Class Notes


Keir Dullea (attended ’55-’56) starred as Norman Thayer in Ernest Thompson’s “On Golden Pond” at the Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

Lee Budahl’s (M.A., ’59) trompe l’oeil (fool-the-eye) paintings were presented by the Wisconsin Union Directorate Art Committee at Union South-Gallery 1308 in Madison earlier this year.



Milton Bolzendahl (B.A., ’60) has published “Zeroes: Life and Debt: How the Government’s Books Are Cooked” through Fideli Publishing.

James O. “Jim” Clifford (B.A., ’62), a retired wire service reporter, writes the history column “The Rear View Mirror” for The San Mateo Daily Journal.

Gerald Haslam (B.A., ’63; M.A., ’65) and his wife, Janice E. Haslam (attended ’66), co-authored “Leon Patterson: A California Story” (Devil Mountain Books, ’14).

Dr. David Nolley (B.A., ’68) has retired his brain injury rehabilitation practice in Santa Clara after 41 years.

Glenn Schiffman’s (M.F.A., ’68) novel “The Way I Was Taught” (Roots & Wings Publishing, ’14) is a General Fiction finalist in the 2014 Eric Hoffer Book Awards.



Larry Gomberg (B.A., ’73), a proud grandfather, substitute teaches at Niles North High School in Skokie, Illinois. He retired from his role as deputy chief with the Cook County Adult Probation Department and is a former member of the Morton Grove Board of Trustees.

George Mason (B.A., ’70) and his wife, Salli Slaughter, record their interviews with writers and experts on deceased writers for their non-commercial website,

Linda Yee (B.A., ’73) won a Northern California Emmy Award in the category Continuing Coverage — Within 24 Hours for “KPIX 5 News at 11: Corruption Scandal.”

Jim Friedman (M.A., ’75) is the recipient of a 2015 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award in Photography. The award program provides grants to Ohio artists for the exceptional merit of a completed body of work.

Gail Pool (M.A., ’75) is the author of “Lost Among the Baining: Adventure, Marriage, and Other Fieldwork” (University of Missouri Press, ’15), a memoir about a life-changing trip to New Guinea.

Vince Rios (M.A., ’79) was elected president of the First Marine Division Association, a nonprofit organization with membership open to all Marines and Navy Corpsmen who served in or in support of the 1st Marine Division and to members of attached units.

Kim Thoman (M.A., ’79) is a mixed media 3D sculptor/painter whose work can be viewed at



Ken Bastida (B.A., ’80) won a Northern California Emmy Award in the category Continuing Coverage — Within 24 Hours for “KPIX 5 News at 11: Corruption Scandal.”

Tulare Country Free Library in Allensworth, California

© Robert Dawson/Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress

ROBERT DAWSON’s (M.A., ’81) personal collection of nearly 700 photographs of U.S. libraries taken during his travels across the country was purchased by The Library of Congress in October.

Bil Paul (B.A., ’81) has published “The Train Never Stops in Dixon” through Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

María Elena González (M.A., ’83), winner of the 30th Ljubljana Biennial, had a solo exhibition at Cankarjev Dom in Ljubljana, Slovenia, presented in conjunction with the 31st Biennial of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana.

Dennis Harbaugh’s (B.A., ’83) Education Promise Fund foundation, which guides male African-American students to high-school graduation and higher education, was named 2015 Iowa Organization of the Year by Character Counts Iowa.

Karen O’Kasey (B.A., ’83) of the Hart Wagner law firm was cited as one of the top 25 women lawyers in the 2015 issue of Oregon Super Lawyers magazine. The publication identifies the most outstanding attorneys in the state, as chosen by their peers and through the research of Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business.

Daniel Silva (attended ’84) has just released “The English Spy” (Harper, ’15), the 15th installment in his #1 New York Times bestselling series.

