Titan Magazine Winter/Spring 2018

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W I N T E R /S P R I N G 2018




Tusks Up!

Matt Gush

Tuffy Titan’s ice-age ancestor is now on permanent display in the Titan Student Union’s Chapman Atrium. John Gregg and the Gregg Family Foundation donated a rare, almost 20,000-year-old Siberian woolly mammoth fossil to Cal State Fullerton in the fall. The skeleton, which is almost fully intact, was found about 15 years ago in a remote area of western Siberia. It is 11 feet tall at the shoulders and 24 feet in length from tusks to tail. “It’s hard not to look at this spectacular fossil of an extinct elephant and not reflect on its extinction and how long ago it lived on Earth,” says James F. Parham, associate professor of geological sciences and Cooper Center faculty curator of paleontology. “The story of elephants from the prehistoric past and into the future is intertwined with that of humans.”



Upon my arrival at California State University, Fullerton in 2012, we came together as a campus community to pursue a wildly ambitious aspiration: becoming the model public comprehensive university of the nation. As we collaboratively worked toward that goal, many asked how we would know when we achieved it. A fair question, and one I now look at through a different lens as I prepare for the presidency of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), a national organization that represents more than 420 institutions, all of which aspire to be, in some way, a national model. And as I survey the national landscape of public higher education, it is evident that many AASCU institutions are making headway on this front, but Cal State Fullerton’s momentum in nearly every category that can be associated with being a national model — equity, inclusion, student support services, rates of retention and graduation, high-impact academic excellence — makes the institution far ahead of the curve. Over the past five years alone, our collaborative work has resulted in a 30 percent improvement in six-year graduation rates and a 64 percent improvement in four-year graduation rates for first-time freshmen — the highest such rates in the University’s 60-year history; the achievement gap was eliminated for transfer students and cut in half for first-time freshmen; and, in a sign that we are indeed emerging as a national model, U.S. News & World Report recently heralded the institution as a top “national university,” rather than a top “regional university,” the far narrower category in which we had been previously ranked. As impressive as all these rankings and percentages are, they pale in comparison to the people who make them happen — the diverse faculty, staff, students and alumni who breathe life into our aspirations, some of whom are highlighted in this issue of Titan magazine. Faculty members like astrophysicist Jocelyn Read, whose achievements have us fast becoming the model comprehensive university of not just the nation, but the universe. Alumni like Linda Spilker ’77 (B.S. physics), Ben Siegel ’07 (M.P.A.), and Debra Rose ’97 (M.P.A.), who credit the University for much of their success and seek ways to mentor a new generation of Titans. Faculty, staff and students whose vision and fortitude founded this University some 60 years ago, building a legacy for excellence that we all stand upon today. As this institution’s president for nearly six years, it has been a great privilege to get to know and work with so many Titans who, like those profiled in these pages, continuously Reach Higher. That was the spirit of this campus community long before I arrived, and it will continue to be the driving force of its success now and in the future. So when people ask how we will know when we’ve become the model public comprehensive university of the nation, I can point to publications like this and proudly say, “In many ways, we already have.” What an honor it’s been to be a part of the journey. It has transformed me, and I have grown and learned so much by working alongside this amazing community. As I embark on this new chapter of my life, I hope you will join me in welcoming President Framroze Virjee to the Titan family. I will always be a Titan — and this University will always be a part of me. Sincerely,

Mildred García , Ed.D.


EDITOR Sarah Muñoz

DESIGNER Howard Chang ’00

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Valerie Orleans ’80


CONTRIBUTORS Debra Cano Ramos ’84 Michael Mahi ’83 Pamela McLaren ’79 Lynn Penkingcarn ’05 Cerise Valenzuela Metzger ’93


PRODUCTION PLANNER Stacy Padilla ’99 ’01

PRESIDENT Framroze Virjee



Titan is the magazine of California State University, Fullerton, published by University Advancement for alumni, friends and the University community. We welcome your observations, news and comments. University Operator 657-278-2011 Titan 657-278-2414 2600 Nutwood Avenue, Suite 850, Fullerton, CA 92831 titanmagazine@fullerton.edu © 2018 California State University, Fullerton Nonprofit standard postage paid at Santa Ana, CA. Report address errors to uarecords@fullerton.edu or 657-278-7917.

Volume 17, Number 1

4 Forefront 10 Athletics 11 5 Questions: Linda Spilker 22 Class Notes 29 Throwback


12 Astrophysicist Strikes Gold

For CSUF scientist Jocelyn Read, the unprecendented discovery of gravitational waves produced from the collision of two neutron stars has forever changed the world of physics and astronomy.

14 The ‘Transformative Power’ of an Educator

Mildred García leaves a remarkable legacy of commitment to student success at Cal State Fullerton as she embarks on a new journey as president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

18 Mastering the Art of City Management

One-on-one mentoring, an inside look at city council meetings and the opportunity to work on government initiatives are central to the University’s City Management Fellowship Program.

20 Charting 60 Years

Six decades and more than 265,000 graduates later, Cal State Fullerton continues to shape what it means to be a Titan.

Russ Squire



Founding Titans, New Faculty Converge at Convocation President Mildred García kicked off the University’s 60th anniversary during her August convocation address by welcoming 43 new faculty members and highlighting the success of the current five-year strategic plan, now in its final year. Among those in the audience were faculty, staff and alumni who put their faith in a university when it was brand new — “Founding Titans” who joined CSUF between 1957 and 1969. García noted that the first class produced five graduates. “Notice how, even back then, we were trailblazers,” she said. “More than half of our first graduating class were women — 4 I TITAN WINTER/SPRING 2018

all three of them.” “It’s amazing to see the international impact that the University is having and, of course, the programs have become so strong,” said Terry Dickens ’67, the first president of the Conference of CSUF Alumni. “My first year here, they had just opened the Letters and Science Building, which is now named after Miles McCarthy, one of our great professors. How quickly the campus grew.” Indeed, student enrollment reached a record high this year, with 40,439 students enrolled during fall 2017. In addition, the campus received 79,209 applications for the fall semester — also an all-time high. Among first-time

freshmen, the admit rate is now 42.5 percent. Enrollment also is up 7.8 percent at the CSUF Irvine Campus, demonstrating the University’s commitment to reaching out to students who live or work in south Orange County.

KNUTSON MILLER NAMED PROVOST Kari Knutson Miller became provost and vice president for academic affairs on Jan. 1 as Anil Puri stepped down from the role he has held since July 2016. Puri, former dean of the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, will continue Kari Knutson Miller to serve as director of the Woods Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting. Knutson Miller, a professor of child and adolescent studies, was appointed dean of University Extended Education and associate vice president for international programs and global engagement in July 2016. She has taught on campus since 1999. She has served in a number of leadership roles, including chair of the Planning, Resources and Budget Committee, and was an integral member of the 2013-18 Strategic Plan Steering Committee. Knutson Miller co-chairs the strategic planning process for the University’s 2018-23 strategic plan.

Scholars Focus on Education for Migrants and Immigrants Two Fulbright Scholars are conducting research on different aspects of education — one in India, the other in Mexico. Nawang B. Phuntsog’s 2017-18 Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Award will allow the associate professor of elementary and bilingual education to explore dispositions, skills and attitudes associated with the cultivation of a “compassionate schooling culture” taught to Tibetan children to ensure Tibetan identity, and how this may lead to altruism. Phuntsog’s host institution is the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives. The Indian educational system has allowed the creation of a separate schooling system for Tibetan children to ensure that Nawang B. Phuntsog it is relevant for the many Tibetans who have relocated to India, due to China’s occupation of Tibet. Phuntsog spent six weeks in Dharamsala, a city in India that is home to Tibetans living in exile, in 2017 and returns to India this summer for the second phase of the study. He received a Fulbright award in 2011-12 to study the effects of heritage language on math and science achievements of sixth-grade Tibetan children in India. Julián Jefferies, associate professor of literacy and reading education, is studying the experiences of adolescent migrants Julián Jefferies who have returned to Mexico, their reintegration into school and teacher perceptions of these students. His Fulbright research also seeks to understand the consequences of immigration policies in the U.S. and implications for public policy regarding how teacher education can better serve these students in Mexico and in the U.S. “I hope to learn more about what these adolescents are experiencing in schools and how they’re adapting to a new life in Mexico,” says Jefferies, who is spending the first half of 2018 collaborating with scholars at the Universidad de Guadalajara.

