Class Notes


Robert Fitzhenry ’51 (Business Administration) lives with his wife Virginia in Tualatin, Ore. After graduating from Sacramento State, Fitzhenry served in the military until 1953. He worked in marketing and sales at paper product manufacturer Crown-Zellerbach until his retirement in 1986. Since retirement, Fitzhenry and his wife remain active in their local community. The couple also enjoys spending time with their two sons and grandchildren.


Sia Nemat-Nasser ’60 (Civil Engineering) was honored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for his outstanding professional achievements. Nemat-Nasser is a professor at UC San Diego, where he helped start a materials science and engineering graduate program.

John Vera ’61 (Journalism) has been inducted into the Stockton Mexican-American Hall of Fame. Recognized for his humanitarian service, Vera is the past director of human services for San Joaquin County, serving from 1997 until his retirement in 2003. One of his proudest achievements includes helping found the Mary Graham Children’s Foundation. The organization provides scholarships to foster youth.

Edgar Collins ’63 (Public Policy and Administration) is a retired senior liaison officer for the U.S. Department of Labor. Since his retirement in 2005, Collins enjoys spending time with his family. His son graduated from Sacramento State in 1986 and his granddaughter will be attending in the fall. (Alumni Association member)

Rimban Hiroshi Abiko ’65 (Art) retired as the head rimban of the Los Angeles Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple. Abiko received his ordination in 1970 and served at the San Jose Betsuin, Palo Alto Buddhist Temple and the Buddhist Church of San Francisco before moving to Los Angeles in 2009.

Ritch Eich ’66 (Communication) celebrated the release of his new book, Leadership Requires Extra Innings: Lessons on Leading from a Life in the Trenches. In the book, Eich shares the lessons he learned from 30 years working in agriculture, hospitals, academia and the military. (Alumni Association member)

Leon Freeburg, MSW ’66 (Social Work) resides in Janesville, Wis. with his wife. Freeburg was a member of Sacramento State’s first master’s degree in social work cohort. During his 43-year career in social work, Freeburg worked at several social service and mental health agencies.

Michael Stevens ’67, MA ’69 (Art) and Suzanne Adan ’69, MA ’71 (Art) co-hosted an art show titled, “Seven Year Itch” at the Jay Jay Gallery. The show included a collection of their eccentric, narrative pieces. Both teach at Sacramento City College and co-direct the college’s Kondos Gallery.

Jackie Walden ’68 (Psychology), MA ’89 (Anthropology) visited Ulsan, South Korea as part of a tour organized for Korean War veterans and their families. A retired anthropologist, Walden resides in Grants Pass, Ore. and volunteers at Three Rivers Hospital Auxiliary. She also serves on the county commissioner’s advisory board of health and with the Friends of the Symphony board.


Stephen Heath ’70 (Journalism) was named Community Link Capital Region’s president and CEO. Heath previously served as president and CEO of United Way Capital Region, vice president and chief administrative officer of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and vice president of communications for Sutter Health. (Alumni Association member)

James Tanovitz ’71, MA ’73 (Art) and his wife Sharon closed Art Ellis Supply after owning the Midtown Sacramento store for 47 years. Tanovitz started working at the art supply store while he was in college and purchased it from the original owners, Art and Bama Ellis.

Michael McGowan ’72 (Government) was appointed deputy director of strategic planning and policy for the Department of Motor Vehicles by Gov. Jerry Brown. In accepting the appointment, McGowan stepped down from his longtime position as a Yolo County supervisor.

Robert Perry-Smith ’73 (Accountancy) joined Presidio Bank’s board of directors after retiring from a 40-year career as a certified public accountant. Perry-Smith is the founder/CEO of Perry-Smith LLP.

Donald Ridgeway-Payne ’73 (Art) published a book titled How to Dominate Amazon’s Best Seller List. The book offers insight into how to sell products on Amazon, eBay and other online platforms. Ridgeway-Payne is the founder/CEO of RCMG-3 Marketing.

Marie Schoeff ’74 (Art) displayed her art at the “Invisible Realms: Encountering the Sacred” exhibition at the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art in Montecito, Calif. In addition to being an artist, Schoeff is a teacher at Santa Barbara City College and Westmont College.

