THE M AG A ZINE OF C A LIFORNI A S TATE UNI V E R SIT Y, FULLE R TON
S U M M E R / FA L L 2018
THE CALL TO LEAD FRAM VIRJEE TAKES THE HELM
Celebrating Wins, Learning From Losses Titan baseball had much to celebrate this season. Just like softball on Anderson Family Field, the team clinched the Big West Conference title at home on Goodwin Field, defeating Cal State Northridge and moving on to its 27th NCAA Regional appearance. The Titans won all three games at the National Collegiate Athletic Association Regional, beating host Stanford twice. Both games featured home runs that would seal the deal for the defending champions and send
them back home to take on the emerging University of Washington team. Lessons were learned and earned upon the Titans’ return to their home field, but ultimately the team lost its bid to represent the Big West in its 19th appearance at the College World Series, losing a winner-take-all thriller to the Washington Huskies. The Titans finished the season 36-25, but can look back at a campaign that started with the team posting a 1-7 record and showed that Cal State Fullerton baseball is indeed in a class of its own, with 30 conference championships in program history and qualifying for the postseason for the 40th time overall. Reflecting on the season, Coach Rick Vanderhook said, “From where we started to being one out from going to Omaha, I’m pretty proud of these guys.”
viewpoint Dear Titan Family: Since my January arrival as California State University, Fullerton’s eighth president, I have consistently and publicly crowed about the fact that we Titans need to do a better job of, well, crowing. Yes, there is honor in humility, but to recall the wise words of Muhammad Ali, “It’s not bragging if you back it up.” And as Titans, we have earned the right to brag and we can most certainly “back it up.” We are No. 1 in the state for graduating Hispanics; No. 1 in the CSU for graduating women; No. 5 in the nation for graduating underrepresented students; and home to more first-generation college students than any other university in California. Our graduation rates are at record highs while opportunity gaps have hit all-time lows. We are ranked nationally for both “academic rigor” and graduating students with the “least amount of debt.” We have been recognized as one of the “most innovative” universities in the nation and crowned the No. 1 destination for community college transfer students in California. We are the reigning Big West Champions in six different sports and have earned first place at myriad performing arts competitions and festivals throughout the academic year. We are on track to garner the most research/grant awards in our 60-year history, and countless students and faculty members have received national recognition for the innovative and collaborative work born from these awards. I could continue to boast, brag and give shoutouts, but the bottom line is twofold: 1) We are a university of significance — significance in California and significance in our nation; and 2) We need to let our community, legislators and governor know that the impact our more than 40,000 students and nearly 300,000 alumni have on our state is exceeded only by the unique stories behind our success. This issue of Titan magazine does an excellent job of highlighting just a few of those stories — from the inspiring journey of a Guardian Scholar graduate to a Titan filmmaker who followed her dream to document the life of her cousin and hero, Rosa Parks. Yes, the Titan family has a lot to both be proud of and about, and I am pleased that Titan magazine continues to lead the charge in sharing our Titan pride with the world. I encourage you to join me in spreading these and the thousands of other triumphant stories emanating from our campus community to everyone and anyone within earshot. After all, we are the most populated university in the largest system of higher education in the country; it’s high time we also had the most swagger. Sincerely,
Fram Virjee President California State University, Fullerton
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Summer/Fall 2018 Volume 17, Number 2
Diary of a Storyteller
When College of Communications alumna Angela Williamson was a student, a series of opportunities paved the way for “My Life With Rosie,” her documentary about civil rights hero Rosa Parks.
EDITOR Sarah Muñoz
DESIGNER Howard Chang ’00
EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Valerie Orleans ’80
ART DIRECTOR Mishu Vu
Debra Cano Ramos ’84 Michael Mahi ’83 Pamela McLaren ’79 Lynn Penkingcarn ’05 Cerise Valenzuela Metzger ’93
Man on a Mission
After a lengthy career practicing law and serving as executive vice chancellor and general counsel for the California State University, Fram Virjee is now the president of Cal State Fullerton — and he’s hit the ground running.
PHOTOGRAPHER Matt Gush ’12
PRODUCTION PLANNER Stacy Padilla ’99, ’01
PRESIDENT Fram Virjee
VICE PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY ADVANCEMENT
Gregory J. Saks
ASSOCIATE VICE PRESIDENT, STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS AND BRAND MANAGEMENT
Art With Bite
The College of the Arts’ painting and drawing program strikes the right balance between conceptual and technical skill-building. Alumni such as Chris Gwaltney and Gabriela Castillo are a testament to the success of this formula.
Jeffrey D. Cook
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 email@example.com © 2018 California State University, Fullerton Nonprofit standard postage paid at Santa Ana, CA. Report address errors to firstname.lastname@example.org or 657-278-7917.
5 Questions: Kevin Rohani ’10 11
Class Notes 24
CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON TITAN I 3
Dedicated Faculty Receive High Honors A May 10 Academic Senate meeting at the Pollak Library was anything but business as usual as four faculty members received the university’s highest honors. Alumna Cherie Ichinose ’96 ’97 ’00 (B.A., single subject teaching credential, M.A. mathematics), associate professor of mathematics (right), received the Carol Barnes Excellence in Teaching Award, garnering praise for her student-centered style of teaching. CSUF President Fram Virjee called her a trailblazer in narrowing the achievement gap through her cutting-edge online mathematics courses and innovative “flipped” classroom model that boosts math learning. The flipped and online courses designed by Ichinose are being implemented at sister campuses throughout the CSU to improve student persistence, shorten time to graduation and narrow the achievement gap. “My career as a mathematics teacher is dedicated to strengthening student success in mathematics at every level — and for every student,” Ichinose said. Neuroscientist Math P. Cuajungco received the L. Donald Shields Excellence in Scholarship and Creativity Award. Since joining CSUF in 2007, the professor of biological science has established himself as an expert in the area of zinc neurobiology and neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Mucolipidosis type IV. Cuajungco has received nearly $1 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation for ML-IV research. Beyond his impressive record of scholarship, he also is committed to mentoring the next generation of scientists. Under his direction, more than 50 undergraduates and graduate students have conducted neurodegenerative disease research. Praised for her dedication to students as well as her recruitment efforts, musicologist Nicole Baker was the recipient of the Outstanding 4 I TITAN SUMMER/FALL 2018
Lecturer Award. Since her arrival at Cal State Fullerton in 1997, the lecturer has taught 13 different music history classes, as well as performance-related courses such as applied and individual vocal instruction. Baker also serves as prospective undergraduate student coordinator for the School of Music, conducts Cal State Fullerton’s historical music performance ensemble, and has published multiple peer-reviewed articles on her discovery of new aspects of Mozart’s operas. Nancy Fitch, recipient of the Faculty Leadership in Collegial Governance Award, was hailed as a “role model for faculty service.” In three decades of service to the university, the history professor has served more than 20 years on the Academic Senate and five terms on its executive committee, as well as
many other leadership positions. Virjee recognized her long history of giving back to the institution. “She’s the queen of committees. I don’t know that there’s a committee she hasn’t served on,” he said, also applauding her eagerness to share successes with colleagues. Earlier this year, the California State University honored Berenecea Johnson Eanes, CSUF’s vice president for student affairs, with the 2018 Wang Family Excellence Award for Outstanding Staff Performance. A champion for student success, Eanes has worked tirelessly to re-engineer student programs and services, expand immersive learning experiences, strengthen programs that promote equity and inclusion, and provide leadership for campuswide efforts. She is the 13th Titan to receive the award since 1999.
COMPUTER SCIENTIST, ECONOMIST HEAD COLLEGES Susamma Barua is the new dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science following a national search. Previously the college’s interim dean, she has led numerous initiatives to drive Susamma Barua student success and foster diversity and inclusion, and has engaged community and corporate partners in supporting student design projects, internships and employment. Morteza Rahmatian, who joined Cal State Fullerton in 1988 as a faculty member in economics, has been appointed dean of the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics. Rahmatian served Morteza Rahmatian two terms as chair of the Department of Economics and three years as associate dean for the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, working on faculty development and instruction innovations, graduate programs and academic advising.