Jack Walsh’s (M.A., ’85) film “Feelings Are Facts: The Life of Yvonne Rainer” premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in February and showed in Frameline39: The San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival in June. In April he received a Guggenheim Fellowship in Filmmaking.

Colette Lafia (B.A., ’84) is the author of “Seeking Surrender: How My Friendship with a Trappist Monk Taught Me to Trust and Embrace Life” (Ave Maria Press, ’15).

John Castaldi (M.B.A., ’85) delivers training on presentation skills, customer service and management basics to small- and medium-sized businesses in Northern Nevada and the San Francisco Bay Area through his company, Castaldi & Associates.

Carol Siegel (M.A., ’87), professor of English and American studies at Washington State University Vancouver, is the author of “Sex Radical Cinema” (Indiana University Press, ’15).

Leza Lowitz (M.A., ’88) details her journey to motherhood in “Here Comes the Sun: A Journey to Adoption in 8 Chakras” (Stone Bridge Press, ’15).



Cal Orey (M.A., ’90), author of Kensington Publishing’s Healing Power series, has released the second edition of her book “The Healing Powers of Olive Oil: A Complete Guide to Nature’s Liquid Gold.”

Vicki Howard (M.A., ’91) is the author of “From Main Street to Mall: The Rise and Fall of the American Department Store” (University of Pennsylvania Press, ’15).

Stephen Meadows(M.A., ’91) poetry is featured in the new Tom Killion/Gary Snyder book “California’s Wild Edge” (Heyday Books, ’15).

Frances Stark (B.A., ’91) is the subject of the Hammer Museum’s “UH-OH: Frances Stark 1991-2015” exhibition in Los Angeles through January 24, 2016.

Howard Bryant (attended ’92), a senior writer for and ESPN The Magazine and the sports correspondent for National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition Saturday, has written “Legends: The Best Players, Games, and Teams in Baseball” and “Legends: The Best Players, Games, and Teams in Football” (Penguin Random House, ’15).

Walter Cambra (M.A., ’93) is a fellow of the online Hermetic Library.

Stephanie Anne Johnson (M.A., ’94) performed her one-woman show “Every 21 Days: Cancer, Yoga and Me” at the Marsh Theater in Berkeley as a benefit for the Women’s Cancer Resource Center.

Celeste Leon (M.S., ’96) is the author of “Luck is Just the Beginning” (Floricanto Press, ’15).

Mark Morewitz (M.S.W., ’96) has published “The Ponzi Princess,” the story of how he and his family and friends fell victim to a master manipulator, through CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Gretchen Coffman (M.A., ’98) traveled to Laos in January with support from National Geographic to document the critically endangered Chinese swamp cypress population that she discovered while working on a wetland restoration project in 2007.



Keith Carames (B.A., ’00) is an acting instructor at The American Conservatory Theater’s Young Conservatory and at James Lick Middle School.

Angela Garcia-Lopez (B.S., ’00) is the new audit partner in Grant Thornton LLP’s San Francisco practice.

Margot Eve Pepper (M.F.A., ’01) is the author of the memoir “Through The Wall: A Year in Havana” (AKPress, ’05), releasing in electronic book format next year.

Stephanie Perkins (attended ’01) is the New York Times bestselling author of “Isla and the Happily Ever After” (Speak, ’15).

Philip Cambe (B.S., ’04) is a partner in the Cambe Group, a Van Nuys-based aviation business.

Lisa Daniels (B.A., ’04) held the monthlong exhibit “We Also Served: African Americans in the Military” at the Brick House Gallery and Art Complex in Sacramento. In August, she received the 2015 Ann E. “Tunky” Riley Scholarship for Excellence in K-12 Education from Walden University.

Jose Antonio Vargas (B.A., ’04) is the founder and editor of #EmergingUS, a digital magazine partnership with the Los Angeles Times focused on race, immigration and identity in America.

Nathan Dreyfus (B.S., ’05) is the new Business Advisory Services principal at Grant Thornton LLP’s San Francisco practice.

