Class Notes


Roy Bilderback ’60 (English), a retired schoolteacher, recently celebrated the publication of his novel The Lawman’s Dilemma, a fictional western about a lawman determined to clean up the Wild West. He also serves on the board of directors for the Stonerose Interpretive Center and Eocene Fossil Site in Republic, Wash.

Evelyn Fuqua Cook, MA ’63 (Counseling) is the author of three books including From Sirius to Earth, which explores relationships through a metaphysical lens. Her other two books are called Cosmic Relationships and The Wisdom of Athor. She worked for many years in the San Juan School District and later retired from private practice as a marriage and family therapist.

Leon Freeburg, MSW ’66, a member of the first graduating master’s of social work class, spent 43 years as a social worker before retiring in 2008. He holds many positive memories of his experiences as a Sac State student.

Bill Lockard ’69 (Business Administration) recently published Circles in Circles, his first novel. The captivating tale relates the lives of two maturing teenagers, Becky and Kyle, who draw on their inner strength to experience success in adventure and love as they go out in search for answers in a complex world.


Hal Geiogue, MA ’71 (Government) has been elected as the new chair of the California Student Aid Commission. He has spent more than three decades formulating education and fiscal policy for the state of California. His experience includes service as the assistant state treasurer and director of education for the California Legislative Analyst’s Office.

Clyde George ’72 (Physical Education) recently retired from a 35-year career in law enforcement. Since then, George finished filming two projects: “Don Nicolas Den,” to be featured at Santa Barbara Film Festival 2015, and “Jackknife County,” a TV pilot about the Old West. He also recently opened his first pawnshop, All Pawn, in the Solvang, Calif. area.

Gilbert Herdt, MA ’72 (Anthropology) coedited the book Critical Terms for the Study of Gender. This new book is made up of 21 essays that provide an introduction to the study of gender and highlight topics that suggest new directions for the understanding of gender. Herdt is currently director for the Graduate Program in Human Sexuality at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.

Robert M. Pacholik ‘72 (Journalism), MA ’76 (International Affairs) was awarded the bronze medal by the Military Writers’ Society of America for his acclaimed short-story collection Night Flares: Six Tales of the Vietnam War. Pacholik served two combat tours (1968-69) as an Army photographer and military journalist in Vietnam, and published Night Flares to share his eyewitness accounts as a still photographer with three separate commands.

Robert T. Perry-Smith ’73 (Business Administration) has been appointed to serve as chairman of Sierra Vista Bank’s board of directors. In 2013, Perry-Smith concluded a 40-year career as a certified public accountant. He founded his own Sacramento firm, Perry-Smith LLP, in 1984. It was acquired by public accounting/consulting firm Crowe Horwath LLP in 2011. He is a past president of the Sutter Club and also serves as chairman of a charitable group, the Perry-Smith Foundation, in Sacramento.

Sandra Re Sims ’74 (History) was named vice president, personal banking officer of the Bank of Napa. She has 40 years of banking experience and spends much of her spare time volunteering. She was named Woman of the Year in 2013 by state Sen. Lois Wolk for her involvement in the community.

John Brydon, MS ’75 (Speech Communication) has formed Brydon Law, a San Francisco-based firm committed to providing clients with strategic advice and skilled representation before state and federal courts. He has more than 35 years of trial experience and has been a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates for nearly 25 years.

Nancy Greenwood ’76, MA ’78 (Sociology) was honored with the Scholarly Contributions to Teaching and Learning Award from the American Sociological Association Section on Teaching and Learning for her innovative design and implementation of introductory courses in sociology. She is the current coordinator of the sociology program at Indiana University, Kokomo.

James Sundquist ’76 (Business Administration) joined the Bank of Commerce as executive vice president-chief financial officer. He has been in the banking industry for more than 30 years, most recently serving as the chief financial officer at Sacramento Commercial Bank.

