A Look at the Future of Health Care

Summer 2009

On the Right Path

Presidents Message
EOP Makes History
Chamber Choir Embarks on Canadian Tour
Cool Course
Sac State atop Sports Wave of Popularity
Doors to Success
The Benefits of Philanthropy
Spring Commencement 2009
Insect Museum is the Place to Bee
Hornets Football Program Gaining Ground
Therapeutic Recreation promotes Comprehensive Healing
DeDe Cordell, '96
Jamillah Moore, '92 and '95
Class Notes

From the President

The school year has come to a close, and we are looking forward to another successful Commencement.

More than 4500 students will receive their degrees, and each has an inspiring story of success.

Many are the first in their family to graduate from college. Many have worked full- or part-time jobs to help make ends meet as they pursued their college degree. And 57 percent received some form of financial aid.

This academic year, Sac State also awarded nearly $4 million in scholarships from funds given to us by private donors.

In light of this staggering generosity, I am pleased that we will be recognizing two special individuals at Commencement in addition to the students we honor from each college.

George Crandell will receive the President’s Medal for Distinguished Service. He has served Sac State for nearly a quarter century, giving his time, expertise and resources to ensure that our students have greater opportunities for success.

Fred Teichert will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters for his years of service and leadership at our University and in the Sacramento philanthropic community.

Crandell and Teichert are just two examples of the outstanding people in our campus community who share their talents to help our students. Especially in times of economic uncertainty, it is important to recognize the contributions of those who help us provide educational quality beyond what is possible with state funding alone.

We are very proud to have served our campus’s 29,000 students so well amid this year’s challenging budget conditions. Despite cuts in state support, we continue to admit as many students as we always have.

As each graduate’s name is read at Commencement, our entire campus community finds great satisfaction in the work we have done to make their special day possible.

I hope you will join me in applauding these efforts.

Have a great summer, and thank you for your support of our students.

EOP Makes History

The Educational Opportunity Program has forever transformed higher education in California by providing access to students who historically have not been able to attend college, and Sac State has a personal relationship with that transformation.

In 1968, the University helped pioneer the EOP, and the program celebrated its 40th anniversary in the California State University system at a March conference in Sacramento with the theme of “Celebrating 40 Years of Excellence: A Legacy of Hope, Optimism, and Opportunity.”

Over the years, the EOP spread to every CSU campus, and as a result, 300,000 students have college degrees.

“The EOP revolutionized campus society. It opened doors for young people who may not have entered the academy, or may have entered and withdrawn because of finances, life-guidance problems or a sense of not fitting in,” says Ricardo Torres, Sac State EOP faculty counselor. “It shattered campus cultural isolation.”

The program’s mission is to serve people from families whose economic situations and educational backgrounds are barriers to success in higher education.

Torres says it also has “created a student body reflective of the state’s diverse population,” and has helped the CSU respond to the educational needs of the changing demographics of California, such as more immigrants from Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe.

To be eligible for EOP, students must meet family income requirements and demonstrate academic potential and the motivation to succeed.

Sac State’s extensive recruitment efforts reach out to potential EOP students and their families. About 450 EOP students enter Sac State yearly, with about 1,850 EOP students on campus.

“The EOP is often the only way underrepresented populations can access higher education,” says Assistant Vice President for Student Academic Success Marcellene Watson-Derbigny, who oversees Sac State’s EOP. 

State Sen. Gloria Romero is one of the many EOP graduates who is giving back to California through public service.

“Through 40 years the EOP has honored its promise to provide assistance to needy students, but I’m worried,” says Romero (B.A., Psychology, CSU Long Beach). “I don’t want the next generation of disadvantaged students to find overflowing classrooms, closed campuses and unaffordable tuition. The EOP is pivotal to ensuring access to a quality education – and the American dream.”

-Perry Hartline

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Chamber Choir embarks on Canadian tour

When their fellow students kick back and relax at the end of the school year, members of Sac State’s Chamber Choir will enjoy an encore of sorts with a musical tour of Canada, May 23-29.

The 28 students will travel to Montreal and Ottawa, performing in some of the world’s most renowned cathedrals and the Parliament of Canada.

“We’ll be singing in English and French, as well as some Inuit, the language of Canada’s indigenous people,” choir director Don Kendrick says.

Venues will include the Cathedrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde and the Basilique Notre-Dame in Montreal, and Dominion-Chalmers United Church in Ottawa. The group will also sing in the Rotunda of the Canadian Parliament.

“The tour gives the students a good cultural and international historical experience,” Kendrick says, adding that they’ll get to savor French culture while in Montreal.

Putting together such a tour requires double duty by the students: They must rehearse their musical numbers, then put in more long hours raising funds for the trip. Students have collected pledges during a “sing-a-thon,” organized a prize drawing and sold ads in concert programs.

“They’ve been raising money for more than a year,” Kendrick says.