INNOVATIVE GRANTS BENEFIT FUTURE NURSES Two federal grants to Cal State Fullerton’s School of Nursing seek to expand educational opportunities and health care access. A four-year grant of nearly $2 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Resources and Services Administration Division of Nursing, will launch a new project to address the social determinants that create challenges for disadvantaged and

underrepresented nursing students. “Ultimately, the grant is going to help us graduate professional nurses who understand cultural variances, exhibit cultural competency and value diversity in the workplace,” says Stephanie Vaughn, professor and director of the School of Nursing. In addition, a two-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services

Administration, expected to total $1.4 million, is helping launch a partnership between the School of Nursing and Mountains Community Hospital and Rural Health Clinics. The program will expand women’s health services and create a pipeline for nursing professionals to serve in rural areas by placing trainees at a critical access point for communities near the San Bernardino Mountains.


Silas Abrego, a member of the California State University Board of Trustees and CSUF vice president emeritus for student affairs, presented the Visionary Award to Mildred García.

Titan Economists Predict Local Momentum Will Slow The country’s momentum in economic recovery will likely continue, but it will slow in Orange County, according to Anil Puri and Mira Farka. During their fall Economic Outlook and Forecast, the economists shared that in Orange County, the pace of job formation shifted in 2017 and layoffs increased — a trend also evident in Los Angeles County, the Inland Empire and elsewhere in Southern California. “We’ve been waiting for tax and regulatory reform for a long time,” said Farka, above, associate professor of economics and co-director of the Woods Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting. “We do believe the outlook is going to be brighter, especially at the national level. … It’s just that it will be highly dependent on the policy mix, both fiscal and monetary policy.” Puri, the center’s director, said the region’s recovery is paired with 6 I TITAN WINTER/SPRING 2018

“synchronized global growth.” “The U.S. economy is firing on all cylinders, and it is performing better than the economy anywhere else in the world,” he said. “Consumers are feeling better about their housing wealth. Equity in their house makes people feel very good. “There’s nothing wrong with slow growth, as long as it continues,” added the economist.

VISION & VISIONARIES HONORS PRESIDENT GARCÍA The 2017 Vision & Visionaries Reunion Celebration in November brought back previous award recipients — friends, donors and advocates who have supported Cal State Fullerton throughout the years. “As I think of what it means to be a Titan, I think about our size and power, as well as the greatness of achievements,” Associated Students Inc. President Laila Dadabhoy said. “Each generation of Titans stands on the powerful shoulders of former generations, and all are striving for greater achievements. I’m proud that we intend to carry forward the legacy you have built.” The evening also paid tribute to Mildred García as she prepared to take on a new role as president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). “As AASCU’s president, I will continue to advocate for this University, and I ask that all of you continue do the same,” said García. “Now is not the time to take our foot off the gas; on the contrary, it is time to do what Titans have done for 60 years: Reach Higher.”

Diamond Jubilee Under the Stars Students and alumni gathered on stage in September for the University’s 60th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee at Concert Under the Stars. About 4,000 friends and supporters of Cal State Fullerton enjoyed an evening of song and dance, which raised $1.2 million for student scholarships and programs.

EXPLORING THE ROLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION IN POLICING A September report released by the CSUF Center for Public Policy and the Police Foundation is the largest and most comprehensive study conducted since 1978 on the role of higher education in policing. Authored by Christie Gardiner, associate professor of criminal justice and a Police Foundation research fellow, “Policing Around the Nation: Education,

Philosophy and Practice” surveyed 958 law enforcement agencies from every state in the nation. The study found that one-third of police chiefs and sheriffs have a graduate degree and one-third of sworn officers have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Other key findings: the CEO’s (chief or sheriff) education level makes a difference in how

an agency operates; most (81.5 percent) agencies require a high school diploma to be hired; a college degree is usually required for promotion to higher ranks; and almost one-third (30.2 percent) of sworn officers in the U. S. are college graduates with a four-year degree. In California, 39.5 percent of officers have a college degree. CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON I 7

Leading Alumni Into the Future Cal State Fullerton’s first graduating class consisted of five students. Today, Cal State Fullerton is a top “national university,” according to U.S. News & World Report, enrolling more than 40,000 students, offering 109 degree programs and boasting more than 265,000 graduates. What a difference 60 years makes. There has never been a better time to be a Titan, and Cal State Fullerton’s volunteer alumni board of directors is committed to building lifelong relationships now and for the next 60 years. We invite you to join us on this remarkable journey.






April 12

Executive Committee President Vanessa Acuña ’02,’03,’07 (B.A. liberal studies, multiple-subject credential, M.S. education-educational administration) Incoming President & Vice President, Programs Sylvia Contreras ’96 (B.A. communications-advertising) Vice President, Communications and Marketing Liz Riede ’79 (B.A. business administration-finance) Vice President, Finance Mark Krikorian ’79 (B.A. business administration-accounting) Vice President, Community and Campus Outreach Adam Koyanagi ’07 (B.A. business administration-management) Student Alumni Engagement Brateil Aghasi ’05 (B.A. sociology and women’s studies)

April 20



Titans baseball game and tailgate May 9 ALUMNI ASSOCIATION APPRECIATION NIGHT

To learn more, visit alumni.fullerton.edu

Tops in Bachelor’s Degrees to Underrepresented Students

BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS TO GRADUATION As part of California State University’s Graduation Initiative 2025, Cal State Fullerton is taking actionable steps to increase timely graduation rates for first-time freshmen and transfer students while eliminating the opportunity gap for traditionally underrepresented students. The University’s 2013-18 strategic plan created an infrastructure for student success, which was pivotal in improving the six-year graduation rate by 16 percentage points and cutting the opportunity gap for the freshman class in half to 6 percent while eliminating the gap entirely for transfer students. In 2017-18, the focus is to increase graduation rates for all transfer students and freshmen who choose to and can graduate in two or four years. “We will work closely with our students to help them overcome barriers or provide additional assistance,” said Pamella Oliver, interim associate vice president for academic programs. Clint-Michael Reneau, associate vice president for student affairs, said in addition to focusing on learning, retention and graduating students in a timely manner, the University also looks to ensure their overall well-being and supply them with an engaging college experience. Additional information is available at fullerton.edu/grad2025.

Cal State Fullerton is first in California and second in the nation for the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to Hispanic students, according to an analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Education by Hispanic Outlook in Education. The institution also has climbed to fifth in the nation and second in California for the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to underrepresented students in a similar analysis conducted by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. The publication also determined that the University’s undergraduate business administration program, with a concentration in management and operations, is first in the nation for awarding degrees to Hispanic students, among other notable rankings in both undergraduate and graduate degrees. In September, U.S. News & World Report ranked Cal State Fullerton among the nation’s “most innovative” institutions. The University is named 25th on the innovative listing based on a peer assessment survey in which college presidents, provosts and admissions deans were asked to nominate universities “that are making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.” Also in the new ranking, CSUF retained its position on the list of “national universities” at 202 overall and moved up one to 109th among top public schools. In graduate school rankings by the publication, Cal State Fullerton is listed high in several nursing categories, including fourth in nursing-anesthesia and 20th in nursing-midwifery. Earlier in the year, U.S. News & World Report ranked Cal State Fullerton’s master’s degree in business is at No. 12, engineering at No. 26 and education programs at No. 47.