Sister Michelle Gorman ’78 (Humanities)
has been named the new California Senate chaplain. Gorman will offer prayers to start floor sessions and be available to lawmakers and staff seeking spiritual guidance. She is a member of the 157-year-old, Sacramento-based Sisters of Mercy.

Joseph R. Gutheinz Jr. ’78 (Criminal Justice) appeared on an episode of “Brad Meltzer’s Lost History” on the History Channel 2. He talked about his experience searching for and locating missing moon rocks from the Apollo mission. The Houston-based attorney is a retired senior special agent with NASA’s Office of Inspector General and currently teaches college classes in investigative techniques. Gutheinz and students from his classes are responsible for directly or indirectly recovering 79 moon rocks.

Jose Hernandez ’78 (Business Administration) retired from AT&T after a fruitful 40-year career. Hernandez says he is currently “living the dream in the USA.”

Einar Maisch ’79 (Civil Engineering) was named as the Placer County Water Agency’s new general manager. Maisch has worked with the water agency since 1985 and served as director of strategic affairs since 2000. He has been at the forefront in the planning and development of several significant water projects that have improved water system capacity and reliability for Placer County.


David Bentz ’80, MS ’93 (Criminal Justice) is an adjunct professor of administration of justice at San Joaquin Delta College. He retired from the Stockton Police Department as police captain after 28 years of service.

David Luoma ’80 (Marketing) has been chosen as chair of Belk Western Division. He joined the company in 2011 as senior vice president and director of stores for Belk Southern Division. Before that, he was a senior vice president and director of stores for Macy’s and May department stores in upstate New York and western Massachusetts.

Garry Maisel ’80 (Business Administration) has been honored with the United Cerebral Palsy Humanitarian of the Year award for inspiring positive change and contributing his time to organizations and causes throughout the Sacramento region. He is the president and CEO of Western Health Advantage, which focuses on improving healthcare access and affordability, and developing innovative programs to expand coverage to the uninsured.

Norman Tanaka ’81 (Business Administration), ’86 CRED, principal at Vinewood Elementary School in Lodi, was honored with the Literacy Leadership Award from the Sacramento Area Reading Association. Before working for Lodi Unified School District, he spent many years working as a teacher, principal and personnel director in the Sacramento City Unified School District. In addition to his work in education, Tanaka volunteers as an assistant scoutmaster and unit commissioner for Boy Scouts of America.

Eugene Blackard Jr. ’82 (Government) has been re-elected managing partner at Archer Norris, a position he has held since 2008. A litigation strategist for insurers, businesses and employers, he defends a range of cases concerning complex multi-party environmental tort litigation, product liability, premises liability and claims stemming from the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Rita Wirtz ’82 CRED published Reading Champs: Teaching Reading Made Easy, a guide that gives educators how-to instructions for helping students learn how to read. Wirtz is a California language arts and reading specialist who has been teaching for 40 years.

Lori Aldrete, MBA ’83 was elected vice chair of the 11-member board of First Northern Community Bancorp. Aldrete has worked in the business and communications fields for more than 35 years. She is owner of Aldrete Communications, a public affairs, marketing and communications firm headquartered in Davis.

Katie Haertle ’83 (Nursing) received the 2014 Duckprints Award from Aflac for her service as a nurse coordinator for the pediatric hematology/oncology department at UC Davis Medical Center. The award is given to people who have left their footprints in the fight against childhood cancer. Haertle was recognized for her more than 20 years of service to the UC Davis Medical Center, many of which have been spent guiding children diagnosed with cancer and their families through the treatment process.

Matthew Winston ’83 (Geography) and Erlinda Ibarbia ’83 (Anthropology)
are both State of California employees and have been married for more than 30 years. They are proud that one of their sons is following in their footsteps and enrolling at Sac State next fall.

Bonnie Teaford ’84 (Civil Engineering) was selected by the American Public Works Association as one of its 2014 Top Ten Public Works Leaders. The award recognizes individuals for fulfilling responsibilities in connection to the design, construction, maintenance and operation of major public works projects. As a registered professional civil engineer, she serves as the city of Burbank’s public works director.

