Distinguished Alumni Service Award

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Candy Solari

Distinguished Alumni Service Award

Current Position: Retired business owner, member of community advisory board for the Gateway Science Museum

Retired business owner Candy Solari is a dedicated volunteer and active member of the Chico community. Solari has served as a member of the community advisory board for the Gateway Science Museum since 2007, working on various project like Museum Without Walls lecture series, career days, summer camps, and the annual Evening to Treasure fundraising gala. She also has served on committees for the Enloe Gala, the Enloe Foundation Playhouse, and the Chico High School Foundation, and she worked for 13 years as a volunteer with Children's Home Society, raising funds for children at risk.

Solari attended Chico State from 1963–66 and majored in journalism. As a student she was involved in student association elections, and served as yearbook editor. She also worked as a recruiter, speaking to high school students about attending CSU, Chico and was a member of Alpha Chi sorority. She also spent several years as a board member with the Chico State Alumni Association.

Solari lives in Chico and has two sons, Robert and Mathew.


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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.

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Farshad Azad

Distinguished Alumni Service Award
Master of Public Administration, Class of 1989
Honor Year: 2015

Current Positions:
Owner, Azad’s Martial Arts Center; Kinesiology Faculty, CSU, Chico; CEO, Azad’s International Inc.; Vice President, World Hapkido Association

Grandmaster Farshad Azad is well known for his service to the Chico community. He founded the Rock Solid Teens program, using martial arts to help teens be confident and successful. His annual Thanksgiving Basket Brigade has helped thousands of needy families. Azad is chair of the University Advisory Board, sponsors a scholarship for international students, is a member of the kinesiology department diversity committee, and has served on the campus safety committee and University Diversity Council. He was inducted into the U.S. Martial Arts Hall of Fame as Master of the Year and named International Exchange Club Member of the Year and the Chico Noon Exchange Club Citizen of the Year. This year, Azad will be promoted to the highest rank in martial arts, 10th-degree black belt, and become the founder of his own system, the art of Jung Shin Do (The Way of Mind and Spirit).

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Donald Carlson

Distinguished Alumni Service Award
BS Accounting, Class of 1969
Honor Year: 2014

Current Position:
Observer, National Football League

Don Carlsen has long been dedicated to education. For 31 years, he worked for the Chico Unified School District and the Butte County Office of Education. Carlsen’s hobby, officiating football games, became his secondary career, leading to 24 years in the NFL as No. 39. One might think that a full-time job and a weekend gig for 17-plus weeks each fall (Carlsen had 19 postseason assignments) would mean there wouldn’t be time for volunteering, but when Carlsen is concerned, that assumption would be wrong. He has served Chico State’s Century Club, Wildcat Boosters Club, Blue Ribbon Sports Committee, Athletic Hall of Fame Committee, Advisory Board, Chico Chapter of the Alumni Association Board, and the Alumni Association Board. It is difficult to find anyone more dedicated than Carlsen to the success of Chico State and its students.

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Tim Colbie

Distinguished Alumni Service Award
BS Business Administration, Class of 1992
Honor Year: 2013

Current Position:
Owner and Operator, Great Escape Travel

Tim Colbie has served as vice-president and president of the Chico State Alumni Association, president of the Chico Chapter of the Chico State Alumni Association, and vice president for communication and advocacy for the CSU Alumni Council. Colbie currently serves as the chair of the CSU Alumni Council finance and development committee. He has served on the 2003-2004 Butte County Grand Jury and was selected as foreman for the 2004-2005 Jury. He served as a director from the north region for the California Grand Juror’s Association 2005-2008. He currently serves as vice president of North Valley Property Owner’s Association, is a past member of the Butte County Parole Board, is a board member for the Stansbury House in Chico, and is a member of the Chico Noon Rotary Club. And sometimes, Colbie finds time to travel.

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William D. "Dino" Corbin, Jr.

Distinguished Alumni Service Award
BA Mass Communications, Class of 1974
Honor Year: 2012

William “Dino” Corbin’s illustrious background includes work at radio and television stations and newspapers, publication of books and articles, and appearances on national radio and television programs. All that pales, though, when compared to Corbin’s involvement with the 33 civic and community organizations listed on his vitae. Corbin is currently involved with eight of these organizations, and his role with each is significant. Corbin is president of the Chico Chapter of the Chico State Alumni Association, he serves as a member of Butte Pioneers Economic Planning Committee, he is the current chairman of the Chico Concours de Elegance, and he is president of the Stansbury Home Preservation Association. And still, if you need help, he will be the first to volunteer.

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Glen O. Toney

Distinguished Alumni Service Award
BA Philosophy, Class of 1966
Honor Years: 1995 & 2011

Glen O. Toney served as an executive of Applied Materials for 23 years before retiring in 2002 as group vice president of corporate affairs. Toney previously served as superintendent of schools for Palo Alto School District and for Ravenswood City School District. Toney received a BS in mathematics from San Jose State University, an MA in instructional technology and curriculum design from San Jose State, and a Doctorate of Organizational Behavior and Higher Education from the University of Southern California. Toney also holds honorary doctorates from Chico State and Santa Clara University. Truly committed to civic involvement, Toney is a former president of the Chico State Alumni Association, currently serves on the CSU Board of Trustees and the Gateway Science Museum Board of Directors, and is the recipient of numerous honors and awards.

