These leaders have made their marks – while staying connected

University Communications Staff

These Sacramento State graduates were honored with Distinguished Alumni Awards during a September gala. You can read more about each person at SacStateAlumni.com/DAA.

Jackie Morris-Henderson, 1962-2019

Longtime staff stalwart’s impact will be lasting


Scholarship Fund Steward, California State University, Sacramento; Founder, Black Alumni Chapter Sac State graduation/degree: 1987 (Business Administration/HR), 1992 (Communication Studies)

During her long career at Sacramento State, Jackie Morris-Henderson '87 (Business Administration), '92 (Communications Studies) displayed an energetic persona and time and again showed a singular ability to work across organizational boundaries and carry out leadership roles that helped define the University. 

In recognition of her achievements, Morris-Henderson, whose Aug. 26 death at age 56 shook the University community, was honored as one of Sac State's 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients during the annual DAA dinner in September. 

In his note to students, faculty, and staff following Morris-Henderson's death, Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen wrote, “My heart is broken.” 

In her more than 30 years with the University and beginning as a student employee, Morris-Henderson was a highly visible presence representing varied Sacramento State offices at functions ranging from fundraisers to Commencement to tailgate gatherings. 

One of her lasting legacies was establishment of the Sacramento State Alumni Association’s Black Alumni Chapter (BAC), which she founded in 2007. She also served four years as its president. BAC provides holistic support for the University’s black students through scholarships and social events such as the annual Black Student Welcome and the Soul Food Supper. 

Morris-Henderson began her tenure at Sacramento State as a student employee before graduating in 1987 with a bachelor of science in Business Administration. She subsequently earned a bachelor of arts in Communication Studies in 1992. She completed her master of science in Human Resources and Organizational Development in 1999 at the University of San Francisco. 

She worked in several departments across campus, including Admissions and Records, Financial Aid, Outreach and Retention, and University Advancement. Her Advancement tenure began in University Development, and she later moved to oversee the stewardship of scholarship funds. She was passionate about the opportunities created by scholarships and their role in supporting students. She displayed pride and love for her work. 

As an energetic member of the greater Sacramento community, Morris-Henderson served with numerous groups and committees to better people’s lives. Her associations included: the Cultural Advisory Council for the California State Fair; the California State Fair Scholarship Committee; the Graduate Diversity Scholarship Committee; the Project Rebound Program Committee; the National Association of Professional Women; the Honors Program Scholarship Committee; the BAC; the Martin Luther King Jr. Center Task Force; the Campus Educational Equity Committee; and the Cooper Woodson College Campus Graduation/ Celebration Committee. 

“We will remember her for her boisterous laughter, ever-present smile, vivacious spirit, and relentless commitment to our students and alumni,” Nelsen wrote in his note to the University community. “She brought joy to everything she was involved in. Her work at Sacramento State will stand as a testament to her love for this University.” 

A campus-wide celebration of Morris-Henderson's life was held on Sept. 5, and the BAC has renamed its main scholarship the Jackie Morris-Henderson Scholarship. 

Contributions can be made online – csus.edu/give – and also by check. 

For online contributions, please designate Scholarships and Student Programs, and for the account, choose Jackie Morris-Henderson Scholarship. 

Check donations may be made payable to University Foundation at Sacramento State and sent to Sacramento State Development, Attn: JMH Scholarship, 6000 J Street, MS 6030, Sacramento, CA 95819. 


Director of Outreach and Business Engagement, Align Capital Region 

Sac State graduation/degree: 1993, Business Administration; 2012, EMBA 

Career highlights: Certified leadership and career coach whose expertise is helping to build and manage relationships among people in business, education, and community organizations to help them achieve common goals. Align Capital serves eight counties, as well as businesses, elementary schools, community colleges and universities, and community organizations in the Sacramento area and beyond. Align’s primary initiative is Project Attain, spearheaded by Jenni Murphy, dean of the College of Continuing Education at Sacramento State. 

What it means to Saori Choulos: “It’s such a privilege to be recognized for work that is the culmination of so many people.” 

Director of California Pre-Doctoral Program, CSU Chancellor’s Office 

Sac State graduation/degree: 1982, Recreation Administration 

Career highlights: Her work supports economically and educationally disadvantaged CSU students. Previously was a professor of Recreation and Leisure Studies at CSU Long Beach. Professional achievements include developing Stanislaus County’s first activity-therapy professional certificate program and co-founding an Alzheimer’s daycare center in Modesto. 

What it means to Maridith Curfman- Janssen: “This brings about a closing of the loop for me, from my education at Sacramento State to sharing my knowledge and now giving back to the campus.” 

President of PRIDE Industries 

Sac State graduation/degree: 1998, Business Administration 

Career highlights: Worked at Oracle, Ernst & Young, and Arthur Andersen before joining the nonprofit PRIDE in 2008. Rose to vice president of finance in 2014, and two years later became the company’s chief financial officer. Now manages the company’s operations, finance, human resources, information technology, sales and marketing, and rehabilitation departments. PRIDE works in partnership with communities across the nation to hire, train, and employ people with disabilities and is one of the largest employers of its kind in the country. 

What it means to Jeff Dern: “Sac State has prepared me for a challenging and rewarding career path. I am proud to represent Sac State as a recipient of this award.” 

Co-founder, senior partner, Allworth Financial (formerly Hanson McClain Advisors) 

Sac State graduation/degree: 1988, Business Administration/ Marketing 

Career highlights: Allworth Financial, Advisors, which Hanson founded with longtime business partner Scott Hanson in 1993, administers more than $3.8 billion in assets, serving families in the West Coast and Midwest. In 2004, the pair also founded Liberty Reverse Mortgage, which now is the nation’s third-largest reverse mortgage company. Since 1995 they have hosted Money Matters, one of the nation’s longest-running financial topic radio programs. 

What it means to Patrick McClain: “Not a day goes by that I don’t use some aspect of something I learned in college.” 

Sacramento State assistant professor of School Psychology 

Sac State graduation/degree: 2006, M.A. Education (School Psychology) 

Career highlights: Sacramento State assistant professor of School Psychology and widely published expert on school climate and school mental health. Earned her doctorate and worked as a school psychologist and private sector research associate before returning to Sacramento State in 2016 as a faculty member. Trains the next generation of educators through her graduate courses and her work with the Center for Counseling and Diagnostic Services. 

What it means to Meagan O’Malley: “Ultimately, we have a commitment to improving service for all young people in Sacramento, not just the young people we serve.”

Retired attorney/coach 

Sac State graduation/degree: 1965, Physical Education 

Retired educator

Sac State graduation/degree: 1966, 1999, Recreation Administration 

Career highlights: When Judy retired from teaching at Sac State, the College of Health & Human Services established a community recreation scholarship in her name. Gary coached Hornet football and was an attorney with the firm Quattrin, Johnson, Campora & England. They created an endowment for student-athletes and fifth-year seniors who suffered a career-ending injury. 

What it means to Judy Quattrin: “I’m honored to share the Lifetime Achievement Award with my husband, Gary. It’s humbling to be in such an outstanding group of alumni.” 



News and Communications Staff


Sacramento State’s News and Communications team writes and shares stories about the University, its students, faculty, and alumni, revealing the accomplishments, achievements and milestones that characterize its standing as an educational leader and an important community center. The department’s writers, editors and public relations personnel look across the broad spectrum of the campus and the people who thrive here to support the University’s mission.