Class Notes


Daniel Halpern (attended ’63-’64), the founding editor of independent press Ecco, received the Maxwell E. Perkins Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Field of Fiction from the Center for Fiction.

Gerald Haslam (B.A., ’63; M.A., ’65) won the “Legacy Fiction” Eric Hoffer Award from the US Review of Books for his novel “Grace Period” (University of Nevada Press, ’06).

Don Skiles(B.A., ’65; M.A. ,’67) novel “Football” (Pelekinesis, ’14) tells the coming of age story of Larry Simmons, an athlete in 1950s small town America.

James McLaughlin (M.A., ’67) is president of the Diagnostic Microbiology Development Program and professor emeritus in the University of New Mexico School of Medicine’s Department of Pathology.



Dan Wick (B.A., ’70; M.A., ’72) is the author of “Jesus, the God Within: Foundations of a Forgotten Faith” (EditPros, ’16).

Jeff Craemer (B.A., ’72) founded the San Quentin Museum.

Jeff Kingery (B.A., ’73) directed and produced “Table 47,” a film noir by Double Play Films.

Larry Vuckovich (B.A., ’75) performed a tribute to legendary Bay Area pianist and former teacher Vince Guaraldi (attended ’48) at the 700-seat Miner Auditorium in the SFJAZZ Center.

Kip Herren (B.A., ’74; M.A.,’76), superintendent of the Auburn School District, was selected as the 2015 Washington State Superintendent of the Year.

Photo of survivor reunion at nazi concentration camp by James Friedman

Survivor of three Nazi concentration camps, survivors’ reunion, Majdanek concentration camp, near Lublin, Poland, 1983, from “12 Nazi Concentration Camps”. C James Friedman

Jim Friedman (M.A., ’75) will have a solo exhibition of 30 dye transfer color photographs from his project “12 Nazi Concentration Camps” at the Skirball Museum as part of FotoFocus Biennial 2016 in Cincinnati in October. He posts examples of his work at

Patricia C. Girardi (B.A., ’75; M.A., ’06) won the 2015 Multiplier of the Year Award in Education sponsored by The Wiseman Group.

Lily Iona MacKenzie (B.A., ’76; M.A., ’84; M.A., ’93) is the author of the novels “Fling!” (Pen-L Publishing, ’15) and “Bone Songs” (Regal House Publishing, ’16). She blogs at

Benjamin Pressley Walker (M.A.,’76) authored “Children at the Gate” (Jamin Press, ’15), a novel set in San Francisco during the 1970s and 1980s that features characters who are SF State students. He received his M.A. in creative writing.

Jaye Van Kirk (B.A., ’77), a professor of psychology at San Diego Mesa College, studied coral reef ecology and the conservation of marine systems along the Great Barrier Reef last summer as part of a graduate course in pursuit of her master’s degree from Miami University’s Advanced Inquiry Program.

Bill Lee (B.A., ’78) has self-published his third memoir, “Born-Again Buddhist: My Path to Living Mindfully and Compassionately with Mood Disorders.”

Timothy Houghton (M.A., ’79) had his sixth collection of poems, “The Internal Distance: Selected Poems 1989-2012” (Mimesis Edizioni, ’15), published as a bilingual (English/Italian) edition.

Anne K. Ross (attended ’79-’81), award-winning writer and school psychologist, is the author of “Beyond Rain Man: What One Psychologist Learned Raising a Son on the Autism Spectrum” (Leatherback Press, ’16).



Sonia M. Najjar (B.A., ’80; M.S., ’82) has joined the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine as associate dean for research and innovation.

Stacey Redman (B.A., ’80) was recently awarded the prestigious Jefferson Award in recognition for her work in creating the Tim Griffith Foundation that offers support and services to Bay Area residents affected by addiction, violence and loss.

Chaz Austin (M.A., ’81) launched his first course titled “Creating a Career Plan,” which he describes as a guide to navigating the 21st-century workplace, particularly for freelancers.

Armin A. Brott (B.A., ’81) is the author of “The Expectant and First Year Father: The New Father Series” (Abbeville Press, ’15).

Chata Mural in the Mission District

Chata Mural in the Mission District. Courtesy of Paul Lyons.

Mike Mosher (M.F.A. ,’83), professor of art/communication media administration at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan, delivered a TEDx talk on “The Three C’s of Design.”

Lee Bruno (B.S., ’84) is the author of “Panorama: Tales from San Francisco’s 1915 Pan-Pacific International Exposition” (Cameron+Company, ’14).

Lana K. Wilson-Combs (B.A., ’84) runs the website, provides movie reviews for Sacramento radio station 1530 KFBK AM and 93.1 FM and writes celebrity features for The Sacramento Observer.

Annette A. Aguilar (B.A., ’85), a multi- percussionist, bandleader, recording artist and producer who has shared the stage with Stevie Wonder, The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane, was featured prominently in the Chata Mural in San Francisco’s Mission District.

Marianne Rogoff (M.A.,’85) has published a story collection, “Love Is Blind in One Eye” (Shebooks Publishing, ’16).

Madelines from Sugar Bowl Bakery

Courtesy of Sugar Bowl Bakery.

Allen Biggs (B.A., ’86), the principal percussionist for the Santa Rosa Symphony for 25 years, performed in “Amélie” at the Berkeley Repertory Theater, “Wicked” at the SHN Orpheum Theatre and regularly with the Oakland and California symphonies.

Celia Esposito-Noy (B.A., ’86) has been appointed superintendent-president for the Solano Community College District.

