Class Notes


David Madden (M.A.,'58), professor of English Emeritus at Westminster College, is the author of 11 novels and three short story collections, the latest of which is ''The Last Bizarre Tale'' (The University of Tennessee Press,'14).



Robert Green (M.A.,'60), former education director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference under Martin Luther King Jr., serves as chairman of the Clark County, Nevada, chapter of My Brother's Keeper, an initiative of President Barack Obama.

Jerome Richard (M.A.,'61) was a winner in the Seattle Public Library's self-published contest for his novella ''The Architect.'' His previous novel, ''The Kiss of the Prison Dancer,'' was a PEN/Hemingway finalist.

Gerald Haslam (B.A.,'63; M.A.,'65) is the author of ''The Great Biblical Colloquy,'' a short story in PEN Oakland’s 2014 anthology ''Fightin' Words.''

Larry Griggers (B.A.,'64) is the chief executive officer, treasurer and director of Hoosier Hospitality Group.

Tom Ammiano (M.A.,'65), a nationally distinguished leader of the LGBT community, has joined the Palm Center as a government relations consultant.

Judith Janeway (B.A.,'67; M.A.,'68) has begun a new mystery series with the first of three books, ''The Magician's Daughter'' (Poisoned Pen Press,'15).

Demosthenes Lorandos (B.A.,'69) is the author of ''Parental Alienation: The Handbook for Mental Health and Legal Professionals'' (Charles C. Thomas,'13).



Marsha Blaker's piece, A wave at it's peak, masterfully crafted in a glass structure

MARSHA BLAKER (B.A., '74; M.A., '77) is a Santa Cruz-based glass artist whose detail-oriented work is influenced by the intricacies of the marine environment. (right)

Richard Stayton (M.F.A., '74) is editor in chief of Written By, the magazine of the Writers Guild of America, West.

Peter Ratto (B.A., '77) has been appointed by the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors to the San Mateo County Transit District Board of Directors.

Joi Lin Blake (B.A., '79) is the new president of College of Alameda.



Vinnie Hansen (M.A., '80) launched her seventh Carol Sabala Mystery, ''Black Beans & Venom'' (Misterio Press, '14), at Bookshop Santa Cruz in January. Her short story ''Novel Solution'' appears in the new Wildside Mystery Anthology ''Fish or Cut Bait.''

Carlos Ramet (M.A., '80) is the author of ''Ken Follett and the Triumph of Suspense: A Popular Writer Transcends Genres'' (McFarland, '14).

Cathy Sandeen (M.A., '81) is the new chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin-Extension.

Arthur Dong's (B.A., '82) new film, ''The Killing Fields of Dr. Haing S. Ngor,'' premiered in March at CAAMFest, the largest film festival in the U.S. dedicated to Asian and Asian American stories.

Aaron Wolf (B.A., '85), an internationally recognized expert on water conflict resolution on the faculty at Oregon State University, has been named a 2015 recipient of the Heinz Award in the category of public policy.

Phil Brady (M.A., '86), a poet, Youngstown State University English professor and founder of the nonprofit literary publishing house Etruscan Press, has been selected to receive the 2015 Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio.

Jeff Cesca (B.S., '87) is the new director of the pision of Marketing Services of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Lisa Cholodenko (B.A., '87) received a 2014 Directors Guild of America Outstanding Directorial Achievement Award for her work at the helm of the HBO miniseries ''Olive Kitteridge.'' Her latest directorial project is ''The Slap,'' an NBC miniseries.

Greg Morgan (B.A., '87) has been appointed president of Wells Fargo's San Francisco market.

Nancy Deeds Resler (B.A., '89) has released ''The Last Protégée: A Memoir of Uncertain Verisimilitude'' (Rebel ePublishers, '15).



Movie poster for Minions, coming out Summer 2015. Minions featured on cover with sign saying 'I'm with Stupid'. Photo connected with Chris Scarabosio

Dr. Esteban González Burchard (B.S., '90), professor of medicine and pharmacy at University of California, San Francisco, is helping to shape President Barack Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative as a member of a new working group of the Advisory Committee to the Director of the National Institutes of Health.

CHRIS SCARABOSIO (B.A., '90) worked as sound designer/sound re-recording mixer on Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s ''Minions,'' an animated film opening in theaters in July. (right)

Shawn Doyal-Simmons (M.A., '91) was a copy editor at the Yale University Press for the 1993 publication ''The Encyclopedia of New York City.''

Stephen C. Lincoln (B.A., '91) celebrated the sweet 16th birthday of his New York City-based Protein Bakery.

Mourad Lahlou looking at camera in a photo shoot

MOURAD LAHLOU (B.A., '93; M.A., '95), owner of the Michelin starred-Aziza, has just opened the doors to Mourad, his new restaurant in San Francisco's Financial District. (left)

Tim Mullen (B.S., '93) is the CEO of Pina Zangaro, a designer and manufacturer of presentation products.

Lynne Richardson (M.A., '93), former head of the FBI's art theft program, has been appointed executive director of Historic Deepwood Estate in Salem, Oregon.

Jay (John M.) Wilson (B.A., '93; M.A., '02) is chairman on the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission.

Matt Black (B.A., '94) was selected as TIME magazine's Instagram Photographer of 2014. His online Geography of Poverty project showcases his photos of California's Central Valley.

Elise Darwish (M.A., '94) is the chief academic officer of Aspire Public Schools, a high-achieving and nationally acclaimed charter school system.

