2000 - 7th Distinguished Alumni

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Jason Peltier

College of Agriculture
BS Agriculture Business, Class of 1979

Jason Peltier, an agricultural advocate and gladiator, got his start in CSU, Chico with a major in agricultural business and a minor in economics. After graduating from Chico State, he became involved in full-time production agriculture, but soon realized he wanted to do more for the industry. Peltier worked for 12 years as the assistant to the regional director of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in Sacramento.  He is a graduate of the Agricultural Leadership Program and has served in his current position for 11 years.  Peltier also sits on the California State Fair Agricultural Advisory Board and the UC Berkeley Water Archives Center Board of Directors. Currently, Peltier is a manager of the Central Valley Project Water Association, and works directly for 4 million households in Northern California and 20,000 farmers who use one-third of the irrigated land in the state.

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Mike Thompson

College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
BA Public Administration, Class of 1982
MA Public Administration, Class of 1996

Mike Thompson is a freshman again -- Not a freshman in college, but a freshman in Congress. Thompson, elected to California's 1st District in 1998, is set on working his way up the ranks in Congress, and he currently serves on the House Agriculture and Armed Forces Committees. Thompson graduated from CSU, Chico with a B.A. in public administration and economics in 1982 and received his master's of public administration, also from Chico State, in 1996. Thompson was born and raised in California's wine country and has owned a small vineyard himself. Before his successful run for Congress, Thompson served as a legislative staffer and was a state senator for eight years. At 17, Thompson joined the U.S. Army where he served for three years, including a tour in Vietnam. Since entering the political arena, Thompson has received numerous awards and honors, including Freshman Legislator of the Year from the California School Boards Association, and the 1995 Distinguished Service Award from the AIDS Project Los Angeles.

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Keith Bewley

College of Business
BS Business Administration, Class of 1978

Keith Bewley, president of NEx Systems, has thirteen years' experience in the new industry development. He was a co-founder of California Cooler, Inc., the pioneering firm of the wine cooler industry. Following the $180-million sale of California Cooler, Inc., Bewley was a co-founder of LINC Venture Partners, Inc., where he specialized in analyzing business plans and funding start-up companies. As an outgrowth of his involvement with LINC, Bewley assumed the position of president of NEx Systems, with has developed a 100 percent organic, environmentally safe dry cleaning and fiber protection program. During his tenure at California Cooler, Bewley was a board member and president of the Scramento-San Joaquin Wine and Food Society. He received special recognition by the beverage industry for the development of the Four Pack, and won the Beverage Industries first place award for Point of Sale materials.

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Rick Rigsby

College of Communication & Education
BA Mass Communications, Class of 1979
MA Public Communication, Class of 2000
Honor Year: 2000

Enrique "Rick" Rigsby is considered to be among the popular professors at Texas A&M University, where he is an assistant professor of Speech Communication. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Rigsby is also the Life Skills Development Coordinator for the Texas A&M football team, president of Impact Communications, and founder of Cornerstone Ministries. Rigsby received two degrees from CSU, Chico - a B.A. in mass communication in 1978 and an M.A. in public communication in 1987. He also earned his Ph. D. in rhetoric and communication from the University of Oregon in 1990. Prior to graduate school, Rigsby spent nearly a decade as a reporter and anchor at KHSL-TV, the CBS affiliate in Chico. Following his graduate studies, Rigsby spent two years as an assistant professor of Speech Communication at CSU, Fresno. He joined the faculty at Texas A&M in 1992. Throughout his academic career at Texas A&M, Rigsby has received numerous awards, including twice receiving the Outstanding New Professor Award from the Southern States Communication Association; the Outstanding Faculty Diversity Award, given by the executive vice president and provost at Texas A&M.

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Savio Woo

College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management
BS Mechanical Engineering, Class of 1965
Honorary Doctorate, Class of 1998

Savio Lau-Yuen Woo is the A.B. Ferguson Professor, vice chair for research, and director of the Musculoskeletal Research Center, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. A graduate of Chico State College in 1965 with a B.S. in mechanical engineering, Woo received his M.S. in mechanical Engineering in 1966 and his Ph.D. in bioengineering in 1971, both from the University of Washington. In 1998 Woo was awarded an honorary doctorate from CSU, Chico. While a student, Woo tutored in math, physics, and engineering; assisted with the admission of foreign students from Asia; gave talks about Hong Kong and China to organization such as Rotary and Lions; and never missed a football or basketball game. Professor Woo has been elected to the Institute of Medicine-National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Adademia Sinica. He received the GOTS-Beiersdorf Outstanding Scientific Achievement Research Award in 1996, the Olympic Prize for Sports Science and Gold Medal from the International Olympic Committee in 1998, and the Chancellor's Distinguished Research Award from the University of Pittsburgh in 1999. In addition, Woo has published 200 refereed journal articles, 89 book chapters, and more than 529 abstracts and extended abstracts.

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William J. Lyons, Jr.

College of Humanities & Fine Arts
BS History, Class of 1973
Honor Year: 2000

William “Bill” J. Lyons, Jr., California Department of Food and Agriculture secretary, comes from a family with a long history in California production agriculture. The family ranch has been in operation near Modesto for more than 75 years, and Lyons has spent a good portion of his life dedicated to the family business. Governor Gray Davis appointed Lyons to his current position in 1999. As secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Lyons provides leadership to the CDFA for the development and implementation of sound agricultural policy for California’s $26.8 billion agricultural industry. Lyons graduated from Chico State with a BS in history in 1973 and received his secondary teaching credential in 1974. While a student, he received the CSU, Chico Award of Outstanding Service in 1972, 1973, and 1974. Lyons has served at the chair of USDA’s Farm Service Agency State Committee, and he was also appointed by the Stanislaus Country Board of Supervisors to serve from 1996 to 1998 as director of the East Stanislaus Resource Conservation District. In 1998 Lyons received the United States Department of Agriculture Certificate of Appreciation. Since 1978, Lyons has been elected to serve on a number of agriculture related boards and commissions, including the California Farm Bureau Federation Board of Directors, the Modesto Irrigation District Board of Directors, and the Stanislaus County Farm Bureau Board of Directors.

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Marshall L. Ginter*

College of Natural Sciences
BS Chemistry, Class of 1957

Marshall L. Ginter is a professor at the Institute for Physical Science and Technology at the University of Maryland and an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana. His current research centers on electronic structures in atoms and small molecules, high resolution spectroscopy, vacuum ultraviolet and soft x-ray spectroscopy and high and ultra high vacuum instrumentation. Ginter graduated cum laude in 1957 with a BA in Chemistry and a minor in Physics. He received his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt in 1961. His academic career includes positions at Vanderbilt, the University of Chicago, Physikalische Anstalt de Universitat Basel, as well as University of Maryland and University of Urbana. He was a consultant for twenty-eight years for the E.O. Hulbert Center for Space Research, Naval Research Laboratory in Washington D.C. and a guest worker at the National Bureau of Standards in Gaithersburg, M.D. A writer of more than 100 articles, Ginter has published articles in publications such as Journal of Chemical Physics and the Journal of Optical Society of America. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the Optical Society of America.

*=Deceased

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