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 2008 and has made outstanding contributions professionally, to the community or to Sacramento State.



Deadline for 2019 nominations:

Nominations are due Friday, April 12. 


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

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 Leili Khalessi, Lead Alumni Outreach and Communications Officer, at leili.khalessi@csus.edu or (916) 278-3862.

2018 Sacramento State Distinguished Alumni Awards Honorees

Distinguished Service Awards

Margot Bach '72 (English)
Retired Speechwriter with the Office of State Treasurer Johnn Chiang

Margot Bach ’72 (English) felt lost when she came to Sac State as a freshman, and she dropped out. But after some community college, she re-enrolled, found her way and has left her mark on the Sacramento region and beyond.

Bach advanced at Lockheed Martin Corp., from technical writer to editor of the company’s worldwide publication. She was promoted to manager of corporate communications/internal and employee communications, and anchored the company’s in-house television network.

She has worked with prisoners and wardens as ombudsman for several state prisons; IMAX founders Grahame and Phyllis Ferguson; and Govs. Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger and California Treasurer John Chiang, contributing her speechwriting skill to all.

Bach’s honors include: 2004 California Department of Corrections Distinguished Service Medal; 2007 California Public Information Officer of the Year; 2013-14 unior League Sustainer of the Year; and 2015 Los Niños Service League Woman of the Year.

Full story

Margot Bach

“This place (Sacramento State) gave me hope.”

Ana Klein ’95 (Accountancy), MBA '10
CFO and Vice President Sunsweet Growers, Inc.

Ana Klein ’95 (Accounting), MBA ’10 was transformed by the power of higher education. Born to parents who worked as farm laborers, Klein rose to become vice president and CFO of Sunsweet Growers, Inc., the world’s largest handler of dried tree fruits.

Shortly after graduating from Sac State, Klein landed a job as an auditor at Arthur Anderson, gaining exposure to industries specializing in agriculture and banking. Starting with Sunsweet nearly 20 years ago, she held increasingly responsible positions before being named vice president/CFO in 2004.

Klein credits Sac State’s MBA program for the training that allows her to share the story of Sunsweet’s impact on the global economy and its benefit to internal stakeholders.

Klein was named Sacramento Business Journal’s 2014 CFO of the Year and 2015 Alumna of the Year by the College of Business Administration. She serves on the California Dried Plum Board and is on the board for California for Land Based Learning.

Full story

Ana Klein

“My experience at Sac State helped shape my life with a great education and real-life learning scenarios that contributed greatly to the position I’m in now.”

Bill Mueller ’90 (Communications Studies/Government)
Chief Executive Officer Valley Vision

Bill Mueller ’90 (Communications Studies/Government) is committed to helping the Sacramento region prosper and thrive. As chief executive officer of Valley Vision, Mueller spearheads development of strategies that improve life and increase access to health care, education, workforce and technology.

Mueller’s career in public policy and strategy spans 25 years, including positions with Intel Corporation, Sacramento Metro Chamber, and as a policy adviser in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

While at Sacramento State, Mueller was selected as a Sacramento Semester Program student, working with members of the Legislature and benefiting from the University’s proximity to the Capitol.

Mueller is a graduate of several leadership programs and holds statewide volunteer positions with the California Asian Chamber of Commerce, California Stewardship Network, and California Economic Summit. He also serves on the board of Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails, and was honored with the 2011 Unity Award, the top recognition from the Sacramento Urban League.

Full story

Bill Mueller

“I am an incredible proponent of Sac State as well as education in general. It is the great democratizer and what helps us be successful in life and career.”

Joseph Tuscano ’84 (Chemistry)
deLeuze Endowed Professor of Medicine UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

Joseph Tuscano ’84 (Chemistry) wanted to work in a field where he could help people. He has done that and more as one of the region’s top surgeons and cancer researchers.

As a deLeuze Endowed Professor of Medicine with UC Davis’ Comprehensive Cancer Center, Tuscano specializes in the treatment of leukemia, lymphoma, MDS and multiple myeloma. He also is on the university’s adult stem cell transplant team.

Tuscano has two cancer treatment patents pending, including one involving the use of fermented wheat germ proteins. Other awards and honors include two fellowships with the National Institutes of Health, where he won the NIH Fellows Award for Research Excellence in 1996; and one with UC Davis Medical Center, where he won the Christine Landgraf Memorial Award in 1997 and the Cure for Lymphoma Scholar Award in 1999.

Full story

Joe Tuscano

“It’s not really about me. It’s about what happens here (at Sac State).”

Rising Star Award

Tracy Young '08 (Construction Management)
CEO and Cofounder PlanGrid

Tracy Young ‘08 (Construction Management) knew her industry had a paper problem – so she came up with an innovative solution. Today, Young is the cofounder and CEO of PlanGrid, a San Francisco-based company that has brought construction into the mobile-device era.

PlanGrid’s software hosts digital blueprints that can be accessed on tablets or smartphones. They are updated in real time so construction companies and contractors have access to the latest versions, reducing paper waste and errors. The company serves tens of thousands of customers in 72 countries, storing plans and other information for more than a half-million projects worldwide.

A native of Milpitas and the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants, Young came to Sacramento State as an engineering major before discovering her true passion. The small, close-knit construction management cohort was collaborative and supportive, creating an experience Young says she still draws upon.

In 2017, she returned to Sacramento State with her husband and PlanGrid cofounder Ralph Gootee to speak during the University’s Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Full story

Tracy Young

“I was very lucky to have been part of the Construction Management program at Sac State, an experience I still draw upon.”

Past Recipients


Distinguished Service Award
Kimo Ah Yun '90 (video/full story)
Kraig Clark ’91 (video/full story)
Carol Garcia ’80 (video/full story)
Gilbert Herdt, MA ’72 (video/full story)
Andrei Tokmakoff '89 (video/full story)
Angelo A. Williams, MA '06, MA '07, EdD '10(video/full story)

Rising Star Award
Ryan Harrison, MS ’11**** (video/full story)

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 1995-2016


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)


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