Captain Kenny Loui (B.A., ’05; M.A., ’08) was awarded the President’s Award for Exceptional Teaching and the Civil Air Patrol’s Achievement Award at the Catholic University of Daegu where he teaches in the Department of Police Administration.

Brendan Couvreux doing stunt with ropes

NBC TV’s American Ninja Warrior

BRENDAN COUVREUX (B.S., ’06), a Colorado firefighter, was a top three finisher in the “American Ninja Warrior” Kansas City competition earlier this year and went on to the NBC TV show’s national competition.

Stephen Gillett (M.B.A., ’06) has been named an executive-in-residence at Google Ventures.

Lany Pfeifer, CPA (M.B.A., ’06), a senior accountant with Barron, Yanaros & Caruso, P.C. in Wethersfield, Connecticut, has been appointed to the Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants Advisory Council.

Tanu Wakefield (M.F.A., ’06) is Belmont, California’s first poet laureate.

Natasha Chandiramani (B.S., ’07) is a Ph.D. candidate at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the recipient of the 2015 American Association for Cancer Research — Women in Cancer Research Scholar Award.

Berenice Diaz (B.S., ’08) is owner and designer at Sweet 1985 Jewelry. Her handmade jewels have been featured in Vogue, GQ and Elle. Her newest collection is available at

Jodie Vandergriff (M.S., ’08), WebDAM co-founder and CEO, received a Silver Stevie® “Woman of the Year” Award in the 12th Annual International Business Awards and was recognized as Outstanding Entrepreneur of 2015 by the National Association for Female Executives.



James Lee Jeffreys (B.A., ’10; M.A., ’11), an adjunct lecturer in SF State’s International Relations Department, co-authored the article “Entry Point: Accessing Indigenous Identity During Complex Operations” (Taylor & Francis, Special Operations Journal, ’15). He works as a private security contractor in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Myriah Johnson (B.A., ’10), an executive producer for the Comcast Hometown Network, oversees “Upside,” a television program focused on positive news.

Sara Donchey (B.A., ’12) is an anchor and reporter at KPRC Channel 2 in Houston.

Kendall Fisher (B.A., ’14) is attending the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law.

Alexander Lee (B.A., ’14) won a Fulbright Fellowship to Taiwan for the 2015-16 grant year.

Daniela Festa (B.A., ’14) wrote and directed “Blur,” a film focused on a runner who struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder after participating in the 2013 Boston Marathon.

Vincent Graham (B.A., ’15) produced the film, which was accepted into the 2015 Cannes Short Film Corner.


True to Their School

Luis family on the beach

Image courtesy of the Luis family

Not only are the Luis family’s matriarch and patriarch, Eleanor (B.A., ’81) and Monico (B.A., ’77), SF State alums, so are all three of their sons — Joachim (B.A., ’01; B.A., ’07), Paulo (B.A., ’02) and Valentino (B.S., ’03). Perhaps it was destiny that the Luis lads would come to SF State: Eleanor has worked for the school since 1972 and started bringing the boys to campus when they were still babies. “They grew up at San Francisco State,” says Eleanor, who has spent most of her time at the University working for the College of Ethnic Studies. “When my first son was born, sometimes he’d be in a little baby seat on a table in back of me. The faculty used to call him ‘the little revolutionary.’” Now a whole new generation of Luises are carrying on the tradition. Eleanor’s nephew is a junior and her grandniece started as a freshman in the fall. “I have three grandkids,” Eleanor says, “and we always joke, ‘Gee, I wonder where they’re going to go?’”


In Memoriam

Alice Lombardi (A.B., ’60)
Dec. 17, 2014, Daly City

Marian Roberta Morales (B.A.,’73; M.A.,’81)
Sept. 6, 2015, Kalama, Washington

Charlotte Flanner Reiss (M.A., ’73)
Aug. 31, 2015, Visalia, California


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