David L. Vied ’84 (Communication Studies) has been elected director by the board of directors of Cyanotech Corporation. Vied serves as the global sector leader, medical devices and diagnostics, for Korn Ferry, a global leadership and talent advisory firm. His previous experience includes serving in leadership roles for other global recruiting and talent advisory firms.

Dave Hays ’85, MA ’87 (English), ’89 CRED has been named the new forest supervisor for the Lassen National Forest. Previously, he served as district ranger in the Klamath National Forest’s Salmon-Scott River District. He started as a park ranger with the Corps of Engineers in Washington state and later moved on to the Bureau of Land Management, and joined the U.S. Forest Service in 2010.

Everett Orrick ’85 (Business Administration), MBA ’95 was hired by BBVA Compass to serve as market president for its Los Angeles loan production office. Orrick is a veteran banker and has worked at several banks in California, most recently as a regional manager of Union Bank’s corporate and middle-market banking offices.

Claire (Johasz) Rogers ’85 (Business Administration) has been appointed manager of audit and quality services for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. She has worked at SMUD for 22 years and spent a majority of those years in leadership positions. In her new role, she will be responsible for identifying and assessing business risk areas, and developing plans to monitor risk areas.

Elizabeth A. Jordan-Teicheira ’86 (Communication Studies) has joined Guidepost Solutions as a regional director for its security and technology consulting group. She will work on retention strategies for current clients and organize business development efforts in the western region. Jordan-Teicheira has been a business development professional for nearly 20 years and has been working in the architectural, construction and engineering sectors for the past seven.

Magda Gonzalez ’86 (Sociology and Social Science) has been hired as the new city manager for Half Moon Bay. She is an attorney with city management experience across San Mateo County. Most recently, she was city manager in East Palo Alto. Gonzalez is also the president of the International Hispanic Network, an organization for Latino local government officials.

Scott Norris ’87 (Business Administration) has been named Men’s Wearhouse brand and Moores brand president. He was promoted from the position of executive vice president of merchandising, which he began in 2011. He started his career with Men’s Wearhouse in 1996 as a buyer and successfully worked his way up through the company.

Charles Dunbar ‘88 (Communication Studies) has been at the helm of Pebble Beach Golf Links as head golf professional, since 1999, during which time he has hosted 16 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-ams and two U.S. Open national championships. Dunbar has been recognized for his service to junior golf and his community with a number of awards. He annually invites junior golf teams out to Pebble Beach for the privilege of playing one of the greatest golf courses in the world.

Dennis Agar ’89 (Civil Engineering) is the new Caltrans District 10 director, after 24 years of service to the department. As district director, he is responsible for supervising maintenance and operations for more than 3,500 lane miles in the Northern San Joaquin Valley. Prior to his appointment, Agar served as the Caltrans division chief of traffic operations.

Christy (Salmond) Clark ’89 (English) was elected to her third consecutive term as Montana’s House District 17 representative in November. She has been involved in politics most of her life, including completing an internship in the California Legislature and serving five years as chairwoman of the Teton County Republican Central Committee.

Colleen Davis ’89 (Business Administration) is vice president of finance for the U.S. public sector at Hewlett Packard’s enterprise services. She first joined HP in 2008 after the company’s acquisition of Electronic Data Systems. Previously, she served as HP’s finance leader of the enterprise services accelerate program.

Mark Durham ’89 (Business Administration), MBA ’00 was named manager of research and statistics for the California State Board of Equalization. He has worked for the state of California for 23 years, serving as the deputy chief of operations at the Employment Development Department and helping create paid family leave legislation in 2004.


Shiva Frentzen, MS ’90 (Computer Science) was elected to the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors for District 2. Shiva has been a business leader in El Dorado County for more than a decade, serving as president of a local company specializing in website design, web hosting and an online local business directory.

