Early in February, I was invited by Fabian Nunez, Speaker of the State Assembly, to speak with students and parents at my high school alma mater—Garfield High School in Los Angeles.
I had the opportunity to personally visit with the current student leadership at Garfield High and their enthusiasm was inspiring. They shared their stories and aspirations, and I know many of them will become future leaders of our state. Just as impressive were the hundreds of parents who took time after work to attend that evening’s college information workshop. It was a night I will long remember.
We can never do enough to ensure that students and parents have a good understanding of what it takes to get to college. Many students at Garfield High do not have family members who are college graduates, making college preparation and the application process seem even more baffling.
The kids I met at Garfield High are smart. They have been working and studying hard to prepare for life after high school. They are poised to become the future leaders of our state and nation, if only we set out a clear path to help them succeed. There are thousands just like them all across California.
We all have a responsibility to help, particularly those of us who had the opportunity to earn a college degree. You—Sac State’s alumni, friends and supporters—have the potential to shape a better future by giving guidance to a young person. It happens one student at a time.
I urge you to talk to your friends and co-workers about college planning when their children are still in elementary school. Talk to high school students you know about focusing on the “A-G” requirements, which are the preparatory classes required by the CSU system. Reassure students and their families that public higher education in California is still very affordable and that financial aid is available.
For more details, students should visit with their school counselors. There are also two websites I would also recommend: the CSU’s “How to Get to College” at www.calstate.edu/college and “KnowHow2Go” at www.knowhow2go.org.
California has smart kids and great universities. Let’s make sure they connect.
From doctor to cop to role model
Being the first female officer to win the campus police department’s “Top Gun” award for sharpshooting is only the beginning of Officer Thelma Matthews’ skills.
Before joining the department in 2002, Matthews was a physician in her native Mexico. When she moved to the United States in 1989, she spoke only Spanish and taught herself and her two sons English by listening to the radio and reading books and magazines. Matthews went on to become a corrections officer in the San Joaquin County Jail and graduated from Yuba College as a police officer in 2002—the year she joined Sac State’s Department of Public Safety.
She is currently training to become a certified emergency medical technician for situations which may call for medical assistance.
Matthews earned praise for her shooting prowess during Public Safety’s quarterly skills test at the Old Folsom Prison shooting range. The tests are required by the California State University system and qualify officers to carry firearms. Sac State’s 22 police officers fire at targets from 5 to 75 feet away.
“I didn’t know we were shooting for the Top Gun Award when we were on the practice range that day,” Matthews says. “After I did my drills, I asked if I passed, and Range Master Cpl. Vic Vinson said, ‘Yes, and you’re also the Top Gun.’”
Matthews isn’t content to be a leader for her gender on the shooting range alone. As one of only two women on the Sac State staff, Matthews sees it as her duty to be a role model for female officers in her profession. “When you do something you like so much, you need to think about building a legacy,” she says.
There’s (finally) good news for those who drive to campus.
A new 2,800-space parking structure on the south end of campus is open for business. Most of the spaces in the facility, adjacent to Hornet Stadium and Tahoe Hall, and north of the Alumni Center, will be allocated to student parking, freeing up other parking areas around the campus to visitors and employees.
In addition to being one of the largest such facilities in the California State University system, Parking Structure III features a twist usually found at high-end hotels and restaurants: valet parking. The experimental “convenience parking,” for those willing to pay an additional $3 for the day, will allow students who don’t have time to look for a spot to drop their cars with an attendant.
Grads get A+ in job market
This winter, graduates had a lot more to celebrate than the end of term papers and tests. Waiting for them is the best job market in the past four years.
A National Association of Colleges and Employers survey found that employers plan to hire 17.4 percent more college graduates this year than a year ago. The survey also says that employers across the country are increasing starting salaries for new college graduates.
The salary increases came in almost all areas of study, with business disciplines and information sciences seeing the biggest jumps.
“Accounting graduates are doing exceptionally well in the job market,” says Eva Gabbe, of Sac State’s Career Center. “And certainly construction management and engineering graduates are heavily recruited.”
Gabbe also indicated that more than 100 companies—including KPMG, Intel, PG&E, Target and Granite Construction—were on campus during the year to collect resumes and schedule interviews. “Corporations are looking for strengths such as oral and written communication skills, problem-solving abilities, leadership skills and good attitudes,” says Gabbe.
And the large number of older employees leaving the workforce should continue to benefit newcomers. “The demand for college graduates is going to explode over the next several years with the growing number of retirements of Baby Boomers,” says Beth Merritt Miller, Director of the Career Center. “This is a change for the better for college grads.”
Palace of pavement
Though you won’t find it identified as such in its many museum listings, the World Famous Asphalt Museum specializes in tongue in cheek.
Located in a corner of a Riverside Hall office, the “museum,” which bears an eerie resemblance to a bookcase, features an assortment of asphalt chunks from various highways, byways and even the Appian Way. But despite its less than imposing presence, it has drawn international attention from newspapers, television stations and radio stations as far away as Australia, based largely on its hyperbole-laced web-page.
The museum’s curator, also known as computer science professor Scott Gordon, says the 15-year-old museum began as a road-trip lark. “When my girlfriend and I would go through these small towns we’d see signs for these funky museums. And we thought 'What kind of a museum could we have?'” They decided on asphalt and picked up a piece from each road they traveled—the original Route 66, Highway 70, Highway 40, etc.
After the trip, he assembled and labeled the specimens in a partitioned box, which is now referred to as the “Old Wing” of the museum.
“It was silly. A real museum wouldn’t be organized by highway. I stuck it in the corner of the office with a cup next to it where people could donate to Friends of the Museum. It would get a few pennies a semester.”
The museum followed him after graduation to his first teaching job at Sonoma State and now to his current position at Sac State.
The fame of the World Famous Asphalt Museum might not have gone beyond the professor’s colleagues were it not for an actual academic exercise. “I was learning how to do web pages and decided to make a web page for the asphalt museum,” Gordon says. The inside-joke soon became a lesson in the power and preposterousness of the Internet.
“I started getting e-mails from people all over the world. Yahoo thought it was a real museum and listed it as a wine country attraction. When it would get ‘worst of the web’ awards I would post them at the top of the page.”
Gordon also got serious scientific inquiries from Eastern Europe. “I tried to be polite in responding—I didn’t want to offend anybody. But if you saw the museum it would be immediately clear that I don’t know anything about asphalt. It grew into a sort of Internet satire.”
And Gordon is definitely in on the joke. He has an I.D. badge that identifies him as “World Famous Asphalt Museum Curator Dr. V. Scott Gordon.” And the museum is guarded by a tiny lion statuette, a gift from his mom who said, “All museums have a lion at the entry.” He also responds, accurately, to all requests for information from indexes of major museums and collections. “When they ask how many acres the museum site is, I list ‘three feet.’”
While the museum stays compact, the asphalt collection continues to grow as friends bring back samples from their travels to places like India and Tasmania. The “New Wing” features asphalt from Missouri, the California Coast, Yellowstone National Park, Sedona, Ariz., Scotland, and locally from Sacramento’s “Fabulous 40s.” From his television appearances, he has also picked up specimens from the parking lots of Channels 3 and 31 and a radio station in Australia.
Gordon has become much more selective in his personal collecting. “The last ones I collected myself were from the Great Wall, the Old Appian Way, from Hawaii, and from the Lawrence Livermore Lab—I want to put a radioactive symbol on it.”
“I didn’t have a goal of specific asphalt that I wanted for the collection. I don’t really know anything about it.” But, to show he has picked up some asphaIt know-how after all, he adds, “It might be nice to find a chunk of original macadam.”
Gordon’s real work focuses on artificial intelligence, neural networks, and evolutionary and database programming. The goal is to make a better neural network which can be used in a variety of applications.
But, he says with a sigh, “I’m going to be more known for my asphalt museum.”
That's 'some' professor
It may not have been spelled by a spider, but Professor Lu Agosta knows a thing or two about the E.B. White classic Charlotte’s Web. The news apparently reached the producers of an upcoming DVD version of the recently released movie version of the book—they interviewed him about his expertise on the book for the “special features” portion of the disc.
Agosta, an English professor who has written extensively on, and taught about, children’s literature, was approached to comment about the story in early October, well in advance of the Charlotte’s Web movie’s nationwide theatrical release.
While the DVD technology may be relatively new, Agosta says the themes in the story are timeless. “The story in Charlotte’s Web is really about maturation. We see the main characters in the book—Fern, the little girl who loves and cares for Wilbur the pig, as well as Wilbur himself—make a journey and become transformed into self-sufficient individuals by the end of the story.”