Not only do the students gain knowledge and experience from the tour, Kendrick says, Sacramento State benefits as well. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for the students to become musical and cultural ambassadors for our University.”

For more information on the University’s choral program and upcoming concerts, call (916) 278-5155 or visit www.csus.edu/music/choral.

-Craig Koscho

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Cool Course

Music 118C – History of Rock Music

Description: In Gregory Williams’ History of Rock Music course, students examine the cultural and musical trends of rock music throughout the 20th century.  They study the roots of rock from blues and country to the creation of rockabilly; to both British Invasions and the beginnings of acid rock, metal and rap.

Class work: The class begins with rock’s roots in blues and folk and follows its transformation through the decades. “Students use the library’s e-resource center to access playlists that I have created for the many genres covered in class,” Williams says.  “Enrollment authorizes temporary downloads so that students can study by listening to the music we will discuss in lecture.”  The playlists can be downloaded to listen at home on the computer or transferred to CD.

Assignments: In order to gain a better understanding of what makes a rock song, students are instructed in the composition of music through tempo, rhythm and note structure.  “My personal goal with the course is to inspire the students to become more directly involved in culture,” Williams says, “whether it be by inspiring them to learn a musical instrument, or to get them excited about attending more live performances.”

Students say: After the class started studying the British Invasion, student Morgan Enns says, “I knew that the Beatles were a big deal, but I never realized how much they revolutionized rock and modern music in general.”

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Sac State atop sport’s wave of popularity

The lure of a fast boat, a rope and the chance to go airborne have turned wake boarding into a huge draw at Sac State’s Aquatic Center.

Combining elements of skateboarding, skiing, snowboarding and surfing, wake boarding is one of the world’s fastest-growing water sports. Its campus popularity is illustrated by a recent all-time high enrollment of 96 students in the University’s wake boarding classes at the Lake Natoma center.  Sac State also has a Wake Board Club competing against other colleges, and in October, the team took first place in the Fall Regional Western Conference Championship, sinking 13 other schools.

Wake boarders love the freedom of cutting across a boat’s wake, or the waves generated as it plows through the water, flying through the air 15 feet high, then flipping, twisting or turning before – hopefully – landing feet-and-board down.

That love of freedom led to the birth of Sac State’s club team. A few years ago, it formed as a part of the Water Ski Team and later branched out on its own.

“The timing was right,” says Brice Bennett, the new club’s coach and adviser. “There was so much interest in wake boarding and so many college clubs forming, somebody had to do something.”

Today there are organizations worldwide holding international wake boarding competitions. One of the best wake boarders is Sac State graduate Shelby Kantar. She won the Wake Board Pro Tour and placed second in the IWSF World Cup two years ago.

Sac State’s team is ranked in the top five by the Collegiate Wakeboard Association. Bennett says the status is well-earned.

“It’s not showing off if you can do it,” he laughed.

Helping Sac State become the best is one of Bennett’s top goals, but he also wants more students and community members to try out the sport. “I invite everyone to come take lessons.”

More information on Sac State’s Aquatic Center is available at http://www.sacstateaquaticcenter.com/.

-Perry Hartline

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Mayor Johnson praises University

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said Sac State is an important partner in his work to enhance education, foster economic growth and fight crime in the city. Johnson outlined his vision during his State of the City address Feb. 25 in the University Union Ballroom.  “This is truly one of our great universities. Sacramento State is a great institution in our community,” Johnson said at the speech.

Associated Students, Inc., President Miguel Cervantes says he is optimistic about Johnson’s vision. “He touched on creation of jobs, which would open up opportunities for our recent graduates.  This is very important to our students, especially during current budget crisis and employment shortage,” Cervantes says.  

On March 9, University President Alexander Gonzalez joined Johnson and other education leaders at the mayor’s “Education That Works: Ideas for Sacramento” Summit.

Crowd greets Obama's sister

Educator Maya Soetoro-Ng told an audience of 1,500 that peace education and non-violence are the cornerstones of a progressive democracy. Her March 17 speech on leadership and service in the University Union Ballroom was sponsored by Sacramento State’s Cooper-Woodson College Enhancement Program, UNIQUE programs and the Departments of Pan African Studies, Asian American Studies, and Ethnic Studies.

Soetoro-Ng, who is the sister of President Barack Obama, commended the Sac State community for “bringing the very best of tradition of the past accompanied by a forward-looking disposition—one that welcomes adaptation and allows for cultural mixing and movement.”

Sac State videos featured on YouTube

Sac State is now on YouTube. Watch how the University is becoming the premier destination campus with cutting-edge videos featuring academics, campus life, programs and events. The web site is http://www.youtube.com/sacramentostate.

-Sara Perez

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Doors to Success

George Crandell invests in opportunities for students

Last June, two veterans marched into a University Foundation Board meeting to present an idea.

The need was simple: Veterans who attended college using federal GI Bill benefits did not receive any money until after the semester was well underway.  A scholarship fund for the state’s Troops to College program would help these students pay for books and living expenses until their benefits kicked in.