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Marco Rodriguez ’91 (Business Administration), president of the Sacramento State Alumni Association Board of Directors, received the Ohtli honor from the Mexican government for his leadership and support of the non-profit organization Cien Amigos. He directs the financial education program for Cien Amigos, which works with the Mexican government to award $130,000 a year in scholarships to approximately 250 California students. Rodriguez was recognized for his dedication to helping the Mexican community and younger generations in California pursue and achieve their goals.

Jolie Limon ’92 (Biological Sciences) works as an associate professor of medicine at Valley Children’s Hospital in Fresno. After studying biological sciences at Sacramento State, Limon graduated from UC San Francisco’s School of Medicine in 1996.

Bonnie Klatt, CRED ’93, MA ’94 (English), an English teacher at Natomas Charter School, has been appointed to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. She has an extensive career in the field of education, working as a consultant and administrator for the California Department of Education and the California State Board of Education. Before joining the Department of Education, she taught high school English, media literacy and AVID in local school districts for a total of 15 years.

Mark Massari ’93 (History) has been hired as the new deputy athletics director for Oregon State University. After six years as UC Santa Barbara’s director of athletics, Massari returns to OSU for his second stint with the Beavers. He will be responsible for external affairs, including business and fan-development opportunities. He was a four-year letter winner with the Hornet football team during his time at Sacramento State.

Erin Curtis ’94 (Government/Journalism) is the public affairs officer for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Mid-Pacific Region. She will manage the region’s public affairs, public involvement and public education programs. Prior to joining reclamation, Curtis was the communications chief for the Bureau of Land Management’s Alaska State Office in Anchorage.

John La Porta ’94 (Business Administration) was named director of sales and marketing for Capital Insurance Group, assuming direction of corporate marketing initiatives and providing support to agency development managers across the Western U.S. He has 18 years of business development and management experience with various companies.

Harjinder Mattu, MA ’94 (English), CRED ’03 is now the principal at Peninsula Alternative High School in San Bruno. After immigrating to the United States in 1993 and earning a master’s degree in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) at Sac State, Mattu went on to teach English and English-language development at the community college and high school levels for seven years.

Paula Smith ’94 (Criminal Justice) was awarded the 2014 American Indian Youth Services/Role Model of the Year award during the American Indian Achievement Awards for her positive influence on the lives of American Indians. As president of the Nevada Statewide Native American Coalition, an inter-tribal collaboration, Smith works with 27 tribal communities throughout Nevada to enhance drug and alcohol prevention programs, making sure the prevention efforts will best serve the youth of Nevada. She has worked in the field of juvenile probation for 24 years and is currently working as a deputy juvenile probation officer for the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California.

Kim Brown Sims ’95 (Nursing) was appointed chief nursing officer at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo. She is responsible for overseeing more than 300 registered nurses at Sierra Vista as well as the overall clinical quality of the hospital, which is the largest in San Luis Obispo County. Sims worked previously as the assistant administrator of women’s and children’s services at Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento.

Sharon Waite ’97 (Nursing) recently retired from a nursing career at Sutter Health Memorial Medical Center in Modesto, where she spent most of her time working in the ICU. She plans to travel with her Haflinger horses to competitively drive carriages.

Michael Shaw ’98 (Government and International Affairs) is the vice president of government relations for the California Manufacturers and Technology Association. He will oversee the legislative and regulatory agenda for California manufacturers and manage the association’s advocacy team. Shaw is the former vice president of external affairs for the California Trucking Association.

Marcia Bernard, CRED ’99 is the new director of instructional technology for the Davis School District. She has been an educator for more than 20 years, serving as a reading specialist, instructional coach, classroom teacher and principal. She received Elk Grove’s First-Year Teacher of the Year award in 1990.

Jason Sia ’99 (Music), MM ’02 kicked off the 28th season of the Manteca Kindred Arts concert season with a piano performance in October. He has been playing piano since age 6 and currently serves as the pianist for the Sacramento Valley Concert Choir. Sia performs solo and chamber music recitals in Northern California and frequently collaborates with musicians from the Sacramento Philharmonic and other orchestras.