The importance of language is another recurring theme in the book, says Agosta, and the story shows how language makes us who we are. “Charlotte’s first message in her web says that Wilbur is ‘some pig,’ although he claims he’s not. Charlotte tells him that to her he is ‘some pig,’ and the language creates reality because he believes it.
“It’s vital to recognize how powerful language is, because the language we use with children defines them if they buy into it,” he says. “Charlotte’s Web reminds us that language is a powerful tool in determining who we are as people and our place in the world.”
The title of the book itself focuses on the web and how it becomes an emblem of successful living. “Charlotte constructs her web competently and capably and uses it to help others. It’s not all about her. It’s a reminder how gratifying it can be to become selfless,” Agosta says.
“In effect, Charlotte’s web becomes an emblem for a successful life.”
History lessons are taught in many campus classrooms, but even street names can teach a lesson or two. Key players in Sacramento’s history are represented in Sac State’s moniker-inspired street names.
The University’s original street names, Jed Smith Drive and Judah Way (since renamed State University Drive), as well as the current Sinclair Road and Moraga Way, were inspired by the early settlers’ exploration and activities in the Sacramento Valley.
Jedidiah Smith crossed the continent to California’s coast at a time when it was part of Mexico. In 1827, motivated by his fur trading company’s need for beaver pelts, Smith and 11 other men traveled from St. Louis to the San Gabriel Mission in California. From that region, he and his crew journeyed to the American River, presumably somewhere between the campus grounds and Folsom.
Theodore Judah contributed to California’s expansion through his role in the development of the railroad system. Judah took on the task of building the railroad from Sacramento to Folsom in 1854-56. Southern Pacific Railroad emerged from the railroad company Judah formed, and later built the railroad tracks that form the western boundary of today’s campus.
Perpendicular to those tracks is Sinclair Way, the street that runs east-west from the railroad tracks to the back of Eureka Hall. John Sinclair, for whom it was named, lived on the property where the campus now stands.
Explorer Gabriel Moraga’s ventures into the Sacramento Valley were the inspiration for Sac State’s Moraga Way, the road that runs north and south beginning at Yosemite Hall and ending at the Central Plant. Moraga began his journey in San Jose and arrived in Sacramento just below the present site of Auburn.
Eyes in the skies
Though he could easily tell you how a galaxy forms or what makes up a star, astronomy and physics professor Chris Taylor knows that talking about extra terrestrials comes with the territory.
“You wouldn’t believe how many people come up to me and ask me if I believe in UFOs,” says Taylor.
The radio astronomer understands any fascination with such unknowns, adding he and his colleagues are available to clear up any misconceptions about space.
“It’s fun,” says Taylor, who specializes in how galaxies and stars form. “People have a general interest in astronomy that they don’t have with other areas of science.”
Since joining the faculty in 2003, Taylor has been glad to share his expertise with the media and public. In November he answered questions from nearly 400 stargazers who came to Amador Hall’s rooftop observatory to see the rare transit of Mercury across the Sun—not visible in Sacramento since 1960.
Taylor has also spoken about annual events such as the summer solstice, and recently held a talk on “What the Heck Just Happened to Pluto?”
He hopes any added attention to the Astronomy and Physics Department helps garner support for the university’s plans to build a Science and Space Center. So far the University has $1.5 million in federal appropriations for the project, which will have a planetarium and a new observatory. Until it’s built, the department continues to offer public viewings from the Amador observatory each semester. “It’s our duty to reach out to the public as the only Sacramento-area university with an observatory,” Taylor says.
As for those unidentified flying objects, he says, “No,” he doesn’t believe in them. However, Taylor contends there could be more life out there. Adding, “but they most certainly can’t reach us in space ships.”
For a list of upcoming viewings and other astronomy events visit their website http://www.csus.edu/physics/astronomy/events.stm
Museum of the people
Sacramento State faculty members are part of a new museum focused on working class art and culture.
Plans call for the 20,000 square-foot facility—to be located on Del Paso Boulevard in Sacramento—to feature a main gallery with rotating exhibits, presentations, lectures and concerts. Working class musical genres such as blues, Mexican border music and Zydeco will be highlighted. There will also be an edible gallery with a demonstration kitchen highlighting food that is grown and prepared in the Central Valley. It is set to open Labor Day weekend of 2008.
The effort to establish the museum has been led by Joe L. Moore, who has handled special grant-funded projects through the University Library such as the digital California Underground Railroad archives. A number of Sacramento State professors have been involved and are on the museum’s curatorial and advisory boards.
Though the museum will be independent of the University, plans call for ongoing partnerships with specific academic departments in areas such as faculty research, exhibit development and student internships.
Life in the snack lane
Talk about a tough neighborhood. In his studies with carnivorous plants, biology professor Jamie Kneitel has found a living space that features the ultimate in bait and switch advertising.
The specially modified leaves of the carnivorous cobra lily actually encourage entire micro-ecosystems to set up housekeeping. The leaves attract some insects that are captured and consumed. But other insects lay their eggs in the plant—one that could have them for lunch. “The larvae develop in these leaves and live among numerous other species like mites, other invertebrates and microbes,” Kneitel says. “It’s an entire community living off decomposed insects inside the carnivorous plant.”
But the good times don’t last for long. “The communities are highly diverse initially but over time—I don’t know why—a lot of the species are lost and one dominant species remains,” he says.
It appears to have something to do with the aging process.
Cobra lilies produce new leaves every two or three weeks, Kneitel says, so there is a gradient of oldest leaf to next oldest, all the way down. And the communities that live in them are all very different. But when you compare leaves of the same age from plant to plant they are almost identical.
“I see it as a space-time issue,” he says. “There’s some assembly process going on whereby space seems to be less important than what is happening through time. If space was more important, all the communities on this plant would be more similar.”
For the species that survive, leaf age seems to be the key to life.
This summer Kneitel hopes to get to the heart of the matter. He’ll head to the Las Plumas National Forest near Quincy to try to determine why some species head to extinction and one species is able to win out—it could be the one that is the best competitor or it could be something happens over the life of the community such as a change in pH or dissolved oxygen.
Kneitel says the answer could tell them a lot about the population and community dynamics of other communities, and in a shorter timeframe. “Following the population dynamics of larger, longer-lived species such as trees, which live several hundred years, and some mammals, which can live on to several years, is more difficult to follow. We get to see hundreds of generations in a few months.”
Minding young minds
Too strict? If so, it could impact your preschooler’s social confidence, says researcher Kimberly Gordon Biddle.
The child development professor’s two-year study shows that when three- and four-year-olds are incessantly scolded they are likely to become reticent in social situations with their peers.
“It’s okay to have limits and controls but if you are really, really harsh it affects them socially,” she says.
Specifically, Gordon Biddle discovered that parents who have an authoritarian or controlling parenting style can impact their child’s social motivation. Motivation, she says, is key, because the over-disciplined child loses his or her desire to jump into a social situation.
Gordon’s exploratory study included 80 parents and 40 three- and four-year-olds. All of the children came from two-parent homes, including one child who had two moms. Gordon Biddle then applied her peer-reviewed interview observation technique to measure the children’s motivation. The researchers discovered a high correlation between the stricter parents and the socially inept children.
On a scale, with 100 being the most social, children whose parents were classified as “authoritarian” scored 55—significantly lower than their authoritative-disciplined playmates who scored 82 on the same scale.
Interestingly, Gordon Biddle says, overly permissive parenting did not have an impact on a child’s motivation at this age. However, if continued, Gordon Biddle suspects, it will impact other behaviors as they develop socially.
Graduate student Heather Batchelder helped Gordon Biddle gather data, and child development professor Karen Davis O’ Hara assisted in its analysis.
Based on their findings, Gordon Biddle advises parents to monitor their preschoolers’ social interactions but refrain from controlling them. And that discipline be carried out in a loving, informative manner.
“It’s okay to have some controls and limits but you also need to discuss things,” she says. “A four-year-old is pretty intelligent.”
Controversy leads to fresh findings
Jordan Halgas almost let one her most significant “teachable moments” slip by.
Word had reached campus of a historic event—San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom was allowing same-sex couples to marry. And the business law professor’s students were buzzing with the news.
“We had a class discussion about it for a short time, but then I would steer the discussion back to what I’d planned for class that day,” Halgas says. “Then it kept coming up. The students obviously were fired-up about it and interested in it, so I decided to have a class debate about same-sex marriages.”
Through the conversation, the students received a substantive lesson in constitutional law. “Refusing same-sex couples the right to legally marry is a denial of due process and equal protection,” Halgas says.