George Crandell and the other members of the University Foundation at Sacramento State saw the idea as an opportunity and responded immediately.

“Our eyes widened,” says Crandell, who has served on the Foundation board since 1986 and is the current chair. “That’s something we need to support. The troops are returning in increasing numbers, and we should be proud of them and express that pride every chance we get.”

The Foundation is Sac State’s primary philanthropic arm, and its board felt a scholarship fund could both help students and attract support from the entire community.

The presentation by Jeff Weston, an Air Force veteran and Sac State’s Veterans Affairs coordinator, and Austin Sihoe, a student and Navy vet, had made a big impact. The Foundation board set a $100,000 fundraising goal.

And Crandell, as he had during his decades as a venture capitalist, made the initial investment. He personally donated $25,000 to Sac State’s Troops to College scholarship fund.

“My dad recently passed away, and given his interest in education and his service in the Navy in World War II, a gift in his honor seemed a fitting way to kick off the campaign,” Crandell says.

The campaign quickly succeeded all expectations. At the Green & Gold Gala in February, University President Alexander Gonzalez announced that more than $150,000 had been raised.

The awarding of the first Troops to College scholarships this fall will boost Sac State’s leadership in attracting veterans, Weston says.

Sihoe attended the Gala and was moved by the response. “We’re getting donations now from people outside the campus who don’t even know us,” he says.

A Wealth of Experience

Presentations and requests for funding are familiar territory for Crandell.

Considered as one of Sacramento’s first professional venture capitalists, Crandell spent his career turning opportunity into success.

At Brentwood Associates, a Los Angeles-based venture capital firm, he focused on companies with experienced management and innovative products in growing markets.

In 1986, he retired from Brentwood and moved to Sacramento with his wife and two daughters to work on his own.

“This was an underserved region at the time. There seemed to be good opportunities for young companies coming up,” Crandell says. “The Sacramento business community also was and still is a very open, welcoming community for anyone who wants to participate and get involved.”

In his view, the same was true for Sac State, and his affinity for strong products in growing markets made the University a natural fit. “Sac State was a campus with tremendous strengths and potential, but seemed under-appreciated by the community. I enjoyed the people and was honored to be offered an opportunity to become involved.”

Now the Sacramento region has a thriving entrepreneurial community with several active venture capital firms, and Sac State, with its 180,000 alumni and talented, driven students, is succeeding right along with it.

Crandell credits the “vision and energy” of the University’s leadership for “the dynamic way that things are happening and allowing opportunities to bubble up to the surface.”

“President Gonzalez’ development of Destination 2010 was the catalyst. We knew the Foundation needed to play a significant role in making it happen,” he says. “It is exciting to walk around campus and see the changes actually taking place.”

“The fundraising numbers have also been going up every year as well. It has been very rewarding to see the support and progress on so many fronts.”

Return on Investment

“I’d like to see Sac State become the flagship for the CSU system, with a culture of effective private fundraising throughout the campus community,” Crandell says.  “This is an important characteristic of all great universities.”

To foster that culture, he and his wife, Linda, set up the Crandell Faculty Advancement Awards Fund. Each year, it will provide grants for two faculty members to attend fundraising workshops and seminars.  Their new skills and insights can then be shared with colleagues and applied to advance philanthropy in their colleges.

“This approach to gifting is increasingly popular with entrepreneurs and business donors,” Crandell says. “Some call it ‘venture philanthropy.’ Rather than simply giving a gift as an endowment, the donor makes an investment that will multiply itself in some way.”

“It seemed one of the best investments is to expand Sac State’s ability to raise private funds. As the cadre of talented faculty with fundraising expertise grows, the activity should become a more integral, productive and–hopefully–rewarding aspect of University life.”

The awards will benefit everyone at the University, Gonzalez says.

“It will help our dedicated faculty members who work most closely with students develop additional skills and resources that will ultimately benefit those students,” Gonzalez says.

It Begins with Education

For Crandell, education and the campus atmosphere have always been inspiring and energizing.

“I enjoy the student union,” he says. “It’s always fun to go up to the second floor where there are groups of students either talking about projects, working on their computers or sleeping or eating or just socializing. It feels very alive, the heart of student life.  They are developing the tools and skills that will shape their lives.”

Crandell grew up in a family with a deep connection to higher education.

His elementary school was on the UCLA campus and was used to educate prospective teachers. His father graduated from UCLA, and his grandmother was known as “Ma Crandell” for helping-out with football players’ laundry and attending all the practices.  Both were big boosters.

Crandell also attended UCLA and majored in mathematics and physics. The physics lab introduced him to computers during his senior year, and he went on to earn a master’s degree in business, focusing on computer and quantitative methods.

“I loved physics because it strove to mathematically describe real-world processes,” Crandell says. “It felt natural to apply the same methodology to business problems, such as setting optimal inventory levels, or assessing investment portfolio risk.”