Jeffrey Kuhn ’75 (Government) has been appointed to the position of county counsel for Madera County. After graduating from McGeorge School of Law, Kuhn worked in the Fresno County counsel’s office until accepting the position in Madera.

David Shipp ’75 (Physical Education), a long-time teacher and coach at Vintage High School, was honored by Napa County with a proclamation to recognize his 35 years in education. The county proclaimed Aug. 29, 2013 as “Dave Shipp Day.”

Laurie Cameron ’76 (English) works as the children’s librarian at the Rohnert Park-Cotati Public Library in Rohnert Park, Calif.

Steven Campora ’76 (Government) was named 2013 Attorney of the Year by the Consumer Attorneys of California. The award recognized Campora’s dedication to the victims of the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion.

Kenneth Evans, MBA ’77 (Business Administration) delivered the keynote address at his first commencement ceremony as president of Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. Evans previously worked at the University of Oklahoma serving as dean of the College of Business.

Rodney Keeney ’78 (Linguistics) retired after working at Delta College for 25 years as a disabled students programs and services department counselor.

Barry Matulich ’78 (Business Administration) was honored by the Sacramento County Probate Court with an award recognizing his service to the court. Matulich is an experienced guardian and conservatorship litigator and previously served as a judge pro tem.


Richard Murray ’80 (Computer Science) and his wife own a computer-engineering firm based in North Highlands, Calif. They are also avid sidecar racers and currently hold a national record.

Mark Holmes ’81 (English) relocated his law firm to Irvine, Calif. The firm specializes in the areas of corporate, bankruptcy, maritime and renewable-energy law. Outside of work, Holmes enjoys running. He is participating in the L.A. Marathon this spring. (Alumni Association Life Member)

Dwight Stone ’81, MA ’86 (Music) had several of his original compositions featured by the Diablo Symphony Guild during a concert at the Dollar Clubhouse in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Mark Blankenship ‘84 (Psychology) was promoted to executive vice president and chief people, culture and corporate strategy officer for Jack in the Box, Inc. He joined the company in 1997 after previously serving as vice president of human resources for Mitchell International.

Jerry Murphy ’84 (Economics) joined Celtic Bank as vice president of business development. Murphy is based out of Reno, Nev.

Shawn Yadon ’84 (Business Administration) is the new chief executive officer for the California Trucking Association. Yadon previously worked as the chief government affairs representative for Federal Express. (Alumni Association member)

Marianne Cartan, MS ’85 (Counseling) is the new director of MetroED’s Central County Occupational Center. Cartan has more than 34 years of public education experience, most recently serving as superintendent of the Nevada Joint Union High School District in Grass Valley, Calif.

Louise Thomas, MSW ’85 is a volunteer mentor for high school seniors in Reedsport, Ore. Thomas previously worked as a social worker for San Joaquin County’s Child Protective Services.

James Ficenec ’86 (Communication Studies) is a partner with Archer Norris. With more than 20 years of trial experience, Ficenec specializes in business, real estate and employment litigation.

Michael Schields ’86 (Business Administration) is the new president at Brightspark Travel, Inc., a national travel organization serving more than 100,000 students each year.

Carl London II ’87 (Journalism) is the CEO of Rose & Kindel/Grayling, a lobbying and public relations firm based in Sacramento. In addition, London serves as president of the InAlliance board of directors, a nonprofit that assists people with developmental disabilities throughout the Sacramento area. Continuing a legacy at Sacramento State, London’s daughter is a current student. (Alumni Association member)

Lisa Adams Walter ’88 (Communication Studies) has been appointed director of programs for the Wine Industry Symposium. Adams Walter also runs her own public relations consulting firm.

Sandra Blair ’89 (Business Administration) is the director of defined contribution solutions for the California State Teachers’ Retirement System where she oversees the system’s voluntary defined contribution plans.

Timothy Gorsuch ’89 (Criminal Justice) is the new director of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. In this role, Gorsuch oversees the licensing and regulation of businesses that manufacture, distribute and sell alcoholic beverages in California.

