Joseph F. Sheley '69, MA '71 (Sociology)

Dr. Joseph F. Sheley served as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Sacramento State from 2006-12. He is currently serving as president for California State University, Stanislaus. He earned his doctorate in sociology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and was a faculty member for 21 years at Tulane University. He returned to his alma mater as dean of the College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies in 1996. Read more»


Debby Colberg '70 (Education)

What kept the most successful coach in Sac State history from bolting to greener pastures? She never found any. Former head volleyball coach Debby Colberg says that no school ever offered her what she has found at her alma mater. “I like it here,” she said before her retirement from coaching after the 2007 season. “I have looked in to other jobs but it would have to be something much more attractive.” Read more»

Marilyn Hopkins '70 (Nursing)

It takes a good leader to recognize the potential in other leaders. Marilyn Hopkins, dean emeritus of the College of Health and Human Services at Sac State and current provost and COO at Touro University’s Mare Island, Calif. campus, says good mentoring is what took her from nursing student to college administrator. “I credit the push I got from wise mentors to continue to move on to the next step,” Hopkins says. Read more»

Gilbert Herdt, MA ’72 (Anthropology)

When it comes to scholars and experts in anthropology, few can match the accomplishments of Gilbert Herdt, MA ’72 (Anthropology). Read more»

Mary Louise Mack '73 (Educational Administration)

Education was always a part of Sac State alumnus Mary Louise Mack’s 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 young people in the Sacramento area for nearly 40 years. Read more»


Nancy Purcell '86 (History)

Spend a workday with Nancy Purcell and be prepared for perpetual motion. The Sac State alumna is the principal of Fern Bacon Middle School in south Sacramento, and she is continually on the go—talking with students, addressing their concerns, resolving their conflicts, ensuring they get to class and heading off potential problems. Read more»


Kimo Ah Yun ’90 (Communication Studies)

It’s crazy.” Ask Kimo Ah Yun to describe his journey from someone who had never considered attending college to his current role as dean at a respected liberal arts university and you’ll find he can’t quite believe it himself. Read more»

Maria Lewis '91 (Liberal Studies)

Since Maria Lewis began as Whitehead Elementary School principal two years ago, test scores have improved, student and staff morale is soaring, and parents are paying more attention to their children’s education. In short, a culture of low expectations has been replaced by a robust commitment to student learning. Read more»

Tanya Vegvary ’91 (Humanities) ’97 (Piano Performance)

An accomplished performer, composer and teacher for more than 30 years, Vegvary’s extensive experience includes national and local performances during Sac State’s Festival of New American Music, at the Crocker Art Museum and Mondavi Center, and at the National Gallery of Art and Hungarian National Embassy in Washington, D.C. Read more»

Shari Herout '92 (Liberal Studies)

Miracle workers. That’s how Shari Herout always thought of her teachers. “It started way back when I was in kindergarten,” she says. “All the way through school I’ve had miraculous teachers.” In November 2012, Herout was recognized for the miracle worker she turned out to be. The kindergarten teacher at Vacaville’s Foxboro Elementary was named one of five 2012 California Teachers of the Year by the Department of Education. Read more»

Jamillah Moore '92 (Communication Studies), MA '95 (Intercultural Communication & Public Policy)

Sometimes the path through life takes you right back to where you began. For Jamillah Moore, it took her back to Los Angeles, the place where she grew up. Along the way it brought her through Sacramento and to Sac State. Moore was the president of Los Angeles City College, part of the state’s largest community college district before being named Chancellor of the Ventura County Community College District. Read more»


Tim Smith '00 (Mathematics), '01 (Credential)

Whether it was his time as an Army sergeant or working as a butcher at Albertson’s, Tim Smith couldn’t help but teach. It turns out he’s pretty good at it. Smith is a 2014 California Teacher of the Year. “Every job I’ve ever had, I ended up in a teaching role,” says Smith, who was one of five statewide honorees. He was tabbed by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson as California’s lone nominee for 2014 National Teacher of the Year. Read more»

John Castro '01 (Liberal Studies), MA '03 (Education Technology)

When John Castro was named 2010 Teacher of the Year by Sacramento TV station News10 and the Sacramento City Unified School District, he gave much of the credit for his award-winning teaching style to the internet master’s degree in educational technology or “iMet” he received from Sac State. “The iMet definitely taught me how to combine cutting-edge technology with effective teaching strategies,” says Castro. Read more»

Angelo Williams
Angelo Williams, MA ’06 (Education), MA ’07 (Higher Education Leadership), EdD ’10

Growing up as the son of a civil rights activist, Angelo Williams, MA ’06 (Education), MA ’07 (Higher Education Leadership), EdD ’10 can’t remember a time when he wasn’t interested in social justice. Read more»

Chao Vang '09 (Social Science), MA '13 (Education)

Chao Vang is an educator and community organizer who is helping to pave the way for minority students to pursue and succeed in higher education. Read more»


Kadhir Rajagopal, PhD '10 (Education Leadership)

His students at Grant High School come from Del Paso Heights, one of Sacramento’s poorest neighborhoods. Their lives are often a gritty reflection of the area’s drug abuse, poverty, broken homes and gang connections, and they come to his classroom accustomed to pulling down Ds or Fs. “They’re at risk of failure, lack motivation and are working far below grade level,” says Kadhir Rajagopal. Read more»