Titan Spirit Drives the Class of 2018 A weekend-long celebration of nearly 12,000 graduates and candidates for graduation kicked off May 18, with Cal State Fullerton President Fram Virjee commending Titans for sharing their “unique gifts, intelligence and diversity in all of its forms.” In his first commencement speech as president of the university, Virjee told the Class of 2018, “You are poised to excel in the global marketplace. You are well prepared to meet and exceed the workforce needs of Orange County and the world. “It is not just your tenacity, diversity and earning power that makes you graduates of significance; it’s also your aspiration to give back. Together, the Class of 2018 performed about half
a million community service hours this year, and I know you will take that benevolent spirit out into your communities.” Earl Lewis, professor of history and African American and African studies at the University of Michigan and former president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, delivered the keynote address and received an honorary doctor of humane letters. “If you remain faithful to this moment in time, and faithful to your educational and individual values, you will have done more than earn a degree today,” said Lewis. “Years from now, you will have used your skills, talents and intellect for the benefit of all. Do well, graduates. And do good. Because you can.”
The 2017-18 record-breaking moments on the pitch, softball and baseball diamonds, hardwood and track were recognized by the Big West as the conference awarded the university its Commissioner’s Cup for the first time in school history. The award recognized an amazing year for the Titans, with five teams — men’s and women’s soccer, men’s basketball, softball and baseball — reaching their NCAA tournaments, the highest tally for a single year in
CSUF history. In addition, the men’s track and field won the Big West Championship for the second straight year, and the men’s 4x100-meter relay competed at the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Jim Donovan, director of athletics, said traits like effort, attitude and heart are the intangibles at the center of the athletics program. He thanked “everyone on campus and in our community that supports Titan Athletics.”
TITANS EARN BIG WEST COMMISSIONER’S CUP
CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON TITAN I 5
Grants Fuel Interstellar Study and Robotics Research Sharing an out-of-this-world mission — to get around space-time faster and farther to find out if life exists beyond our planet — CSUF physics researchers James F. Woodward and Heidi Fearn have received a two-year $500,000 NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Phase II grant to advance their study on space propulsion for future human exploration missions. Woodward is an experimental physicist and professor emeritus of history, with expertise in the history of science and Einstein’s general theory of relativity. He and Fearn, professor of physics, were awarded a $125,000 NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Phase I grant in 2017 to develop a feasibility study for their interstellar probe research. “If our concept is successful, it would revolutionize space exploration,” Fearn said. “It would be a serious game-changer. NASA can literally go to the stars.” Woodward and Fearn will collaborate with experts from industry and academia, 6 I TITAN SUMMER/FALL 2018
including those at Johns Hopkins University, in hopes of successfully developing a breakthrough technology. Machinist Jonathan Woodland in the Physics Department and a student researcher also will be involved in the project. For about four decades, Woodward has been working to develop a method of propulsion for a starship that does not require propellant. He has a lab in the Physics Department, and he and Fearn also collaborate with the Space Studies Institute, which in 2013 launched its exotic propulsion initiative, to advance their research. “We have the revolutionary capability to produce thrust without the ejection of propellant. No consumable fuel is needed, and nothing is ejected out of a tailpipe like a chemical rocket,” Woodward said of his experimental research. “It’s a promising approach.” Nina Robson, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, was awarded a $500,000 Early CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation, given in
support of early-career faculty members who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education, and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. Robson is known for her work in developing novel robotics technologies to assist people with such neurological disorders as strokes and spinal cord injuries. This award supports her project, “CAREER: Robust Geometric Design of Mechanisms for Interaction with Uncertain Environments,” which focuses on fundamental research to advance the design of mechanical systems. “The research will lead to creating robust mechanisms that increase industry’s ability to develop next-generation robotic systems, leading to improvements in health care, manufacturing and production, as well as augmenting technologies for the elderly and disabled,” said Robson, director of the university’s Human Interactive Robotics Lab.
CSUF TOPS ‘BEST VALUE’ LIST Cal State Fullerton has moved up to the top quartile of the nation’s “Best Value Colleges,” according to Forbes’ recently released annual ranking of higher education institutions. Using data from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard and PayScale, the publication reviewed net price, net debt, alumni earnings, timely graduation, school quality and access for low-income students in determining the national listing of colleges and universities. CSUF moved up to 68th out of 300 institutions this year, as compared to its ranking of 190 in 2017. The university offers 109 degrees at 46 percent below the national average total cost of attendance at four-year public universities, according to the U.S. Department of Education, and is among the top performers in the nation in helping low-income students reach financial success.
Humanities Scholars Benefit From Mellon Foundation Grant This year, Cal State Fullerton received a nearly $450,000 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to establish a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program to increase rigorous academic opportunities and provide financial support for students who wish to pursue a doctorate in the humanities immediately after completing their bachelor’s degrees. The university is part of a five-campus consortium with sister campuses Dominguez Hills, Long
Beach, San Bernardino and Los Angeles. With the guidance of faculty mentors, the scholars participate in summer programs in which they will plan and initiate research in preparation for their first academic year of graduate studies. Subsequent programs will further develop students’ research skills and prepare them for internships at research institutions across the country.
FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY HONORS ALUMNUS ED ROYCE The June CSUF 60th Anniversary Global Relations Luncheon honored U.S. Rep. Ed Royce ’77 (B.A. business administrationaccounting), who is retiring this year after 13 terms in the U.S. Congress. A longtime supporter of his alma mater, Royce was instrumental in securing more than $9 million for various CSUF research and education opportunities and, after 9/11, boosting funding for strategic language studies both at the CSU and campus levels. In 2013, he was selected chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and brought the committee’s first field hearing to CSUF to explore international human trafficking.
The event featured a special moderated discussion with Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011, who also served for nearly 27 years in the CIA and the National Security Council. Gates offered a pragmatic look at leadership and international relations, focusing on current challenges such as the importance of maintaining good relationships with America’s allies and the recent summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. “Americans must realize that we have a geopolitical advantage when other nations partner with us, economically and militarily,” Gates said. CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON TITAN I 7
Hundreds of Graduates Become Titans for Life Nearly 1,800 newly minted graduates signed up to become lifetime members of the Alumni Association during April’s GradFest at both the main campus and the Irvine Center. The annual event is a one-stop shop for commencement preparations, with staff and alumni volunteers guiding soon-to-be-alums toward their big day. In addition, more than 1,900 students from the same class contributed to the senior class gift, either through the purchase of a lifetime membership or a donation of at least $5. The senior class gift allows graduates to join efforts toward one large donation for future generations of Titans. Past gifts have included picnic tables, landscaped areas and flag poles at Becker Amphitheater. This year, graduates chose to earmark the gift for Tuffy’s Basic Needs Center — offering food assistance, short-term housing and other types of support to students who experience hardships — as well as a campus mascot statue. Just hours before the May 18 commencement ceremony, hundreds of new Alumni Association members and their guests attended a special reception, where Cal State Fullerton President Fram Virjee toasted their accomplishments and encouraged them to stay connected to their alma mater. “I am confident that you are destined to be the class who has the most impact
in the world,” said Virjee. “And you are going to change the world. You’re going to make it better and do things of consequence.” In celebration of the university’s 60th anniversary last September, the Alumni Association moved from a predominantly annual renewal membership to a lifetime membership opportunity. “We wanted to focus our efforts on providing value and engagement, and on keeping Titans connected to campus for life,” said Dianna Fisher, executive director of alumni engagement. “We have dozens of special events, activities and benefits planned — from Homecoming to Night
JOIN FOR LIFE!
of the Pachyderm to our annual Appreciation Night at the Golleher Alumni House. “The lifetime membership now also includes a contribution to the Alumni Association Scholarship Fund, ensuring that we are investing in the success of the next generation of Titans,” she added. Nearly 5,000 Titans have signed up for lifetime membership — many as new members, some switching over from an annual enrollment.
Secure your connection to Cal State Fullerton and receive the many unique privileges and access to resources provided through the Alumni Association, such as: Special rates on medical, life, renters and automobile insurance Online career
resources Access to all 23 CSU libraries Members-only events and activities Three one-day parking vouchers at CSUF Discounts for Titan Shops, Titan Athletics, CSUF Performing Arts, University Extended Education, Titan Recreation, CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship and more!