While working as a management information systems designer at Planning Research Corporation and later a management consultant at McKinsey & Company, he earned a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola law school and became a member of the California Bar.

However, business was the more appealing venue, and he saw an opportunity. 

“It became clear that there were a lot of smart lawyers who understood business, but there weren’t too many businessmen who understood the law.  In the end, the combination of business, technical and legal training led me to the venture capital industry.”

 A Future of Opportunity

Crandell sees both challenges and opportunities in the current economic situation.

He recommends that graduates looking for jobs should stay positive and work with the University’s Career Center.

“Hone your interviewing skills and resume to highlight the contributions you can make to a prospective employer,” he says. “You may have to send out a hundred resumes and do many interviews before the right job comes along.  Success is the intersection between preparation and opportunity.”

Crandell has recruited CEOs and directors for boards and looks beyond the resume for critical thinking and communication skills.

“I am a huge believer in the ability to speak and write clearly because if you can’t do that, you’re probably not thinking clearly. And the ability to communicate clearly and confidently will impress any potential employer.”

The economy poses challenges to philanthropy as well as job seekers.  

“A tremendous amount of wealth has evaporated in the last couple of years.  People are feeling much less affluent, and that will affect their comfort level in supporting philanthropic opportunities,” Crandell says.

“We must prepare an even stronger case for why education and the programs at Sac State deserve support,” he says. “Given the budget situation and the impact of the economy on the students and the institution, continuing community support is critical.”

Crandell cites the success of the Green & Gold Gala and Troops to College as proof that the community can still unite behind a great cause.

“When things seem grim, the perfect tonic is to contribute to a worthy cause and help someone else,” he says. “It is extremely rewarding to support a veteran coming back to college from Iraq or Afghanistan, or nursing students dedicating their lives to the care of others, or a Guardian Scholar attending college after growing up in foster care.”

“And these are just a few examples of the outstanding programs at Sac State which, now more than ever, need and deserve support.”

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The Benefits of Philanthropy

Through their eyes
Joseph Sheley

In addition to being a Sac State alumnus, Sheley is the University’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. He is Sac State’s chief academic officer.

Q: What do the Crandell Faculty Advancement Awards mean to Sac State’s students?

A: These awards will help us connect faculty with potential donors and get those donors excited about our potential to take what we now do well for our students to even higher levels.

Q:  How do the awards fit in with the larger effort to improve the University?

A: Everybody has begun envisioning a Sacramento State that is much more proactive in shaping all elements of the university experience. This helps bridge that excitement over into something very tangible. A gift that comes on the heels of direct faculty involvement – that is what you need to turn the corner.

Q: As someone who has seen a lot of change at Sac State, do you think the University is ready for this type of award?

A: This is the right time because our University is maturing. The campus community understands that in the huge competition for students in the West and especially in the Sacramento area, we need to be active, and we need to be able to enrich our programs.

Q: What are your thoughts about George Crandell?

A: When it was announced that he will be presented with the President’s Medal for Distinguished Service at Commencement, I thought it was highly deserved. Here’s a guy who is not only willing to talk about philanthropy but to be very involved in it himself. He is somebody who speaks by action, not by word alone.

Austin Sihoe

Sihoe is a junior from San Francisco, majoring in physical therapy. He spent five years in the U.S. Navy, serving aboard the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk, an aircraft carrier stationed in Japan. He helped launch the fundraising campaign for Troops to College and works in the campus Veterans Affairs office.

Q: What was it like presenting to the University Foundation?

A: I’ve never been in a meeting like that. It was a little overwhelming. I was there to represent the student veteran population and provide a voice about what’s really going on at the student level.

Q: How did you get to Sac State?

A: I applied while I was still deployed. What brought me back to Sac State was talking to (Veterans Coordinator) Jeff Weston. He was really helpful in all the necessary steps to attend Sac State.

Q: What does Troops to College mean to you?

A: I’ve seen it go from having nothing to basically having scholarships now in the works. It’s wonderful to see the community help out and taking notice.

Q: What do you tell veterans considering Sac State?

A: We realize that some vets have a hard time adjusting back to the collegiate world. I’ve gotten calls from Baghdad and Afghanistan, and it feels good to tell them about the services that are available. They expect to be one of a very few veterans, but we tell them we have an entire student veteran organization.

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Spring Commencement 2009

More than 4,500 students are scheduled to graduate at Spring Commencement on May 22-23. The ceremonies take place at Arco Arena in Sacramento.

Each spring, the dean of each college at the University selects a student who excels academically and contributes to the campus and community. The seven students were presented with a Dean’s Award on April 21.

President Alexander Gonzalez will award the President’s Medal to one of these students at Commencement. The Dean’s Award recipients are: Christina Arrondondo is graduating with honors with a degree in American Sign Language/Deaf Studies from the College of Education. She served as a student assistant in an American Sign Language class to help her fellow students.