Andrew Michael Langley ’01 (Government) has been hired as manager of research for legislation and public policy at Nielsen Merksamer Law Firm. Prior to joining the firm, Langley worked for the California State Legislature in the Senate Office of Floor Analyses.

Tad Nikolich ’01 (Business Administration) is senior vice president of business sales for Voxox, a comprehensive cloud-based communication service based in San Diego. He was promoted from vice president of business sales and has been with the company since 2008. Nikolich has also worked at Pac-West, TelePacific Communications and Express Tel.

Christina Snyder ’01 (Criminal Justice) recently joined Ethan Conrad Properties as vice president. Snyder came from Kimco Realty Corporation where she was a leasing associate for nine years, handling properties across Northern California.

Cassondra Anderson-Maerklen ’02 (Liberal Studies), CRED ’04, an author and educator, has released a new book entitled Faith... Hope... Love: What If Love Could Really Conquer All? The book, published by Outskirts Press, is a Christian romance novel.

Michele McKay, CRED ’02, MS ’03 (Nursing), joined the nursing faculty at Genesee Community College in New York after teaching an LPN-to-RN transition course as an adjunct faculty member last fall. Previously, she taught pediatrics, maternal-child health and peri-operative nursing at Niagara County Community College.

Elizabeth Staton, MA ’02 (Education) was chosen as the new assistant principal of Marina Village Middle School in the Rescue Union School District. In 1995, she began her teaching career at Newcastle Elementary and Newcastle Charter School, where she later served as assistant principal.

Peter Tateishi ’02 (Government) has been named president and CEO of the Sacramento Metro Chamber. He plans to collaborate with regional organizations, public officials and businesses to work on behalf of businesses and help them sustain and grow in the area. Tateishi previously worked as the CEO of the Sacramento Regional Builders Exchange and has served on the Sacramento County Public Health Advisory Board.

Alex Barrios ’03, MA ’10 (Communication Studies) was promoted to senior account manager at Lucas Public Affairs. He has more than 11 years of experience directing communications and public affairs at all levels of government. Prior to joining Lucas Public Affairs, Barrios worked as communications director to former State Senator Norma Torres. He managed communications and media strategy in Torres’ successful bid for Congress where he helped generate national media coverage for Torres’ election to the United States House of Representatives.

Eric Guerra ’03 (Electrical and Electronic Engineering), MPPA ’08 was elected to the Sacramento City Council representing District 6. The former ASI president was a CSU trustee, serves on the Sacramento County planning commission and is the president-elect of the Sacramento State Alumni Association. He is a policy analyst for Assemblymember David Chiu.

Herman Shum, MA ’04 (Education) has been named the principal of Justin-Siena High School, a private Catholic institution in Napa. He is currently the vice principal of student affairs at Saint Mary’s College High School in Berkeley, and will begin his new position July 1.

Jeremiah Smith ’04 (Business Administration) has been promoted to the position of senior executive vice president/chief operating officer and chief financial officer of First Northern Bank. Smith joined the bank in 2003 and has served as executive vice president and chief financial officer since the end of 2010.

Marin Hedin ’05 (Public Relations) has been promoted to account supervisor at Van Eperen & Co., a public relations and marketing firm. She will focus on clients in the health, science and technology sectors. Hedin previously served as the firm’s senior account executive and has worked at the company since 2012, specializing in strategic communications, digital strategy and messaging.

James Van Buren, CRED ’05, ’06 is a teacher at Grant Union High School in Sacramento, where he leads the Grant Drum Line. The Drum Line has been nominated to represent the state of California in the 2015 National Independence Day Parade held in Washington D.C. and showed off its talents on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” in November. The group has performed previously for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Autistic Foundation for Children and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as a show of support for their causes and missions.

Dameon Engblom ’06 (Biological Sciences) has been appointed assistant coach of the Oregon State University men’s rowing team. Engblom served as varsity men’s head coach for Capital Crew in Sacramento from 2006-09. He gained experience coaching at the collegiate level as the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at UC San Diego during the 2012-13 season.