“The value in the lesson was that the students had to argue their position without their emotions getting in the way. They could debate it only from a purely legal point of view.”
The class discussion led Halgas to further research the issue to look at the implications same-sex marriage would have on businesses. She found that same-sex marriage would not impose a negative impact on businesses—in fact, she discovered just the opposite.
“The vast majority of small businesses would not experience any increase in their health care costs if same-sex marriages were legalized,” Halgas says. “In addition, if same-sex marriage was lawful, such marriages would result in gains to California’s state budget of $22.5 to $25.2 million a year, as well as an increase in tourism dollars—a possible increase of $100 million per year—and $10 million per year in sales taxes. There would also be a tremendous boom in the wedding industry.”
In the end, Halgas was pleased that she and her students had the experience they did. “I’m glad I didn’t put the subject to rest,” she says. “Not only did the students and I enjoy the debate and research, but we all learned so much from it. As a professor, what more can you ask for?”
Rene Byck and Sonia Byck-Barwick: Paradise Ridge Winery
Brother and sister team Rene Byck (’90, Criminal Justice) and Sonia Byck-Barwick (’91, Child Development) have a stake in paradise—Paradise Ridge Winery that is.
Rene is in charge of vineyard’s sales and marketing and Sonia coordinates its wine club and direct sales.
“Rene and I have always been close,” says Sonia. “I followed him to Sac State after high school and we have traveled around the world together.”
Paradise Ridge Winery in Sonoma County is nestled in the Fountaingrove area, north of Santa Rosa. “It is an amazing location where we can sit on a hillside overlooking our vineyards and the Russian River Valley,” says Sonia.
Their parents, Walter Byck and Marijke Byck-Hoenselaars, planted their vineyards in 1978 and opened the winery in 1994. Both remember picking grapes as children. Rene has worked at the winery since it opened, taking a few years off to earn his master’s in business administration from the University of San Francisco. Sonia returned to the winery in 2002 after taking a global winemaking journey with her husband Dan Barwick, Paradise Ridge’s wine-maker.
In 1994 Sonia launched the winery’s events facility, where nearly 70 weddings are now held each year. In addition to distributing the wines in California, Florida, New Jersey, Minnesota, Tennessee and Texas, Rene ensures their wine gets notice by sending information to newspapers and trade publications, entering wine contests and by designing the labels.
Of the industry, they both say it is getting more competitive, but still say it’s a great line of work.
“You are surrounded by wine events,” Rene adds. “And most of the people you greet and work with at these events are in a good mood.”
Tom Weborg: Java City
Tom Weborg (‘64, Business Administration (Marketing)) always knew he’d end up in the coffee business. But it’s safe to say he didn’t expect to lead a java juggernaut. The Java City co-founder got into the bean-roasting sector of the coffee market in the early days of the coffee craze and helped build a $45 million empire that ships beans all over the country, has hundreds of licensees and operates retail outlets and cafes in locations all over California.
After he graduated from Sac State, Weborg joined his parents in selling packaged national-brand coffee to restaurants and businesses. “Going into business with my parents was a sort of a dream of mine. Of course,” Weborg says with a laugh, “It was my dad who told me, ‘You never want to be in restaurant business—only sell to them.
“Not only did we get into it but we got into it in a big way.”
The idea for what became Java City came from his now-wife Sandra Singer who Weborg caught up with at their 20-year high school reunion. “She said, ‘You’re in the coffee business. How about roasting your own coffee?’”
After some research they, along with another co-founder, opened the first Java City in 1985, at the corner of 18the Street and Capitol Avenue in Sacramento where it is still in operation. They roasted their own coffee, which they sold retail. Later they expanded their offerings to include other items to go with the coffee, and an institution was born.
“We happened to hit this whole coffee craze inadvertently,” Weborg says. Within four years they had added four cafes and six stores in Sacramento.
Looking to go public, Java City grew to 73 stores in the West with 800 employees and more than $35 million in sales. By 2000, the plan to go public had been scrapped because of the s-word: Starbucks. “It had such a control of the market,” Weborg says. “Even today, there’s not a clear second in the industry.”
Instead Java City changed its focus away from retailer to wholesaler, and began licensing locations rather than owning and operating. There are now more than 560 licensed locations in the United States.
“We changed our whole business model to something that no one else was doing as well as we were,” he says.
In 2001, with revenues reaching $45 million the partners decided to sell the company to Campbell Bewley Group out of Dublin, Ireland. Once the sale went through Weborg essentially retired, though he remains as consultant as well as the company’s spokesperson in Sacramento.
He is also president of the Crocker Art Museum and serves on Sac State President Alexander Gonzalez’ Executive Committee, helping to guide development of the University’s Spanos Sports Complex.
Today Java City provides coffee to everything from cafés to fine restaurants to Raley’s, Bel Air and Nob Hill Foods grocery stores, as well as to their own franchisees. And it is the official coffee supplier to Delta Airlines.
The company also still maintains 12 retail sites as a way to keep in close contact with the wants and needs of their customers and franchises. “All products we offer for sale to our licensees need to be tested to make sure they are appealing and marketable,” Weborg says. “The hub of cafes is great for marketing research and checking brand awareness.”
Java City also offers varieties of coffee that benefit others. It recently launched “EcoGrounds,” an umbrella program that incorporates all the practices that promote sustainability—shade-grown, organic, rainforest, fair trade, bird-friendly—and have the added benefit of being the growing conditions that lead to the best-tasting coffee. Weborg is also particularly proud of Java City’s Art for Kids’ Sake program, which shares the proceeds of that line of coffee between the Crocker Art Museum and the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.
Weborg believes his success came from always keeping the customers’ interests paramount. “I don’t think I ever did anything specifically for enhancement of the bottom-line. But I think I did things to make the customer experience better and that always fed back to profitability.”
Of course, he doesn’t count out a few other factors. “Luck is important. I think work ethic is important,” he says. “It’s also important to enjoy what you do. I always enjoyed what I did and I always looked forward to going to work. And to end up being fairly successful is a bonus.”
Randy Paragary and Kurt Spataro: Paragary's Restaurant Group
Wrong food. Wrong location. Wrong clientele. Randy Paragary and Kurt Spataro have seen countless restaurants come and go in the Capital Region.
And, admittedly, many have been wayward eateries of their own.
In a market that can statistically see up to seven out of 10 restaurants fail within the first year, Paragary has a knack for recognizing, and transforming, flailing concepts. Since his career began in 1969, he’s reopened and re-designed up to 25 restaurants.
“I don’t ride an idea into the ground,” says Paragary, whose restaurant reign began while he was a government student at Sac State in 1969. “I’ve been light enough on my feet to say ‘This is not working, let’s go to plan B.’ That has kept me in business.”
Indeed, the names Paragary and Spataro are synonymous with fine dining in the Sacramento region. With Paragary’s business savvy and executive chef Spataro’s gourmet spin on old and new favorites, the two credit each other for their success.
“His commitment to quality and freshness is unwavering,” Paragary says of Spataro, who attended music classes at Sac State during the mid 1980s. “He doesn’t take any shortcuts. He’s not trying to do things that are off the wall or esoteric.”
“Sometimes in business you have to detach yourself a little bit and not get too involved in a restaurant or a property,” Spataro says of Paragary. “In the restaurant business it’s very important to know that some things just don’t work.”
Together with Paragary’s wife Stacy, the Paragary’s Restaurant Group has 12 restaurants in the Sacramento area, including the enduring Paragary’s Bar & Oven locations in Fair Oaks and midtown Sacramento, the Italian-inspired Spataro Restaurant and Bar, and the Esquire Grill, a popular venue with the Capitol crowd near the convention center.
But they haven’t always been so high-concept. Paragary’s first effort—rhw Parapow Palace Saloon—was inspired by a Crosby, Stills and Nash album cover.
“It wasn’t any kind of revolutionary thinking,” he says. “We were hippies and there weren’t places for us to go that had that anti-establishment look to it.
Then in the early 80's, Paragary teamed up with Spataro, a talented short-order cook in the kitchen of his then-restaurant Ziti’s in Citrus Heights?, offering him a partnership.
They now oversee 500 employees and spend a million dollars each year on produce alone at their Italian-, French-, bistro- and Mexican-influenced restaurants.
Paragary earned his law degree at McGeorge School of Law in 1976. He is the president of the Midtown Business Association and on the B Street Theater board. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Paragary to the board of directors for the California Exposition and State Fair in 2003.
