Distinguished Alumni Awards - Honoring Alumni

Award criteria:

Distinguished Service Awards are given in recognition of professional achievements and community service.  Nominees must have achieved prominence in their chosen field and brought distinction to the University and/or their community through their accomplishments.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is given to alumni for exceptional career achievements, exceptional contributions to the campus and community, and for setting high standards of excellence in their personal and professional lives. 

Honorary Alumnus Awards are given to friends of the University who have demonstrated a close affinity to the campus and who have rendered exceptional support and leadership to the University or Association.

The Rising Star Award is given to a graduate of Sacramento State who has received his or her first Sacramento State degree since 2006 and has made outstanding contributions professionally, to the community or to Sacramento State.

Deadline for 2019 nominations:

Nominations will be due Friday, April 12. Please check back in January 2019 when the nomination form will be open.

NOTE: Current Alumni Association Board Directors, Chapter Leaders or others in key Association leadership positions are not eligible for consideration during their active term.

2018 DAA Honorees

The Distinguished Alumni Awards event will be held on Thursday, September 27th, at the Harper Alumni Center, Sacramento State. Reserve your seat at the EARLY BIRD rate by clicking here. See videos and pictures from past events below.

Distinguished Service Award
Margot Shinnamon Bach '72 (English), Retired Speechwriter with the Office of State Treasurer John Chiang
Ana Klein '95, MBA '11 (Business Administration), Vice President and CFO, Sunsweet Growers, Inc.
Bill Mueller '90 (Communications Studies/Government), Chief Executive Officer, Valley Vision, Inc.
Dr. Joseph Tuscano '84 (Chemistry), deLeuze Endowed Professor of Medicine, UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

Rising Star Award
Tracy Young '08 (Construction Management), CEO and Cofounder, PlanGrid in San Francisco

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Sponsorship Opportunities

There are several sponsorship opportunities available. Please review our sponsor information sheet (PDF). To learn more about how you can benefit from partnering with the Alumni Association, please visit our Sponsors/Affinity Partners page.

For questions, please contact Jennifer Barber, Assistant Vice President, at jbarber@csus.edu or (916) 278-6295.

2017 Sacramento State Distinguished Alumni Awards Honorees

Distinguished Service Awards

Kimo Ah Yun '90 (Communication Studies)
Dean of the Diedrich College of Communication, Marquette University

Kimo Ah Yun ’90 (Communication Studies) came out of high school thinking he might go to college one day, but with no real plans. Turns out, most of his adult life has been spent on university campus.

After earning his communication studies degree at Sacramento State, Ah Yun earned master’s and doctoral degrees at Kansas State University and University of Michigan. He returned to Sacramento State as a faculty member in his old department and began a series of steady steps up the academic ladder to director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, chair of the communication studies department and finally associate dean in the College of Arts and Letters.

In 2016, Ah Yun was named dean of the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University. His many honors include the President’s Research Award from Sacramento State and the Jack Hunter Meta-Analysis Award from the International Communication Association and multiple articles in scholarly journals.

Full story


“I can’t believe where education has taken me.”

Kraig Clark ’91 (Accountancy)
Co-founder and Chairman, JLM Energy

When it comes to creating successful high-tech companies, Kraig Clark ’91 (Accountancy) has the Midas touch.

In 1997, Clark and a fellow Sac State alumnus teamed up to create CoreLogic, a data analytics firm for the mortgage banking industry. The duo built a dynamic company that created hundreds of regional jobs, generated millions in annual revenue and resulted in a profitable merger after just 10 years.
Clark then harnessed his business acumen and passion for the environment to found two more companies, JLM Energy, an energy technology firm, and eScreen Logic, an environmental consulting firm.

Clark appreciates the education he received at Sac State and still finds inspiration in many of his classes. He recently participated in an entrepreneurship guest panel for the fall issue of Sac State Magazine where he shared his thoughts on innovation and persistence. Clark credits his professors for the skills, work ethic and tenacity he applies to all of his endeavors.

Full story


“Part of my goal was always to start my own business and blaze my own trail, and Sac State helped me accomplish that.”

Carol Garcia ’80 (Family and Consumer Sciences)
Senior Vice President for Marketing and Business Development, Community 1st Bank

Hometown and Hornet pride run deep for fifth generation Roseville native Carol Garcia ’80. The Distinguished Service Award recipient is joined by her mother, husband, sister and daughter as proud Sacramento State alumni and active community volunteers.

After 37 years in community banking, Carol finds fulfillment in her current role as senior vice president of marketing and business development for Community 1st Bank in Roseville. She attributes Sac State sociology and communications classes for arming her with a necessary soft skill to help customers, identify new business and manage relationships.