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A percentage of your membership rate will be designated as a gift to the Alumni Association Student Scholarship Fund and is tax-deductible as allowable.
PULITZER PRIZE WINNER PREPS UNIVERSITY SINGERS
Upcoming Alumni Events SEPT. 6 Convocation and Founding Titans Reunion at CSUF Reunion for graduates, faculty and staff prior to 1970
SEPT. 25 Inside Look Angels Baseball
SEPT. 28 CSUF Angels Baseball Hat Night at Angel Stadium
SEPT. 29 Concert Under the Stars
OCT. 6 AND 7 Dinner With 12 Titans Alumni-hosted dinner for students
DEC. 1 Homecoming at Cal State Fullerton
To learn more, visit alumni.fullerton.edu
How much more impactful can it be to learn a new song with the guidance of its awardwinning creator? For the University Singers, they had just such an experience when they met with vocalist, violinist and composer Caroline Shaw, the youngest recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for music. Shaw shared her insight about her original composition, “To the Hands,” which subtly focuses on various issues of displacement and the refugee crisis. She praised the ensemble for bringing it to life in a way that was “powerful, yet quiet and intimate. The piece is not mine anymore. It goes out to you.” Following the March session with Shaw, the University Singers performed the sixmovement piece at the American Choral Directors Association Western Division Conference.
Seniors Fuel Softball’s Magical Season Seniors led the Titan softball team determined to put the team on its shoulders and carry them to the finish line. And did they ever. Softball won the Big West Championship for the third straight year and advanced to the NCAA Los Angeles Regional final, ultimately losing to powerhouse UCLA. Cal State Fullerton finished the year 35-25 overall and 18-3 in the conference. Head Coach Kelly Ford took home the Big West Coach of the Year Award for the third consecutive year, making her the first coach in conference history to do so.
Several Titans earned Big West recognition throughout the year, including many of the seniors who helped propel the team to its third conference title. “Winning our third straight Big West conference championship is just a tribute to the seniors and the culture of excellence that they have created,” Ford noted. “They said, ‘Hey, we’ll show you how to get this done in conference,’ and threw us on their backs and carried us.”
CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON TITAN I 9
NEW TRACK TO CONNECT WITH THE ‘INTERNET OF THINGS’
From kitchen appliances to cars, a new elective track at CSUF focuses on the emerging field of computing technologies that brings intelligence to everyday devices. Supported by a nearly $300,000 grant from Cisco Systems Inc., the “Internet of things” curriculum brings foundational learning to undergraduates in the university’s computer science and computer engineering programs. Anand Panangadan, assistant professor of computer science, is coleading the effort with Kiran George, professor of computer engineering. The curriculum is being developed in partnership with representatives from Orange County technical industries. “Our faculty members will develop an interdisciplinary curriculum to help students and industry professionals build new skill sets to be competitive in the workplace for the rapidly evolving internet of things,” said Susamma Barua, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. The first course, “Rapid Prototyping for IoT,” debuts this summer.
Basketball Makes History The Cal State Fullerton men’s basketball team had a 2017-18 campaign full of ups and downs, but in the end, it made history. The squad became just the third team in program history to play in the NCAA Tournament. To get to March Madness, the Titans battled in the Big West Conference Tournament and defeated UCI to capture the conference tournament title. The team went 20-12 overall and 10-6 in conference play, marking the seventh time that a squad recorded 20 wins in a season — the most since the 2011-12 team won 21 games. The loss to No. 2 Purdue hurt, yet for coaches and fans it signaled the beginning of something special. 10 I TITAN SUMMER/FALL 2018
Eloy Lopez, a Class of 2009 American studies graduate, went through a thousand mood swings with each made shot, block and rebound. When the buzzer sounded at the end of the game, he was optimistic. “They put up a good fight,” Lopez said. “Today just wasn’t our day. But we’ll be back.” “In spite of the outcome, this group of guys made history for our school,” Coach Dedrique Taylor said during the after-game press conference at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. “They will always be able to go back to Cal State Fullerton and be honored in the history of Titan basketball.”
COUNSELING ADDS EMPHASIS ON LATINX COMMUNITIES Graduate students in counseling can now choose to focus their studies on providing mental health services to Latinx and Spanish-speaking clients. The first counseling emphasis was created to provide a curriculum and training focused on improved engagement, assessment and treatment for this community that sees a stigma to counseling. Olga Mejía, associate professor of counseling, hopes the training will engage clients “in a culturally sensitive way so they come back and we can help them.”
5 questions becoming more and more important. Skills in service and nurturing relationships are at the core of hospitality.
WHICH CSUF FACULTY MEMBERS ENCOURAGED YOU MOST?
Kim Tarantino (executive director of the Center for Entertainment and Hospitality Management) was instrumental in keeping me involved with the university once I began working at an executive level in business. She, Harold Fraser (lecturer in management) and other professors always wanted the best for me. It’s tough to grasp the fact that there can be other people that genuinely care about your future, well-being and happiness. The faculty at CSUF always made me feel this way.
A ‘Dream’ Job in Hospitality KEVIN ROHANI WAS A JUNIOR studying marketing at Cal State Fullerton when he was approached by a hotel executive. “He told me if I had a hospitality degree, he would hire me the day I graduated,” says the vice president of development and acquisitions at Dream Hotel Group. Rohani ’10 (B.A. business administration-entertainment and tourism management) switched his concentration and converted that first job as a 30-day temporary employee into a full-time role in operations and development. By 30, he had overseen development of destination resorts and hotels in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Vancouver and Belize. “My Titan education was the foundation, and with it, anything else in this business became possible,” he says.
As an advisory board member of the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics Center for Entertainment and Hospitality Management, Rohani often returns to CSUF to mentor business students. “Soon after my professional career started, I realized that one of the major factors in me finding my business path was that other people helped me along the way,” he says. “Whether it was introductions or moral support, mentorship or advice, having access to these resources made this possible for me. Now, all I want to do is repay the favor to young students hungry to learn and grow within the hospitality industry.”
WHY ARE HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT GRADUATES IN DEMAND?
With the increase in technology, the relationship aspect of business is
WHAT THREE KEY SKILLS MUST A HOSPITALITY MANAGER HAVE?
A hospitality manager should have the ability to anticipate needs rather than react to them, the ability to adapt and be flexible, and the ability to flat-out hustle.
HOW CAN CSUF BUSINESS STUDENTS PREPARE FOR A GLOBAL WORKPLACE?
Start networking now. Start putting yourself in uncomfortable situations and get out of your comfort zone. Go to events. Email alumni. Meet with potential employers. Rejection should be a learning tool. I’m sure many have heard people’s success stories starting with their first few years in the gutter, with no luck … that is life. Roll with the punches.
WHAT CAN STUDENTS DO TO CREATE THEIR OWN SUCCESS STORIES?
Use the resources you have at CSUF to help you find a career or the job you are looking for. There are faculty, resource offices, groups, alumni and board members dedicated to helping you succeed. This will only work if you are the one who believes in yourself the most. If you do, we will. That is a promise. CERISE VALENZUELA METZGER
CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON TITAN I 11
Diary of a Storyteller An unscripted journey as a communications student inspired Angela Williamson to document the life of a civil rights hero.