Tim Bender is graduating with a degree in Computer Science from the College of Engineering and Computer Science. He has brought home first-place awards in programming contests and is president of Association for Computing Machinery’s Sac State Chapter.

Roberta Chevrette will earn degrees in Anthropology and Women’s Studies from the College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies. She pursued both degrees while working full time and was nominated for the Dean’s Award by both academic departments.

Nancy Chiang is graduating with a degree in Nursing from the College of Health and Human Services. Her extensive community work includes six years with the Center for AIDS Research, Education and Services and teaching nutrition courses at St. John’s Shelter for Women and Children.

Kevin Gustafson will graduate with a degree in Cartography, Geographic Information Systems and Planning from the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. His Sac State GPA is 4.0, and his volunteer work includes 11 years with the Okizu Foundation, which provides recreation to children with cancer.

Joshua Saldate graduated in December with a degree in Spanish from the College of Arts and Letters, minoring in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. He has worked as a bilingual instructional assistant in area schools and served as a family advocate and interpreter in local communities.

Jaspreet Singh will graduate with a degree in Accountancy form the College of Business Administration. He has volunteered t the Red Cross, the Sacramento Food Bank and American Cancer Society while working full- and part-time jobs to help pay for his education.

Gonzalez will present George Crandell with the President’s Medal for Distinguished Service. Crandell has served the University for 23 years as a board member of The University Foundation as Sacramento State and a founding member of the President’s Circle. 

The University will confer an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters upon Fred Teichert, a longtime leader in Sacramento’s philanthropic community. Teichert is a member of The University Foundation at Sacramento State board of directors and the President’s Circle. He also serves as Executive Director of the Teichert Foundation, which supports dozens of charities and organizations.

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Insect Museum is the Place to Bee, Fly, Tick and Drone

Instructor Patrick Foley’s workspace in Sequoia Hall 120 is overrun with insects, but there’s no need to call the exterminator.

Foley runs the University’s Insect Museum, a collection of flying, crawling, and swimming bugs gathered locally and from around the world. Most are mounted on pins; aquatic species are preserved in alcohol.

How many insects are there in the many drawers and cabinets of the museum? “No one ever has an inventory in an insect museum, there are just too many things,” Foley says.

A rough estimate of individual specimens puts the number at about 100,000. That sounds like a lot, but larger museums might have 10 times that number. “We’re not competing with them,” Foley says. “We’re basically trying to serve the needs of the students.”

The museum is available to the public for research by appointment. It encompasses a wide range of species, from the smallest sweat bee, up to a 3-inch long scarab beetle and sphinx moths.

One of Foley’s primary interests is bees, and he says that there are 1,500 species of bees in California. “There is no other place in the world that has that many bees.”

One breed, the male carpenter bee, even sports Sac State’s colors. The insect has a gold body and green eyes.

The fundamental questions about life, Foley says, involve determining why something exists and where it comes from. Without insects, he says, most flowering plants would not exist.

Even some of the most annoying insects serve a purpose. Biting midges are probably the most irritating insect after mosquitoes, Foley says. But they pollinate the plant that gives us chocolate.

“You lose them, you lose chocolate,” Foley says. “The world is maintained by insects.”

To visit the Insect Museum, e-mail patfoley@csus.edu.

-Craig Koscho

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Hornets Football program gaining ground

Last spring, head football coach Marshall Sperbeck found himself in an unusual position.

For the first time in nearly 20 years, he concluded a season with more losses than wins. To complicate matters, the team was moving into the brand new Eli & Edythe Broad Fieldhouse, forcing coaches to work out of boxes as spring practice commenced.

What a difference a year makes. Hornet football has a whole new look and feel.

The team surged to a 6-6 record in 2008, all the boxes have been unpacked in the fieldhouse, the pictures are on the wall, and the brand-new weight room has begun to show its benefits.

Six wins are the second-highest victory total in the University’s Division I era. On top of that, Sac State defeated UC Davis, 29-19, in front of a capacity crowd at Aggie Stadium and a large Northern California television audience.

“Last season will hopefully serve as a building block for the program. We definitely had some high points but also experienced some growing pains, which is common for a young team,” says Sperbeck, who previously coached at Foothill College in Los Altos.

Last year’s Hornets feature a pair of Football Championship Subdivision All-Americans, and 12 players were named all-Big Sky Conference. Wide receiver Tony Washington had arguably the finest season by a receiver in school history, as he caught 83 passes for 1,279 yards and 12 touchdowns. Washington and linebacker Cyrus Mulitalo were each named All-America by The Sports Network.

Six of the 12 all-conference selections will return for the 2009 season, and Sac State will look to showcase some of its youth for the upcoming season. The returners are guided by junior quarterback Jason Smith, who battled through a series of injuries to throw 16 touchdowns and complete nearly 60 percent of his passes last year.

Sperbeck will also welcome a talented group of newcomers.  The website Rivals.com ranked the Hornet recruiting class second in the FCS.