Garcia is the recipient of numerous local and national awards, served on the Roseville City Council and as mayor, and is co-founder and chair of the Placer County Breast Cancer Foundation which raised $1.5 million to endow a Breast Cancer Chair at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Full story


"The greatest skill that I took out of Sac State was how to work with people and I use this knowledge every day."

Gilbert Herdt, MA ’72 (Anthropology)
Cultural Anthropologist

When it comes to scholars and experts in anthropology, few can match the accomplishments of Gilbert Herdt.

The world renowned clinical and cultural anthropologist specializes in human sexuality—ranging from sexual identity and orientation in children and adolescents to aging in LGBT adults. He’s published more than 30 books and edited more than 100 scientific peer-reviewed journal articles, chapters, encyclopedia articles and scholarly reports. 

Herdt received a Fulbright scholarship to Australia where he enrolled as a doctoral student at the Australian National University, the leading center of Melanesian studies. He spent two years conducting fieldwork in Papua New Guinea for his thesis on males’ experiences of manhood rituals, The Individual in Sambia Initiation, 1978.

He’s also the founder of the National Sexuality Resource Center at San Francisco State University. In addition, Herdt has treated mental health issues as a professor and chair of the Committee on Human Development at the University of Chicago.

Full story


"I've been to many universities in my life and what I really liked about Sac State is that I got a very good education and felt grounded here. I felt embraced by Sac State, through my own transformation as a professional and as a person."

Andrei Tokmakoff '89 (Chemistry)
Chemistry Professor, University of Chicago

Water is known as an essential property for living. Andrei Tokmakoff ’89 (Chemistry) sees it as much more.

The Henry G. Gale Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Chicago leads a research group of nearly a dozen doctoral students and post-doctoral trainees. Dubbed The Tokmakoff Group, they study the properties of, and the molecules that dissolve in, water, such as proteins. His group is developing an ultrafast camera that captures how H2O’s molecular structure changes over time.

Tokmakoff’s research has received high praise from his peers in chemical and biophysics. His accolades include the Ernest K. Plyler Prize for Molecular Spectroscopy from the American Physical Society, the David and Lucile Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, and the National Fresenius Award.

Andrei comes from a family of Hornets. His father, the late George Tokmakoff, was a history professor at Sac State for many years. His sister Larisa ’95 (English) and brother in law Paul ’95 (Accountancy) are alumni of the University.

Full story


“I hope this award can raise awareness about how valuable Sac State is as an educational institution for Northern California. There are tremendous opportunities to turn your Sac State training into top level careers and leadership positons in many different areas.”

Angelo A. Williams, MA '06 (Education), MA '07 (Higher Education Leadership), EdD '10
Director of Community Engagement and Mobilization, California Black Health Network

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.

Over the years that passion for helping others has included advocating to the legislature to increase student financial aid and overseeing grant programs for the country’s second largest educational philanthropic foundation.

These days, Williams is advising parents on how to keep their families, and their communities, healthy as director of community engagement and mobilization for the California Black Health Network. He is also introducing high school students to the power of social justice through an NAACP youth chapter summer program, serves on the faculty at Sacramento City and Sierra colleges and graduated from the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program.

Full story


“My Sac State degree totally prepared me for everything that has come my way.”

Rising Star Award

Ryan Harrison, MS '11 (Criminal Justice)
Principal Human Resources Consultant, California Senate Rules Committee

A labor and employment Swiss Army knife. That’s how Ryan Harrison, MS ’11 (Criminal Justice) describes his role as principal human resources consultant for the California Senate Rules Committee. Harrison says in his position, he draws upon his background of being a law enforcement officer as well as my experience specializing in labor and employment law.

In his spare time, Harrison serves on the board of directors for Cottage Housing, a non-profit that provides housing and treatment for addiction among the homeless. He also volunteers as a mentor at McClatchy High School and is a senior fellow of the Sacramento Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program.

While attending Sac State, Harrison partnered with faculty as a graduate student instructor, served on the Graduate Studies Policies Committee and as ASI Director of Graduate Studies. He received his bachelor’s degree from UC Davis and his juris doctor from UC Hastings College of the Law.

Full story


“Sac State was like an incubator for me to develop new skills. Professors told me that they believed in me and I felt like I rose to the occasion.”

Past Recipients - 2016


Distinguished Service Award
Christine ’92 and Michael ’92 Ault (video)
Tim Murphy ’91 (video)
Craig ’77 & Ann ’78, MA ’92 Perez (video)
Deborah Ross-Swain ’73, MS ’75 (video)

Rising Star Award
Justin Knighten ’08**** (video)

Honorary Alumna Award
Susan McGinty** (video)

Award Information

The Order of the Hornet Award was presented from 1972-1985.  In 1987 the awards became known as the Distinguished Service Awards, periodically giving Order of the Hornet (*) designation to selected recipients. 