OPPORTUNITY DOESN’T always knock. Sometimes it rings. Angela Williamson remembers leaning in as a professor critiqued one of her scripts, when she heard the ring. A colleague at NBC television told Ronald Dyas, now professor emeritus of communications, he needed production assistants to prepare — that day —
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for former President Richard Nixon’s funeral service. “I think I have someone right here,” she heard him say. The script would have to wait. Within minutes, Williamson, an undergraduate at the time, was headed to the Richard Nixon Library and Museum less than 5 miles away. She worked until midnight behind
the scenes, running research and scripts to the on-air talent, studying how each light and each camera set a stage for history in the making. Exhilarated, she returned the next day to assist NBC’s national news team, covering the funeral. She met “Nightly News” anchor and managing editor Tom Brokaw there, and was starstruck by the
CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON TITAN I 13
professionals in front of and behind the cameras. Her classroom had expanded. She dove into the environment and knew instantly she had found a career as a storyteller. “I felt encouraged; everyone was asking me what I wanted to do,” she says. “How many people can say they worked as a production assistant at Nixon’s funeral?” Her new colleagues encouraged her to join a mentoring network for black students’ success and the National Association for Black Journalists. “Now that I look at it 20 years later, I know each opportunity was a door opening for me and an example of how those professors cared about their students,” says Williamson ’95, ’01 (B.A., M.A. communications). In her senior year, while taking a documentary class, opportunity called again. “I felt my calling. I wanted to do a documentary,” she says. “The class gave me the passion to tell stories that celebrate the human spirit of ordinary people who do extraordinary things, even through adversity.” Cal State Fullerton’s filmmaking courses, including production classes, were a primer for the mandatory internships where Williamson gained the practical skills she needed to land a production job at Orange County News Channel one month after graduation. She worked behind the camera to master her skills in the on-campus, student-produced shows — predecessors to today’s student-produced “OC News” and “Al Día.” As a graduate student, she mastered the art of grounding her film works in research, and gained “the ability to look at the unknown and research it from every angle until I could ‘own it,’” she says. All that she learned became a foundation for her master’s thesis — a script for a docudrama about Rosa Parks. The script later became her film “My Life with Rosie,” which was released in December.
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TELLING ROSA’S STORY
The film has screened at the Silicon Beach Film Festival and the Culver City Film Festival, where it won the grand prize. The 64-minute documentary shares family and mostly unheard stories of “the mother of the freedom movement,” Williamson’s cousin by marriage. It includes interviews with Parks’ cousin, confidante and caregiver Carolyn Williamson Green, and Jeanne Theoharis, author of “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks.” In focus is Parks’ life before and after her December 1955 arrest for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white passenger — viewed by many as an action that launched the civil rights movement. “Her fight for human rights not only starts before the bus, but continues 40-plus years after,” says Williamson. Parks’ push didn’t end with the abolition of segregation, she added. Parks lost her employment and fled frequent death threats, eventually moving to Detroit with family. “For her, it was not just a focus on the South. There’s a whole part of the North that’s not often explored, where she started to fight segregation in housing,” Williamson explains. “What Rosa’s story tells people is that it doesn’t matter what we’re facing in life. We can still make a positive change in life — in how people are treated. Cousin Rosie didn’t think people should be treated in any different way other than with respect. She continued it until her last breath.” Parks was well into her 80s when Williamson first met the icon at her bridal shower. Parks penned “Welcome to our family” in the hand-picked copy of “Quiet Strength” she gave to Williamson. “I was just in awe,” says the first-time filmmaker. “Remember, this is the woman we learn about in elementary school. I remember thinking, ‘My hero just gave me this book and I’m part of this family.’ It really hit me at that point.” Parks died in 2005 at the age of 92 and was the first non-politician in American history to lie in state in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol. On the 60th anniversary of
Parks’ stand, in 2015, and again shortly afterward, as Williamson planned her father-in-law’s memorial, she began to think of the family’s legacy — and the script for Rosa’s story called to her again. She was in early preproduction on the documentary, and teaching communications and public speaking courses at Chaffey College, when discussions with Theoharis and the details in her 2013 book confirmed many of the Williamson family’s tales about their rebellious matriarch. “It was a game-changer,” Williamson explains. “This is the Rosa Parks that America doesn’t know about, but should know about.” The film began to morph, and the skills Williamson gained as a Titan, and refined as a professional, made revisions easier. “Everything that I’ve done in my journey started at Cal State Fullerton. It pretty much made me the person I am today.”
REELS IN MOTION Rosa Parks
“Angela’s opportunities for hands-on practice while at CSUF reflect the experience of myriad communications students who gain that competitive advantage from opportunities such as the Daily Titan and Tusk magazine, the PRactical ADvantage student-run agency, a speech and hearing clinic, a highly ranked forensics program, and the Latino Communications Institute,” says Ed Fink, interim dean of the College of Communications. “We’re proud that she used skills mastered here to help tell the story of such an inspirational American activist and hero.” Williamson’s educational experience also reflects the mission of the College of Communications, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, says Fred Zandpour, longtime faculty member of the Department of Communications. “One of the hallmarks of the department is providing a quality learning environment to a diverse body of students who have access to cutting-edge knowledge, as well as opportunities for hands-on professional
experience,” explains the professor. “This is accomplished by professors with national academic reputations and professional experience in the field of communications. The department has integrated advanced technology into the curriculum by providing access to state-of-the-art labs, studios and student-run media and agencies.” Williamson’s classmate, Shelley Jenkins, would become a lecturer in the Department of Radio-TV-Film, since renamed the Department of Cinema and Television Arts. “Our graduate program class had a number of very strong, intelligent and passionate women who were looking to create a positive change in the world,” says Jenkins. “What Angela has accomplished with this documentary is meaningful and amazing.” While in the master’s program at CSUF, Williamson and her classmates studied a then-proposed formation of the College of Communications, comprising students who, at the time, studied communications within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Again, it was a call to put her theoretical classroom skills into use that would help in her future career, and Williamson seized yet another opportunity. The practical experience continues to shape how she teaches in the Communications Studies Department at Concordia University in Irvine. “That helped me become an educator,” she says. “Today, I teach in practical ways, so those students walk away with something that is useful for their portfolios. “At Cal State Fullerton, I was able to graduate with a portfolio because of the things that I did,” Williamson adds. “There’s a gem right here in Orange County that’s giving students everything they need to get ahead.” CERISE VALENZUELA METZGER
CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON TITAN I 15
Matt Gush 16 I TITAN SUMMER/FALL 2018
Man on a Mission Fram Virjee jumps into campus life as president of Cal State Fullerton, calling on Titans to have “more swagger” and advocate for their alma mater.
EARLY ON A SATURDAY MORNING, Fram Virjee is rushing off from his morning swim to Mihaylo Hall to encourage a few hundred high school students to go to college — and to keep Cal State Fullerton at the top of their list when it’s time to choose. Then it’s off to a banquet honoring teachers — many of them CSUF alumni — at the Titan Student Union. Afterward, he’s sprinting to Meng Concert Hall for a School of Music concert. The last stop of the day is the Titan Gym, where the men’s basketball team wins a spot in the NCAA Tournament. It’s an exhausting day for most, but Virjee loves every minute. That’s because a great day for the president of Cal State Fullerton is when he’s out and about — “walking, talking, meeting students. Listening. Basking in the greatness of what it is to be on campus,” he says. “Because everything that we do at this university, we do with an eye toward what’s best for our students.” It’s the grit and drive of Cal State Fullerton’s more than 40,000 students, in fact, that inspired Virjee and his wife, Julie, to adjust their plans and make Orange County their new home. “From the start, Fram has been an energetic leader, partner and advocate
for our mission,” says Steve Stambough, professor of political science and immediate past chair of the Academic Senate. “His comments at a recent Academic Senate meeting about the importance of faculty directing such a significant part of the curriculum for our students’ success was passionate, detailed and well-received. That is a testament to someone who hit the ground running as president.”
DETOUR TO FULLERTON Virjee’s fortuitous stop at Cal State Fullerton was decades in the making, but not quite where he imagined he would be in 2018. He spent 30 years as a top labor and employment attorney at O’Melveny & Myers, the oldest law firm in Los Angeles and one of the largest in the country. In 2014, upon request from Chancellor Timothy White, Virjee joined the California State University as executive vice chancellor and general counsel, also serving as secretary to the system’s board of trustees … but it took some doing. He and his wife were set to move to Rwanda to run their nonprofit organization Yambi Rwanda, which seeks to help overcome poverty and the trauma of genocide through education and opportunity. Visiting the African nation, says Virjee, was “transformative.”
“Going to a nation of abject poverty and realizing that their main goal in life is education because it’s the most obvious and, in many ways, the only way up out of poverty, you realize and recognize the importance of education. That informs me, at least on the importance of it here.” Virjee spent the first six years of his life traveling around the world on a ship captained by his father. “My dad was from India. My mom was from Sweden. My parents read the international papers. As a result of who my parents were, I grew up believing very strongly in social justice, social mobility and civil rights. We knew about the world. “I always wanted to travel. Travel provides a unique opportunity for our students to learn a worldview.” His wife can attest to how his passion for education, diversity and social justice make him the right person to be president of Cal State Fullerton, a position he accepted in December upon Mildred García’s departure from the university to head the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. “He has a love for people, an appreciation for each one of us, a belief that everyone brings something to the table that can make all of us greater and CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON TITAN I 17
more whole. He doesn’t see people for their risk or potential weakness; he sees them for their strength and potential greatness — and he wants to help them tap into that greatness,” says Julie Virjee. “Social justice is very important to him. He feels that each of us deserves the best, and he wants to help us get there.”