Nasrat Hakim ’89, MS ’95 (Chemistry) is president/CEO of Elite Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Hakim has more than 30 years of pharmaceutical and medical industry experience.


Dean Benjamini ’90 (Business Administration) has been appointed to a judgeship in the Riverside County Superior Court by Gov. Jerry Brown. Benjamini previously worked as an assistant public defender in Riverside County.

Andrea Weiss, MS ’90 (Counseling) earned the designation of Myer-Briggs master practitioner and workshop facilitator. The special credential denotes Weiss’ advanced knowledge of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment. Fewer than 200 people in the United States receive this honor with less than 20 of those in California. (Alumni Association member)

Robert Oakes, MBA ’91 is the executive director of the Caliornia Mental Health Directors Association, which represents California’s 58 counties on issues related to behavioral and mental health services and delivery throughout the state.

Sandra Ruggles ’91 (Business Administration) was selected by Lyon Real Estate as property manager for its new division. In her position, Ruggles oversees the maintenance of property rentals, fills vacancies and enforces lease agreements.

Glen Cain, MA ’92 (Education) is among 25 semifinalists for the inaugural Recording Academy Music Educator Award, an award given out by The Grammy Foundation.

Jamillah Moore ’92 (Communication Studies), ’95 (Intercultural Communication and Public Policy) was reappointed to serve on the California Student Aid Commission by Gov. Jerry Brown. Moore brings 15 years of educational, policy, instruction and advocacy experience to the commission. She is also chancellor of the Ventura County Community College District.

Tami Bogert ’93 (Criminal Justice), Sacramento Superior Court Judge, was named Lincoln Law School 2013 Alumna of the Year. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Bogert to the bench in 2010. (Alumni Association Life Member) She lives in Rocklin with her husband, and Rocklin’s mayor, Scott Yuill ’85 (Business Administration).

Toni Taber ’93, MA (English) is city clerk for the city of San Jose, after serving in an interim capacity since December 2012. Taber was previously the city clerk of Covina and deputy city clerk of Corona.

Jason Wharton ’93 (Journalism) is Napa Valley College’s new women’s soccer coach. Wharton’s 25 years of experience includes coaching at several community colleges, winning 12 championships.

Ruben Andrade ’94, MS ’96 (Recreation Administration) was selected as the first permanent superintendent of the César E. Chávez National Monument in Keene, N.H. Andrade has worked for the National Park Service for the past 15 years, helping parks develop partnerships and enhance community outreach.

Brian Eiseman ’95 (Mechanical Engineering) is product development manager for Surftech. The company specializes in composite surfboard technologies.

Lori Parlin ’95 (Business Administration) has announced her candidacy for El Dorado County supervisor. Parlin currently serves as president of the Shingle Springs Community Alliance, a group that advocates for community unity and keeping Shingle Springs rural.

Joseph Silva ’95 (Criminal Justice) serves as the Stockton Police Department’s public information officer. Silva is also the president of Stockton Police Youth Activities.

Dimitrios Kiniris ’96 (Business Administration) was honored by Northwestern Mutual for his work with Junior Achievement of Sacramento. Kiniris is a financial advisor at Northwestern Mutual, Sacramento.

Michelle Cordova ’97 (Art) entered her acrylic painting Sacramento River Golden in KVIE’s Live Art Auction. Cordova has been exhibiting her work in Sacramento galleries since 2003 and credits fellow Sacramento State alumnus Wayne Thiebaud ’51, MA ’53 (Art) and Sacramento State professor emeritus Jack Ogden as major influences.

Dennis Fulgencio ’97 (Mechanical Engineering) joined SmartWatt as an energy engineer where he designs HVAC systems for commercial buildings in California.

Jeff Dern ’98 (Accountancy) was named one of the Sacramento Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” for 2013. Dern is the controller of Pride Industries.

Kimberlie Hiltachk ’98 (Communication Studies) was named one of the Sacramento Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” for 2013. Hiltachk is the president/CEO of Hiltachk Marketing Group.

Sama Hershey Davis ’99 (Business Administration) joined Edgewood Partners Insurance Center as an employee benefits professional. Before joining the company, Hershey Davis was an account executive at Woodruff Sawyer and Co. in Novato, Calif.