The 2009 schedule returns to the standard 11 games and will see Sac State play three teams that qualified for the NCAA playoffs last season (national runner-up Montana, Weber State, Cal Poly) as well as a trip to Las Vegas to play UNLV.

-Sports Information

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Therapeutic Recreation promotes comprehensive healing

Taking recreation seriously can open up a whole new world to those who need it.

Sac State’s Therapeutic Recreation concentration is educating professionals who are making a difference in people’s lives by turning recreation into comprehensive therapy.

Therapeutic recreation traces its roots to the 1850s, when Florence Nightingale protested conditions in military hospitals. Nightingale said poor hospital settings could impair recovery and that recreational experiences could immensely improve patient conditions, the American Therapeutic Recreational Association says.

“Every nursing home, long-term care, mental health and correctional facility is required to have a recreational therapist on staff,” says Jennifer Piatt, professor and Therapeutic Recreation coordinator for the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration in the College of Health and Human Services.

“Recreational therapists take a look at what a patient’s leisure interests are and put them on the path to participating in those activities again,” Piatt says.

“There are also issues mentally ill patients have,” she says. “Through an assessment, recreation therapists find out what’s limiting them from leading a high-quality life.”

Alumnus Rob Lucas works in a Sacramento County youth detention facility, running programs that allow the youths to have enriching experiences in their lives.

“We teach the kids a variety of coping skills, such as stress and anger management,” he says, along with skills they may have not been exposed to before, such as art and journal and poetry writing.

Lucas says the programs will pay dividends in the future.

“Eventually, we’re able to get them participating in activities that they’ve learned to enjoy,” he says. “They use it as a source of positive behavior to build on rather than using drugs or alcohol or engaging in gang behavior. I’m doing what I love to do.”

Therapeutic Recreation grad student Tina Malcolm found her calling amid a national tragedy.

“I used to be a fashion merchandiser in New York, but after 9-11 I took a hard look at my career and knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do,” Malcolm says.

Sac State helped her to use her experience in the fashion industry to build on an idea for a self-esteem program for adults with developmental disabilities.

“I began work on a fashion show for the adults and named it, ‘A Passion for Fashion,’” Malcolm says. “I began with a focus on personal hygiene, and from there we went through fashion magazines, where they decided what kind of styles they wanted to model.”

Malcolm worked with several outside sources to donate makeup, hairstyling services and clothing. The show, complete with 14 models, was a rousing success.

Like Lucas, Malcolm says therapeutic recreation is rewarding for the professional, as well as the patient.

“People with disabilities are the most wonderful people to work with. I am so lucky,” she says.

-Kim Nava

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DeDe Cordell, ’96

On duty in Iraq

They say hard work can get you to where you want to be. For DeDe Cordell (’96, Communication Studies), that place was Iraq.

Cordell is a civilian public affairs specialist with the Army Corps of Engineers in Washington, D.C. In April, she returned home from a six month tour of duty in Bagdad as the public affairs director for the Corps in the Gulf region.

“I had adventurous spirit, and Dad raised a patriot,” she says, explaining why she volunteered to go to Iraq.

She was responsible for promoting public awareness of Corps projects and activities.

“Being there was like public affairs on steroids,” she says. “You do everything, you do it at 150 mph and you do it nonstop for 10-12 hours a day, seven days a week.”

She says her tour in a war zone was not as scary as she initially thought. “We had moments, but none that would cause any trauma. My husband’s big concern was not that something would physically happen to me, but that I might see something terrible that would change me. It didn’t happen.”

Cordell says her educational experience at Sac State not only helped her in her career, it helped develop her work ethic.

“I was not blessed to have scholarships and parents who could afford college, so I had to work hard to continue to go to school,” she says. “But I learned what I was made of and how to reach people, and that came in handy in Baghdad.”

Now that she has returned from what she describes as an “awesome experience,” she is getting reacquainted with her husband, dog and life back in the United States.

“You don’t realize the things that you miss like colors,” she says. “There is so much color here, and I don’t remember it being so vibrant. Everything there was beige.”


- Michael A. Ward

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Jamillah Moore, ’92 and ’95: Leading the way for students

Sometimes the path through life takes you right back to where you began. For Jamillah Moore, it took her back to Los Angeles, the place where she grew up. Along the way it brought her through Sacramento and to Sac State.

Moore (’92, B.A., Communication Studies and ’95, M.A. Intercultural Communication and Public Policy) is the president of Los Angeles City College, part of the state’s largest community college system. The nine-campus Los Angeles Community College District has more than 130,000 students, and LACC has more than 17,000.

“My mother and father both attended LACC, and to have their daughter as the president is quite exciting for them,” she says, “but I just call it good karma and the universe opening back up.”

She enrolled at Sac State through the University’s Educational Opportunity Program, which provides support for students from historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged groups. 