Spataro’s wizardry in the kitchen is self-taught, drawing much of his early culinary talent from his Cicilian-born grandmother as well as from his French-Canadian Midwestern grandmother.
“Things like French fries or mashed potatoes or a plate of sautéed spinach,” Spataro says. “Those are really the simple things but those are the things that need to be really great.”
Marc Mondavi: Charles Krug Winery
When your last name is Mondavi, wine runs in your veins. And it’s Marc Mondavi’s job to get the rest of the country to feel the same way—particularly about the wines from his family’s Charles Krug Winery.
Napa born and raised, Mondavi returned to the area in the late 80s(??) to help run Krug—the oldest winery in the Napa Valley—after taking marketing classes at Sac State. Krug has been in the Peter Mondavi family for three generations. At age 92, Peter Mondavi remains involved with the winery, but Marc and his brother Peter Jr. share responsibility for daily operations.
“We each have own group of brands that we are responsible for on a day-to-day basis,” Marc Mondavi says. For his first 10 years, he says he spent 95 percent of his time focused on production and winemaking.
Now both he and his brother focus heavily on sales and marking, traveling frequently. “We probably only see each other once a month—one or the other is gone. It’s the nature of the business.
“Wine is a very personal thing. You have to sell a personality,” Mondavi says. “It’s not like there are only a half-dozen competitors. We’re competing with about 1,000 wineries in California as well as wineries in Washington, Oregon, Arizona and overseas markets in Europe, South America, Australia. There are a million choices. And there is only so much shelf space.”
Krug alone has seven brands and produces 1.2 million cases per year of red wine, with cabernet sauvignon as its standout varietal. “Nationally the mix is 35 percent red wine, 65 percent white. We’re 100 percent red,” Mondavi says. “We’ve gone against trend—we’ve always been a strong red wine house. It’s how we evolved, it’s how we grew.”
They’ve also learned more about the land where they grow their grapes and tailored their choices to soils and climatic conditions. “Forty years ago we just planted what we wanted,” Mondavi says. “We didn’t look at ‘This soil will make x happen.’ Now we know.”
Trong Nguyen: La Bou, Lemon Grass
Training as a geneticist doesn’t teach you how to whip up a cappuccino or bake a croissant. So when Trong Nguyen (’72, biological sciences) decided to open his first La Bou café 25 years ago, he bought himself an espresso machine and spent his evenings practicing. Then he took a weekend job at a French bakery to pick up the boulanger’s art.
“I didn’t go to school to learn how to run a restaurant,” Nguyen says. “But we wanted to create something—to bring people good coffee, good pastry. The public responded to that.”
La Bou now has 26 locations throughout the Sacramento Region, offering salads, soups, sandwiches, pastries, and of course, a mean croissant-cappuccino duo.
Nguyen’s tendency toward the self-taught is evident throughout his umbrella company, World of Good Tastes. Though La Bou was a success, Nguyen had no experience running a “white-tablecloth” restaurant. Nonetheless, he and chef Mai Pham opened Sacramento’s venerable Lemon Grass restaurant in 1988 and it has consistently ranked in local “Best Of” lists.
But Nguyen didn’t stop there. When he wanted to know more about the coffee roasting business that was providing La Bou with its coffees—San Francisco’s Capricorn Coffee—he bought the company. When he noticed he regularly needed to go to a metal fabricating shop to get custom-designed parts for his restaurants, he bought it. His current venture, which he runs with his wife, two-time Sac State grad Annie Ngo (‘83, Sociology, ’86, Counselor Education), is a furniture design and manufacturing company that targets both the restaurant- and home-buyer.
“Being a former scientist, I always want to improve things, to make things better. I’m one of those guys that if you show me something, I always try to improve it,” Nguyen says. “In the restaurant business you constantly need to make things. You need furniture, you need cabinets, you need tools. You need to be able to move things, to cut things, to spin things, to spray things. It’s a wonderful opportunity to be innovative, to do things differently, to be more efficient.
“Even though I’m a business person, I am able to use my science background,” he says. “It’s the beauty of having received an education. You know how to learn.”
Rosa Rivera-Lew: Dragonfly
For Rosa Rivera-Lew (‘03, Spanish) variety is the spice of life—especially when it comes with a sprinkling of ginger, curry or jasmine.
As co-owner of Dragonfly Restaurant in midtown Sacramento, the restaurateur offers a daring menu, mixing entrées from Burma to Japan to a range of Southeast Asian dishes.
“The concept of the restaurant is to give people an array of California Asian cuisine,” says Rivera-Lew.
Though fairly new to the midtown scene, Lew has been in the restaurant business for nearly 13 years. Before she and her husband Glenn Lew opened Dragonfly two years ago, they owned the Davis Southeast Asian eatery Fusions for seven years.
“We always wanted to have a Sacramento destination,” Rivera-Lew says. “It’s been so nice to finally be in midtown.”
Located at 18th Street and Capitol Avenue, Dragonfly is situated at one of the busiest breakfast, lunch and dinner hot spots in the Capitol area. The chic eatery with a bold but simple Asian vibe includes an open kitchen and a popular appetizer bar. The dining room is framed by brightly colored orange-red tones, brick walls and an open industrial ceiling.
“I wanted it to have a modern feel, like a New York feel,” she says. “The building has such beautiful raw elements and I incorporated that into my design.”
The journalism minor once considered a career in broadcasting before becoming hooked by the restaurant business. “It is never boring,” she says. “It’s always exciting. You always need to be ready for the unexpected.”
Fluent in Spanish, Lew put her degree to work accompanying State Senators Jackie Speier and Martha Esutia on a trade mission to Mexico. She also spoke on “Enterprising Women on Fine Dining” with legendary Sacramento restaurateur Biba Caggiano during the Professional Businesswomen of California Conference. She serves on the Sac State Alumni Association Board, the Crocker Contemporaries Advisory Board and the Mexican Cultural Center of Northern California board.
With all the variety in play at Dragonfly, Lew admits sushi remains one of their top sellers. Undaunted, she continues to work on her favorite part of the business with executive chef Russell Okubo as he creates new dishes to expand customer tastes.
Her efforts extend home to her infant daughter as well. “She already loves tofu,” Rivera-Lew says.
Anthony Babcock: Jack's Urban Eats
The identity of the “Jack” in Jack’s Urban Eats, is no longer a mystery.
“It’s named after my grandfather,” says Anthony Babcock (’88, Finance) co-owner of the upscale cafeteria-style lunch and dinner counter, most noted for its fresh garden salads.
Growing up in Napoleon, Ohio, his grandfather Jack Babcock introduced him to the restaurant experience.
“He would take me to restaurants when he would pick me up from kindergarten or elementary school,” Babcock says of the widower who didn’t cook much. “He always had a nice relationship with the restaurant owners.”
Babcock and his business partner Greg Virga (’84, Criminal Justice) created the popular Paesano’s Pizzeria in 1996. After selling their interests in 2004 (to chef and partner, Mark Scribner and Virga’s brother, Dave), they embarked on expanding Jack’s.
Now in its ninth year, the Sacramento chain exceeds $8 million in gross sales each year. With four locations and 130 employees, they serve 75,000 meals a month.
“Tony is the concept guy and the driving force behind Jack’s,” says Virga, whom Babcock describes as the “front of the house guy,” ensuring customers and employees are happy.
Babcock created Jack’s not only in homage to his grandfather, but also to celebrate the energy of the buffet-style Sam’s Hof Brau. “We wanted to reinvent the popularity of Sam’s Hof Brau, but gourmet up the food a bit,” he says.
Although centered on eateries, Babcock has spent much of his career as a corporate attorney. He is married to Sac State alum, Linda Grittner Babcock (’86, Management Information Systems), a pilot for Southwest Airlines.
Babcock and Virga recently celebrated their newest launch in Folsom and are currently negotiating to open Jack’s locations in Roseville and on K Street in downtown Sacramento. Their goal is to open one new restaurant in the Sacramento Region each year.
While most head to Jack’s for one of their original salads, Babcock says his favorite item on their menu is the Jack’s Classic Turkey Sandwich. “It’s the best sandwich in Sacramento,” he says of the roasted turkey club made on a Napa roll with caramelized onions and honey mustard. “I eat it four or five times a week and I don’t tire of it.”
During the winter months, Jack’s sells as many as 400 sandwiches a day at each location. No doubt Grandpa would be proud.
Richard Steltzner: Steltzner Vineyards
Before he mastered the art of winemaking, Steltzner Vineyards proprietor Richard Steltzner (‘59 and ‘62, Art) was an artist of a different sort, studying under renowned ceramicist and professor Ruth Rippon while earning his master’s degree at Sac State.