Holly Harper ’00 (Communication Studies) was named one of the Sacramento Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” for 2013. Harper is the community benefits manager for Sutter Health Sacramento Sierra Region.

Manoli Snobar ’01 (Accountancy) was named one of the Sacramento Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” for 2013. Snobar is a partner at the accounting firm Brown Fink Boyce & Astle LLC.

Chue Vang ’01 (Computer Science) has been sworn-in as a deputy for the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office. Vang is certified as a computer network and security technician.

Joseph Devlin ’02 (Government) was named one of the Sacramento Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” for 2013. Devlin is the chief of staff for Sacramento city councilmember Jay Schenirer.

Edward Emmons ’02 (Criminal Justice) has joined the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy sheriff. Previously, Emmons worked as a juvenile detention officer for the San Joaquin County Probation Department.

Zachariah Ford ’02 (Business Administration) was named one of the Sacramento Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” for 2013. Ford is the vice president of the Folsom Cordova Unified School District Board and a policy analyst for the Sacramento Central Labor Council.

Peter Tateishi ’02 (Government) was named one of the Sacramento Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” for 2013. Tateishi is the executive vice president of the Sacramento Regional Builders Exchange. (Alumni Association Life Member)

Cuong “J.C.” Tran ’02 (Business Administration) competed in the 44th World Series of Poker championship in Las Vegas, Nev. He finished this year’s tournament in fifth place.

Lisa Butler ’03 (History) was featured in the El Dorado County’s Library Local Author Showcase. Butler authored several historical articles for newspapers and periodicals in Northern California and published two books with the El Dorado County Historical Society and the El Dorado Museum Foundation, A Glittering Pot of Gold and El Dorado County: A Pictorial History.

Jose Bermudez ’04 (Liberal Arts) is principal at Holy Rosary School in Woodland, Calif. Previously, Bermudez was principal of Freeman Elementary School.

Alexander Taghavian, MA ’04 (Education) was named one of the Sacramento Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” for 2013. Taghavian is a senior program manager for Capitol Impact LLC.

Micah Runner ’05 (Communication Studies) has been named as the city of Stockton’s economic development director, where he works to attract and retain business for the city. In 2012, Runner was one of the Sacramento Business Journal’s “40 Under 40.”

Joshua Wood ’05 (Government) was named one of the Sacramento Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” for 2013. Wood is the executive director of Regional Builders Inc.

Timothy Bessolo ’06 (Communication Studies), MA ’08 (Education Leadership and Policy Studies) is the assistant provost for student affairs at the University of Southern California. During his time at Sacramento State, Bessolo played football and participated in many campus activities including serving on the University’s strategic planning council.

Sunshine Cobb ’06 (Studio Art) exhibited her ceramic work at the Archie Bray Foundation’s Fellowship Exhibition in Helena, Mont. Completing her first year-long fellowship as the 2012 Lincoln Fellow, Cobb’s work focused on functional earthenware.

Roozbeh Nafisi ’06 (Theory and Composition) won the 2013 Gustav Mahler prize for composition from the city of Klagenfurt, Austria. A performance of his piece “Daschti” at the 2013 Musikforum Biktring Klagenfurt aired on Austrian National Radio.

Arthur Reyes ’09 (Health Science) was chosen by the Transplant Donor Network as their representative in the annual Tournament of the Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif. Reyes received a heart transplant facilitated through the nonprofit organization in November 2010. He currently teaches CPR classes in Fairfield, Calif.


Todd LaMarr ’10 (American Sign Language/Deaf Study), MA ’13 (Child Development) and Diane Allshouse ’13 (American Sign Language/Deaf Study) presented research they and colleagues had conducted on the cortical stimulation of deaf signers at the Society for Neurobiology of Language’s annual conference. LaMarr works at UC Davis while Allshouse is a student at the University of London, studying for a master’s degree in language sciences with a specialization in sign language studies.

Roshan Patel ’10 (Business Administration) was named by the Woodland Chamber of Commerce as one of the city’s Future 7. The award recognizes outstanding business achievement and community involvement for professionals under the age of 40. Patel works for America’s Best Value Inn.