Toney has been honored twice as a Distinguished Alumni; once in 1995 by the College of Engineering, Computer Science, & Construction Management, and again in 2011 for receiving the Distinguished Alumni Service Award.

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Clark and Betty Porter

Distinguished Alumni Service Award
(Clark) BS Biology, Class of 1948
(Betty) BA Education and Credential, Class of 1950
Honor Year: 2010

The first couple to be honored, Clark and Betty Porter met while at Chico State in 1947. Following their graduation, they left Chico to pursue advanced degrees, Clark his PhD at Oregon State, Betty her MAT and MLA. After successful careers, Clark as a plant researcher, Betty as an educator and librarian, they were ready to retire and made their way back to Chico. Clark and Betty established the Clark and Betty Porter Endowment to fund scholarships in teaching, biology, and basketball. They are members of the Chico State Alumni Association, and both have served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors. Clark has also served on the Biology Department Advisory Board and is a 1993 inductee in the Athletic Hall of Fame. Betty has served on the Chico Museum Board and currently teaches genealogy classes for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.  

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Nancy Fox

Distinguished Alumni Service Award
BA Education, Class of 1964
Credential, Class of 1965
Honor Year: 2009

Nancy Fox is the "Official Grand Mom" to the Chico State golf team. Fox and her husband, Jack, travel extensively with the team, hosting nightly booster events during tournaments, and she was named the 2004–2005 "Golf Booster of the Year." Fox was a member of the University Advisory Board for 10 years, serving as both chair and vice chair. She has also been on the University Foundation Board of Governors, is a member of the Heritage Circle, and is a lifetime member of the Alumni Association. In addition to serving the University, Fox volunteers extensively with community organizations and considers volunteering to be a significant part of her life.

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Sheryl W. Lange

Distinguished Alumni Service Award
BA Psychology, Class of 1966
Honor Year: 2008

Sheryl Lange is the "Supreme Volunteer." Her role as volunteer has led to a term on the Chico City Council, four bond committees, the Chico Unified School District Foundation Board, numerous PTA boards, and the American Cancer Society. At Chico State she is considered to be a most valuable volunteer, having served as secretary, vice president, president, and past president of the Alumni Association. She has also served on the University Advisory Board, the Wildcat Century Club, the Northern California Natural History Museum Board, and the WASC Committee. For her role in advocating for the University and the CSU system, Lange was named the 2007 California State University Advocate of the Year for CSU, Chico and she was honored by the Chico State Alumni Association as their 2007 Distinguished Alumni Service Award recipient.

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Judy L. Sitton

Distinguished Alumni Service Award
BA Social Science, Class of 1968
Credential, Class of 1969
Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, 2003
Honor Year: 2007

Judy Lynn Sitton taught elementary school in Chico for seven years and was executive vice president of Bi-Tech Software. In 2000, Sitton retired as executive vice president from Bi-Tech Software, the computer software company she co-founded with her husband. As a retiree, Sitton defines volunteerism. She was a past chair of the CSU, Chico Advisory Board (currently a member), vice chair and trustee of the Enloe Board of Trustees, president and past treasurer of the Northern California Natural History Museum Board, member/president of the Gateway Science Museum Community Advisory Board, and past chair/current volunteer for the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Business Advisory Board. Sitton was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2003 by the California State University Board of Trustees and CSU, Chico in recognition of her personal and professional achievements and service to the system and institution, and also addressed the 2003 Chico State graduating class.

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Leonard A. Whitegon

Distinguished Alumni Service Award
BA Elementary Education, Class of 1951
MA Elementary School Education, Class of 1955
Honor Year: 2006

Len Whitegon may have served as a teacher and elementary school principal for more than 33 years, but it is his volunteer service for which he is best known. Whitegon is credited with saving the school fight song from total extinction. When Royce Tevis, the director of bands and a music professor, came to campus he found the music to the school fight song, but no lyrics. Whitegon was able to recite the words from memory. For the past two years, he has taken on the task of getting Wildcat fans to stand when the fight song is played at basketball games. Whitegon has received numerous volunteer service awards including the 1996 Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year Award and the 2005 Jackie Faris-Rees Community Leadership Award.

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Mackay Martin *

Distinguished Alumni Service Award
BS Business Administration, Class of 1946
Honor Year: 2005

Mackay "Mac" Martin was an avid supporter of Chico State athletics. Martin entered Chico State College in 1938, but left in 1941 to enlist in the U.S. Navy following the attack on Pearl Harbor. He returned to Chico State after WWII, and completed his degree in Business Administration. Martin went to work for Chico State College in 1947, and oversaw the bookstore, food service, athletics, drama, and team transportation until his retirement in 1976. He helped to launch the Athletic Hall of Fame in 1985, and became director of the Chico Invitational Basketball Tournament which was later renamed the Mac Martin Invitational. Martin served as treasurer of the Alumni Association for 30 years, and established the Mac Martin Student Leadership Endowment in 2002.

* = Deceased

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Distinguished Alumni

Current Year: 2017
24th Distinguished Alumni

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First Year: 1994
1st Distinguished Alumni

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Service Award