Titans’ Elite Join Hall of Fame MEL FRANKS DID IT ALL. He tracked Cal State Fullerton’s athletics statistics, called basketball and baseball games on radio broadcasts, and even built a makeshift press box so media covering football had phone lines and a place to file their stories. Franks was like a Swiss Army knife as the sports information director for Titan Athletics from 1980 to 2012. And now, after a career that witnessed several national championships, outstanding athletic accomplishments, and thousands of student-athletes, coaches and staff helping make Titan programs great, Franks has been recognized for his many achievements. In October, he was among five inductees into the 2017 Titan Hall of Fame. The Athletics Hall of Fame debuted in 2005 and is now a biannual CSUF tradition, honoring Titans who contributed to the legacy of the University’s athletics. During the hall of fame banquet, Franks told the gathering that he felt a little strange accepting an award. “This is a role reversal,” he said. “All they did was win national championships and national awards and break all kinds of records, and I just wrote about them.” Franks’ fellow inductees are (above, from left to right, with Franks in the center): Kurt Suzuki (baseball, 2002-04), George Horton (baseball, 1975-76; associate head coach, 1991-96; head coach, 1997-07), Kathy Van Wyk (softball, 1982) and Tiffany Boyd (softball, 1991-93). 10 I TITAN WINTER/SPRING 2018

Matt Brown


Boyd broke records in her first season with the Titans and earned Big West Pitcher of the Year, Big West First Team Honors and a spot on the NFCA All-West Regional Team and All-West Honors that same season. She is in the top five of numerous career records, including appearances, starts, complete games, shutouts, innings pitched and strikeouts. Horton guided the Titans baseball program to two national championships — once as an associate head coach in 1995 and then in 2004 as the head skipper. Horton was also on Fullerton’s first team to qualify for the College World Series in 1975. Suzuki spent three years as arguably the best catcher Fullerton has ever seen. In Suzuki’s senior season, he hit .413, recorded 16 home runs and 87 RBI on his way to claiming the Brooks Wallace Award. He also was on the 2004 national championship squad. Suzuki has played for the Oakland Athletics, Washington Nationals, Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves. In her only softball season as a Titan, Van Wyk was named the nation’s top softball player and awarded the Broderick Award. As a pitcher, Van Wyk set an NCAA record of 35 wins in a season while only losing one game. She is in her 21st season as the head coach of the San Diego State Aztecs softball program. “I have to thank Judi Garman for bringing me here and for giving me the opportunity,” Van Wyk told the hall of fame audience. “She kick-started my softball coaching career … I want to thank Cal State Fullerton for that opportunity as well.” MICHAEL MAHI



Space Explorer Is Saturn’s Ringmaster

IN THE THIRD GRADE, Linda Spilker got her first telescope for Christmas. Looking up at the stars and planets captivated her. Her love of astronomy continued at Cal State Fullerton, and she set her sights on exploring space and following her passion for the stars. The 1977 physics alumna landed her first mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech, in Pasadena. She worked on the Voyager project that visited Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune. For the last three decades, NASA’s Cassini mission, the unmanned spacecraft that has made remarkable discoveries about Saturn, and its moons and rings, has been her cosmic glory. The 20-year Cassini mission ended Sept. 15, 2017, yet scientists will pore over the rich collection of scientific data for decades to come, says Spilker, Cassini’s project scientist. An expert on planetary ring systems who holds a doctorate in geophysics and space physics, she shares her out-of-this-world experiences and 40-year stellar career as a planetary scientist and space explorer. WHAT DID THE CASSINI MISSION MEAN TO YOU?

I started working on Cassini in 1988, and worked with teams of international scientists. We were like a close family. It was bittersweet to see the mission end. We learned so much, such as how Saturn’s moons, Titan and Enceladus, have liquid water oceans underneath icy crusts. Could these be earthlike worlds that support life? Part of me says we’ve got to go back, so I am on the science team for a proposed NASA mission called Enceladus Life Finder. IS THERE ALIEN LIFE OUT THERE?

Oh absolutely! It’s so important that we keep exploring to better understand our solar system. There are still so many planets, so many questions — and so many possibilities. I do think there’s life out there. Perhaps an alien race might find us! HOW DID YOUR UNDERGRADUATE EXPERIENCE HELP LAUNCH YOUR CAREER?

Mark Shapiro (professor emeritus of physics) noticed my interest in astronomy and asked me if I ever considered studying physics.

I thought, what the heck, and gave it a try. Dotty (Dorothy) Woolum (professor emeritus of physics) was a tremendous role model and took me under her wing. She gave me the opportunity to work on her meteorite research. I got a really good start at Cal State Fullerton. I came away with a good understanding of the fundamentals, which prepared me to do important science on the Voyager mission. DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR FUTURE SPACE EXPLORERS?

Find something you love, that you are passionate about, then follow that dream and get the education you need to make that dream happen. I encourage women to listen to themselves. If I had listened to those who tried to discourage my interests in math and science, I wouldn’t be a part of NASA’s flagship missions and working with incredible scientists. HOW DO YOU HOPE YOUR WORK IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE?

I want people to look up at the stars and planets, to see the beauty and the wonder of what’s out there, and ask the intriguing question: ‘Are we alone in the universe?’ DEBRA CANO RAMOS CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON I 11




Matt Gush

First-Ever Gravitational-Wave Discovery From Neutron-Star Smashup


IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY, about 130 million light years from Earth, a pair of orbiting, massive stars the size of small cities spiraled a dance of death. The neutron stars stretched and distorted the surrounding space-time, giving off energy in the form of powerful gravitational waves. As the dying stars crashed together in a fireball of light, like a spectacular fireworks show in the night sky, heavy elements, such as gold, platinum and lead, sprinkled across the universe. This cataclysmic smashup of a binary neutron-star system that produced both gravitational waves and light was the discovery astrophysicist Jocelyn Read had been hoping for since setting her sights on studying the stars over a decade ago. “It was an incredibly rich signal, and we’re only beginning to delve into all the detailed dynamics of this stellar collision,” says Read, whose research helped scientists confirm the gravitational-wave signal was produced from colliding neutron stars. Read and her colleagues of the international Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) Scientific Collaboration announced in October this neverbefore-seen event, detected on Aug. 17, 2017, at 8:41 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. The National Science Foundationfunded Advanced LIGO in Hanford, Washington, and Livingston, Louisiana, made the detection. Working with the Virgo detector near Pisa, Italy, scientists were able to isolate the patch of sky of the atomic collision in the nearby galaxy of NGC 4993. Some 70 observatories on the ground and in space also witnessed the brilliant crash of the exotic dead stars. At the moment of the colossal star collision, a flash of light — a short gamma-ray burst — was emitted. This observation confirmed a long-held suspicion that neutron-star mergers produce short gamma-ray bursts, a powerful explosion of energy. In the days and weeks that followed, astronomers observed other forms of light across the electromagnetic spectrum, such as X-ray, ultraviolet and radio waves. “This discovery ushered in a new era in multi-messenger astronomy, sparking coordinated work by astronomers across the globe, and revealing the dynamics of a neutron-star merger,” points out Read, assistant professor of physics and a Cal State Fullerton researcher since 2012. From this unprecedented observation, scientists solved the mystery of how the universe’s heaviest elements are created, she explains. “Things like our wedding rings and jewelry made of gold and platinum are forged in the mergers of neutron stars.” The flash of gamma rays produced from the neutron-star collision also confirmed Albert Einstein’s 1915 general theory of relativity, which predicts that light and gravity travel at the same speed.