Matthew Carter ’11 (Finance) is in Ft. Benning, Ga. at basic training camp. After working for Paul Ryan’s political campaign in Washington, D.C., Carter found his calling while meeting service members and subsequently enlisted. Carter aspires to become a U.S. Army Ranger Officer.

Jessica M. Shatswell ’11 (Liberal Studies) graduated from basic military training as an Air Force airman at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.

Kelley Skerritt ’12 (Accountancy) is the new marketing coordinator for The Sacramento Moving Company. Her responsibilities include managing advertising and social media.

Ashlee Drady MA ’13 (Multicultural Education) is a teacher at Sonoma Charter School. Drady is using her certification in bilingual education to work with the school’s English second language students.

Tara Miller ’13 (Communication Studies) manages the Rolling Stone Bakery with her mother. The Lodi-based bakery specializes in making scones that feature unique flavor combinations such as maple-bacon-walnut.

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Eric Guerra ’03 (Electrical and Electronic Engineering), MPPA ’08 and Christina Lokke, MPPA ’07 married in a ceremony in Livermore, Calif. The two met while completing their master’s degrees at Sac State. Both currently work at the State Capitol and remain active alumni. Guerra is on the Sacramento State Alumni Association board of directors and is president of the Hornets Policy & Politics Alumni Chapter. (Alumni Association Life Members)

Aaron Adolphson ’04 (Business Administration) married Mackey Jackson at a New Year’s Eve ceremony in Half Moon Bay, Calif. The two met while working at a software company in San Francisco. They reside in New York City.

Tess Simas ’05 (Communication Studies) married Dustin Dyer on New Year’s Eve in Sacramento. Simas is the commencement and special events coordinator for Sacramento State’s Office of University Advancement.

Jacob Wilson ’11 (Kinesiology) married Sabrina Larsen in a ceremony in Lincoln, Calif. Wilson spent a year on a REACH team providing retreats to parish youth and now works as a technical consultant for Cell Marque in Rocklin, Calif.

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In Memoriam

Winnie Leung ’66 (Business Administration) died in November 2013. Mrs. Leung was a successful businesswoman in Hong Kong and a tireless ambassador for Sac State in Hong Kong and China, founding the Sac State alumni chapter in Hong Kong and helping to broker partnerships with Chinese universities. All three of her Hong Kong-raised children graduated from Sac State and her husband, Kenneth, was named an honorary alumnus. The Leungs were also frequent contributors to the University, funding scholarships and donating artwork. The Leungs were awarded the University’s President’s Award in 2000 and Winnie was awarded an honorary doctorate from the California Sate University system in 2007.

William G. Morr ’52, MA ’59 (Physical Education) died Jan. 11. He was a 1952 graduate of Sacramento State College and a retired teacher from the Roseville School District, where he was a longtime driver training instructor. His sister Betty Morr ’56, brother Augustus Morr ’60, grandson James Morr ’04 and granddaughter Shannon Pierce ’07 all graduated from Sac State.

Albert Magnus Carlson ’51 (Education), a member of Sacramento State’s first graduating class, died at the age of 87. During World War II, Carlson enlisted in the Army and served in the Army Air Corps. After college, he spent the next 30 years working at McClellan Air Force Base. Upon retirement, Carlson obtained his California State Contractors license and worked as a general contractor.

Glenn Fuller ’72 (Environmental Resources), a retired national park ranger, died of pancreatic cancer in September. During his 31-year career with the U.S. National Park Service, Fuller worked for various parks across the country including Cape Cod National Seashore, Rocky Mountain National Park and Grand Canyon National Park.

Donna Brougher ’73 (History) died at the age of 76. Brougher worked for Sacramento State until she retired in 2000. Active in the community, she volunteered at the Foothills United Methodist Church, Snowline Hospice, Food Bank of El Dorado County, Friends of the Library, SIRs, the Sigma Lambda Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi and the El Dorado Rose Court.

Stace Merkel ’97 (Accountancy), MS ’02 (Business Administration) died after a two-year battle with leukemia. Merkel worked as a senior systems analyst for CalPERS.