Distinguished Alumni

President Paul J. ZinggIt is important for California State University, Chico to recognize its outstanding alumni for a variety of reasons. Our outstanding alumni are among the leaders in their chosen vocations and professions and are those to whom we turn for assistance in ensuring the integrity of our academic programs.

Our distinguished alumni are fondly remembered by the faculty as inquisitive students and often as personal friends, both of which make teaching such a rewarding career. Recognizing our most talented and successful alumni reaffirms that they, like those many before them and thousands to follow, give life and reality to the legacy and contributions of California State University, Chico. Our most accomplished alumni, then, represent what it is we do well when we do our best, and for them we are grateful.

—Paul J. Zingg, President

2016 Distinguished Alumni

California State University, Chico honored these eight distinguished alumni at the 23rd annual Distinguished Alumni Recognition Dinner on April 8th, 2016.

Photograph of recipient

Keely Martin Bosler

College of Agriculture

BS, Agricultural Business, 1997

Current Position: Cabinet Secretary, State of California, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.

Keely Martin Bosler was recently appointed cabinet secretary for Governor Jerry Brown and the state of California—a position traditionally regarded as the second-most powerful staff member in the Governor’s Office and the official to whom agency secretaries report. Bosler was previously the former chief deputy director of the Department of Finance, where she advised the governor on the state budget and served as the department’s lead contact with the state Legislature. Bosler graduated Summa Cum Laude from Chico State, and served as the president of Students for Responsible Agriculture. After graduation, she went on to earn an MS in Applied Economics from Cornell University. Bosler volunteers with the Chico State College of Agriculture Advisory Council and site council for Caleb Greenwood Elementary School, and is a public member of the Capital School Planning Task Force for CSU, Sacramento. Keely and her husband, Mitchell, live in Sacramento with their children Alessandra, 6, and Henrietta, 3.

More former College of Agriculture Honorees

Photograph of recipient

John H. Rivers, PhD

College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

BA, Sociology, 1968

Current Position: Associate Faculty, Butte College and Yuba College

With more than 45 years of experience in teaching, community outreach, program design, and diversity program creation, John H. Rivers has spent the past 12 years as an associate faculty member of psychology at Butte College and Yuba Community College. During his time at Chico State, Rivers served as freshman and sophomore class president, was a member of the football team, and went undefeated as an intercollegiate boxing champion in 1961 and 1962. He was also instrumental in helping re-establish and grow the campus’s KCSC radio station. He worked as founding director of the Education Opportunity Program from 1967 to 1970, and then as president and founder of the Northern California Federation for Human Education and Development. He has also worked as an administrator at CSU, East Bay; Cuesta College; and Monterey Peninsula College. He is currently a member of the American Psychological Association, the American Association of University Administrators, and the National Association of Student Affairs Personnel.  He has volunteered on boards including the California Children's Home Society of California

He has volunteered his free time to serve on boards like the California Children's Home Society of California; as a founder and board member of the Butte County Black Caucus, chairman of the board of Young Adults for Action and Manufacturing, in Monterey; Monterey Peninsula YMCA; and Monterey County Cultural Arts Council. Rivers lives in Oroville with his wife Jackie and is a proud father to two Chico State grads, Stephanie Hunter and John H. Rivers, Jr.

More former College of Behavioral and Social Sciences Honorees

Photograph of recipient

Marilyn Everett

College of Business

BS, Accounting, 1978

Current Position: Accountant, K-Coe Isom

Marilyn Everett is an accountant and shareholder at K·Coe Isom, a large regional accounting organization based in Chico. Everett is a licensed CPA in California and Nevada, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, California Society of Certified Public Accountants, Hospital Financial Management Association, and the Institute of Management Accountants. After her first public accounting job with Main Hurdman, now KPMG, in Sacramento, Marilyn moved back to Chico in 1981 to further her professional career with Matson and Isom, which is now K·Coe Isom. She became a partner with K·Coe Isom in 1988 and helped develop a large auditing practice serving a wide variety of industries, including healthcare entities, governmental agencies, and agricultural and manufacturing enterprises. She has served on various nonprofit boards and is currently the chief financial officer of a mutual water company. She also is a founder and a board member of Golden Valley Bank. She has had the privilege of working with two other College of Business Distinguished Alumni, Howard W. Isom (BS, Accounting, ’60) and Rand Hutchison (BS, Business Administration, ’77). Everett currently lives in Chico with her husband, Lewis.

Photograph of recipient

Alisha Valavanis

College of Communication and Education

BA, Communications, 2000; MA, Physical Education, 2004

Current Position: President and General Manager of the Seattle Storm

Alisha Valavanis’ impressive coaching resume spans more than two decades. She got her start in 2002 as the first assistant coach of the women’s basketball team at Chico State. In her four years as assistant coach, the program made four straight NCAA tournament appearances, highlighted with a 2006 Final Four appearance. She moved on to the University of the Pacific in 2006, joining the women’s basketball program as an assistant coach and later elevated to associate head coach. At both University of the Pacific and Chico State, Valavanis also served as an advisor to academic courses. As a student at Chico State, Valavanis lettered in women’s basketball from 1995-99, and graduated as Chico’s all-time three-point leading scorer. Valavanis ended her playing career in 1999 with numerous conference and NCAA recognitions. Valavanis played alongside her twin sister, Alexa, while they were both students in Chico. Both were recognized with the award of Outstanding Contributions to the University in 2001. Valavanis was hired as chief operating officer of the Seattle Storm in June 2014, and was elevated to president on October 2014. Valavanis lives in Seattle and serves as a board member with the Greater Seattle Business Association and the American Cancer Society’s CEOs Against Cancer.

