Class Notes

Sharon Mcnight

Sharon McNight (B.A, ’68; M.A., ’70)

Sharon Mcnight

James Friedman (M.A., ’75)

Sharon Mcnight

Wayne Wallace (attended, ’73)


Jeffrey Tambor(B.A., ’65), was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in the category “Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series — Musical or Comedy” for his work on the Amazon Prime series “Transparent.”

Floyd Salas(B.A., ’63; M.A. 65) published his ninth print book, Highrunning Heart: Poems (Local Gems Poetry Press, ’15). Salas was the 2002–2003 Regent’s Lecturer at UC Berkeley, and his works are archived in the Floyd Salas Collection of the Bancroft Library at that university. His website is

Emiko Omori(B.A., ’66; M.A., ’67) an Emmy Award-winning Bay Area filmmaker, was the subject of a retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, which screened several of her films. In addition, San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum marked the 75th anniversary of the incarceration of Japanese American citizens during World War II with a screening of Omori’s “video elegy” on the subject, “When Rabbit Left the Moon.”

Sharon McNight(B.A., ’68; M.A., ’70) portrayed vaudeville legend Sofie Tucker in a one-woman show, "Re Hot Mama," at the Cinnabar Theater in Petaluma. McNight (Pictured above in character) is a Tony nominee who made her Boardway debut in 1989.


Libby Balter Blume(M.A., ’73) was awarded fellow status by the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR). Fellow status in NCFR is an honor awarded to 3 percent or fewer members of NCFR who have made outstanding and enduring contributions to the family field in scholarship, teaching, outreach or professional service.

Wayne Wallace(attended, ’73) an accomplished trombonist, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album for his collaboration with percussionist Michael Spiro, Canto América.

Dennis Kip Herren(B.A., ’74; M.A., ’76) a wrestling coach and educator, has been inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

James Friedman(M.A.,’75) exhibited his photography at the Addis Foto Fest in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in December 2016. Friedman was one of six photographers from the Americas included in the exhibition. Friedman’s online photo series documenting the impact of his mother’s decades-long smoking habit, “1,029,398 Cigarettes,” was featured on the Huffington Post.

Deborah Gale Tirico(B.A., ’76), needle artist, designer, instructor and author, celebrated the release of her second book, A New Dimension in Wool Appliqué: Baltimore Style (C&T Publishing, ’17).

Learn more at

Ken White(M.A., ’76), published his first children’s book, That Happiness Thing: A Hometown Fable (White & Wilkinson, 2016), a Christmas story that takes place in 1958 Modesto. His stage play MigrantMother, about the origin of one of photographer Dorothea Lange’s most-famous pictures, was staged by the Prospect Theater Project in January 2017. 

Janette Pell(B.A., ’79) has been appointed as the new director of the Santa Barbara County General Services Department.


Annette Bening(B.A., ’80) was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in the category “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy” for her performance in the film 20th Century Women. Bening was also given a career achievement award at a Palm Springs film gala.

Mai Masri's(B.A., ’80) film 3,000 Nights (pictured on the opposite page) was the nation of Jordan’s official entry in the Academy Awards’ Best Foreign Language Film category.

Jake Sloan(M.A., ’80) has published a memoir, Standing tall: Willie Long and the Mare Island Original 21ers: A Legacy of Courage, Activism ad Social Justice. The book explores his experiences as a young man in Vallejo’s Mare Island shipyard and the struggles at that time against discrimination against African Americans.

Maria Elena Gonzalez(M.A., ’83) opened a multimedia show exploring the language of trees at the Hirschl & Adler Modern galleries in New York City. 

John Castaldi(M.B.A., ’85) is a writer’s assistant on the ABC series “Quantico” and scripted an episode titled “JMPALM” for the show. Previously, he co-wrote the episode “Care.” Castaldi lives in Reno, where he works as an independent workshop facilitator. He focuses on management and communication skills and has conducted training in more than eight countries. 

Daniel Cohen(M.A., ’85), a longtime Disney executive, is now the president of worldwide television licensing for Paramount Pictures.

Andrew Greenwood(B.S., ’85) was promoted from acting to permanent chief of police by the Berkeley City Council in April.

Vincent Matthews(B.A., ’85; M.A., '89) was named superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District in March.

Mahyar Amouzegar(B.S., ’86) is the new provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of New Orleans. 

Alexandra Haslam Russell(B.A., ’88) has been named editor-in-chief of Spirited, a new national trade publication for the craft beverage industry. She was previously editor-in-chief of North Bay Biz.

Jill Ruzicka(B.S., ’88) is now the executive director of the Lake County Winery Association.

Bruce Borowsky(B.S., ’88) has launched a new company, CodeCraft School of Technology, which offers intensive learning bootcamps in a variety of in-demand technologies.