Later added were Honorary Alumnus/a (**), Lifetime Achievement (***) and Rising Star (****) categories. 

Faculty/Administrator awards are designated (^).

Past Recipients 1995-2015


Order of the Hornet 
President Alexander Gonzalez (video)

Lifetime Achievement Award
Jan Scully*** (video)

Distinguished Service Award
Cate Dyer (video)
Pat Fong Kushida (video)
Jim Gomez (video)
Lee Ritchey (video)
Tami R. Bogert and Scott Yuill (video)

Rising Star Award
Philip I. Person**** (video)


Distinguished Service Award
Maureen Bauman
Chris Higdon
James P. Mayer
Javed Siddiqui
Kerri Thomas


Distinguished Service Award
David Bugatto
Cheryl Dell
Michael Kuhlmann
Garry Maisel
Rhonda Staley-Brooks

Rising Star Award
Christina Preston****


Lifetime Achievement Award
Joseph F. Sheley***

Distinguished Service Award
Greg J. Hagwood
John & Margi Herzog
Kit Miyamoto
Mark Otero

Rising Star Award
Robert Meza****
Janay Swain****


Distinguished Service Award
Thomas M. Gilbert
Paul Lau
Ted Puntillo
Tina Treis

Rising Star
Krista Bernasconi****

Honorary Alumni Award
Dr. Alexander Gonzalez
Patricia Clark-Ellis 


Distinguished Service Award
Douglas Curley
Helena Fitch-Snyder
Eddie Kho
Cristina Mendonsa
Michael Reinero
Holly Tiche

Rising Star
Baldwin Chiu****


Lifetime Achievement Award
Larry Cook***

Distinguished Service Award
Karen Bakula
Charles E. Bell
Alejandro Garcia
Jan A. Nolta

Honorary Alumnus Award
George Crandell**


Distinguished Service Award
Michael Carter
John Gesek
Greg Knapp
Sia Nemat-Nasser
Walt Schaub
Paulette Trainor

Honorary Alumnus Award
Mark Drobny**
Pamela O. Stewart**


Lifetime Achievement Award
Roger Valine***

Distinguished Service Award
Larry Augusta
Lauren Hammond
Kim Hughes^
Scott W. Maxwell
Gloria Nomura
Alice D. Perez
Lloyd O. Snelson
Larry Williams
Karen Zamarripa
Daniel Zingale

Honorary Alumnus Award
Daniel Cole**


Lifetime Achievement Award
William Campbell III***

Distinguished Service Award
Jack Bertolucci
Patrick Fenwick
Jack Higdon
Marilyn Hopkins^
Theresa Parker
Randy Reynoso
Rene Syler


Distinguished Service Award
Michael L. Brown
Sonney Chong
Todd Murch
Albert Najera
Kirk B. Sturm
Scott C. Syphax
Ann Weldy^
Rosemary Younts


Distinguished Service Award
Fred Dalkey
Kayla Gillan
Craig T. Johnson
Kenneth A. Macias
Robin Martial
David H. Mering
Scott J. Modell^
Melba O. Mosher
Pamela G. Saltenberger
Robbie Waters
Mary Jane Young

Honorary Alumnus Award
Ray Clemons**^


Distinguished Service Award
Virginia Avila
Robert Dean
Edward Del Biaggio^
Mike Dourgarian
Jim Fitzpatrick
Gail Hullibarger
Judy Quattrin^
Ben Roberts
Marlene Von Friederichs-Fitzwater

Honorary Alumnus Award
Rosemary Clemons**
Gary Hart**^
Nicholas Windeshausen**^


Distinguished Service Award
Christopher Cabaldon
Dale Carlsen
Richard C. Johns
Suzanne Kingsbury
William H. Lee
Mary Louise Mack
Gil Moore
Robert Perry-Smith
Felicenne Ramey^
H. John Shaw, III
Fred Teichert

Honorary Alumnus Award
Roy Brophy**


Lifetime Achievement Award
Angelo Tsakopoulos***

Distinguished Service Award
Patricia Cochran
Ron Davis
Gregg Lukenbill
Kathleen McGrath
Kitty O'Neal
Ray Shaddick
Michael Ubaldi
Robert Waste^

Order of the Hornet
Dennis Gardemeyer*
Gary Kimmel*

Honorary Alumnus Award
Muriel Johnson**


Lifetime Achievement Award
Joe A. Serna, Jr.***^

Distinguished Service Award
Suzanne Adan
Louis Blanas
Jesus Fernandez Jr.
Mary Hargrave
Janet McWilliams
Kenneth Owens
Tony Saca
Michael Stevens
Robert Thomas

