Class Notes


Edward Vonder Porten (B.A.,’55;M.A.,’61), president of the Drake Navigators Guild, helped establish Drakes Bay Historic and Archaeological District as a National Historic Landmark in 2012.

Dalt Williams (B.A., ’59) is a founding member, outreach coordinator and vice chairman of the Vallejo Jazz Society and also performs with his jazz quintet in the Bay Area.


Anne Rice (B.A., ’64; M.A., ’72) has added another novel, Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis (Knopf, ’16), to her popular, long-running vampire saga.

Michael Cooper (B.A., ’65) has been named one of the 2016 Northern California Super Lawyers specializing in bankruptcy and creditor and debtor rights. He’s received the honor every year since the inaugural list in 2004.

George Marcus (B.A., ’65), founder of Marcus & Millichap Inc., has been named one of the 2016 Bay Area Most-Admired CEOs by The San Francisco Business Times..


An accordion representing Sheri F. Crawford's music


Sheri F. Crawford (B.A.,’70),who plays accordion in a mandolin ensemble, recorded “Sunset in Capri” composed by the late Rudy Cipolla. It will be heard in a restaurant scene in the British romantic comedy Their Finest.

Isabell VanMerlin (M.A., ’70) has published Turkish Oddyssey, a “modern epic poem” about three summers she spent working on the archaeological excavation of a Greek city on the Aegean Sea.

Gregory Wood (M.A., ’73), owner of Forest Books in San Francisco’s Japantown, leads seated meditation classes centered on Zen Buddhism.

Frank Zamacona (B.A., ’74) was the freelance resident director of HD productions for the San Francisco Opera and filmed spring performances of Don Carlo, Jenufa and Carmen.

Virginia Palmer (B.A., ’75) has been named one of the 2016 Northern California Super Lawyers, an honor she’s received annually since the inaugural list in 2004. She specializes in estate planning and probate.

Meredith B. Smith (Cred., ’75), former schoolteacher and doctor in clinical psychology, will retire from the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in December.

Kim Venaas (B.M., ’75) is the music director and conductor of the California Pops Orchestra based in Palo Alto.

Steve Cohn (attended ’75-’77), a pianist, has released a new album, Anspruchsvoll (2016).

Patricia Ravitz (B.A., ’76; M.A., ’77), a licensed marriage and family therapist, in June became president for the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, representing approximately 30,000 members.

Camille Cusumano (M.A., ’77) recently published her latest memoir, Wilderness Begins at Home: Travels With My Big Sicilian Family (Centanni Publications, ’16).

William Seigh (B.A., ’77) has been appointed interim provost at Keene State College in New Hampshire.

Greg Cosko (attended ’78), president and CEO of Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Co., has been named one of the 2016 Bay Area Most-Admired CEOs by The San Francisco Business Times.


Richard Arbib and Anne Rice in 1982

In 1982, then-creative writing student Richard Arbib crossed paths with Anne Rice, the wife of his advisor, Professor Stan Rice, in the library. Arbib and Rice each have a new book out.

Gregg Coffey (M.A.,’81) participated in a joint exhibition of prints and paintings at the Jeffrey R. Krull Gallery at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His recent work is mixed media on paper, combining influences of Asian art, world mythology, quantum physics and Celtic heritage.

David Massola (B.A., ’81) is the new chief financial officer and vice president of financing at mining project developer Fortune Minerals.

Richard Arbib (B.A., ’82; M.A., ’89) is the author of The Vampire Girl in London (BookBaby, ’16), a sequel to his 2012 novel The Vampire Girl Next Door (Highgate Books, ’12). The series has its own website:

Anthony Baxter (B.A., ’82) is the author of From Prisoner to PhD: Reflections on My Pathway to Desistance from Crime and Addiction (Xlibris, ’16).

Anne Shaffer

ANNE SHAFFER (B.S., ’82; M.A., ’86).