UNRAVELING A MYSTERY Read served as a lead writer of the journal paper describing the discovery, published in Physical Review Letters. She spent two

months analyzing and checking data to ensure accuracy in interpreting LIGO’s gravitational-wave signal. Her colleagues, physicists Joshua Smith and Geoffrey Lovelace — members of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration — along with undergraduates Erick Leon and Isabella Molina, postdoctoral research associate Marissa Walker, computation specialist Joseph Areeda and physics alumnus Torrey Cullen ’16, a doctoral student at Louisiana State University, were contributors to this latest scientific finding and are co-authors of the discovery paper. Read’s undergraduate students worked with LIGO and Virgo scientists to check and confirm the reliability of the data analysis. “There is a lot we can learn from the neutron-star merger that we couldn’t learn from binary black-hole mergers,” says Molina. “Neutron stars emit light and this allows us to make observations using telescopes, as well as with the gravitational-wave detectors.” Read has spent more than a decade studying how neutron stars interact, collide and radiate energy, with the hope that gravitational-wave observations will shed light on the dense matter at the cores of stars. A neutron star, about 12 miles in diameter, is so dense that a teaspoon of neutron-star material has a mass of about a billion tons, Read explains. Through her research, she hopes to better understand the structure and composition of neutron stars and uncover more about the astrophysical history of the universe. “We are so fortunate to have Jocelyn, one of the world’s neutron-star experts,” notes Smith, associate professor of physics and Dan Black Director of Gravitational-Wave Physics and Astronomy. “I am extremely proud of the role that she and our students have played in this foundational discovery in astronomy.” Read’s continuing work with LIGO and Virgo includes data analysis to determine the masses, spins, sky location and other properties of this gravitational-wave source. She also is the senior lead of LIGO Scientific Collaboration’s Extreme Matter Group, which coordinates global investigations of neutron-star matter. The Cal State Fullerton physicists and their students were key contributors to the first direct detection of gravitational waves from merging black holes in 2015. Their research efforts have been instrumental in three more gravitational-wave detections from black holes, including the joint LIGO and Virgo detection on Aug. 14, 2017. For their groundbreaking research in gravitational-wave science, the researchers have been awarded more than $4 million in grants over the last seven years. While Read is over the moon about this latest observation of the cosmos, she is committed to pushing the frontiers of physics and astronomy. “There are many more signals and hundreds more scientific implications in our future,” Read promises. “We’re only scratching the surface. There’s a gold mine of science to come.” DEBRA CANO RAMOS


THE ‘TRANSFORMATIVE POWER’ OF AN EDUCATOR President Mildred García’s Legacy of Hope


I love what I do, and my soul and heart soar when I see the ability and success to lead a team that transforms an institution to become the best it can be for the benefit of all students — particularly those who come from underrepresented communities or are the first in their family to graduate from college. Every May, when more than half of our 10,000 graduates are indeed the first in their families to cross a commencement stage, you can feel the transformative power of that moment in the supportive cheers and tears from the parents and families.

AS CAL STATE FULLERTON PRESIDENT MILDRED GARCÍA takes the helm of the Washington, D.C.-based American Association of State Colleges and Universities, she leaves behind a legacy of accomplishment from her nearly six-year tenure at the University. Since her arrival on campus in June 2012, García has achieved an impressive track record: new programs to help students succeed, broadening and enhancing already excellent academic programs, increasing the diversity of faculty and staff, and enhancing the fundraising outreach of the University. “President Garcia’s dynamic leadership has provided the vision and direction that has paved the way for collaborative and innovative work — increasing our efforts to improve graduation rates, closing the achievement gap, and providing inclusive spaces for all of our students,” says Berenecea Johnson Eanes, CSUF’s vice president for student affairs. “It has been my distinct pleasure to serve on her leadership team. Her commitment to shared vision and true collaboration is truly compelling and inspiring.” But despite a long list of degrees, honors, publications and appointments, she never forgets her roots growing up as one of seven children in a Puerto Rican family in Brooklyn. And that guides much of her decision-making and emphasis on making sure that educational opportunities are available to all students. “My parents came to New York not knowing the language and making very little money working in a factory,” she recalls. “It was instilled in my siblings and me that the only inheritance a poor family can leave their children is a good education.”

Matt Gush

A COMMITMENT TO FUTURE GENERATIONS Programs, centers and policies García implemented during her presidency have provided increased opportunities for the more than 40,000 students who currently attend CSUF. Among García’s many accomplishments are completing the final year of the University’s first ever five-year strategic plan — a plan that she championed. Under her leadership, the University has seen a 30 percent improvement in six-year graduation rates and a 64 percent improvement in four-year graduation rates for first-time freshmen — both University records — while the achievement gap was eliminated for transfer students and cut in half for first-time freshmen. The institution is ranked No. 1 in California and second in the nation in awarding bachelor’s degrees to Hispanics, as well as fifth in the nation in graduating students of color. CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON I 15

Last year alone, she presided over the largest number of degrees ever awarded in a single year, as well as the largest enrollment in Cal State Fullerton history. “President García woke up the University and encouraged all of us to do better … and it shows,” says Jeffrey Van Harte ’80 (B.A. business administration-finance), chairman of Jackson Square Partners and chair of the Cal State Fullerton Philanthropic Foundation Board of Governors. “Cal State Fullerton has achieved incredible new heights, including being recognized as one of the top 25 ‘most innovative’ institutions by U.S. News & World Report. This recognition is based on what our peers in higher education see — and what they see is that we’re achieving and moving in the right direction.” “President García’s support of and attention to philanthropy at Cal State Fullerton provided the vision for us to raise more than $21 million dollars per year for the past two consecutive years,” says Greg Saks, vice president for university advancement. Indeed, increasing revenue through outside fundraising was an important goal in the University’s five-year strategic plan. Saks points out that what helped make García so effective in fundraising was her ability to tell the stories of the students, the University’s mission and its impact. 16 I TITAN WINTER/SPRING 2018

Clockwise from top left: During her inauguration in 2013, García welcomed to campus Karen Haynes, president of Cal State San Marcos, and Jolene Koester, president emeritus of Cal State Northridge; students join the president in the 2014 opening of the Titan Dreamers Resource Center; García celebrates Homecoming with Tuffy Titan.

“The University graduates more than 10,000 students a year and more than half of its 265,000 graduates stay in Orange County,” he explains. “She was able to demonstrate, in very personal stories, that a gift to Cal State Fullerton helps ensure a strong and educated workforce for the community.” Kerri Ruppert Schiller ’82 (B.A. business administrationaccounting) agrees. “Dr. García’s energy and enthusiasm brought a fresh vibrancy to the campus,” says the senior vice president and chief financial officer of CHOC Children’s, who is a Philanthropic Foundation board member. “She was the catalyst for uniting and aligning the campus, our community and students … lighting a fire that has resulted in the significant advancements gained under her leadership.” Three years ago, García promised that the University would develop its first academic master plan. This collaborative undertaking has been completed, and outlines what faculty

teach, who they teach, how they teach, who will do the teaching and how many will be taught. “She fostered a diverse and inclusive campus community … creating a learning environment where students can thrive and achieve their goal of a college degree,” shares Silas Abrego, a member of the CSU Board of Trustees and CSUF vice president emeritus for student affairs. “... Her impact on this great University has positioned Cal State Fullerton to see another 60 years of groundbreaking success.” In 2016, in a sign that the University is emerging as the nation’s model public comprehensive university, U.S. News & World Report heralded the institution as a top “national university,” rather than a top “regional university,” the narrower category in which CSUF had been previously ranked. But what these achievements truly represent are the success of tens of thousands of graduates, many the first in their families to attend college, to pursue a path of upward mobility — a path that will affect the lives of generations to come. A first-generation college graduate and the first Latina president in the largest system of senior higher education in the country, García serves on many local and national boards, including the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. She was appointed by former President Barack Obama to serve on the president’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. “The tremendous work we’ve done together transformed my life, just as it has transformed the lives of tens of thousands of students we educated together,” García said recently. Her legacy of fulfilling the promise of higher education as a great equalizer remains. VALERIE ORLEANS