THE ROAD AHEAD Leading the largest campus in the CSU is no small feat, but years of representing educational institutions, including the Los Angeles Unified School District, armed Virjee with the skills and passion to take on the challenge. “Creativity says that there is an answer; flexibility says that there is more than one answer. Fram’s leadership style is a refined blend of both creativity and flexibility that is centered on student 18 I TITAN SUMMER/FALL 2018
success, diversity and excellence,” says Berenecea Johnson Eanes, vice president for student affairs. “As we move forward together, I am excited for this chapter at Cal State Fullerton.” Virjee is passionate about “leveraging the diversity of the campus — and the nation — to lift each other up and find solutions to issues. The only way you’re going to come up with good ideas is to listen to differing viewpoints,” he professes. “That’s the strength of diversity.” It is that strength that he hopes advocates of access to higher education put to good use to face students’ challenges, one of which is the cost of college. As he points out, 58 percent of Cal State Fullerton’s bachelor’s degree recipients are the first in their family to graduate from college. Many, he adds, were not sure how to get to college.
“Mom and dad, aunts and uncles, grandmas and grandpas worked hard so these students could get here,” says Virjee, a first-generation college graduate. “They have the added pressure of not only performing in college, which can be hard to do, but knowing that they are the symbol for their family of socioeconomic mobility. Their success is not just theirs — a success of their future families — but of everything that has happened before them. Their success demonstrates the worth of what their family has done and the sacrifices they have made.” When Virjee is doing what he loves — engaging students in conversation, “sticking my nose in” their chats — he typically gets effusive responses about their fellow Titans, their friends and the communities that they’re building. “But when they talk about the faculty,
their eyes sparkle. They will choose one or two professors and they will tell me how they mentored them, how they saved their lives,” he shares. “In the three months I have been here, I’ve probably heard this 50 times or more: ‘This professor saved my life.’ And they will tell you how faculty don’t just care whether they pass their class, but the direction they are taking in life and where they’re going to go. They care about whether they have a place to sleep, food to eat, whether they feel like they’re fitting in.” A supporter of transparency in process and faculty empowerment, Virjee hopes to build upon the university’s reputation and calls on Titans of all ages, and on the community, to advocate for the institution. “We have great momentum. We are doing a magnificent job of educating students with the resources that we have. But many of our challenges are finance-
driven. We need more space. We need to upgrade our learning environments,” he explains. “We have to focus on Sacramento. We have to find a better way of sharing our value proposition — of not just demonstrating our worth, but publicizing all the amazing things that are taking place at Cal State Fullerton. We have to reach out to our communities, our alumni, our chambers of commerce, cities and counties filled with CSU and CSUF alums and say, ‘You tell us all the time what this place did for you. Now write a letter to the governor. Tell your elected officials.’ “We need to have more swagger,” he adds. “We need to be prouder and crow a little bit more about who we are and what we do — because we have a lot to crow about.”
Clockwise from left: President Fram Virjee addresses the Academic Senate with Kari Knutson Miller, provost and vice president for academic affairs, to his left; he joins other campus members in the ribbon-cutting of Tuffy’s Basic Needs Center; Virjee tries out the Titan Rover with students from the College of Engineering and Computer Science; the president rallies future Titans at a Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities/U.S. Army university tour stop on campus; with his wife, Julie, and Consul of Mexico Mario Cuevas Zamora.
CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON TITAN I 19
Art Wit A diverse community of artists rises from the university’s
PERCHED ON A LADDER in one of the larger classrooms of the art building dubbed “D,” Niccole Ugay is attempting to tack a 15-foot-tall art piece on a wall for a group critique, the culmination of her graduate seminar. As she struggles to keep her work up, she recites particulars she’d like to address soon: Could use more variation. Have to work on tone. Need to revisit color. Ugay is trying to be “as exploratory as possible” with her art pieces, an approach that has proved cathartic. “I tend to be a little bit on the more cerebral side, but I’m very open to seeing 20 I TITAN SUMMER/FALL 2018
if something works or doesn’t work,” she says. “These days I’m painting onto a surface, laying on top of it, driving over it. I’m having a little fun and finding my own place in my work.” The graduate student was working with fashion graphics and textiles before choosing Cal State Fullerton to pursue a master of fine arts degree, focusing on painting and drawing. “I liked the idea that the painting and drawing program was a bit on the smaller side because I could get more focused attention,” says Ugay, who is teaching a life drawing class on campus as part of
her graduate work. “I did some research and knew that the professors at Cal State Fullerton would help me elevate my skill set — and the fact that they give us the opportunity to teach is huge because we’re in the mix of it. We’re not just being taught; we’re passing along that information almost immediately to our students.” The “crit” goes well, and Ugay gets solid feedback. She’ll revisit the 8-foot self-portrait by using her trusty rotary sander on the oil paint and perhaps add more motion to it. The reworked 15-footer also got a positive reaction. “The legs and hands are now collaged on. The face is
th Bite Matt Gush
acclaimed painting and drawing program.
made up of parts of other paintings I’ve done in the past. “Professor Kyung Cho really responded to my new approach,” she adds. “I got great responses to the texture, the ‘jumbled-ness’ of it all.” Ugay will soon join a steady stream of CSUF alumni — Fred Tomaselli, Chris Gwaltney, Jennifer Celio, Gabriela Castillo and Tom LaDuke among them — whose skills have confirmed the reputation of its drawing and painting program’s deliberate strategy of transcending the cookie-cutter norm in traditional training. “Curricula in other universities may
be divided along notions that people who have technical or skill-based facility somehow don’t have interesting ideas or concepts to offer, or vice versa,” says Jade Jewett, chair and professor of art. “But our program is structured differently — people move back and forth. We have such a strong balance between technical and conceptual skill-building. That’s a hard balance to find. “Our students and faculty move fluidly between figuration and abstraction,” she adds, “and you can see this range in our graduates. We have all these accomplished alums, these ‘quiet secrets.’”
College of the Arts graduate student Niccole Ugay, above, gets ready for her group critique. She credits faculty members such as Kyung Cho and Rebecca Campbell for being strong advocates for their students. “They have really pushed me out of my comfort zone, which is very helpful — and I’m game,” she says.
CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON TITAN I 21
22 I TITAN SUMMER/FALL 2018
BALANCE ON THE CANVAS The diversity of instruction has always been core to the painting and drawing program at Cal State Fullerton. Chris Gwaltney ’85, ’87 (B.A. art, M.F.A. art-drawing, painting and printmaking), who studied under some of the program’s early supporters, points out that the range of expertise dates back decades. “Back then you had Don Lagerberg, who was more of an illustrative artist. Then you had Tom Holste, who was terminally hip — almost fatally so,” he says. “I loved him and argued with him all the time. Leo Robinson was so straightforward — a figurative painter that kind of told a story.” Joachim Smith, who started teaching at Cal State Fullerton in 1962, “would find a dead bird and bring it in. And everyone had to the draw the dead bird.” But to this day, Gwaltney remembers “the pride in the figurative. That goes right to Lagerberg. He just felt that it was massively important that part of the curriculum start with life drawing.” “As you look at the Southern California landscape right now, there tend to be programs that are very rigorous in terms of theoretically or conceptually minded teaching, and others that are based on form and technique — teaching you how to make objects,” explains Rebecca Campbell, assistant professor of art. “The most unique thing about our program is that we focus on both.” The mix of ideas and approaches is a boon to students the moment they start their coursework. Professors in the foundations classes begin to prep students on the process of exhibiting, critiquing and putting value to their work. “I always took advantage of having access to the main drawing and painting room after hours,” says alumna Castillo ’14 (B.F.A. art-painting and drawing), whose work recently graced the cover of Artillery magazine. “I miss those long nights painting before a crit.” Other influences come in as undergraduates collaborate with each other and with graduate students on group exhibitions. “Many students are encouraged to show their work in one-, two- and three-person
Clockwise from top left: “Art seems to be without rules but is in fact very rigorous,” says alumnus Chris Gwaltney, photographed in his Newport Beach studio. “If I’m a good enough two-dimensional artist, I should be able to somehow translate that on the canvas so that someone else gets it. It should resonate. It’s either good communication or bad communication. All I am is a translator to other thoughts.” At left is “Tangle,” by Rebecca Campbell, assistant professor of art, and “Edgardo,” from alumna Gabriela Castillo’s knit series.