Order of the Hornet
Catherine MacMillian*
Dixie Schneider*

Honorary Alumnus Award
Stan Atkinson**


Distinguished Service Award
Lory Heron
Albert Hurtado
Joseph Mohamed Sr.
Randy Paragary
Gail Tom^
Charles Trainor

Order of the Hornet
Phillip Cowan*
Melinda Melendez*
Paul Robins*

Honorary Alumnus Award
Alex Spanos**
Harry Sweet**


Distinguished Service Award
Edward Chavez
Christine Dean
Daniel Decious^
Daniel DeFoe
Clarke J. Dominguez
Kelvin K. Lee
Mike McGowan
Ted Morse
John Moulds
Paul Sax

Order of the Hornet
John Messner*
Bev Short*

Honorary Alumnus Award
Thomas Hobday**


Distinguished Service Award
Janice Rogers Brown
Irvin Faria^
Giselle Fernandez
Roger Fong
Joseph J. Kearns
Steve Pleau
Roger Valine
Richard Weaver
Tom Weborg

Order of the Hornet
Steven Yamshon*

Honorary Alumnus Award
Cal Boyes**^


Distinguished Service Award
William Collard
Gloria Glyer
Kenneth Kerri^
Duane Lowe
Denise Mazzucca-Barrett
William Popejoy
Jan Scully

Honorary Alumnus Award
Josef Moorehead**^


Distinguished Service Award
Mary Buehler
Al Geiger
Robert Metcalf^
John Poswall
Pauline Roccucci
Raymond Valdez

Order of the Hornet
Isabel Hernandez-Sema*^
Frank LaPena*^

Honorary Alumnus Award
Louis Desmond**
Enlow Ose**

Past Recipients 1972-1994


Distinguished Service Award
Allen Johnson
Gregory Kondos
Dave Lucchetti
Sylvia Minnick
Barbara O’Connor^
James Shelby

Order of the Hornet
John Smith*^
Jack Waymire*

Honorary Alumnus Award
Donald Gillott**^


Distinguished Service Award
Phil Boyer
Jamie Candelaria
Kenneth Hansen
June LaVerne Long
Antonia Lopez
Sam Pannell
Dennis Tootelian^

Order of the Hornet
Ron W. Smith*

Honorary Alumnus Award
Fred Anderson**


Distinguished Service Award
Felicia Bessent
Ward Connerly
Linda Dixon
William Dorman^
John Fitzgerald
Elizabeth McClatchy
Don Zingale^

Honorary Alumnus Award
Fred Hummel**


Distinguished Service Award
Fred Uhl Ball
Grantland Johnson
Said Kaki
Trong Nguyen
Leticia Quezada
Joe A. Serna Jr.^

Order of the Hornet
Robert W. Bell*
Gary Quattrin*


Distinguished Service Award
Deborah Colberg^
C. Carson Conrad
Fred Dawkins
M. Wayne Thiebaud
Malcolm Weintraub

Order of the Hornet
David Morse*
John Ranlett*^

Honorary Alumnus Award
Norman J. Phillips**


Distinguished Service Award
Dr. W. Richard Cobb^
Marjorie Geiszler
C. Stanley Gilliam
Robert Mange
Robert Rivinius

Order of the Hornet
Winnie Leung*


Distinguished Service Award
Margo Murray
Jean Runyon
William Whitehead^

Order of the Hornet
William Campbell III*
Robert Curry*^


Distinguished Service Award
John McNamara
Frank Borgia
Nick Floratos

Order of the Hornet
Dorothy Lombard*
Coach Bob Mattos*


Order of the Hornet
Lloyd Connelly
John P. Kearns


Order of the Hornet
Carl Ludwig^
Thomas Willoughby


Order of the Hornet
W. Lloyd Johns^


Order of the Hornet
Steven Arvizu
Sandra Baker


Order of the Hornet
George Creel^
Rod Hamilton
Ann Reardon


Order of the Hornet
Henry A. Bamman^
Phillip Isenberg
Gordon P. Martin^
George Sumner


Order of the Hornet
Keith B. Kenny
J. Harold Severaid^


Order of the Hornet
Lewis Crowl^
Joe A. McGowan^
Stanley Pretzer^
Efra Zollinger^


Order of the Hornet
Robert Gustafson
Harold B. Roberts^


Order of the Hornet
Donald Bailey^
John W. Baker^


Order of the Hornet
Hubert McCormick^


Order of the Hornet
Gordon D. Schaber
Robert Wyman