the generosity of the Cal Lutheran community and in the spirit of paying it forward, Felecia Russell ’13 established a scholarship to affirm and support Cal Lutheran DREAMers. Russell received scholarships while she was at Cal Lutheran and has chosen to embrace philanthropy as an agent of positive change.

“What are you doing for others?” “These words mean a lot to me because I have experienced powerful service and support in my own life, helping me to achieve my dreams and inspiring me to serve others.” Russell also gives back as a member of Cal Lutheran’s Alumni Board.

Learn how you can change students’ lives by starting a scholarship or supporting an existing one. Contact Maria Paredes to learn more: (805) 493-3640

Ana M. Garrett visits Amsterdam, where she will be posted once her current assignment is complete.

speaking countries. I always loved languages and was excited to learn. The intensive language training was much more difficult than I thought it would be. Each day there were classes, conversation coaches, pronunciation practice and lots of homework. I lived French 24 hours a day! I was excited to finally pass my course, pack up my dog, Luna, and fly to Mauritania. Nouakchott, the capital, is a large, rambling city in the Sahara Desert. The country is an Islamic republic with a newly elected president who was the first president elected in a “free and fair election.” The women wear melhfas, traditional coverings for modesty. The men wear flowing gowns in white or light blue called boubous. I dress as an American; I try to keep my hemlines below the knee. The people in Mauritania are the most welcoming people I have ever met, and I often am flagged down as I walk by and asked to enjoy Mauritanian tea by complete strangers. I handle logistics at the embassy, from housing to motor pools, and I supervise 65 locally employed staff members. It is the most challenging job I have ever had. As my time in Mauritania comes to an end, I’ve learned my next post will be in Amsterdam. It is a bittersweet time; I will miss Mauritania but look forward to something new. My time at Cal Lutheran helped me get to this point and I am grateful for that. I learned so much, and professors helped me directly and indirectly along my journey. I am proud to be a steward of the taxpayers’ money and proud every day to serve my country, but I am almost as proud to be a Cal Lutheran alumna. I welcome questions and I’m happy to mentor anyone interested in this career path. Ana M. Garrett is a diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, serving at the U.S. Embassy in Nouakchott, Mauritania, in West Africa. She can be reached through LinkedIn at ana-g-07892439.



Vic Thasiah runs for the hills … along with the mountains, oceans, trees, skies and the people who spend time in and around them. Thasiah, an associate professor of religion at Cal Lutheran, as well as an avid runner, is the founder of Runners for Public Lands. The Ventura-based nonprofit calls on runners of all ages to advocate for environmental justice, conservation, the climate and public lands. Thasiah, who also teaches in Cal Lutheran’s environmental studies program, told The Acorn newspaper in June that proponents of other outdoor activities such as mountain climbing and biking “have national and regional organizations that advocate for protecting the environment. There are around 60 million runners in the country, and we don’t have anything like that.” He decided to bring together runners, who spend their fair share of time outdoors, with environmentalists to work for common goals: fighting for clean air, land and water; ensuring equal access to nature; and protecting open spaces. Runners for Public Lands launched on Earth Day in 2019. When runners share what they see so close to the ground, Thasiah said, it makes the abstract more real. For more information, visit The Acorn | May 13; Trail Runner | March 17 PLAYER TURNED NFL COACH RECEIVES LIFETIME AWARD A former Kingsmen who helped lead the Cal Lutheran football team to a national championship as a player in 1971 has received a lifetime honor for coaching in the NFL. Rod Marinelli ’74 was selected by the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) as one of two winners of the 2021 Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman Award for lifetime achievement as an assistant NFL coach. Marinelli, 71, currently in his second year as the Las Vegas Raiders’ defensive line coach, has served in the NFL for 25 seasons as either a defensive line coach/coordinator or assistant head coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys and Raiders. He was also head coach of the Detroit Lions for three years. In college, Marinelli started out playing as an offensive tackle for Utah State in 1968, then joined the military in Vietnam for two years before coming to Cal Lutheran, where he played on the football team for two years, helping win the 1971 NAIA national championship. Before working for the NFL, he coached at the college level for 20 years at Utah State, UC Berkeley, Arizona State and USC. According to an article about Marinelli and the award on, after 45 years of coaching, “so far no one has been able to pry the man off a football field.” | June 16 LAS VEGAS RAIDERS


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THANK YOU The motivation to help others is what made Cares Day feel so good. It was beautiful to read the dozens of stories about our community’s generosity toward the people, programs, and possibilities that warm our hearts. Thank you for supporting our students on Cares Day by donating to initiatives that touch all aspects of campus life for students. Because you CARE, we raised $1,075,515 from 2,812 gifts and collected over 120 stories. Thank you to all who contributed your time, talent, and treasure to allow Cal Lutheran to shine on Cares Day. We are Stronger Together. With sincere appreciation,

Regina D. Biddings-Muro, EdD Vice President, University Advancement


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