TITANS WELCOME PRESIDENT FRAMROZE VIRJEE FRAMROZE VIRJEE ASSUMED THE PRESIDENCY of Cal State Fullerton on Jan. 1 for a term appointment through June 2019. Since January 2014, Virjee served as the executive vice chancellor, general counsel and secretary to the California State University Board of Trustees. He and his staff oversaw all legal services for the 23-campus CSU in areas as varied as First Amendment rights, human resources, intellectual property, regulatory compliance, health and safety, discrimination, Title IX and gender equity, and academic and student affairs. “I am very excited to be part of such a well-respected and recognized university,” said Virjee. “President García and her team have worked tirelessly to lay out a clear pathway for implementing the University’s strategic plan. I look forward to working with all members of the Cal State Fullerton community to further the campuswide culture of innovation that leads to more than 40,000 students having an opportunity to earn a Titan education.” At the CSU, Virjee also served as the secretary and chief legal officer to the board. Over the past four years, he helped transform the CSU Office of General Counsel from a regulatory function to a division focused on collaboration, service and the provision of solution-driven legal advice. “During my recent campus visit, various groups said they sought a leader who places the utmost importance on student success and who has experience working with a diverse set of stakeholders,” said CSU Chancellor Timothy White. “They want a leader who is a strong communicator and collaborator, who values and promotes academic and student affairs, and works well within a shared governance environment. Fram excels in all of these areas. He has a long and distinguished history of championing education in California and through his current role, he is intimately aware of the challenges and opportunities facing the CSU.” Prior to joining CSU, Virjee served as a partner in private practice for almost 30 years at O’Melveny & Myers, the oldest law firm in Los Angeles and one of the largest in the nation. At O’Melveny, Virjee specialized in labor and employment law. He has served as an adjunct professor for both the Claremont Graduate University’s Drucker School of Management and the Chapman University School of Law. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of the Law. CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON I 17


Matt Gush

Mastering the Art of City Management

MORE THAN A DECADE AGO, Ben Siegel envisioned a program that would forge a closer relationship between local city managers and master of public administration students interested in becoming city managers. The program would give students real-world experiences — attending city council meetings where controversial policies are debated, discussing capital projects with city management staff, working on strategic projects or initiatives — while having the opportunity to discuss key takeaways and lessons learned with professional mentors. “I felt that city managers and other local government executives could offer a practitioner’s perspective that would complement the theoretical coursework of Cal State Fullerton’s public administration program,” says the alumnus, who received his M.P.A. in 2007 and currently serves as San Juan Capistrano’s city manager. Siegel (right) has returned to his alma mater this year to serve as a mentor for the fellowship program he helped initiate. He is mentoring Stephen Coffey (left), who, after dedicating four years to the U.S. Marine Corps, knew he wanted to continue his career in public service. As an undergraduate student at CSUF, Coffey found a home in the University’s Veterans Resource Center, where he began working to expand personal development and community engagement opportunities for other student veterans. Not stopping after earning his bachelor’s degree in communications in 2016, he decided to pursue an M.P.A. and learn about the intricacies of government work through the City Management Fellowship Program. “The program has a strong reputation and network of alumni who have done great things not only in Orange County, but around the country,” says the graduate student.

ALUMNI RETURN AS MENTORS Now in its sixth year, the City Management Fellowship Program is designed for master of public administration students who wish to develop essential management skills. More than 25 students have benefited from the program to date. Fellows are paired with a mentor, attend educational workshops and conferences, and each receives a $1,000 scholarship and one-year membership to the Municipal Management Association of Southern California. The program collaborates with and has been funded by the Orange County City Manager’s Association. It also has received support from corporate and individual donors, such as Care Ambulance and C.J. Segerstrom & Sons. “The City Management Fellowship gives M.P.A. students the ability to interact directly with the top people in their field, to learn firsthand how tough local decisions are made, and have city managers look at resumes and offer career advice,” says Shelly Arsneault, professor of political science and program director. “I think people would be surprised to learn about the breadth

of services that are provided by cities which, in turn, demands that city managers quickly come up to speed on a wide array of issues,” says Lake Forest City Manager Debra Rose, who earned her M.P.A. from CSUF in 1997. “There is no typical day for a city manager, which is what makes the job both exciting and challenging.”

The City Management Fellowship gives M.P.A. students the ability to interact directly with the top people in their field to learn firsthand how tough local decisions are made, and have city managers look at resumes and offer career advice. - Shelly Arsneault

Rose, who is serving as a mentor to graduate fellow Jazmine Hooks this year, shares with her examples of the diverse topics city managers must learn — from a pest that could devastate Orange County’s urban forest and how to properly relocate wildlife to construction issues related to building a multimillion dollar civic center and options for affordable housing. The ability to think critically is one of the most valuable skills Rose honed as a graduate student. “The coursework taught me to analyze complex, technical information and use it to make solid policy recommendations to the city council,” she explains. “I had such a great experience in the M.P.A. program that I wanted to do my part in helping the next generation of public administrators.” Aspiring to become a city manager, Coffey understands that the journey begins by getting involved in programs like these and learning from established leaders in the field. “Already Ben has shared a lot with me and has provided a valuable inside perspective on the life of a city manager,” he says. “The City Management Fellowship Program is an excellent opportunity to network with local government professionals and to glean from their experience.” “My M.P.A. from CSUF has been essential to my career in local government,” says Siegel. “It is remarkable to see how theories of management, organizational culture and leadership written nearly 100 years ago are still entirely relevant today.” LYNN PENKINGCARN


2016 CSUF scientists are part of the international teams that prove the existence of gravitational waves.



The Titan Gymnasium is the official venue for handball events during the 1984 Summer Olympics.

The Titan baseball team wins its first College World Series. Titans would go on to win three more national championships over the years.

CHARTING 60 YEARS IT WASN’T TOO LONG AGO that Cal State Fullerton became a land of promise for students — a place where future leaders, influencers and dreamers came to learn and to be inspired. But “long ago” is relative. For Ernest Toy, Cal State Fullerton’s first librarian, the memory of being tasked with building a research library from scratch remains fresh in his mind. Jack Hale ’62 (B.A. business administration) vividly remembers riding an elephant during the inaugural Day of the Titan in May 1962; the excitement of the race still brings a twinkle to his eye. Coming back to Cal State Fullerton to celebrate its sixth decade, Carl Lenhart ’67 (B.A. English) exclaimed, “I didn’t realize what a golden age I was in while I was a student on campus.” Sharon Tanner, who graduated last May with a bachelor’s degree in health science, has more recent memories of Cal State Fullerton. In her commencement speech to the Department of Health Science’s Class of 2017, she encouraged her fellow graduates to continue stepping outside their comfort zones in pursuit of their goals. “I stand here because of my journey at CSUF and because I had a community of Titans behind me who, when I said I can’t, said I can,” she said. Whether they were part of the first or the most recent graduating class, one of five or of 10,000, Titans continue to fulfill the promise of Cal State Fullerton.

2006 Clayes Performing Arts Center opens as an expansion of the original arts center.

2006 “Arise” comes to campus — one of 30 outdoor sculptures at CSUF.


2002 The CSUF Irvine Campus opens.



CSUF awards its 100,000th degree.

The home of Fullerton’s first physician, now called the Heritage House, is moved to the Fullerton Arboretum.