shows in the Exit Gallery. That’s where all these skills come forward. It follows one, two, three years of painting practice,” says Jewett. For their capstone projects, seniors build a portfolio of work and exhibit on campus. Yara Almouradi traversed this rigorous process herself, graduating in 2015 with a B.F.A. in art with an emphasis in drawing and painting. The graduate student mentions Professor Joe Forkan as a primary influence. “His method of teaching and his personal style, whether it’s figure painting or figure drawing or plein air, really influenced the way I view the figure and look at color theory. If I’m working on something, I hear his lecture and think, ‘Get out of my head!’” Like Ugay, Almouradi is teaching a beginning drawing class at CSUF. She also is using her technical and teaching skills to help underserved populations through Sight and Sketches, a nonprofit she founded with her sister. The siblings have recently focused on assisting Syrian refugees. Her sister, an optometrist, provides eye and vision care while Almouradi guides them on “self-expression through painting and drawing as they process their emotions — getting them to talk through an artistic venue.” Almouradi, who is pursuing an M.F.A. at CSUF, also points to the benefit of being part of a program that facilitates “open-ended conversations, as well as the hyper-focused, critical, analytical perspective. The faculty are very open to letting students work through different concepts in a variety of mediums. The program is not rigid.” “We’re all very different artists but we have a lot of crossover in terms of how we think about art and priorities,” says Campbell. “We’re training students in traditional concepts of how to draw the figure, how to make a painting, how to compose or work with color. At the same time, we’re keeping them up to date with theoretical ideas about art, painting and drawing, and also social issues — how you talk about and think about your work in the context of a contemporary conversation.” SARAH MUÑOZ CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON TITAN I 23
1960s Mary L. Thomas ’69 (B.M. music) teaches music in Ridgecrest and is a member of the Desert Community Orchestra.
1970s Rev. Aidsand “Ace” F. WrightRiggins ’72 (B.A. religious studies) was elected mayor of Collegeville in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, in November.
Jeffrey M. Adelson ’73 (B.A. history) is general counsel and managing partner of Adelson, Testan, Brundo, Novell and Jimenez in Santa Ana.
Candice J. Hansen-Koharcheck ’76 (B.A. physics) is a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute. Although retired from Jet Propulsion Laboratory, she is coinvestigator as the Cassini project executes its extended mission phase, and serves on the flight team for the Saturn Cassini spacecraft, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Trace Gas Orbiter, Juno mission to Jupiter and Europa Clipper.
David Avila ’81 (B.A. liberal studies), a Yucaipa City Council member since 2014, was elected vice chair of the Omnitrans board of directors. Robert Kevin Bossenmeyer ’81 ’92 (B.A. business administrationaccounting, M.F.A. theatre artsacting) is creator and host of “UCI Conversations,” broadcast on KUCI 89.9FM.
Jeanie D. Herbert ’82 (B.A. communications) is senior director of investor relations and corporate communications at Revance Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company in Newark, California.
Frances L. Inman ’76 ’81 (B.A. business administration-finance, MBAfinance) was reappointed to the California Transportation Commission, where she has served since 2010. She is founding president of the Majestic Realty Foundation and senior vice president of Majestic Realty Co.
administration-accounting) retired after more than 35 years as managing partner at White Nelson Diehl Evans LLP.
Kris A. Gagnon ’77 (B.A. business
James R. Hirt ’83 (B.A. business administration-management) is CEO of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors.
administration-accounting) is chief credit officer for Banc of California.
Brett G. Hunsaker ’83 (B.A.
Bobby McDonald ’75 (B.A. physical education) was named to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans. McDonald, president and executive director of the Black Chamber of Commerce of Orange County, also serves as chair of the Orange County Veterans Advisory Council.
business administration-management) is founder and president of CeramTech, a wholesale distributor of refractory, insulation and ceramic materials serving the western U.S. The company is headquarted in Anaheim, with facilities in Arizona, Utah and Washington.
David Dornan ’75 (B.A. business
Bertram “Ken” Remley ’75 (B.A. business administration-accounting) is vice mayor for Surprise, Arizona.
Victoria Vasques ’76 (B.S. human services) is president and CEO of Tribal Tech, LLC, which made the 2018 “50 Fastest Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies” list by the Women Presidents’ Organization. The management and technical services consulting company also is on the Virginia Chamber of Commerce’s 23rd annual list of fastest growing companies.
Paul C. Jillson ’83 (B.A. communications) is owner of Pacific Edge Gallery in Laguna Beach. Dean A. Krieger ’83 (B.A. business administration-marketing) is senior vice president of Kidder Mathews’ Inland Empire office, specializing in tenant representation throughout the Inland Empire and Orange County.
Patricia M. Soldano ’77 (B.A. business administration-accounting) is founder of the Policy and Taxation Group, lobbying for repeal of the estate tax.
James F. Alexander ’79 (B.A. communications) is a sports columnist with the Riverside Press Enterprise.
John “Kent” Aden ’84 (MBA), vice president and senior development officer for HomeFed Corp., was inducted into the San Diego Building Industry Association’s Hall of Fame in February. The honor recognized his 35 years as an architect and developer.
1980s Patricia A. Rasmussen ’80 (M.A. communications-journalism education) is president of the Citrus Community College District Board of Trustees.
Catherine Upton ’80 (B.A. business administration-management) is group publisher for Elearning! and CEO of B2B Media Company. 24 I TITAN SUMMER/FALL 2018
communications) is executive vice president, regional managing director for Newmark Knight Frank, a commercial real estate advisory firm in Atlanta.
Tim O’Connell ’77 (B.A.
Michael F. Hicken ’84 (B.A. business To submit news about yourself, email titanmagazine @fullerton.edu.
administration-accounting) is chief financial officer for National TeleConsultants, a media technology, consulting, design and software systems integration company in Glendale.
Susan Herb Best ’87 (B.S. physics) is a systems engineer at Northrop Grumman.
Your Savings. Your Legacy.
Neil J. Patel ’87 (B.A. business administra-
There are two easy ways you can use your IRA to create your Titan legacy. The IRA Charitable Rollover allows you to take your required minimum distribution, skip the tax and make a meaningful gift to support Cal State Fullerton this tax year. Naming us as a beneficiary of your IRA is another way to establish your Titan legacy in the future. If we are a beneficiary in your plans, please let us know. For more information, contact Hart Roussel at 657-278-5429 or CSUFplannedgift@fullerton.edu.
Sergio Bazarevitsch ’88 (B.S. engineering-
tion-marketing) is chief marketing officer at Legacy Navigator, a Henrico County, Virginia, firm that assists seniors and their families with downsizing and estate disposition.
civil and mechanical engineering) is a senior vice president with AECOM, a global infrastructure firm.
Daniel J. Gladden ’88 (B.A. business administration-finance) is president of the East Region of the AMLI Management Co. and president of the Chicagoland Apartment Association board of directors, a trade group representing apartment industry professionals. Carisa Wisniewski ’89 (B.A. business administration-accounting) is partnerin-charge of Moss Adams in San Diego.
1990s Sean C. Blankenship ’90 (B.A. criminal justice) is president of Coldwell Banker Collins Maury.
Brent R. Calvin ’90 (B.A. business administration-management) is superintendent and president of College of the Sequoias.
fullerton.edu/CSUFPlannedGift Christopher Roberts ’84 (B.A. business administration-marketing) has served for 18 years as a Boeing 737-800 captain for American Airlines, and has logged more than 25,000 flight hours during his 28-year tenure with the company.