After several years plying his trade in San Francisco he was ready for a change. “I decided that it was lots of fun but it wasn’t really fitting my lifestyle,” Steltzner says. “I liked the country life so I started the vineyard.”
He began with one small plot and then another, eventually becoming a vineyard manager, and sold the grapes to wineries. A drought in the ‘70s led to his current role. “I had to make sure that I had a market for my grapes so I started making wine,” Steltzner says. “I sort of backed into it. I never had a flaming desire to be a winemaker—I wanted to save my crop.”
From there, Steltzner says, he took small steps, starting by making 500 cases. “Then I was making 3,000 and thought I was big. Then made 5,000 and thought I was big. Now that I’m making 25,000 cases I know I’m big. Of course it took me 35 years to get to this point.”
His two daughters and son are also part of the business.
Steltzner’s wine is estate-bottled, made only from what they grow. The main grape is cabernet sauvignon but the vineyard also produces sangiovese, cabernet franc and merlot. And Seltzner likes to dabble in growing different varieties. “I have an insatiable horticultural interest. I’m always trying new things,” he says.
Steltzner is also versed in the history of wine, calling it the “liquid that allowed civilization to grow.” And while he jokes about the “wine malarkey” espoused in the tasting room—he subscribes to the theory that everyone has a “dominant nostril”—he also encourages those new to wine tasting not to get discouraged if they can’t identify a particular element in a wine.
“It’s a matter of articulation not identification. You may taste the flavor, but don’t speak the language. ‘Cinnamon’ or ‘berry’ to me may mean something completely different to you.”
John MacCready: Sierra Vista Winery
It used to be that when September rolled around, John MacCready updated his lecture notes. Now, he begins the grape harvest.
MacCready, who owns Sierra Vista Winery with his wife Barbara, taught electrical engineering at Sac State for nine years before becoming a full-time vintner.
“I like it because sometimes I’m dressed up going to the nicest restaurants and to wine tastings,” he says. “And the next day I’m in jeans working on the tractor. And then I go from that to working in the winery, racking wines and getting them ready to bottle. It’s never monotonous.”
The MacCready’s began making wine at the 33-acre Pleasant Valley vineyard, with its spectacular view of the Sierra Nevada’s Crystal Mountain Range, 30 years ago. They now grow nine varieties of grapes and produce between six- and seven-thousand bottles of wine each year. They are most noted for their syrah selection, but also specialize in the red varietals cabernet sauvignon, grenache, mourvedre and zinfandel. Their whites include chardonnay, roussanne and viognier.
Phil Courey and Mariann Isola: Opa! Opa!
Romance can blossom into many things, marriage, children and in Phil Courey (’89, International Studies) and Mariann Isola’s (’89, Communication Studies) case, a restaurant.
“When I was dating my wife there was nothing close to my mother’s (Lebanese) cooking around unless we went out for Greek food,” Courey says. “So I found myself taking her to a lot of Mediterranean restaurants.”
Three children and two careers later, the two decided to embark on running a business featuring their first common love—Greek and Mediterranean food.
The two celebrate the one-year anniversary of their restaurant Opa! Opa! this March. Just a few blocks from their alma mater, at 56th and J streets, the contemporary and casual restaurant offers diners a range from Greek moussaka to Middle Eastern falafel. Courey insists everything at the restaurant be made fresh, going through up to 150 pounds of falafel, 100 gallons of hummus and 1,000 pounds of lamb each month. And if that weren’t enough, their adjacent shop Sweetie’s offers nearly 60 different desserts including traditional Mediterranean creations like baklava.
Before Opa!, Courey worked primarily in real estate and Isola ran her own gift-basket company, Primrose and Mary. Courey continues to represent both commercial and residential clients.
The couple now plan on opening more locations in the Sacramento area with future partners. “It’s nice to come up with a concept and to see people really taking to it,” Isola says.
“It’s a good life,” Courey adds. Hence, the name Opa! Opa! “It means a toast to life,” Courey says. “It represents good life, good food.”
Gloria Glyer, 'Dining Diva' and Gwen Schoen, Sacramento Bee food writer
Gloria Glyer (’52, English) and Gwen Schoen (‘74, Family and Consumer Sciences) are household names through their writings on food in the pages of Sacramento’s daily newspaper and namesake magazine.
For Glyer, dining out is not only an act of culinary charity, it is also a chance to broaden discriminating palates. As one of Sacramento’s six “Dining Divas,” Glyer accompanies winning charity bidders to a meal at an area restaurant. All the while she captures each eatery’s ambiance, menu and service for her engaging monthly column in Sacramento magazine.
Since 1993, the Divas have raised more than $220,000 for local charities and nonprofits. “It makes all of us feel really good,” says Glyer. “I had no idea that this would catch on.”
Not long out of college, Schoen landed the job she’d always wanted: as “Katherine Kitchen,” the McClatchy newspaper group’s version of Betty Crocker, providing information on food, clothing and home furnishings.
Later, Schoen became the Bee’s food writer and she couldn’t be happier, in part because of the wealth of products available in the region. She says that while other food writers have to wonder if their readers will be able to find ingredients like tofu or tomatillos, “The population here is so diverse—you go to the farmer’s market and see things you wouldn’t find in other parts of the country.”
Today's campus dining makes cliched cafeteria cuisine a thing of the past
If the thought of eating on campus conjures visions of mystery meat and grey gravy, you might want to stop by for a bite some time.
The Sacramento Region continues to grow into a “big city” dining destination and Sac State students don’t need to go far to take advantage of the great food the city offers. Several of the area’s most popular dining establishments have set up satellite operations on campus, representing the broad range of options found in Sacramento.
Mexican food aficionados can check out the two on-campus locales for Gordito Burrito. Fans of curry or vegetarian dishes stop by Mother India which, in addition to a downtown location, has two on-campus branches. The Fat family, known for several area Asian restaurants—including the eponymous Frank Fat’s—has two of its Kung Fu Fat’s Asian Eatery and Asian Market establishments on campus. Vietnamese restaurant Saigon Bay has a site in the renovated Outpost near the library specializing in Vietnamese sandwiches and pho.
And for palates of all types, Leatherby’s Family Creamery is scooping its popular ice cream as well as serving sandwiches and salads.
University Enterprises, which oversees food service on campus, uses frequent surveys to guide decisions on who to bring on as campus food providers. “Education and growth of diversity have widened palates toward healthy and ethnic choices,” says Ruedi Egger, director of food service on campus.
But it’s not just local restaurants that see the campus as an opportunity. Sac State was the first California State University campus to get a national fast food franchise when Burger King opened in 1985.
Today it boasts a Togo’s, a Round Table Pizza and four Java City outlets, including the newest in the breezeway of the University Library. A Subway branch is planned for the new Hornet Bookstore that will open this summer.
“We aim for a balance of national brands and new self-operator style vendors,” Egger says. “National chains have advantages over local ‘Mom and Pop’ style operations mainly by having a strong business background, brand image consistency, quality controls and a ready source of cash.”
Despite a student population of more than 28,000, only a small number of students live in the residence halls. Most of the on-campus dining is done by students who live off campus—who often come and go from early morning to late at night—presenting challenges to keeping them well fed.
It’s an issue many universities face. The magazine University Business describes a campus as a collection of neighborhoods, the makeup of which can change throughout the course of the day and evening. As a result, the traditional three-meal dining model of breakfast, lunch and dinner doesn’t necessarily meet the needs of students who have early classes but study late into the night or who work during the day and take evening classes.
Sac State’s Egger says, “We serve our commuting students by providing the widest range of choices over the widest range of hours that are economically feasible. By being sensitive to the time and resource constraints they face every day, we hope to make staying on campus a viable alternative to going off campus to eat."
And it’s a population worth courting. A national survey by Student Monitor found students spent an average of $64.50 per month eating on campus, excluding meal plan costs.
Sac State is also consistent with a national trend toward food service outlets being scattered about the campus rather than at one huge food court. As the University’s population has continued to grow, student needs, as well as those of campus faculty and staff, are being addressed by dining “districts.”
North dining options are concentrated around Riverfront Center while south options are generally housed in the University Union. Restaurant choices are determined by student demographics and demands. For example, Kung Fu Fat’s opened its second outlet a year ago, replacing a less-successful grill station. Gordito Burrito opened its “express” operation at Riverfront Center to fill the void left when Taco Bell pulled out of not only Sac State, but other campuses around the country.