Anne Shaffer (B.S., ’82; M.A., ’86) leads the Coastal Watershed Institute, an environmental nonprofit based in northwest Washington. In June, National Geographic highlighted her team’s work related to the largest dam removal project in U.S. history. She is also a Ph.D. candidate in the biology department at the University of Victoria.

Al Barraza (M.A., ’83) founded a marketing strategy firm, insightfulAct, specializing in helping high-tech and financial services companies connect with Hispanic customers.

Karen O’Kasey (B.A., ’83) won the 2017 Lawyer of the Year award for Legal Malpractice Law and is listed in three categories in the 2017 edition of The Best Lawyers in America..

Dan Brenny (B.S., ’84), agency sales manager for Colgate Palmolive Co., retired in 2015 after 29 years of service.

Clarice Turner (B.A., ’85; M.B.A., ’90) has been appointed CEO of Boudin SF, a restaurant group operating 28 locations statewide that stemmed off from the larger company Boudin Bakery.

Kenneth Kim (M.A., ’86) is the author of “The Superhero Memoirs” (Zharmae, ’15).


Cover of book "The Healing Powers of Olive Oil" by Cal Orey

CAL OREY (M.A., ’90) .

Cal Orey (M.A., ’90) will release the third edition of The Healing Powers of Olive Oil (Kensington, ’16), the first book from the Healing Powers Series that has sold nearly 25,000 copies. Other topics explored in the series include chocolate, coffee, honey, vinegar and, soon, tea.

Walter C. Cambra (M.A., ’93) published an article in Today’s Astrologer entitled “Madam President.”

Paul T. Miller (B.A., ’93), the author of The Postwar Struggle for Civil Rights: African Americans in San Francisco, 1945-1975(Routledge,’13),currently works for the Academy of Art University.

Tory Belleci (B.A., ’95), previously of the Mythbusters series, co-stars in a new Netflix series, White Rabbit Project, premiering in December.

Mark Salinas (B.A., ’97; M.A., ’99), serving since 2010, has been re-elected as a Hayward City Council member.

Kari Byron (B.A., ’98), previously of the MythBusters series, co-stars in a new Netflix series, White Rabbit Project, premiering in December.

Mark Halvorson (B.A., ’98) of Brentwood, California, served as a volunteer Greco-Roman coach for the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Rosanne Lurie (M.S., ’98), senior associate director of Career Services at the University of Pennsylvania, is working on the fifth edition of The Academic Job Search Handbook (University of Pennsylvania Press, ’16), co-authored by Julia Miller Vick and Jennifer S. Furlong.

Sara Hannah (B.A., ’99), childcare provider executive, won The Star’s 14th annual Hardest Worker in Ventura County contest.


Cover of book "The Reader" by Traci Chee

TRACI CHEE (M.A., ’09) .

Peter Bratti (M.A., ’03) is CEO of startup company, which helps prepare workers for what he calls “the drone economy” by offering classes for beginners to those looking for commercial Elizabeth Li and drone pilot certification.

Gabrielle Wilson (B.A., ’03) is an international law consultant, jazz radio host and educator. Her digital book Fit 4 Life: Fitness On Your Own Terms was released in September.

Traci Chee (M.A., ’09) released the first book in a new young adult fantasy trilogy, The Reader (Putnam/Penguin, ’16).


Nicole Moreno-Deinzer (B.A., ’10) is founder and editor-in-chief of Epifana, a lifestyle magazine for women. She also leads a creative writing workshop at Women’s Center International in Oakland.

Aaron Davidman (M.F.A., ’11) delivered a critically praised solo performance of Wrestling Jerusalem, about the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, at the Hangar Theatre in September. He is also the playwright of the piece.

Dan Stingle (M.F.A., ’94; Cred., ’12), art teacher at Abraham Lincoln High School, was awarded $1,000 for the 2016 Dan Ryan Visual and Performing Arts Outstanding Teacher Award.

Cassandra Carrillo (B.A., ’14) has been awarded the Joseph S. Murphy Diversity Scholarship for Labor Studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

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

Joel F. Heckmann (B.A., ’56) August 26, 2016, Walnut Creek.

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