Mai Masri

Mai Masri (B.A, '80)

Students gathered in front of Cesar Chavez Student Center to Mourn for Michela Angelina Gregory

Dozens gather to mourn loss of SF State student Michela Angelina Gregory in a massive warehouse fire in Oakland.


Cauleen Smith(B.A., ’91) exhibited her artwork at the 2017 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.

Jennifer A. Dunne(M.S., ’94) was elected as a fellow of the Ecological Society of America. Dunne is professor and vice president for science at the Santa Fe Institute, a nonprofit theoretical research institute. 

Deanna K. Iverson(M.S., ’94) received the 2016 Cytotechnologist Award for Outstanding Achievement during the 64th annual American Society of Cytology Scientific Meeting in New Orleans.

Arlen Grad Gaines(B.A.,’55; M.A.,’61) co-authored I Have a Question about Death: A Book for Children with Autism Disorder or Other Special Needs (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, ’17). The first-of-its-kind book uses straightforward text and images to walk children through what it means when someone dies.


Pamela Conklin(M.A., ’00) was named interim superintendent of the Travis School District in Fairfield, California. Conklin is a longtime educator and has served as the interim human resources officer for Travis Unified.

Nada Elattar(B.S., ’00) helps to run a program that is one of the eight finalists for a $100 million MacArthur Foundation grant. Elattar is the director of global social impact and philanthopy at the Sesame Workshop. The Sesame Workshop (in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee) hopes to use the grant to develop media for refugee children, addressing both their educational needs and the psychological problems caused by displacement and trauma.

Mark Coleman(M.A., ’00) published his second book, Make Peace with Your Mind: How Mindfulness and Compassion Can Free You from Your Inner Critic (New World Library, ’16). Coleman teaches meditation in the Bay Area.

Jackie Jenks(BSW, ’02) is the new executive director for the nonprofit Inter-Faith Council for Social Service in Carrboro, North Carolina.

Luke Asa Guidici(B.A.,’03) has published the ebook Found in Kitsap, an anthology of photos found in over 75 donated cameras, each accompanied by its own short story or poem. The book explores a day in the life of the residents of Kitsap County, a small, working-class community in Western Washington.

Juslyn Manalo(B.A.,’03; MPA, ’14) won a seat on the city council for Daly City.

Cody Sisco(B.A., ’03) co-authored is the author of Tortured Echoes (Resonant Earth Publishing, ’17), the second novel in his cyberpunk alternative history series.

Emily Cavanagh(M.A., ’05) just released her first novel, The Bloom Girls (Lake Union Publishing, ’17).

Peter Sinn Nachtrieb(MFA, ’05) is a San Francisco-based playwright whose play “boom” kicked off the Tribal Theatre Group’s 2017-18 season in Atlanta.

Nataca Pavlov(B.A., ’08) has published her latest book, the historical novel Nicola’s Leg. It can be purchased from Pavlov’s website,

Johnathan Templin Ritter(B.A., ’08; M.A., ’12) is the author of Stilwell and Mountbatten in Burma: Allies at War, 1943-1944 (University of North Texas Press, ’17), which explores the relationship between an American general and British Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten. The book grew out of Ritter’s master’s thesis.


Rachel Nilson(B.A., ’11) received the highest award from Hillel International, the Richard M. Joel Exemplar of Excellence, at the recent Hillel International Global Assembly in Orlando, Florida. Nilson is the assistant director of San Francisco Hillel, where she’s worked ever since she graduated from SF State.

Carissa Purnell(Ph.D., ’13) was sworn in as a member of the Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System board of directors.

Tanya Rebelo(B.A., ’13) has opened an online clothing boutique, Harper + Lange, that specializes in vegan and cruelty-free clothing for women.

Javier Galvan(B.S., ’15) was selected to receive a 2017 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. The $90,000, merit-based fellowship is awarded to immigrants and children of immigrants pursuing graduate studies in the U.S.

Mary E. Streshly(EDD, ’15) is the new superintendent of the Sequoia Union High School District.

In Memoriam

Michael Bishop(B.A., ’70; M.A., ’71)
September 20, 2016

Pauline Oliveros(B.A., ’57)
November 24, 2016
Kingston, New York

Michela Angelina Gregory(third-year student)
December 2, 2016

Jennifer Mendiola(B.A., ’03)
December 2, 2016

Donna Kellogg(B.A., ’10)
December 2, 2016

Harriet Miller(B.A., ’02)
December 29, 2016
Vancouver, Washington

Joel Harold Springer III(B.A., ’71; M.A., ’79)
January 1, 2017
San Andreas

Gary Austin(EDD, ’15)
April 1, 2017
Los Angeles

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