The need for flexibility is expected to increase as the University supplements its on-campus housing with apartment-style dwellings. Like other Universities nationwide, the dining commons is already offering “cooked-to-order" selections from the grill and a soup and deli station, as well as display cooking featuring stir-frys and Italian pastas and sauces. There’s also a pizza place offering after-hours munching on weeknights.
But campus representatives are looking for the next big thing as students ask for more variety and healthier options. “We’ve added a dietitian,” Egger says. “Emerging trends are ethnic-style foods: TexMex, Asian and vegetarianism.”
For all but one of Sac State’s 60 years as a University, it has fielded sports teams. And from the get-go it’s had die-hard fans to support those teams—some of whom never stopped.
“Fan” is short, of course, for “fanatic.” While it might seem like an exaggeration for the Hornet followers who catch a game here and there, Lloyd Snelson (’57 and ’67, Education) lives up to it—in a good way. Ask fellow enthusiasts to name a “super fan” and Snelson’s name invariably comes up. Perhaps it’s because of his “SAC ST 1” license plate or the “You have reached Lloyd the Hornet, 1954, 1955, and forever” message on his answering machine. He also promises “You can bet your green and gold” that he’ll call back.
Snelson was in the first class to enroll at the J Street campus and was soon elected head cheerleader. When the University’s first football team came into being in 1954, he was a letterman on the team for its first two years. During the off-season, he led cheers at basketball games. Snelson also started the Hornet Football Hall of Fame and heads the Hornet Football and Friends Chapter of the Alumni Association.
“I’ve been to hundreds—if not thousands—of games over the years,” Snelson says. “I follow the fast sports: football, volleyball. I also like softball and baseball.”
He hits almost every home football game and he remembers the great games like they were yesterday—beating Div. II number one-ranked Humboldt State in the ‘60s, toppling another number one, Portland State, in ‘91, and finally beating UC Davis for the first time in 18 attempts, with wins in both the Causeway Classic and the division playoffs, in 1988.
Evidence of Chuck and Ruth Ann Hines’ support for Hornet athletics can be found on the sideline of any Hornet home basketball game—that’s them at the scorers’ table. Chuck (‘71, Human Resource Management) clocks the timeouts, signaling to the referee when to resume play. Ruth Ann, who took classes toward a teaching credential, works the phones, calling local television stations and sports broadcasting networks like ESPN with updates on the game’s score.
And it’s all done on a strictly volunteer basis, just as it has been for more than 30 years. “We can’t afford to give money so we give time,” Ruth Ann says.
Their “night job” began when Chuck was the campus’ assistant registrar, which also put him in charge of checking student-athletes’ compliance with eligibility requirements. “I asked the athletic director, ‘Is there anything I can do to help?’ Soon both he and Ruth Ann were part of the stats crew. And not just for basketball. Chuck has been on the chain crew for football, Ruth Ann has timed races at track meets. She also has the distinction of being one of the first women to work the shot clock in men’s Division II sports.
These days the Hineses stick to basketball but follow other sports as often as they can.
Ask Hornet fan Bill Collard (’57, Business Administration) which sport he follows, and he’ll say, “To some degree all of them.” Then he adds with a laugh, “Of course, my wife teases me that I would watch ants wrestle.”
A lawyer by day, Collard admits that he’s not all suits and ties—there’s a Sac State sweatshirt or two kicking around his closet.
He’s followed the program since he was a student, with some time out to go to law school, and estimates he makes it to a least a dozen games each year, primarily basketball and football but baseball as well. He frequently attends with Jack Higdon (’52, Accountancy) whom he describes as “an old jock from Sac State from the days they played at Sac City College.”
As a member of the Stinger Athletic Association, Collard sees good things on the horizon with local product Marshall Sperbeck at the helm of the football program. “I think not just football but the whole sports program is going to improve,” he says.
That optimism is spreading to other Hornet fans as well. The newly revitalized Stinger Athletic Association packed about a hundred boosters into the press conference announcing the new football coach. They also came out in force for the August groundbreaking for the Broad Athletic Facility.
Up-and-coming baritone Eugene Chan (Music, 2006) is already hitting some high career notes. Among them are two national vocal awards and a performance at Carnegie Hall.
“This is a very difficult career to be successful in and to make ends meet,” says Chan. “I am blessed with the opportunity to have been doing the one thing that I love the most—perform.”
In January, Chan, 23, sang at the request of Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano and Kennedy Center Honoree Marilyn Horne during her annual Carnegie master class. Chan has studied with the international opera star for six months. “Eugene Chan is a fine young baritone with all the prerequisites for a wonderful career,” says Horne. “He has a beautiful and expressive baritone voice. I expect really good things from him.”
Chan’s two recent awards are from some of the most competitive vocal competitions in the country. He received second place honors in the Metropolitan Opera’s Western Regional Finals for young artists, and a special judge’s award from the William Matheus Sullivan Music Foundation’s annual singing competition.
At 21, Chan began singing professionally by soloing in Sacramento Opera’s production of Madame Butterfly. Since then he has been a soloist for the San Francisco Opera as well as for the Camellia Symphony and the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra.
Though a longtime vocalist, it wasn’t until attending Sac State that Chan explored opera. Before, he sang vocal jazz and in choral programs. “Voice professor Robin Fisher took me under her wing at a crucial time in my life and gave me the technical tools I needed,” he says.
Chan credits his early success to his ability to be lyrical and subtle, but at the same time able to reach the most difficult notes in a baritone’s upper range.
The recent graduate was a soloist for the West Coast Premiere of Rene Clausen’s tribute to Sept. 11 victims, “Memorial,” performed at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. Earlier this year, Chan performed with the San Francisco Boys Chorus and at the 2006 Green and Gold Gala on campus. He is a past recipient of the Marilyn Horne Foundation’s Encouragement Award.
One could say sisters Linda (International Business, ’85) and Suzanne Diers (MIS and Accounting ’83) struck oil while attending Sac State. Before graduation, the two landed positions at Chevron Corp. through University-sponsored recruitment programs.
Combined, the pair has worked for one of the world’s leading energy companies for 44 years. Each has advanced, holding essential positions within the company’s ranks.
“I had no idea I would get so many of the wonderful opportunities I’ve had,” says Linda Diers. As an auditor she has hiked in underground coal mines in Montana, visited refineries in Mississippi and flown out to ships anchored in the Gulf of Mexico. “I’ve been all over the U.S., Canada and Bermuda.”
Going even further afield, she now works as the internal controls coordinator in Cabinda in Angola on the coast of Southern Africa.
Suzanne Diers is an information technology project manager and project management team leader. She operates a project management office supporting Chevron’s clients in 44 countries throughout the Western Hemisphere, from Canada to South America to the Caribbean.
Throughout their careers, each has risen from entry-level positions to areas that oversee major oil and energy exploration and distribution, working with people from around the world, Linda on the marketing, international business and treasury sides, and Suzanne in the areas of project management, information technology and IT recruiting.
In a company that employs 55,000 people from 180 countries, having siblings with the same names can be confusing.
“There are mix-ups,” says Linda, citing the occasional misrouted e-mail. “And we do look a little bit alike. Sometimes someone I don’t know will come up to me and start talking.”
Seemingly such experiences in mistaken identity have paid off. “Combined we know a lot of people,” says Suzanne. “Sometimes we work with the same people later (that the other has worked with previously). And we know more about the company because we learn from each other’s work experience.”
Despite working for an international company, each remains close to their roots. Suzanne, who received the Alumni of the Year Award from the College of Business Administration in 2003, maintains ties with Sac State by recruiting for Chevron. In the last year she has recruited 15 Chevron interns and employees from Sac State. “I’ve been able to keep Sac State students on the list because we’ve been so successful with the students there,” she says. She has also helped secure thousands in scholarship funds.
She also worked with Chevron’s Yosemite Project, leading trips to restore natural habitats, and has been involved in company United Way campaigns.
The sisters’ father was a Navy pilot and Linda has kept the family’s Navy connection by working on the City of San Francisco Fleet Week Committee, and serving as president of the Navy League of the United States’ Oakland Council.
Though they no longer work together at the company’s San Ramon headquarters, their company connection keeps them bonded. “We’re a close Navy family,” Suzanne says. “Being able to be in the same company makes it a little easier to be together
Education played more than just a career stepping stone in Sacramento State alumnus Mary Louise Mack’s (Educational Administration, ’73) life. The recently retired principal of Carson Creek High School, part of the Sacramento County Juvenile Courts School Program, made it her life’s work to educate troubled youths in the Sacramento area for nearly 40 years.