Barbara McVeigh (B.A., '94) produced the film ''Racing with Copepods,'' which documents the adventures of a group of middle school students studying plankton at sea. The film features graduate student Ann Holmes and National Geographic Explorer in Residence Sylvia Earle.

Steven Backman holding his toothpick version of the empire state building

STEVEN J. BACKMAN (B.A., '96), a world-renowned toothpick artist, achieved a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS® record title for creating the smallest toothpick sculpture: a replica of the Empire State Building made from a single toothpick and measuring 3.59 by 4.97 millimeters. (right)

Dawn Lundy Martin (M.A., '96) is the author of ''Life in a Box is a Pretty Life'' (Nightboat Books, '15), her third poetry collection.

Jonas Rivera (B.A., '96) produced the Pixar film ''Inside Out.'' The animated feature, which opens in theaters in June, takes audiences inside the mind of an 11-year-old girl.

Andrew Needham (M.A., '97), associate professor of history at New York University, is the author of ''Power Lines: Phoenix and the Making of the Modern Southwest'' (Princeton University Press, '14).




Aaron Aknin (B.A., '01) has been promoted from Redwood City's community development director to its city manager.

Shannon Seaberg (B.S., '01) is a global project manager in the late stage clinical group at Genentech.

Mike Spear (B.A., '01) wrote, produced and directed the short film ''Moving On'' with his wife, Marcia Fields. An official selection of the 2015 Santa Barbara International Film Festival, the short stars Robin Lord Taylor, Ryan Farrell and Mike Ivers.

Spencer Averick (attended '00-'02) was the editor for the Paramount Pictures, Pathé and Harpo Studios film ''Selma.''

Richard Simon (M.F.A., '02), an adjunct professor of English at Dominican University of California, is lead author and editor of ''Teaching Big History'' (University of California Press, '15).

Quintan Ana Wikswo (M.F.A., '02) is the author of ''The Hope of Floating Has Carried Us This Far'' (Coffee House Press, '15).

Giselle Olmedo (B.S., '03; B.S., '05), the inaugural winner of the Sanford Heisler Kimpel Public Interest persity Fellowship, completed her first term of the fellowship at the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center and will complete the second at Leonard Carder, LLP.

Lou Dora (M.B.A., '05), TIBCO Software's new vice president of business operations, oversees the company's global software and hardware operations, digital product delivery, order-to-cash, software license compliance and commissions operations.

Leslye M. Tinson (B.A., '05; M.S., '11) has been appointed by Governor Edmund Brown to the California Private Security Disciplinary Review Committee, North.

Stephen Gillett (M.B.A., '06) has been appointed to the Board of Directors of Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.

Christopher Chen's (M.A., '07; M.F.A., '08) latest play, ''Aulis: An Act of Nihilism in One Long Act,'' premiered in March at University of California, Berkeley's Zellerbach Playhouse.

Michelle Dapper (B.A., '07), an award-winning sports anchor/reporter, joined KCRA 3 in Sacramento.

Christina Piotrowski (M.S., '07) is the invertebrate zoology collections manager at the California Academy of Sciences.

Matt Merrifield (M.A., '08) is the chief technology officer for the California Chapter of the Nature Conservancy.

Photographs by both Wendy Crittenden (M.F.A., '09) and Tom Griscom (M.F.A., '09) are featured in Dual Views: Labor Landmarks of San Francisco, an SF State Labor Archives & Research Center exhibition open through August 7.



Manuel A. Gonzalez (B.A., '10), a housing department coach for Navicore Solutions in San Diego, received the Homeownership Preservation Foundation's 2014 Counselor of the Year award.

Kara O'Brien (B.A., '11) completed a two-year tour of duty with the Peace Corps in Burkina Faso, Africa. She plans to continue her humanitarian work in the field of public service law.

Samantha Wong in front of the sign for Beep's Burgers, her new restaurant located near SF State

SAMANTHA WONG (B.S., '11), who frequented Beep's Burgers as an SF State student, has purchased the nearby restaurant on Ocean Avenue. (left)

Scott Christopherson (M.F.A., '12), an assistant professor of documentary film at St. Edward's University in Austin, directed and produced the feature documentary ''Peace Officer,'' which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in March.

Renny McCauley (M.F.A., '12) edited the film.

Lisa Bhattacharyya (M.S., '13) is an operations associate for the National Audubon Society.

Jill Tomasetti (M.A., '13), a founding member of Drop Leaf Press, has released ''Prima Vera,'' a new collection of poems through the publisher.

Matilde Miranda (B.S., '14) received a Ford Foundation Fellowship during her first year as a doctoral student in biology at University of California, Los Angeles.



Nicholas Otis (B.A., '07), deputy fire marshal of University of California, Santa Cruz, married Jessica E. DiLeonardo on Aug. 22, 2014, in Woodside, California.


In Memoriam

Al Martinez (attended '47-'50)
Jan. 12, West Hills, California


James Duggins (B.A., '61; M.A., '64)
Professor Emeritus, Education
Dec. 13, Rancho Mirage, California


Sam Houston Hurtado (B.A., '66)
Feb. 12, San Rafael, California


Alexander Weiss (B.A., '74)
Oct. 17, Roseville, California


Photos, from top: Courtesy of Marsha Blaker, Universal Pictures, photo by Deborah Jones, and courtesy of Steven J. Backman and Raymond Rudolph


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