More former College of Communication and Education Honorees

Photograph of recipient

Lisa Dal Gallo

College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management

Lisa Dal Gallo

BS, Construction Management,1986

Current Position: Partner and Construction Practice Group Leader, Hanson Bridgett

Lisa Dal Gallo has more than 25 years of experience in the construction industry and holds a Doctor of Law degree from Syracuse University. Prior to becoming an attorney, Dal Gallo worked for several years in project management and engineering for Turner Construction Company. During that time, she completed millions of dollars’ worth of work-in-place for hospitals, laboratories, retail space, office towers, high-rise residential, and light industrial sectors. Dal Gallo has co-authored several articles for various publications over the years, including the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, Aon Construction Services, and Modern Contractor Solutions Magazine. Her achievements include the development of California Women in Design + Construction, an organization of professional women in the design and construction industry that hosts forums to discuss relevant topics and provide networking opportunities. Dal Gallo has frequently been recognized for her accomplishments by organizations including Chambers and Partners USA, Women Leaders in Law, The Legal 500, and Hanson Bridgett. Dal Gallo is a LEED Accredited Professional with the U.S. Green Building Council and affiliated with professional organizations including the American Institute of Architects (AIA) California Council, the AIA Center for Integrated Practice Leadership Group, and the California Bar Association. Dal Gallo lives in San Rafael with her husband, Josh Sullivan, and their children Michael and Maia.

More former College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management Honorees

Photograph of recipient

William H. Beezley, PhD

College of Humanities & Fine Arts

BA, History, 1964

Current Positions: Professor of History, University of Arizona; Director, Oaxaca (Mexico) Graduate Field School in Modern Mexican History; Distinguido Profesor Visitante, El Colegio de Mexico

William Beezley has achieved an international reputation for his investigations of Mexico’s history and culture. In addition to teaching at the University of Arizona, Beezley serves as editor-in-chief of The Oxford Research Encyclopedia for Latin America and director of the Oaxaca (Mexico) Summer Institute; sits on the editorial boards of The Americas, Mexican Studies, and University of Santiago, Chile’s Revista Iberoamericana de Viticultura, Agroindustria y Ruralidad; and is a member of the technical commission of "Wines, Vines and Winemakers: Voyages, Messages and Métissages" at Toulouse University.  He is also the recipient of several awards, including the Michael C. Meyer Book Award for the “Best Book of Mexican History”. He was named to Fulbright Senior Specialists Roster for consultations in Latin America, and was a recipient of the Theo Crevanna Award for Distinguished Service in the Promotion of the Binational Latin American Studies. Beezley lives in Tucson with his wife, Blue. They have three children, Mark, Paul, and John Beezley.

More former College of Humanities and Fine Arts Honorees

Photograph of recipient

Jeanne Ann Conry, MD, PhD

College of Natural Sciences

BS, Biology, 1974

Current Position: Assistant Physician in Chief, North Valley, Permanente Medical Group; Associate Clinical Professor of ob-gyn, UC Davis

Dr. Jeanne Conry has been a practicing obstetrician gynecologist at Kaiser Permanente for the past 25 years, and currently serves in a leadership capacity as the Assistant Physician-in-Chief for Kaiser Permanente’s Sacramento Roseville region.  From 1997 – 2004, Conry served as Chair of the Women’s Health Care Task Force, where she championed osteoporosis screenings, began the breast care center in Sacramento, and oversaw the design and development of the group’s Women and Children’s Center, which is one of the largest obstetric service providers for Kaiser Permanente in the U.S.

Conry received the Environmental Achievement Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2012 for work on reproductive health and the environment.  In 2013, she received the Visionary Leadership Award from the University of California San Francisco Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment  In 2014, the U.S. House of Representatives acknowledged her accomplishments in women's health and entered a commendation into the Congressional Record. Conry earned her medical degree from UC Davis, and earned a PhD in biology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Conry currently lives with her husband Bruce Webb in Granite Bay.

More former College of Natural Sciences Honorees

Photograph of recipient

Gage Chrysler

Distinguished Alumni Service Award

BS, Finance, 1978

Current Position: CEO, Modern Building, Inc.

Gage Chrysler currently works as one of the three hands-on owners of Modern Building, Inc. in Chico. He started his career in the family business as a carpenter, and worked his way up over the years, serving as project manager, vice president, president, and finally CEO of Modern Building. Gage has a long history of giving back to both the campus and the community of Chico. He has volunteered his time to serve on boards for Tri Counties Bank, Chico Chamber of Commerce, Sierra View Academics Plus Board, Contractors Exchange Board, Chico Rotary Club, and the Chico Chapter of the Chico State Alumni Association. Gage’s campus contributions include working with the construction management department and the Blitz Build program, building homes to support the local Catalyst organization and the Salvation Army. He has also assisted in construction projects that support fire victims, the Enloe Foundation, the Boys and Girls Club, youth athletics, Patrick Ranch Museum, Boy Scouts of America, and Chico Unified School District.

He frequently has been recognized for his generosity, with awards including the Community Service Award from Chico Rotary, Viking Pride Night Alumni Honoree, Sigma Lambda Chi International Honor Society for Construction, and the Distinguished Citizen Award by the Boy Scouts of America. Gage lives in Chico with his wife and fellow Chico State alum, Christine. Together they have five girls, Shea, Angie, Kayla, Ashley, and Kendra.

More former Distinguished Alumni Service Award Recipients

Back to top of page

Distinguished Alumni

Current Year: 2016
23rd Distinguished Alumni


List of All Years

First Year: 1994
1st Distinguished Alumni

Distinguished Alumni by College

Agriculture
Behavioral & Social Sciences
Business
Communication & Education
Engineering, Computer Science, & Construction Management
Humanities & Fine Arts
Natural Sciences
Service Award