2014 CSUF welcomes the Titan Dreamers Resource Center — the first of its kind in the CSU system — in the Pollak Library.

2015 Students Success Centers are launched in each college, the Irvine Campus and Graduate Studies.

1957 The founding of Orange County State College — what would become Cal State Fullerton.

1965 The College of Business and Economics becomes the youngest business school in the nation to be accredited by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business.


CLASS NOTES I To submit news about yourself, email titanmagazine@fullerton.edu.


J. ANTHONY FERNANDEZ (B.A. biological science), president of Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho, has announced his retirement at the end of the 2017-18 academic year. He became the institution’s 15th president in 2011 after serving as provost and vice president of academic affairs. PHILIP B. WOOD (B.A. history) is pastor of La Jolla United Methodist Church.


DANIEL M. AMOS (B.A. anthropology), a public health programs researcher with the Washington State Department of Health, is studying the making of tobacco law and policy for children and youth in Hong Kong under a Fulbright grant.


GREGORY D. WALLER (B.A. political science, ‘78 MBA-accounting) has joined the board of directors of Arcadia Biosciences Inc., an agricultural technology company. Waller serves as director for Sunshine Heart and Endologix Corp.


K.V. “KRIS” CHANDRASEKAR (B.A. business administration-marketing, ’79 MBA) is senior vice president of California Bank of Commerce’s Small Business Administration Lending Division. WILLIAM P. SHANNON (B.A. English) is director of human resource development at Auburn University.


SUSAN L. MAIN (B.A. business administration-accounting), senior vice president and chief financial officer of Teledyne Technologies Inc., was elected to the Ashland Global Holdings Inc. Board of Directors. ANTHONY SAAVEDRA (B.A. communications), an investigative reporter for the Orange County Register, won an award for investigative reporting from the Orange County Press Club in May 2017.


WILLA M. BOUWENS-KILLEEN (B.A. geography) has served more than 35 years as a planner for the city of Costa Mesa.


MICHAEL A. GOULDING (B.A. communications), a photographer with the Orange County Register, won first place for best sports photo and third place for best news photo from the Orange County Press Club in May 2017.

LARRY C. BOHANNAN (B.A. communications) is a writer and columnist for The Desert Sun and has written two books on the history of golf in the desert: “50 Years of Hope” and “Palm Springs Golf: A History of Coachella Valley Legends and Fairways.”



CANDACE COLE-MCCREA (B.A. sociology and ethnic studies) is owner of Raptors Calling, providing counseling, teaching and group leadership assistance at the Strafford County Jail in New Hampshire.

NAIDA OSLINE (B.A. art) is a photo-based artist whose works have been shown at CSUF’s Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, the Acuna Hansen Gallery in Los Angeles and Riverside Art Museum.


ED INTAGLIATA (B.A. music-music education) recently celebrated his 40th year operating Cassell’s Music in San Fernando.


JEFFREY J. BURAK (B.M. performance, ’83 M.M. performance) is an Apple Valley, California music instructor, songwriter and artist who has released three albums. ROBERT O’CONNELL (B.A. business administration-management) is president of Ceramtech Inc., a manufacturer of twin and single-screw extruder products, headquartered in Anaheim.


ROGER L. WORTHINGTON ’87 (B.A. psychology) has been appointed interim associate provost and chief diversity officer at the University of Maryland. Worthington has served as professor and chair of the Department of Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education at the university since 2014. Previously, Worthington taught at the University of Missouri and served nearly six years as chief diversity officer and assistant deputy chancellor. He is the editor of the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, a founding member of the board of directors for the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education and a member of Missouri’s Commission on Human Rights.

A Titan Legacy Through Gifts of Real Estate PHIL ROGERS (B.A. business administration-management) is marketing manager for the consumer channel at Corona Tools, a manufacturer of lawn and garden, landscape, construction and agriculture tools.


There are a number of ways you can benefit from a gift of residential or commercial real estate. Charitable life-income plans may provide you with a way to sell your property tax free, increase your income for retirement and benefit from a charitable tax deduction with valuable tax savings. For more information, contact Hart Roussel at 657-278-5429 or CSUFplannedgift@fullerton.edu.

JOHN C. HERNANDEZ (B.A. sociology) is the fifth president of Santiago Canyon College in Orange. He previously served as the college’s vice president of student services.


GREGORY CHRISTY (B.A. theatre arts) and his wife, JULIE ’84 (B.A. theatre arts), co-founders of Brite Ideas by Greg Christy Inc., were recognized as the 2017 Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Santa Ana District Office. Brite Ideas is a technical direction and design coordination company based in Rancho Santa Margarita.


MARK ADCOCK (M.P.A.), after 40 years as a police officer and city manager, is now a watercolor artist on the Oregon Coast. THOMAS B. ROGERS (B.A. political science, ‘90 M.P.A.) was honored in May 2017 for 25 years of service with the city of Mill Creek, Washington. He serves as director of community and economic development.



ISSAM ALSHAHROURI (B.S. engineering-civil and mechanical, ’81 M.A. economics) is a building official with Costa Mesa. GENE BERRY (MBA-finance) is senior vice president and chief information officer for OneAmerica Financial Partners Inc. CAROL HENSON (B.A. communicationsjournalism) serves on the Orange County Superior Court. Previously, she was assistant district attorney in the Orange County District Attorney’s office. She holds a juris doctor from the University of the Pacific.

JOHN R. ROONEY (B.A. business administration-accounting) is president and CEO for Harrington Industrial Plastics. WANDA SCHAERTEL (B.A. art) is an artist living in Utah. MICHAEL BARRY WESTRUM (B.A. communications-advertising) is chief marketing officer for Del Taco Restaurants Inc.


MICHAEL R. LAZAROVITS (B.A. psychology) is executive director of the Braille Institute of Santa Barbara. PAUL SPITZZERI (B.A. history, ’00 M.A. history) is director of the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum in the City of Industry.



PATRICK B. MEEGAN (B.A. business administration-accounting) is a portfolio manager with Hotchkis & Wiley Capital Management. ERIC A. SHUEY (B.A. business administration-finance) has joined Revelstoke Capital Partners, a Denver-based private equity firm.


LESLEY FERA (B.A. theatre arts) was in the film “The Lovers,” starring Debra Winger. Fera has appeared in a number of TV and film productions, including ABC Family’s “Pretty Little Liars.” MARK T. PRESTWICH (B.A. political science) is city manager of St. Helena. NANCY LUNA (B.A. communicationsjournalism), food writer with the Orange County Register, won awards in profile and roundup stories from the Orange County Press Club in May 2017. DAVID L. MOCK (B.S. engineering-electrical, ’13 MBA-information systems) is a project leader with health supplement company Fusion Biotech. HOPE M. SMYTHE (M.S. environmental studies) is the executive officer for the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board.


JENNIFER E. LOVE BRUCE (B.A. communications-public relations) is vice president of corporate social responsibility at Bridgepoint Education Inc.


SCOTT T. KROG (B.A. business administration-accounting) is chief financial officer of Materia Inc., a manufacturer of catalysts and advanced polymers.


STACY A. STEMEN (B.A. communicationsadvertising) was promoted to vice president of corporate marketing for real estate investment firm Passco Companies LLC. Stemen also is president-elect of Commercial Real Estate Women, Orange County Chapter.


THADDEUS MCCORMACK (M.A. political science) is city manager for Lakewood. CORY T. REEDER (B.A. communications-radio/ TV/film), who runs Renaissance Man Productions in Los Angeles, recently won best film and best awareness campaign awards for “Best Friend” in the Easterseals Disability Challenge.



JOSÉ MOTA (B.A. communications-radio/TV/ film), a longtime Angels broadcaster, was the first major league baseball broadcaster to offer play-by-play and analysis in English and Spanish on radio and television for the same ballclub.

