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Capital University News, California State University, Sacramento

March 16, 2005

Alumni to be honored for service, excellence

Alumni Month Events

The annual Distinguished Service Awards, recognizing California State University, Sacramento alumni for outstanding service to the community and their alma mater, will be held at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, April 14 in the Alumni Center on campus.

The evening includes dinner, entertainment and a presentation of awards by University President Alexander Gonzalez and Alumni Board President Larry Cook. Alumna Cristina Mendonsa, news anchor for KXTV News 10, will emcee the proceedings.

Each recipient of the award has excelled in their chosen field after graduation from the university, making significant contributions to their respective communities. This year’s recipients include:

Michael L. Brown, commissioner of the California Highway Patrol. Raised in Sacramento, Brown has served with the CHP since he graduated with a bachelor’s in criminal justice in 1977. Brown was named commissioner by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2004, and currently oversees the more than 7,000 officers and 3,000 skilled workers in the CHP. Photo of: Michael L. Brown
Todd Murch, President and CEO of Eskaton. Murch’s company offers residential and “social responsibility” services for seniors and their relatives. Murch has worked with the company his entire career, becoming head of the organization this year. Originally from Palo Alto, Murch received a bachelor’s in business administration, with concentrations in finance and management information services, in 1981. Photo of: Todd Murch
Albert Nájera, Sacramento Police Chief. The Sacramentan earned his bachelor’s in criminal justice in 1978, rising to become the city’s 43rd chief of police in 2003. Nájera is the national president of the Hispanic American Command Police Officers Association, an active member of the local American Leadership Forum chapter and a member of numerous other police associations. Photo of: Albert N├íjera
Kirk B. Sturm, chief of the central division of California State Parks. Sturm recently worked as chief of the Central Division of California State Parks and was the former general manager of Hearst Castle. He was awarded the Drury Award for Professional Integrity and four Human Rights Awards. Hailing from San Luis Obispo County, where he currently resides, Sturm achieved a bachelor’s in recreation administration in 1981, later earning a master’s from CSU Northridge and a law degree from Ventura College of Law. Photo of: Kirk B. Sturm
Scott C. Syphax, CEO of Nehemiah Corp. Syphax earned his bachelor’s in business administration with an emphasis on real estate development and land use from Sac State in 1988. A native of Detroit, Syphax is a member of the University’s College of Business Administration Advisory Committee and has served as vice chairman of the Corporate Fund Board of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Photo of: Scott C. Syphax
Rosemary Baldi Younts, senior development officer for Mercy Foundation. Receiving her bachelor’s in family and consumer sciences in 1979, she now oversees fundraising efforts for the hospital’s charity efforts in the community. She was senior vice president and corporate officer for GenCorp Aerojet, also serving as the president of the company’s $50 million nonprofit foundation. She was listed among Who’s Who in American Women in 2001. Younts, born in Dallas, Texas, calls El Dorado Hills her home. Photo of: Rosemary Baldi Younts
Ann Weldy, emeritus English professor. Weldy, a 1968 alumna, will receive the Distinguished Faculty Award. Raised in Hinsdale, Ill., she is a novelist renowned for capturing the social history of the literary, and gay and lesbian communities in Greenwich Village in the 1950s and 1960s. She has lectured on topics in women’s literature and the pulp paperback industry, had her worked published nationally and internationally and has received numerous awards from the writing community. She served as an associate dean emerita at the University. Photo of: Ann Weldy
Dr. Sonney Chong will become an honorary alumnus at this event. A dental practitioner in south Sacramento for the past 20 years, Chong actively participates in organizations in the Sacramento area, including the University of California Medical Center’s Leadership Consul, the Sacramento Sheriff Community Advisory Board, and the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce. Chong, who grew up in San Francisco’s Chinatown, is chair of the Council of Asian Pacific Islanders Together of Advocacy and Leadership, an umbrella organization of 90 different organizations representing different Asian cultures and ethnicities. Photo of: Dr. Sonney Chong

Seats are $75 per person or $600 for tables of eight. Reservations can be made by calling (916) 278-6295 through April 5. For media assistance, contact public affairs at (916) 278-6156. Pictures of the awardees are available online at


California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 •
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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 •