Erica H. Bennett ’85 (B.A. theatre arts) saw her latest play, “Through Teams Come I,” performed March 10 by the Playwrights Alliance at the Chance Theater in Anaheim. Her previous works include “Bender,” “Love, Divine” and “A Waffle Doesn’t Cure Insomnia.”
Dennis E. Michael ’85 (B.A. communications) is chief marketing officer for dvsAnalytics, a provider of workforce optimization software.
Sharon L. Topping ’85 (B.A. communications-radio/television/film) is branch president of Associa Northern California, a homeowner association and property management firm. John M. Manzanares ’86 (B.S. computer science) was appointed executive vice president of information technology for CoolSys, a refrigeration and HVAC company. He also is chairman of the board of directors for the Southern California chapter of the Society for Information Management. Paul M. Walters ’86 (B.A. criminal justice), former Santa Ana police chief and interim city manager, was appointed chief of the bureau of investigation for the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Daniel K. Clegg ’90 (B.A. mathematics), professor of mathematics at Palomar College, is a member of the author team for Cengage’s James Stewart Calculus series. A new edition is scheduled for release in December 2019.
Steven L. Dietlin ’90 (B.A. business administration-accounting) is CEO of Tri-City Medical Center in San Diego. Paul A. Treinen ’90 (B.A. business administration-accounting) has been named managing partner at White Nelson Diehl Evans LLP. He joined the firm in 1990. Ann-Marie Gabel ’91 (B.A. business administration-accounting) recently was appointed vice chancellor for business services at South Orange County Community College District.
CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON TITAN I 25
Mark C. Perry ’91 (MBA-finance), executive vice chairman for Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Global Commercial Bank, was elected to a three-year term as chairman of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts board of directors. Jesus M. Gomez ’93 (B.A. business administration-finance) is city manager for Norwalk, California. Chuck Kissel ’95 (B.A. business administration-management, ’11 MBA-finance) is executive director of Cal State Fullerton’s Auxiliary Services Corp.
David Valentin ’95 ’01 (B.A. sociology, MPAhuman resources) is police chief for Santa Ana.
Todd W. Crabtree ’96 (B.A. theatre arts) owns and operates Sylvan tutoring centers in Torrance, Gardena, West Covina and San Marino, California. Randal Lejuwaan ’96 (B.A. business administration-finance) is a partner with Troutman Sanders LLP’s real estate practice in San Diego. Nicholas S. Chavis ’97 (B.A. communications-public relations) is president and CEO of CGS Business Solutions, which designs IT staff solutions. John A. Garcia ’97 (M.S. educational administration, administrative service credential) is superintendent of Downey Unified School District.
Haydee Lindgren ’97 (B.A. sociology) is a disabled student programs and services counselor for Los Medanos College in Contra Costa County, California.
Joseph Oakes ’97 (B.F.A. art-graphic design) is the artist/owner of Joe A. Oakes Atelier in La Quinta, California.
U.S. Rep. Edward R. Royce ’77 (B.A. business administration-accounting), who serves California’s 39th Congressional District, has announced that he will not run for reelection to Congress. Royce has served 13 terms and currently chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He served 10 years as a state senator and authored the nation’s first anti-stalker law, making stalking a felony. He also introduced the Interstate Stalking Punishment and Prevention Act — signed in 1996 — making it a federal crime to pursue a victim across state lines. During his tenure in political office, Royce worked on his alma mater’s behalf to gain funding for construction of the Jewel Plummer Cobb Residence Halls and the addition to the Paulina June and George Pollak Library. He also sponsored an effort to gain a U.S. Medical Research Agency grant, awarded to CSUF and the University of Florida, that took aim at the genetic disorder Prader-Willi Syndrome.
Parand Salmassinia ’97 (B.A. biological science) was appointed global vice president of commercial management and key accounts for Royal DSM, a global science-based company in health, nutrition and materials. Ramin Baschshi ’99 (B.S. biological science) was named president and chief executive officer of UCP (United Cerebral Palsy) of Orange County’s board of directors in December. Mario Basora ’99 (B.A. political science) is superintendent of Yellow Springs Schools, a K-12 public school system in Ohio.
Frances Teves ’99 (B.A. psychology) is director of governmental and community relations at Cal Poly Pomona.
2000s Ryan C. Carson ’00 (B.A. political science) was named a shareholder in the Jacobsen Orr Law Firm of Kearney, Nebraska, in February. Thomas J. McGovern ’00 (M.F.A. art-creative photography) is a professor of art, with a specialization in documentary and street photography, and interim chair of the World Languages and Literatures Department at Cal State San Bernardino.
Tan T. Diep ’01 (B.A. political science) is West Coast architectural manager for Vitro Architectural Glass. Matt Johnson ’02 (B.A. communicationsjournalism) is an Emmy Award-winning reporter at FOX 11 News and “Good Day L.A.”
Toni Nielson ’02 (B.A. speech communication) is a forensics coach at Fullerton College.
CSUFCommunity Want to learn more about what’s happening at Cal State Fullerton? Sign up for the monthly e-newsletter:
community.fullerton.edu/newsletter 26 I TITAN SUMMER/FALL 2018
Jonathan Nicks ’03 (B.A. English) is community services director for Menifee, California.
Mayra Castro Orozco ’03 (B.S. child and adolescent studies, ’05 multiple subject credential) is a fourth-grade teacher at George Washington Elementary School in Norco.
Lucy Trancoso ’03 (B.A. economics) is vice president and relationship manager for Citizens Business Bank in Bakersfield.
Steven J. Sanders ’04 (B.S. biological science) joined Cucamonga (California) Valley Medical Group as a physician assistant in the group’s Upland location.
Scott W. Vickers and Cy Scott ’04 (B.S. computer science) are co-founders of Leafly, a cannabis information resource, and data resource firm Headset.
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?
Timothy P. Henry ’05 (B.A. linguistics) is a lecturer in English, comparative literature and linguistics at his alma mater. Henry earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from UC Santa Barbara. Michael A. Nigro ’05 (M.M. performance) is an assistant professor of music at Vanguard University. Sara Tubbs ’05 (B.F.A. musical theatre) and her husband, Brent, opened The Spotlight Theatre in the Scottish Rite Cathedral in Moline, Illinois. Justin Lee ’06 (M.S. computer science) is a principal software engineer at Raytheon. He recently co-authored “A Software Tool for Protein Sequence Alignment” with Shawn Wang, CSUF professor of computer science, for an upcoming issue of the International Journal of Bioinformatics Research and Applications.
Sharyn B. Obsatz ’06 (M.A. communications) is in her second year teaching journalism full time at Santa Monica College. She served eight years as a part-time instructor. Alexis Martinez ’07 (B.S. child and adolescent development) has joined the Cucamonga (California) Valley Medical Group as a clinic manager.
Rebecca V. Meza ’07 (B.A. communications-public relations) owns her own boutique public relations firm, Meza Communications. Jeffrey R. Walter ’07 (B.A. business administration-management) is owner and president of Cryogenic Systems and Parts, a manufacturer and servicer of rubber deflashing machinery.
advocacy.fullerton.edu Sophia C. Chang ’08 (B.A. anthropology and art history) is lead planner at The Special Day Inc., a full-service event company specializing in weddings, social and corporate functions. Brooke Peterson ’08 (B.A. music-liberal arts) has a tiny sea slug named after her. Peterson, a scuba diver and underwater photographer, spotted the orange and black creature — no bigger than a grain of rice — while diving at Catalina Island in 2014. She sent pictures of it to local biologists and then gathered two of the creatures for DNA analysis. The result is a new slug named the Placida brookae. Hoda Hajirnia ’09 (B.A. communicationsjournalism) is the star of “Real Estate Wars” on the Bravo Channel. Matthew C. Kirsten ’09 (B.S. kinesiology) is co-owner and manager of California Rehabilitation and Sports Therapy clinic in San Juan Capistrano. Joshua D. Romero ’09 (B.A. dance) teaches beginning dance classes at Southern California colleges and manages Fuse, a nonprofit dance company. He also works as a living sculpture for a Sherman Oaks-based company.
Michael Tayefeh ’09 (B.A. business administration-finance) joined Integrity Housing, a nonprofit developer, as a senior acquisition analyst.