ERIK R. HAUPT (B.A. business administration-management) is a dental ceramist with Haupt Dental Lab in Brea. He was named an accredited fellow with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry in April 2017.

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JOSEPH M. MUELLER (B.A. English, ’01 English single-subject credential) heads up his own remodeling company, Inspired Remodels. MICHELLEE A. PHELPS (B.A. communications-advertising) is manager of communications and special events at the Hawaii Convention Center.


KELLY FRESCH (credential-multiple subject) is principal of Adams Elementary School in Santa Barbara. MATT REEVE (B.A. business administrationfinance) is group vice president of sales and merchandising at Smart & Final.


ROBERT R. SALDIVAR (B.S. kinesiology, ’08 preliminary administrative credential) has become the first Anaheim High School alumnus to become its principal in the school’s 119-year history. He became a teacher at his alma mater in 2001. SCOTT P. TOLLESON (B.F.A. art-illustration) is a designer of collectible art toys with The Walt Disney Co. in entertainment productions.


SKIP KIIL (B.S. kinesiology) is executive vice president, international, for medical device company NuVasive Inc.


MATTHEW BUCKSTEIN (B.A. theatre arts) is the Colorado-based country singer Buckstein. He recently released “Country Side,” a fivesong recording, on Angry Duck Records. STACY MUNGO (B.A. political science), a Long Beach city councilmember, was honored with her name on an endowed scholarship at Cal State Fullerton. The scholarship fund was created with a $25,000 gift from Sterling Franklin, a Morris S. Smith Foundation trustee.

“One day, a homeless man asked me for a toothbrush, and I was happy to give him one,” says ARISTOTE MATSHOKO ’12 (B.A. business administration-finance). Days later, the same man asked for another toothbrush because he lost it while sleeping outside, in nature. Knowing the negative impact of plastic on the environment, Matshoko decided to tackle the issue. Today he is the founder of Bonni, a socially responsible business that donates one bamboo toothbrush to the poor or homeless for every toothbrush purchased by consumers. The business also offers wood laptop and phone covers. Matshoko, who hails from Lausanne, Switzerland, came to the U.S. to earn his undergraduate degree. “After getting my bachelor’s, I returned to Europe, taking with me several elements of American culture, such as the importance of giving back to the community,” he says. Continuing on to graduate studies at the School of Management Fribourg, Matshoko founded Bonni in 2016. In its first 18 months, the business donated nearly 1,000 toothbrushes.

JOSHUA W. PORTER (B.A. political science, ‘06 multiple subject credential, ’09 M.S. education-educational administration) is principal of Dana Hills High School in Dana Point, California. BENJAMIN TAKAMURA (B.A. liberal studies) is principal of North High School in Riverside. JENNIFER (MCGOWAN) TODLING (B.A. business administration-accounting) is a partner in EY’s national assurance practice in McLean, Virginia, after completing a three-year fellowship at the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Chief Accountant.


KEVIN J. LOKEN (B.A. English) is a district manager for supply-chain management company XPO Logistics.


PETER ABE (B.S. kinesiology) is the first varsity football coach selected for Portola High School in Irvine. RICHARD “TONY” CONTRATTO (B.A. criminal justice) is owner of Patriot Cleaning Solutions in the Inland Empire and the High Desert region in Southern California.

MARCELA RAMIREZ (B.A. economics and French) completed her term in July 2017 as the 42nd student regent for the University of California Board of Regents. Ramirez is finishing her doctorate in higher education and policy from UC Riverside.



ALEXIS ARCZYNSKI (M.S. counseling marriage and family therapy) is an assistant professor in the counseling psychology program at the University of Oklahoma. She earned her doctorate in counseling psychology at the University of Utah.

DUSTIN BARR (B.A. music-instrumental, ’08 M.M. performance) is an assistant professor of music and director of bands at CSUF.

BRUCE BOWEN (B.A. communications-public relations) has joined the Los Angeles Clippers as color commentator for the 2017-18 season.

MARICELA ESTRADA-MORENO (B.A. communications) is a medical case worker with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health and author of “Bipolar Girl: My Psychotic Self.”

SHAUN DAVIES (B.S. health science) is a physician assistant with OC Dermatology in Laguna Niguel.

NICHOLAS SAINATO (B.S. kinesiology, single subject physical education credential) is head boy’s basketball coach at El Toro High School in Lake Forest. NICOLE “NIKKI” SMITH (B.A. communications-journalism) is director of digital and social media marketing strategy at Alliant National Title Insurance Co.

AISHA ELSTON-WESLEY (B.A. philosophy) is a staff attorney in the housing unit at Manhattan Legal Services in New York. She earned her law degree from New York Law School. ALEXANDRA LIMON (B.A. communications-journalism) joined KRON-TV of San Francisco in August 2017, serving in the television station’s Washington, D.C., newsroom. PAO-YUEH “CLAUDIA” SCHOLLMEYER (B.A. business administration-finance) earned the certified public accountant designation in June 2017, and is a staff accountant with Widmer Roel in Bismarck, North Dakota. CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON I 25

CHASE VALENCIA (B.A. history) and his brother Chad are owners of Lasa, a Filipino-inspired restaurant located in Los Angeles’ Chinatown.


SHAFIEL A. KARIM (B.A. religious studies) was included in Super Lawyers Magazine’s 2017 California Rising Stars list. JOY JOHNSON (B.F.A. art-entertainment art/ animation) is the computer graphics supervisor at Taiko Studios. Johnson won a Visual Effects Society Award for her work on the animated Disney film “Frozen.”

60 Years Advocating for Titans Alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents and community partners are working to ensure Cal State Fullerton’s future. Will you join us?

ERIN N. TOBIN (B.A. communicationsjournalism) is managing editor of Champion Newspapers, serving the Chino Valley area of Southern California. DREW WILEY (B.A. political science, ’11 M.P.A.-human resources) is director of leader and program development with CSUF’s Associated Students Inc.



MICHAEL BANH (B.S. biological science-cell and developmental biology) became the first resident in Southwestern Vermont Medical Center’s Podiatry Residency Program to graduate from the three-year program.

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MAX MENDOZA (B.M. music-instrumental) and DANIEL RAMIREZ ’10 (B.M. musicinstrumental) are members of the Artisan Guitar Ensemble, a group they formed while studying at Cal State Fullerton.

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BRUNA MASSADAS (B.F.A. art-drawing and painting, B.A. art-art history) is an Oakland-based painter whose works have been included in the Wattis Institute and the Museum of Latin American Art, as well as the publications New American Paintings and American Chordata.

AJA MCKEE (M.S. education-special education, ’09 early childhood special education credential) has returned to her alma mater as an assistant professor of special education. McKee earned her doctorate in education at Chapman University.


MELANIE D. SABADO-LIWAG (M.P.H.) is a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities and one of three recipients of the organization’s first William G. Coleman Jr., Ph.D., Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Innovation Award.

ADAM CASTER (B.A. communications-advertising) is an account executive and producer for HUB International of California, a global insurance brokerage, risk advisory and employee benefits consultancy firm.

DAVID H. TRAN (B.A. communicationsadvertising) recently directed “Husband Material,” by Steven Lee, at the Celebration Theatre in Los Angeles.

JAY JEFFERSON (B.A. business administration-business economics) is legislative director for Assemblyman Mike Gibson, representative for the 64th district, which includes Carson, Compton and portions of Long Beach and Los Angeles.


CHRISTIAN BROWN (B.A. communications-journalism) joined Cerritos College as faculty adviser of the Talon Marks student newspaper and the head of the journalism program.

JESSICA BLOCK NERREN (M.A. communications-professional communications) is a lecturer in communications at CSU San Bernardino. ANTHONY E. SANTOS (B.S. kinesiology, ’14 M.S. kinesiology) is assistant coach of the Cal State Fullerton men’s basketball team.