Ryan Sharp, MA ‘06 (International Affairs) is a senior vice president at Economic & Planning Systems, Inc. Sharp led the Center for Strategic Economic Research for the past 12 years and worked on several Sacramento region economic development projects, including the Next Economy Capital Region Prosperity Plan.

Steve Berry ’07 (Business Administration) joined Presidio Bank as vice president and relationship manager in its East Bay regional office. He has nearly a decade of experience in commercial banking and worked previously as a vice president/commercial relationship manager with Umpqua Bank.

Tabitha Knight ’08 (Business Administration) is an assistant professor of economics at Willamette University in Salem, Ore. She joins Willamette after successfully defending her doctorate in May at Colorado State University. She is a macroeconomist and her expertise is in the intersection of economic development, international trade and finance, and the economics of race and gender.

Justin Knighten ’08 (Public Relations) was promoted to vice president of Lucas Public Affairs, managing public affairs and communications campaigns for a variety of the firm’s clients on issues ranging from renewable energy, Internet and technology, health care, travel and tourism, education and biotechnology. Prior to joining Lucas, he worked in the legislative unit at the California Environmental Protection Agency.

Brian Wheeler ’08 (Vocational Education) was named one of Contra Costa County’s 2014-2015 Teachers of the Year. Wheeler, an automotive technology teacher at Alhambra High School, was recognized with this award after receiving the Martinez School District’s Teacher of the Year honor last March. He switched to a teaching career after working for 30 years as a collision repair technician and is now in his fifth year of teaching at Alhambra High.

Rhonda White, MA ‘08 (Education) has been chosen as assistant principal for Indian Creek Elementary and Herbert Green Middle School in the Mother Lode Union School District. She taught at Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District in Roseville for more than 14 years, working as a student success team coordinator and president of the Dry Creek Teacher’s Association.

Joaquin Castaneda ’09 (Government) is now senior manager of local government affairs for Genentech, one of the leading biotechnology companies in the world. Prior to joining Genentech, Castaneda served as district director for Senator Ricardo Lara.

Stella Premo, MBA ’09 has been hired as the new executive director of NextEd, a Sacramento education-focused nonprofit. She is tasked with launching a new regional career education initiative that includes 53 Sacramento-area businesses and more than 60 high schools. She previously worked as a director of development for the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at Sac State.


Allie Mandel ’10 (Public Relations) has been named assistant account executive at Forté PR. She manages national fitness and nutrition accounts and assists with media outreach. Mandel comes from an agency background, having previously worked with dining and hospitality clients at a Las Vegas-based agency and as an associate at Fifty & Five, a full-service social media agency in Redondo Beach, Calif.

Ryan Harrison, MS ’11 (Criminal Justice) is a law clerk in the labor and employment law practice of Hanson Bridgett. Prior to joining Hanson Bridgett, Ryan worked for Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye at the Supreme Court of California and was an assistant to Jerome E. Horton, chair of the California Board of Equalization.

Jessica Spohn ’11 (Family and Consumer Sciences) received a master’s degree in public health from New Mexico State University in December. The university’s alumni association recognized Spohn with an Outstanding Graduating Master’s Student award. She also received special recognition from Eta Sigma Gamma, the Golden Key Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi and the NMSU GLBT community.

Max Álvarez ’13 (Communication Studies) is a forward for the Sacramento Republic Football Club, winners of the 2014 USL Pro League Championship. He played in 30 matches during his rookie season, scoring three goals and recording eight assists. Álvarez played four seasons for the Hornet soccer team and holds the third-highest single-season goal total in Sac State history with 23.

Lakhwinder Deol, MBA ‘13 is the new finance operations manager for the city of Atwater. After spending two years in Sacramento working as a finance performance evaluator for the California Department of Finance, she returns to Atwater to help the city maintain financial stability.

Devin Middlebrook, MBA ‘13 has been hired to work as the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s environmental education specialist. A native of South Lake Tahoe, Middlebrook worked as an intern with TRPA in 2013 and most recently worked as an outreach coordinator for the Tahoe Resource Conservation District.