“EOP showed me that access equals success,” Moore says. “I learned that the foundation for students was to give them the resources they needed, the tools to navigate the college process and the opportunity to succeed. As the president of a large urban college, I have a unique appreciation of students who have needs because I was one of those students. I had an economic need.”

Her early goals as a Sac State student were to move into broadcast journalism and “to have Katie Couric’s job.” But she ventured off that path when she began mixing journalism and politics.

“I had internships in television and radio then did an internship with a program called Semester in the Capitol,” she said. “I became intrigued by the process of how the media work in tandem with policy and informing constituencies.”

After receiving her bachelor’s degree, she accepted an internship with the State Senate and found that she enjoyed education policy even more than the media. Since then, she has been a senior consultant for the California State Senate Select Committee on College and University Admissions and Outreach, director of governmental relations for the Los Angeles County Office of Education and the senior vice chancellor for governmental and external relations for the California Community Colleges System Office. She became president of Los Angeles City College in 2007.

“Getting an education opened the door for me,” she says.

-Mike Ward

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Class Notes


Robert (Bob) Byron Taylor, ’56, B.A., Education, writes: “I was a member of the first class that studied on the then mud fields of Sac State. I am also the unproud owner of one of the worst transcripts ever accumulated at our fair campus. I joined the Air Force, and through a great program called ‘Operation Bootstrap,’ I was able to bring my grades up to the point where I could return to Sac State and graduate. My experiences in the Air Force led to employment at the Dallas Times Herald newspaper in Texas, where I was the editorial cartoonist for 31 years.  In 1980, I was elected president of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists.  I mention all of this simply to express my gratitude for Sac State’s patience regarding my teenage UNSTUDY habits and giving me a second chance”.  Taylor and his wife, Anne, make their home in Auburn.


1960s alumni, we’re looking for stories from you. Submit your news online in the Class Notes section at www.SacStateAlumni.com or e-mail alumni@csus.edu.


Robert ‘Bob’ Little, ’71, B.A. and ’79, M.A., Art, says that by the time he received a master’s degree, he had already worked 21 years for the National Guard. In 1980, he was in the job of his dreams as a graphic artist and continued in that vein until his retirement in 1993. Since then, he and his wife, Carla, have served as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spending 18 months each in Puerto Rico, Brazil and Spain. In his spare time, he has written two musicals, two books and reworked illustrations for a children’s book his mother wrote 50 years ago. His latest musical was performed in Sacramento last November.  They live in Sacramento’s River Park.

Betty Miller ’74, M.A., Drama, retired in 2007 after teaching drama and French and directing plays at Rio Americano High School in Sacramento for 38 years. She was also the Foreign Language Department chair for 30 years. Miller created the Readers Theatre program at Rio, conducting many workshops and performances for schools and community groups throughout the region. She also had groups participating in the Lenaea Festival at Sac State for many years and directed more than 100 plays and Readers Theatre productions. While teaching, she was a volunteer for the Sacramento Police Department’s homicide unit for 10 years and is a volunteer for Happy Tails Pet Sanctuary. She resides in Sacramento.

Peggy Piccardo, ’73 B.A., Family and Consumer Sciences; ’92 M.A., Administrative Credential, and three other degrees, is currently the principal at Arden Middle School. She is proud to say that Arden has an API score of 835, and the school ranks in the top ten nationally for Science Olympiad. Arden’s band program also receives high honors for its outstanding music. Piccardo says that her success as an educator for the last 34 years is directly linked to her studies at Sac State. She and husband, Alan, live in Sacramento’s College Greens area.  

Edward Winkler,’79, B.S. and ’84, M.S., Civil Engineering, is vice president of  the  engineering firm CH2M Hill and is the Regional Client Services Director in Northern California.He accepted the position after completing 28 years of public service in the water industry. Winkler and his wife, Trish, will be “empty nesters” soon as daughters Chelsea and Krista are away enjoying college life. The Winklers live in Carmichael. 


Molly Watkins, ’88, B.A., Communication Studies, was one of six Northern California women honored at the “Common Threads” award ceremony at UC Davis in March.  The luncheon is sponsored by the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation. Giving back to her community, Watkins created Ag Venture to show children how food is produced. She is a rancher and family farmer and lives with her husband, Kenny, in the San Joaquin County town of Linden.


Richard (Rick) Balazs, ’97 B.A., Environmental Studies, is the senior project manager for the Sacramento County Department of Economic Development and was instrumental in the Mather Redevelopment Project. Backpacking, snowboarding and kayaking take up some of the leisure time for Balazs and his wife, Carolyn,’99, B.S., Natural Sciences and Mathematics.  They are the  proud parents of nearly 1-year old Alex. Carolyn who is an environmental specialist with Sacramento County, writes: “I appreciate the knowledge and treasure the memories I gained during my time at Sac State”.