2010s John D. Johnson ’10 (B.A. history) is a cyber information assurance analyst for Northrop Grumman in Linthicum, Maryland.
Catherine L. Ward ’10 (B.S. human services, ’13 M.S. counseling-marriage and family therapy), interim director of Cal State Fullerton’s Veterans Resource Center, was honored as a 2018 Woman of the Year for Senate District 29 by Sen. Josh Newman. In March, Ward was among honorees recognized by both the California Senate and Assembly in Sacramento.
Flor Edwards ’11 (B.A. communicationsjournalism) is author of “Apocalypse Child: A Life in End Times,” a book about growing up in the Children of God cult. Sara Hodges ’11 (B.A. communicationsjournalism) is a sports reporter for CBS13 in Sacramento.
CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON TITAN I 27
Henoc Preciado ’11 (B.A. English) is inaugural director of the Glazer Family Dreamers Resource Center at Cal State Los Angeles. He previously served as coordinator of CSUF’s Titan Dreamers Resource Center.
Kristi Licera ’14 (B.A. dance) is a member of
Candace Thome-Hopson ’16 (B.A. business
Chicago DanceCrash and a contributor to the publication Dancermusic.com.
administration-entrepreneurship) recently launched the nonprofit, Swim Brayv Foundation, as a tribute to her brother who drowned in 2011.
Brian Cody Faas ’16 (B.A. business
tion) is director of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Debate League.
administration-finance)was named an account executive for Troxell, an education technology and collaboration solutions company in Oklahoma.
Trevor Rappleye ’12 (B.A. radio-TV-film)
Andrea L. Harris ’16 (M.A. art-illustration) is
Trinh “Sky” Pham ’17 (B.A. business
is founder of EventFilming.net, LLC, a video marketing company in Long Beach.
enthusiast relations manager for the Wally Parks NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Motorsports Museum in Pomona, California.
administration-finance) is CEO of Kien Nam Group LLC and the Compassionate Hands Foundation.
Lily A. Kline-Koenig ’16 (B.A. communica-
Sara J. Roberts ’17 (B.A. American studies, B.F.A. arts-sculpture) was selected to participate in the Torpedo Factory Art Center’s Post-Graduate Residency Program. The three-month residency at the Alexandria, Virginia, center, culminates in a group exhibition Oct. 27-Dec. 2.
Cameron Ward ’11 (B.A. speech communica-
Nicholas W. Starr ’12 (B.A. art-studio art) is an Orange County artist who creates large-format paintings of watch faces. Brian Day ’14 (B.A. communicationsjournalism) covers crime and breaking news for the Southern California News Group, which includes the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena-Star News and Whittier Daily News.
Ryan and James Fratzke ’14 (B.A. business administration-marketing) have formed Fratzke Media, a digital marketing consulting firm.
tions-entertainment studies) works as a catalogue research and marketing assistant for the Los Angeles branch of BMG, an international record label and music publishing company.
Andres H. Martinez ’16 (B.A. communications-journalism; B.A. Spanish) is a news producer for the American Spanish-language television broadcasting company, Telemundo, in Dallas.
Shaira Arias ’17 (B.A. communicationsjournalism) is a Philadelphia-based reporter for the Univision network.
Aaron Tam ’17 (M.M. performance) is working toward his artist diploma at the San Francisco Academy Orchestra, taking weekly lessons and master classes with members of the San Francisco Symphony.
In Memoriam Patricia A. Frustaci ’79, ’84 (B.A., M.A. English), who gave birth to septuplets in 1985, died Feb. 10. She was 63. Augie Garrido, legendary Titan baseball coach who garnered three College World Series championships while at CSUF — in 1979, 1984 and 1995 — and went on to become the winningest coach in college baseball history, died March 15 at the age of 79. Garrido coached the Titans from 1973-87, left briefly to coach at the University of Illinois, then returned from 1991-96. In his 22 seasons with CSUF, he compiled a 929-391-6 record. Maryanna Lanier, associate professor emeritus of economics, died Dec. 17 at the age of 88. She joined the campus community in 1970 and served for 28 years. Saozinha “Susie” Meneses ’92 (B.A. business administration-finance), attorney for a wireless communications company in San Diego and a yoga instructor, died Nov. 4. Andrew W. Millar ’82 (M.A. psychology), a former clinical psychologist with the Department 28 I TITAN SUMMER/FALL 2018
of Veterans Affairs who later opened his own private practice, died March 21. Millar, who penned the “On Your Mind” column for the Santa Maria Times and Lompoc Record, later became a financial adviser with Edward Jones. He was 60. Douglas M. Schneider ’93 (MBA), vice president of system integrity and asset management for Southern California Gas Co. and San Diego Gas and Electric, died Dec. 15. He was 51. Christopher Thomas ’87 (B.A. business administration-management), executive director of the Northern California section of the PGA, died Oct. 24 at the age of 54. Lydia Vélez , professor emeritus of modern languages and literatures, died Jan. 10 at the age of 71. She taught on campus for more than 30 years and was founder and faculty adviser to the “Asociación de Alumnos y Ex-alumnos de Español” student Spanish club. Frank G. Verges, professor emeritus of philosophy, died Feb. 12 at the age of 81. He served the campus for nearly three decades, receiving emeritus status in
1997. James D. Woods ’67 (B.A. business administration) died Feb. 4 at the age of 86. The former CEO of Baker Hughes Inc. began his career while attending night classes at the fledgling campus that would become Cal State Fullerton. Woods gave back to his alma mater for more than 25 years as a contributor and member of various committees, cabinets and foundations. His name and that of his wife, Jeanette, grace the Woods Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting, for which they gave an initial pledge of $500,000 in 2013. Margaret S. Woyski, professor emeritus of geological sciences and former associate dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, died March 10 at the age of 96. The educator joined the campus in 1967, and her 25 years of service included tenure as chair of the Earth Science (now Geological Sciences) Department and acting director of academic advisement.
Guardians of Foster Youth
AS A CAL STATE FULLERTON athlete, Laron Brown soared more than 7 feet in the high jump. But it was the Guardian Scholars Program that kept the 2009 Big West Conference high jump champion grounded. “Guardian Scholars is my backbone; it’s like a family,” Brown stated a decade ago about the university’s program for former foster youth. The program’s financial, academic and social support helped him reach his goal of earning a college degree. Nearly a decade later, Brown ’10 (B.A. communications-entertainment studies) is a physical education instructor and track and field coach at Fullerton College. He also coaches at Servite High School in Anaheim and owns a training company for athletes. “Guardian Scholars prepared me for my career and life by instilling in me strong morals and values that have guided me through success — and through adversity,” shares Brown, who is nearing completion of his master’s degree in physical education at Azusa
Pacific University. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the first-of-its-kind program in California that has helped scores of emancipated foster youth like Brown earn a college degree. Launched in 1998, the program, funded through donor and community support, offers a range of support services to former foster youth. To date, 173 Guardian Scholars have earned their bachelor’s degrees, and many have pursued advanced degrees in disciplines such as social work, counseling, psychology and education, with the goal of realizing independence and self-sufficiency. Due to the scope of services offered, Guardian Scholars boasts a 95 percent retention rate and a 76 percent graduation rate, notes Yajayra Tovar, assistant director of the Center for Scholars. This year, 13 Guardian Scholars earned their CSUF degree, and 14 new scholarship students are entering the program in the fall. Guardian Scholars was established in collaboration with Orangewood
Children’s Foundation, with generous support from alumnus Ron Davis ’69 (B.A. business administration), chairman of Davis Capital and retired chairman of The Perrier Group of America. The program provides scholarships, on-campus housing, mentoring and counseling, and workshops on topics such as life skills, as well as other assistance. Each year, between 45 and 50 students participate on a full scholarship. In 2017, the nationally recognized program expanded its services to 49 current and former foster youth at CSUF, offering them access to many support services, except a full scholarship. The Foster Friendly Ally program also was created, in which 100 faculty and staff “allies” serve as mentors and advocates to Guardian Scholars and prospective students. An anniversary celebration is planned for the fall to commemorate the program’s two-decade legacy of changing lives and supporting former foster youth in their pursuit of higher education. DEBRA CANO RAMOS CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FULLERTON TITAN I 29
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