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Distinguished Alumni Awards

Each year since 1972, the Sacramento State Alumni Association honors accomplished alumni and friends with the Distinguished Alumni Award (DAA).

Distinguished Alumni 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 Alumnni 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 recent graduate of Sacramento State who has made outstanding contributions professionally, to the community or to Sacramento State.


Nominations are now being accepted for the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Awards. The deadline to submit a nomination is Monday, April 20, at 5 p.m. Please contact Jennifer Barber at with any questions.

Submit Nomination

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

2020 Sponsorships

There are 2020 sponsorship opportunities available. If you are interested, please contact Kelly Siefkin at or (916) 278-5096.

Thank you to our 2019 sponsors!

Platinum Sponsors:
Sacramento Republic FC
| University Enterprises, Inc.

Gold Sponsors:
SMUD | Speeding Edge | Sutter Health | VSP | Comstock's Magazine | Sacramento Business Journal

Table Sponsors:
PRIDE Industries | Sacramento State College of Business Administration | Sacramento State College of Continuing Education | SAFE Credit Union

2019 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients with President Nelsen

2019 Honorees

Distinguished Service Award

  • Saori Choulos '92, EMBA ’12 (Business Administration) - Director of Outreach and Business Engagement, Align Capital Region
  • Jeff Dern '98 (Business Administration) - President, PRIDE Industries
  • Dr. Maridith A. Curfman-Janssen '82 (Recreation Administration) - Director Pre-Doctoral Program, California State University Office of the Chancellor
  • Patrick C. McClain '88 (Business Administration/Marketing) - Co-Founder and CEO, Allworth Financial
  • Jackie Morris-Henderson '87 (Business Administration/HR),'92 (Communications Studies) - Scholarship Fund Steward, California State University, Sacramento, and Founder, Black Alumni Chapter
Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Gary ’65 (Physical Education) and Judy Quattrin ’66, MS ’99 (Recreation Administration) - Retired
Rising Star Award

  • Dr. Meagan O’Malley, MA '06 (Education/School Psychology) - Associate Professor of School Psychology, California State University, Sacramento

The Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner will be held on Thursday, September 12. The event is SOLD OUT. If you'd like to be added to the wait list, please call Renee Siden at (916) 278-4723.

Photos from DAA 2018

2018 Honorees

2018 Honorees photo

Distinguished Service Awards

  • Margot Bach '72 (English)
    Retired Speechwriter with the Office of State Treasurer John Chiang
  • Ana Klein ’95 (Accountancy), MBA '10
    CFO and Vice President Sunsweet Growers, Inc.
  • Bill Mueller ’90 (Communications Studies/Government)
    Chief Executive Officer Valley Vision
  • 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

Past Recipients - 2000-2017

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
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)


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