JENNIFER ECKERT-TOLER (B.A. history) teaches history and psychology at San Clemente High School. SERGIO G. HERNANDEZ (M.S. educationhigher education) was honored in August 2017 by Familia Unida. Hernandez, who received the Inspiration Award, is program director for City Year of Los Angeles, a national organization supporting and closing the gap in the educational pipeline. JESSICA “KATIE” HOLLAND (B.A. communications-photocommunications) is manager and lead paint teacher at Timree Paint Studio in Newport Beach. GREGORY X. WHITMORE (M.M. music- performance) is music director of the Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble, director of bands at Mt. San Antonio College and concert band director at Cal Poly Pomona.


JANET PEREZ (B.A. political science) is vice president of business development at Lendistry, an online lending firm for small businesses.

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JONATHAN REHBERG (B.A. history) is a ninth-grade algebra teacher at Sonoma Valley High School. JOSHUA SMALL (B.A. music-music education) teaches choral classes at Ukiah High School and Pomolita Middle School in Mendocino County. SALISHA THOMAS (B.A. theatre arts-applied studies) appeared as Diana Ross in the Chicago Writers Theatre production of “Trevor the Musical” in August and September 2017. Earlier that year, she was part of the ensemble in “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.”


ALAN P. AHMATOVIC (B.A. business administration-finance) is a portfolio administrator with Aprien Advisors in Irvine. He recently obtained his Chartered Financial Analyst Level 2 certification.

In Memoriam

SAMUEL S. CHI ’91 (B.A. communicationsjournalism), a Breitbart News senior editor, died Sept. 9. He was 48. Chi, a former sports writer for the Daily Titan, worked for the Pasadena Star-News and San Francisco Examiner before joining Breitbart. LYNN M. COPPEL, librarian emeritus, died April 19 at the age of 84. The campus alumna, who earned a master’s degree in environmental studies from CSUF in addition to a graduate degree in librarianship from the University of Denver — served CSUF for 26 years. LISA M. COSENZA ’95 (B.A. communications-public relations), a former Daily Pilot and Los Angeles Times advertising executive, died Oct. 12 at the age of 51. M’LOU DIETZER, professor emeritus of music, died April 9. The noted performer, adjudicator, clinician and master class teacher taught music at CSUF for 25 years. CAROLYN JOHNSON, associate professor emeritus of communications who served the campus for more than 38 years, died Nov. 7 at the age of 76. In recognition of her gifts to the University —



SPENCER CUSTODIO (B.A. communications-journalism) is a reporter for Voice of OC, and covers south Orange County and Fullerton for the nonprofit news agency. DEVIN MANON (B.A. communications-public relations) is marketing director at Smith Law Offices LLP in Riverside.


NANCY CHEN (M.S. geology) is teaching geology at Harvard-Westlake School. EMILY C. DIECKMAN (B.A. communications-journalism) has joined Tucson Local Media as a features writer.

including one that started CSUF’s Journalism Endowment Fund — the College of Communications’ internship office bears her name. ROSS JOHNSON ’68 (B.A. history) former GOP legislative leader, died Aug. 16 at the age of 77. Johnson served in the California State Assembly from 1978 to 1995, then moved to the State Senate, where he served for nine years. From 2007 to 2010, Johnson served as chair of the California Fair Political Practices Commission. NICOLE KIMURA ’03 (B.A. art) was among the victims of the mass shooting at the Oct. 1 Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas. Kimura had worked for the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration in Irvine. She was 38. RICHARD MCFARLAND, professor emeritus of psychology, died April 26. He served the campus community for 28 years. DIANE BRIDGFORD NIELEN ’74 (M.S. library science) died July 2 at the age of 81. LORI PHELPS, a full-time lecturer in human services, who served the campus community for 18 years, died Sept. 15 at the age of 62. The educator served a two-year term as president of the California

ASHLEY JUNG (B.A. communications-public relations) is communications coordinator for Suzuki Motor of America Inc. AMANDA KNOX (B.A. communicationspublic relations) has joined Beyond Fifteen Communications Inc., a Southern California public relations and social media firm. FRANCES “FRANKIE” MICHINOCK (B.FA. art-graphic design/illustration) created the winning graphic design that will be used in promoting the annual Dana Point Festival of Whales event in March. JUTARA SRIVALI TEAL (D.N.P.) is an assistant professor of nursing at her alma mater. The educator has served as a nursing instructor with Los Angeles County College of Nursing and an in-service nursing instructor with Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center.

Association of Alcohol/Drug Educators before assuming the executive director position in 2008. DAVID REID, who served nine years chronicling faculty and student achievements as part of the University’s Public Affairs staff, died Oct. 16. He was a lifetime member of the CSUF Reading Educators Guild, endowing a scholarship, and was a longtime contributor to the It’s Our University campaign. He was 77. VIRGINIA C. ROGERSON ’80 (M.A. musicmusic history and literature) died May 2 in South Carolina. She was 90. SEYMOUR SCHEINBERG, professor emeritus of history and a founding member of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, died Sept. 29 at the age of 85. He served the campus for 30 years. A scholarship has been established in his honor. NANCEE WRIGHT, who served the campus for more than 20 years as assistant dean of student services in three colleges: the Arts, Education and Human Development and Community Service (now Health and Human Development), died Oct. 13. She was 71 years old.


JUNE 28, 2000

A LEADER’S MESSAGE OF COMPASSION HIS HOLINESS BROUGHT WORDS OF tolerance and hope as the world settled into the new millennium. On a warm summer day 18 years ago, the 14th Dalai Lama appeared before a crowd of more than 1,000 at the Titan Student Union, and said: “Some people consider me a living Buddha. That is a disgrace. Some people consider me a god king. That is also nonsense. I am just another man.” Sometimes speaking in English, other times using an interpreter, the Tibetan leader spoke about achieving happiness through love and compassion as he advocated for nonviolence. “Everybody wants a happy life,” he shared. “Me too.” The Nobel Peace Laureate was appointed political and theological leader of Tibet at the age of 15. He fled his homeland in 1959 after it was invaded by China, and has since lived in exile in India with thousands of fellow Tibetans. Nawang Phuntsog, associate professor of education, helped bring the 14th Dalai Lama to campus. “It took four years of going back and forth to make this happen,” he remembers. “I vividly recall the day he visited. It was a wonderful day for the campus.” Then-President Milton Gordon (above, with the Dalai Lama) and Soraya Coley, then-dean of the College of Human Development and Community Service (now Health and Human Devel-

opment), who now presides over Cal Poly Pomona, received His Holiness at the Golleher Alumni House. After a short meeting, he was ushered to the Titan Student Union. “That part of campus looked very different,” says Phuntsog. “Everything was set up beautifully. We tried to provide a cultural experience. We had a huge tapestry which hung behind His Holiness, which I rented from a local monastery.” That day in June, the audience gathered at the TSU laughed at the Dalai Lama’s jokes and gave him a standing ovation as he urged them to teach younger generations to be concerned with the welfare of others. “Tolerance is a science of strength,” he shared. After his speech, His Holiness blessed a Bodhi tree. It is said that the Buddha attained enlightenment under such a tree. Faculty representing the world’s five major religions ceremonially planted the tree in September of that same year at the Fullerton Arboretum; Phuntsog represented the Buddhist faith. “If you go there, you will find the tree is huge now — big and beautiful,” says the Fulbright scholar. “It is thriving. “This was my first time being very close to His Holiness,” adds Phuntsog, who has since met with the Dalai Lama several times. “It is one of the highlights of my time on campus.” That day, the Tibetan leader shared with the crowd: “Our survival is dependent on a sense of community. When you think about hope and humanity, the mind opens.” SARAH MUÑOZ CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON I 29




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