As principal, Mack expected a lot from herself, as well as the teachers. “We worked with teens who had committed all sorts of crimes, and it was vital to show them there was a better way of life than the one they had grown up knowing. Our goal was to have them leave the school with more than they came in with.
“We wanted to educate the whole child, not only in terms of book smarts but also in manners, dress and how they expressed themselves. They needed these skills to get a job and succeed.”
Mack strove to instill self-worth in all her students. “It was important to let them know that someone cared about them, because they didn’t always get that at home,” Mack says. “Those children are at such a formidable age. And no matter how dastardly their deeds, children need to know they’re loved. That gives them the confidence to accomplish something worthwhile.”
Mack, who had a bachelor’s degree in business education and a minor in English, began teaching English and other subjects in the Juvenile Hall girls’ school in the early 1960s. “After so many years teaching in Juvenile Hall, the administrators asked me to become the vice principal of the Girl’s School. I knew that if, in a budget crunch, they had to downsize that I would be the first to go because I didn’t have an advanced degree in education. So I began taking classes at Sacramento State to obtain my master of arts in school administration.”
While attending the University, Mack was impressed with the high standards the professors set for their students. “I was lucky to have consistently studied in an environment where the educational bar was set high, and I was able to become a better student and educator because of it. I enjoyed my experience at Sacramento State and was able to make a difference in children’s lives as a school administrator because of it.”
Since her retirement in 2004 after almost 20 years with Carson Creek High—39 and a half years total with the Sacramento County Office of Education—Mack has kept busy building her dream home and making an occasional foray into the classroom as a test monitor. “I haven’t solidified my plans for the future yet,” she says. “I considered substitute teaching for a short time but decided against that. But whatever it is I decide to do, I’ll be there 100 percent for the kids who need me.
Mark A. Lund (Business Administration, 71) is such a believer in community banking that he came out of retirement last year to start his own company.
Lund is the founding president and CEO of Roseville-based Community 1st Bank. With a second branch in Auburn, the bank employs 20 people.
“Building a community bank—from the ground up—is something I’ve always wanted to do,” says Lund, who over the years has seen many community banks eventually acquired by bigger banks.
Unlike nationally centered institutions, community banks offer borrowers loans from local lenders and community members who are familiar with the area’s economy.
“The thing I like about being involved with community banking is you have an opportunity to help so many people realize their dreams,” says Lund.
Lund also sits on the bank’s board of directors along with several other Placer County investors. “Out of approximately 350 shareholders nearly all are residents here in Placer County,” Lund says. “If someone comes in for a loan, we not only know him, but we probably also know his numbers.”
Before “retiring” with his wife Debbie (Education, ‘71) in 2004, Lund was the CEO, president and a board director for Rocklin-based Five Star Bank. Prior to that he worked for several banking institutions, most notably for the Bank of Commerce in Auburn for 13 years and Placer Sierra Bank.
Lund is also involved with the Boys and Girls Club of Auburn, Auburn Host Lions Club, Nevada City Masonic Lodge and Shriners.
While his banking career has been a success, he admits that banking was the furthest thing on his mind while he was at Sac State. A chance opportunity as a management trainee for a community bank in Marin County showed him the influence banking can have on people’s lives.
“It makes me feel great,” he says. “I’m helping people achieve their goals. At the same time, I’m helping the community to grow and prosper.
Shaping the Stuart World, 1603-1714: The Atlantic ConnectionEdited by Arthur Williamson, professor of history
(Brill Academic Publishers, 2005, $135)
The intriguing history of early America and Europe during the 17th and early 18th centuries is explored in history professor Arthur Williamson’s newest book. The collection of essays focuses on those two regions during the reign of the Stuarts in the United Kingdom, a dynasty that ruled England and Scotland from 1603-1714 and also combined the two thrones for the first time.
The Stuarts oversaw the expansion of the British Empire onto the Atlantic coast of America.
“These essays show the period to be one of collaboration as well as one of competition and conflict,” says Williamson. “They reveal far-reaching cultural, economic and ethnic interpenetration. The volume criticizes contemporary post-colonial theory by demolishing the easy patterns of colonial rule and America’s national identity.”
Williamson, who co-edited the book with Allan Macinnes of Aberdeen University in Scotland, sheds light on America’s early years, when it was known as “British North America” and the outcome of the European interaction and competition in settling the Atlantic Basin. Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands were tremendous influences on the cultural, social and economic systems in the British infiltration of the America’s east coast.
“The Dutch claimed that commercial wealth and trade, rather than extracted minerals, led to great power,” says Williamson. He adds that the Dutch envisioned a great confederation of civic societies, or an “anti-empire,” and the key to that strategy was an alliance with the Indians to defeat the Spanish power and achieve liberation. Thus, the Netherlands, as well as other European countries, had a much larger importance to the growth of American/European commerce and social development than is widely known and taught.
Delinquency and Juvenile Justice Systems in the Non-Western World
Edited by Xin Ren, professor of criminal justice
(Criminal Justice Press, 2006, $37)
A long list of developing countries including China, India, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have benefited from the modernizations that economic development brings. But one drawback is common in every developing country: the increase in youth crime.
Criminal justice professor Xin Ren connects the growth of juvenile crime with an increasing societal importance on individuality and materialism. “The juvenile crime rates of developing countries are not high, in comparison with the industrialized nations, but the growth of youthful offense and delinquency is a trend in most of those developing countries,” Ren says.
“Economic competition has driven more people toward individualism. In turn, property and drug crimes have increased.”
Ren says that four reasons pinpoint the causes for the growth in reported juvenile crime, including the breakdown of traditional social control mechanisms such as family, church, school and work. Open displays of economic success have created competition for more material wealth. Drug abuse has boosted adolescent involvement in criminal offenses. And United Nations declarations mandating the establishment of a juvenile justice system have added youth crime into official statistics.
“The family or tribal authority was traditionally in charge of controlling children’s mischief,” Ren says, “and as more formal juvenile justice systems are being established, more law enforcement officers are hired to do the job traditionally done by family or the community.” She also says that in developing countries, protection of children from abuse and exploitation is more imperative, as opposed to industrialized countries in the West where dealing with juvenile delinquents is more important.
“In general, the book reaffirms the general etiological characteristics of delinquency that neighborhoods and economic status—combined with cultural emphasis of individualism and materialism—foster delinquency, while the values of community harmony and importance of family and the collective good inhibit delinquency, Ren says.
Don’t Waste My Beauty (Non guastare la mia bellezza)
Barbara Carle, professor of Italian
(Armando Caramanica Editore, $8)
Overexposed celebrities Paris Hilton and Britney Spears might learn a thing or two about artistic subtlety from Barbara Carle’s new book of poems.
At times invoking the first-person voice of the Renaissance’s most popular female nude, Venus, Carle explores desire, loneliness and ultimately the importance of appreciating beauty in people, art and nature.
“If you asked Venus, I think the first thing she would say, of course, is ‘Don’t waste my beauty,’” says Carle. “It is something meant for us to preserve. We should be appreciating beauty and not throwing it away.”
Venus, originally based on the Roman Goddess of love, was prominent during Europe’s Renaissance period and a favorite of Italian artist Tiziano Vecelli or Vecellio Titian, mostly referred to as just Titian.
In one pivotal example, Carle writes, “When I extinguish myself like a sunset, to whom shall I entrust, the glory of my colors.”
Carle was inspired to write about the value of beauty in art and nature soon after a 1993 Paris exhibition of Titian’s painting “Venus with Cupid and an Organist” (Venere con Cupido e organista in Italian). “That one in particular I thought was incredibly beautiful,” she says. The work is imprinted on her book’s cover.
The book offers readers a window into poetry’s interpretive foundation and is written in two languages, with facing pages in English and Italian. The sea and the rain forest are frequently represented, with the poems constantly moving from art to nature.
“For me it’s fundamental,” Carle says of appreciating beauty. “If we slow down and appreciate the beauty of art and our earth, we have less of a tendency to go and destroy peoples, countries and environments.”
Jacqueline (Jackie) Walden, Ph.D., ’68, B.A., Psychology, ’89, M.A., Anthropology, moved two years ago to Grants Pass, Ore., where she serves on the board of directors and ethics committee of the local Lovejoy Hospice. Her specialization in gerontology prepared her for these challenging positions. In addition, she authored one of the chapters in Left Coast Press’ new publication Women in Anthropology: Autobiographical Narratives and Social History. In it, Walden thanks her mentors George Rich and Melford Weiss, professors in Sac State’s Anthropology Department for their help in her career.