Lyndsey Williams, MPPA ‘14 is now an account executive at Lucas Public Affairs. She joined the firm in April 2013 as the executive assistant and quickly expanded her role to account coordinator. Prior to joining Lucas, Williams worked at Cosumnes River College and UC Davis.

 In Memoriam


Thomas W. Armstrong, Jr. ’50 (Mathematics) died in October. Mr. Armstrong spent 35 years teaching high school math, mostly at El Camino High School where he attained the rank of colonel in the California Cadet Corp, a program designed to teach students leadership skills. He also coached the El Camino rifle team and for several years he took top-ranking students to the National Rifle Competition at Camp Perry, Ohio. In addition, he taught evening math classes at American River College for 14 years.

Norma Isabel Lentz Ford ’76 (Psychology) died in September. She achieved her goal of a degree in psychology from Sac State. She worked as an administrative assistant to bank managers, the California Assembly and the California Air Resource Board. After retiring and moving to Virginia, she volunteered at the Potomac Hospital and was a member of the Woodbridge Woman’s Club.

Harvey Roper ’79 (Business Administration), owner of Roper’s Jewelers in Auburn, died in September. He was extremely active in the community of Auburn, serving on the city’s economic development and endurance capital commissions, the Auburn Chamber of Commerce board of directors and several terms as president of the Downtown Business Association.

Bob Lee ’80 (Public Policy and Administration), district attorney of Santa Cruz, died in October. He began his career as a prosecutor in Monterey County in 1985 before returning home to Santa Cruz. After working as the Santa Cruz assistant district attorney for 14 years, Mr. Lee was elected district attorney in 2002. He was known for his support of victims’ rights.

Jerry Fox ’82 (Government), a 22-year veteran of the Elk Grove Community Services District died in November. He was very active in serving Elk Grove, dedicating his work and personal life to bettering the community. As superintendent of parks and the deputy administrator of parks, facilities and development, Mr. Fox oversaw many projects including the restoration of Elk Grove Regional Park.

JoEllen Shanks ’85 (Liberal Studies), ’87 (CRED) died in December. She began her teaching career in 1987 in the Robla district, where she earned the district’s Teacher of the Year honor. She also spent many years working in the Elk Grove School District, where she helped open a new school, Stone Lake Elementary. In 2009, her dedication to teaching was recognized again when she received the Sacramento County Teacher of the Year award.


Victor Comerchero, Professor of English, taught at Sacramento State from 1963 to 2002. During his early years, he was very involved in university affairs, serving on numerous committees and acting as a faculty advisor to The State Hornet. He also focused on a number of entrepreneurial endeavors, including the co-founding of Electrostatic Sound Systems, a loudspeaker company which invented components that are still used in speakers.

Kenneth Kerri, Professor of Civil Engineering, was a faculty member in the Department of Civil Engineering for almost 40 years before retiring from teaching in 1997. In 1972, he established the Office of Water Programs, which is now recognized as the leading national training program for operators and managers of drinking water and wastewater plants and facilities. Professor Kerri was recognized with many honors, including the Distinguished Faculty Award by the Alumni Association. As part of his legacy, he leaves the Ken Kerri Endowment Fund, which will continue to honor achievements and contributions to the field of civil engineering.

Thomas Knutson, Professor of Communication Studies, spent 33 years teaching at Sacramento State. In addition to graduate and undergraduate courses, he led extension and continuing education classes in conflict management, skills for salespeople, and police interview and interrogation techniques. He was also a professor of global communication at Bangkok University in Thailand and created a program for Sac State students to spend a year as English tutors in Thailand. He completed two Fulbright scholarships: one in South Korea and one in Russia.

M. Hossein Partovi, Professor of Physics and Astronomy retired from Sac State after 31 years in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, including two years as its chair. He published numerous papers in his time at the University and worked closely with other emeritus professors to create endowments to support faculty and students.


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