Mary Forster, ’91, B.A., Communication Studies, has been active for the last five years volunteering for the foundation where her children go to school.  She has served as president for the last two years.  Recently, she finished schooling to be certified to help people through violence-free relationships. Forster will be working to help individuals in the court system and going to schools to talk about safety and healthy relationships. She lives in El Dorado Hills. 

Larry (Jeff) Hone, ’91 B.S., Biological Studies, is director of continuous improvement for Nelson Laboratories, Inc., in Salt Lake City. He is now listed in the National Registry of Microbiologists.  In November, he became certified as a Registered Microbiologist in Consumer Product Quality Assurance Microbiology, specializing in pharmaceuticals, medical devices and cosmetics. The goals of the registry are to minimize risk to the public by identifying qualified microbiologists and to encourage mastery of microbiological knowledge and skills that contribute to improving the human condition.  Jeff and his wife, Becki, live in South Jordan, Utah. 

Kimberly (Kim) Ann Hunter, ’90 B.A., Communication Studies, was appointed general counsel for the California Highway Patrol last September.  While working and attending Sac State at night, Hunter was a spokeswoman for various state agencies.  In her mid-30s, she returned to night school at Lincoln Law School and passed the bar on her first try at age 40.  Hunter writes, “My eldest daughter, Adeline, will start at Sac State next year, and my youngest daughter, Denise, will start her senior year at St. Francis Catholic Girls School. We all live in Sacramento, with two cats and a mini poodle in Midtown”.  Hunter says that every day is challenging and interesting and points out that her clients are willing to lay down their lives for her and her fellow Californians.

Mark Massari, ’92, B.A., History, was appointed UC Santa Barbara’s 13th director of athletics on August 18, 2008, by Chancellor Henry T. Yang. Massari arrived on the Santa Barbara campus after serving seven years at Oregon State University, most recently as Senior Associate Athletic Director. The Napa native played four years of Hornet football (#32) for Coach Bob Mattos and began his career as an athletic development intern at Sac State. Massari and his wife, Kim, live in Santa Barbara.

Todd Sleizer, ’93, B.S., Mathematics, and his business partner, Scott Morris, B.S., Criminal Justice Administration, engaged the help of their Realtor, Heath Charamuga, ’94 B.S., Business (Real Estate), and on Jan. 1 took over the old Hudson Dive Center on Folsom Boulevard in Sacramento, renaming it The Northern California Swimstitute. They currently offer lap swimming, swim lessons for all ages and abilities, birthday parties, recreational swimming and water aerobics. Sleizer lives in Fair Oaks.


Janet Aly, ’08 B.A., Art Studio, has been participating regularly in local solo and group art exhibitions along with various national and international art exhibitions, publications and private collections. Aly received a New Orleans City Council Proclamation in recognition of her artistic contribution to the International Muslim Artist Exhibition at the New Orleans African American Museum of Art, Culture and History in 2007. She also participated in the Liturgical Arts Festival: Come Creative Spirit, in May and June, in Springfield, Ill., a national exhibition of religious art in all its forms. Aly will be featured in an article about Muslim women in Azizah Magazine, and had a solo exhibition at the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op this May. Visit her website www.janetaly.com.

Nicki Croly, ’07, B.A., Communication Studies (Public Relations), is attending graduate school at Indiana University of Pennsylvania for the Student Affairs in Higher Education program. She works at Carnegie Mellon University as the graduate assistant for fraternity and sorority life, advising seven fraternities and sororities, the Panhellenic Council, and Up ’til Dawn, which raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She has a graduate position on the 2009 Annual Conference staff for the Northeast Greek Leadership Association and a practicum this semester at University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg in the Student Activities, Leadership, and Community Service office. After graduation, Croly plans to return to California.

David Hornbeck, ’08, B.S., Business Administration (Real Estate), has earned the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional designation from the United States Green Building Council.  An associate with Grubb & Ellis Company, he is among the first commercial real estate agents in the Central Valley to receive the designation. Hornbeck is an associate specializing in the leasing and sales of industrial properties in the Sacramento and Stockton areas and joined Grubb & Ellis in 2008 following a10-year tenure with the United States Marine Corps. He lives in Rocklin.

Ryan Leach, ’04, B.S., Business Administration (Marketing), is the creator of Lost Zombies.com, a website that won two awards at the SXSW (South By SouthWest) Interactive Awards in Austin, Texas, this past March. SXSW is one of the top festivals in the world. Leach writes that he wanted to show what graduates from Sac State can achieve. He makes Pleasanton his home.

Kathleen Cassidy Peck, MPT, ’08; M.A., Physical Therapy, has joined Laguna Physical Therapy & Hand Rehabilitation in Elk Grove as a full-time physical therapist working with children and adults. While attending Sac State, Peck was a sales associate at LaFoot Plus, a technical shoe fitting and retailer in Sacramento, which gave her experience in orthotic fitting and adjustments and gait analysis. Laguna Physical Therapy offers physical therapy, hand therapy and pediatric rehabilitation.    

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