Donna Bledsoe, '70, B.A., English, ’75, M.A., English, was awarded her master's degree in English on the basis of her fine arts project, a book of poetry called Scars, a copy of which is on file in the University Library. She is an active poet again and publishes a blog at email@example.com with her newer works. She invites Sac State students—past, present, and future—to visit and make comments.
Karyn Domich, ’72, B.A., Family and Consumer Sciences, has returned to campus after a 30-year career at Sac State and her retirement in May 2005, to take on a special assignment in the Alumni Relations office. She is the chapter relations coordinator for the Alumni Association and will be the liaison for the alumni chapters, establishing and supporting the growth and stability of this component of the Association. Domich formerly was in the President’s Office and the Office of University Advancement. A longtime volunteer with the Intercollegiate Athletics Department, she is also serving on various event committees of the Stingers. She is part of a long line of Sac State alumni.
Duane Hoffman, ’75, B.S., Business Administration, joined the California Franchise Tax Board after graduation and in 1981 started a program which taxed nonresident professional athletes based upon performance duties in California. Since then, most other states have followed his lead in taxing non-resident professional athletes and entertainers. Over his 25-year career, numerous articles have been written about Hoffman and his job, among them in The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. Most recently, The Sacramento Bee featured him and the program’s so-called “jock tax,” which generated more than $7 million in the fiscal year 2004-05, the last year tax records are available. He lives in Rancho Cordova.
Gwen Schoen, ’74, B.A., Family and Consumer Sciences, has come full circle since she graduated from Sac State. She says that she is probably one of the few people who decided at a very young age exactly what she wanted to do and made it happen. In 1979 she was hired as a home economist in the “Katherine Kitchen” department of McClatchy Newspapers. Katherine Kitchen was a staff of home economists who wrote about food, fashion and home furnishings for the Sacramento, Modesto and Fresno Bee newpapers—which she says is very similar to being a local Betty Crocker. Besides writing, she did recipe demonstrations and a lot of public speaking about fashion trends, cooking and nutrition. When the Katherine Kitchen department was dissolved in the mid ‘80s, she was reassigned to the Sacramento Bee and became the fashion writer. About 10 years later she began working on a new section called “Time and Money” which focused on consumer affairs. When the food writer left the paper in 1995, Schoen returned to the food section as the primary food writer, a position which she still has. She lives in Carmichael and has been married 35 years.
John H. Leach, ’76, B.A., Government, is the site operations director at The Hermitage, Home of President Andrew Jackson. Located just outside Nashville, Tenn., the National Historic Landmark is the third largest presidential site in the United States and the recipient of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Trustee Emeritus Award for Excellence in the Stewardship of Historic Sites. The 1,120-acre historic site and farm consists of 32 historic structures, a visitor center, 600 acres of farmland and 100 acres of cattle pasture. Leach’s responsibilities include security, gardens and grounds, museum cafe, housekeeping, farms, and building maintenance. He resides in Hermitage, Tenn. with his wife and daughter.
Carolyn Parks, ’77, M.A. Special Education/Gifted Education, began her career with a first place national award for drama in 1949—screen legend James Dean took sixth. As she entered UCLA, she got married, ending her “drama queen” dreams. However, after graduating, she came to Sac State and earned her master’s degree. Her thesis/project is on file in the library and lately, she has seen many of her concepts put into practice in public education. Teaching for years, Parks continued to use her Sac State project in her own classroom. After retiring, she did “studio teaching” which required credentials from elementary through secondary. She has also worked on several films and commercials, including Breakdown, shot partly in Colfax, What's Love Got to Do with It, and Diggstown. When a commercial required climbing down a canyon to an American River gorge, she decided she was getting too old for that kind of occupation, so now she heads music, drama and poetry groups with Sac State’s Renaissance Society. She says, “I enjoyed Sac State more than UCLA—I was older, more experienced and given professional freedom. Thanks, Sac State.”
Brian Purtill, ’77, B.S., Criminal Justice, has been counsel to the Santa Rosa law firm of Spaulding McCullough & Tansil LLP since May 2004. Currently, he is also on the faculty at the Empire School of Law, teaching civil procedure for the academic year of Fall 2006/Spring 2007. Purtill and his wife, Jymmey, ’78, B.S., Nursing, live in Sebastopol.
Mark Booher, ’87, B.A., Drama, interim artistic director/associate dean of the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, has been named permanently to the position since December 2005, has been an Allan Hancock College Fine Arts Department faculty member and served as the conservatory director of acting from 1999-2005. The conservatory’s acclaimed two-year training program, the only one of its kind on a community college campus, has infused the national theatre scene with thousands of actors and theatrical technicians since its inception. As an actor, director and choreographer, Booher has been involved with many prestigious regional theatres as well. He received his M.F.A. in Acting from UC Irvine and is a member of Actor’s Equity Association and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. He lives in Santa Maria with his wife, Lindy, and two children.
William Eaton, ’89, B.S., Criminal Justice, joined the Los Angeles Police Department after graduating from Sac State, where he also played football. He has risen through the ranks and in August, was promoted to captain. Eaton is married to Elizabeth Free Eaton, ’89, B.S., Criminal Justice, who is also employed with the Los Angeles Police Department as a detective. They live in Valencia.
Donna Thayer, '83, B.A., English/Journalism, ’86 Teaching Credential, ’03, M.A. Educational Leadership, has been in the education field for 20 years and was recently appointed an assistant principal in the Lodi Unified School District. She was formerly a consultant at the California Department of Education where she worked on the California High School Exit Exam. Prior to that, Thayer worked in the Folsom Cordova Unified School District as a teacher, district lead teacher and administrator.
Richard Daskam, ’90, B.S., Business Administration (Finance), a realtor, has been appointed to the 2007 Multiple Listing Service Committee by the Pacific West Association of Realtors. He is an agent/partner at Keller Williams Realty Los Alamitos and will serve on the MLS Committee for one year. Pacific West Association of Realtors is the largest realtor association in California, and has nearly 13,000 realtors in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Daskam is also a director for the 2007 California Association of Realtors and is serving on several committees for that group. While in college, he was on the staff of The State Hornet and worked in the Sac State Sports Information Office. He makes his home in Long Beach with his wife Michelle and their family.
Regina Truhart, ’96, B.A., Music (Voice), has been named assistant professor of costume technology at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. As a graduate with a master’s degree in fine arts from the College-Conservatory of Music, Regina has returned there after teaching costume technology at the University of Florida and the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. She is a recipient of the United States Institute of Technical Theater Award of Distinction, and a first-place winner in the National Opera Association video competition. Her credits include work with the Washington National Opera, Seaside Musical Theater in Daytona Beach, Fla., Utah Shakespearean Festival and Opera Theatre, and Music Festival of Lucca in Italy. In Cincinnati, Truhart has worked with the Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Opera Outreach and College-Conservatory of Music. She lives in Cincinnati.
Robin Zasio, '91, M.A., Social Work, returned to school to earn her doctorate in clinical psychology in 1999 at The California School of Professional Psychology in Alameda. Currently she owns and operates two drug and alcohol residential recovery homes. Zasio also owns and directs The Anxiety Treatment Center located in Sacramento, where she specializes in treating anxiety and related disorders utilizing cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure and response prevention techniques.
Stefanie Aeder, ’06, B.S., Kinesiology, Meloney Greer ’05, B.A., Education (Child Development), and Jessica Hoffman, ’05, B.A., Communication Studies (Public Relations), all former Sac State gymnasts, were featured in Stick It, an April 2006 release from Touchstone Pictures and Spyglass Entertainment. The movie, starring Jeff Bridges, follows a rebellious 17-year-old in the regimented world of elite gymnastics. In the film, Aeder, Greer and Hoffman perform in two competition sequences and are featured throughout the finale. They auditioned in Los Angeles after their final competition at Sac State. Aeder lives in Portland, Ore., Greer in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, and Hoffman in Escondido.
William E. Greep, ’05 B.S., Business Administration (Accounting Information Systems), has been promoted by Hearst Argyle Television to director of engineering at WMTW-TV in Portland, Maine. He was previously assistant chief engineer at WISN-TV, the Hearst station in Milwaukee. Prior to joining Hearst Argyle Television, he was the manager of outside engineering at KXTV-TV in Sacramento.
Catherine Labbé, ’06, B.A., English, who worked as an assistant while a student at Sac State, has been named the University Alumni Center’s event manager. Serving clients from the campus and the community, she coordinates the use of the Center for meetings, conferences, social gatherings and weddings, to name just a few of the events booked into the space. Before coming to the Alumni Relations Office, she worked as a manager of a local cafe, and brings her experience in customer service to her position at the Alumni Center.