Andrew Ly (B.S., ’86), CEO of Sugar Bowl Bakery, debuted a twist on the classic madeleine at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, introducing new flavors: lemon, orange, pumpkin spice and tuxedo (half chocolate). Ly’s products are sold nationwide through retailers including Walmart and Costco.

Alexandra Haslam Russell (B.A., ’88) has been appointed editor-in-chief of NorthBay biz magazine, which covers business news in Napa, Sonoma and Marin.

Suzun Lucia Lamaina (M.A, ’89) is the author of “Revolutionary Grain: Celebrating the Spirit of the Black Panther Party in Portraits and Stories,” published in 2016.



Judith S. Girardi (B.A., ’90) received her Ph.D. in Victorian literature from Claremont Graduate University.

Joel Mier (B.A., ’90) earned his doctorate in business administration from Georgia State University and will join the faculty of the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business as a lecturer in marketing in the fall. He is also vice president of marketing for Contactually, a relationship-marketing platform based in Washington, D.C.

September Jarrett (B.A., ’91) was appointed and sworn in by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee to the newly formed Office of Early Care and Education Citizens’ Advisory Committee.

Daniel Bacon (B.A., ’92) founded the Barbary Coast Trail, San Francisco’s official historical walking trail, connecting 20 of the city’s most important historic sites.

Patty Somlo (M.A., ’92) is the author of “The First to Disappear” (Spuyten Duyvil Press, ’16), a finalist in the Fiction: Short Story category for the 2016 International Book Awards.

Josie Iselin’s (M.F.A., ’94) artwork is newly featured at three medical buildings: UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, Kaiser in Mission Bay and San Francisco General.

Kirby M. Wright’s (M.F.A., ’94) play “Houdini” was selected by The Secret Theatre for its 2016 One Act Festival in New York. He’s currently writing a memoir set in Hawaii.

Joey Quenga (B.A., ’96) is the owner and program director for Island Block Radio, the first radio station in Hollywood focused on the Pacific Islander community.

Debra Busman (Cred., ’97), director of the Creative Writing and Social Action Program and an associate professor at California State University, Monterey Bay, is the author of the novel “Like a Woman” (Dzanc Books, ’15).

Tracey Hawkins (B.A., ’95) is the owner of Hawk and Horse Vineyards in Lower Lake, California.

Tony Press (Cred., ’98) is author of “Crossing the Lines” (Big Table Publishing, ’16).

James Terry (M.F.A., ’98) is the author of “Kingdom of the Sun: Stories” (University of New Mexico Press, ’16).

Lucille Lang Day (M.A., ’99; M.F.A., ’04) is the author of two new poetry collections: “Becoming an Ancestor” (Cervená Barva Press, ’15) and “Dreaming of Sunflowers: Museum Poems” (Blue Light Press, ’15).

Jody M. Skenderian (M.A., ’99) has been appointed chief development officer for Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast.



Adam Bauer (B.A., ’01) has been named the CEO of Fieldman, Rolapp and Associates, a municipal advisory firm that provides advice and services to public agencies.

Uzo Amaka (B.A., ’03), the owner of Epitome Real Estate Investments and a utilization manager registered nurse for the state, self-published the book “Ages of Suffocation: Remembered Dreams” in 2015.

Meerenai Shim (M.A., ’05) recently released her third solo album, “Pheromone.” The electroacoustic album marks a debut release on Aerocade Music, her own label specializing in contemporary classical, electronic and experimental music.

Lygia Stebbing (M.A., ’06; Ed.D., ’12) was appointed and sworn in by Mayor Ed Lee to the newly formed Office of Early Care and Education Citizens’ Advisory Committee.

Andrea Urqueta Alfaro (M.A., ’06) was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from India for research in the Envision Research Institute based in Wichita, Kansas.

Andrea Alban (B.A., ’08) is the author of the 2011 fact-based novel “Anya’s War,” which was recently released in paperback (MacMillan, ’16). As the founder of Writer’s Tribe, she offers writing workshops and retreats. Her website is



Mary Franck (B.A., ’10) exhibited her work in “NEAT: New Experiments in Art and Technology” at the SF Jewish Museum. The show ran from October 2015 to mid-January.

Hilary Kaplan (M.F.A., ’10) made the 2016 PEN Literary Awards shortlist for her work translating “Rilke Shake” by Angélica Freitas (Phoneme Media, ’15).

Liz Subauste (B.A., ’10) is a San Francisco restaurant consultant.

Marilyn Thomas (B.A., ’10) entered the Ph.D. program in social epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley, where she plans to research social determinations, especially the effects of racial discrimination, on health outcomes of African American women.

Yohana Quiroz (B.A., ’14) was appointed and sworn in by Mayor Ed Lee to the newly formed Office of Early Care and Education Citizens’ Advisory Committee.

Colin Stevenson (B.S., ’14) is the co-founder of, a Chile-based translation and localization service committed to English, Portuguese and Spanish.

Phillip Barron (M.F.A., ’15) has a new award- winning book of poetry titled “What Comes from a Thing” (Fourteen Hills Press, ’15).


New Additions

Elizabeth Li Watts (M.P.H., ’12) and Brian Watts are the proud parents of Justine Li Watts, born Nov. 23, 2015.


In Memoriam

Rosanne Maria Johnson (B.A., ’95)
March 17, 2015, Oakland

Clara Joyce Whiddon Bergtholdt (A.B., ’56)
March 25, 2015, Springville, California


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