1994 - 1st Distinguished Alumni

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Rusty Arieas

College of Agriculture
BS Agriculture, Class of 1974

Rusty Areias' long and successful record of public service is characterized by his ability to balance complex issues, especially environmental, land-use, transportation, agriculture and water, into legislative and public policy success. His ability to bring people together and achieve bipartisan solutions is most evident in the more than 100 pieces of legislation he authored as a legislator that were signed into law by two different Republican governors. Areias served 12 years in the California Assembly, representing Merced, San Benito, Santa Cruz, Monterey and Santa Clara counties. He chaired the Agriculture; Earthquakes, Repair and Response; and Consumer Protection committees, working to strengthen the agricultural economy, preserve farmland, increase seismic safety standards, lower credit card interest rates and stand up for consumer rights. He also served on the Transportation Committee and led the successful effort to secure funds for improvement of Highway 152 over the Pacheco Pass. 

As Director of the California Department of Parks and Recreation, he cut park fees in half, boosting attendance at state parks by 23 million visitors. He also oversaw the passage of two major park bonds, totaling more than $6 billion.He served four years as a California Coastal Commissioner, including two years as chairman. His term was characterized by problem-solving and bringing a sense of reasonableness back to the Commission's decisions.

Prior to his public service, Areias managed the day-to-day operations of the Areias Dairy farms and received numerous awards for farming excellence. In 1982, Areias was awarded the prestigious Outstanding Young Farmer in America.

Areias and his wife are the proud parents of two children. As of 2013, he is currently a Principal of California Strategies, LLC.

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Barry Hewlett

College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
MA General Anthropology, Class of 1977

Barry S. Hewlett received his A.B. in Cultural Transmission (self-designed major) from California State University, Chico in 1971 and his M.A. in anthropology from the same institution in 1977. After working several years for child development and social service agencies, he returned to graduate school at the University of California, Santa Barbara and obtained his Ph.D. in 1987. His dissertation became the basis of a monograph, Intimate Fathers: The Nature and Context of Aka Pygmy Paternal Infant Care (1991). His current research interests include the cultural nexus of the Aka and Ngandu infant development, the cultural contexts of various tropical diseases, the impact of new African tropical forest parks and reserves on the local people, and cultural transmission and biocultural evolution.

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Howard Isom

College of Business
BS Business Administration, Class of 1960

Howard W. Isom is a C.P.A, and in 1962 he co-founded the accounting firm of Matson & Isom Accountancy Corporation in Chico, CA. In addition to his accounting profession, he is also a local-area almond grower and a retired Director and Chairman of the Board of Blue Diamond Growers as of November 2006. Howard was a former Board Director for Co-Bank in Denver, Colorado from 1999 until 2004 and North State National Bank in Chico from 1995 until 2003. Howard earned his A.A. from Shasta College in Redding, CA and his B.S. from Chico State. As of 2013, Isom is Vice Chairman of the Board for Golden Valley Bank.

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Laura J. Lopez

College of Communication & Education
BA Information and Communication Studies,
Class of 1979

Lopez was a foreign correspondent for TIME magazine for 15 years. She has served at various posts for the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and is now Chief of Staff of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

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Keith Thomassen

College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management
BS Electrical Engineering, Class of 1958

Dr. Keith Thomassen worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (1977 – 1999), retiring as Deputy Associate Director in Laser Programs, responsible for magnetic fusion energy research. He was Professor-in-Residence in the Nuclear Engineering department at UC Berkeley (1986 – 2002) teaching fusion energy courses, and directed the Fusion Technology programs at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (1973 – 1977). He was Associate Professor in Electrical Engineering at MIT (1968 – 1973), taught a course at Harvard in 1970, and was Adjunct Professor of Physics at UCLA (1983 and 1985). He was a NATO Postdoctoral Fellow in Paris (Center for Nuclear Studies) in 1963. 

In addition to his research, he has managed major programs and large projects at LLNL, as program leader for the 400 M$ Mirror Fusion Test Facility in the 80's, and national Program Director of the 740 M$ Tokamak Physics Experiment, orchestrating a consortium of national laboratories and industrial contractors. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Fusion Energy and as a reviewer for a number of technical journals.

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Cathleen Micheaels

College of Humanities & Fine Arts
BA English, Class of 1982

Ms. Micheaels studied at the University of Iowa Writers Workshop where she did clinical training of children of alcoholics and was trained to deliver innovative writing projects to schools, psychiatric hospitals, criminal justice facilities, drug rehabilitation centers, and community-based organizations in the New York City area. She was an educational consultant serving teenagers for the San Francisco mayor’s office. She has been Project YES (Youth Engaged in Service) manager since 1992. At Oakland public schools, the project gathers hundreds of students to do community service while providing them with a framework for learning traditional school subjects.

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Floyd L. English

College of Natural Sciences
BS Physical Sciences, Class of 1959

Dr. Floyd L. English has been Chairman and Chief Executive Office of Andrew Corporation, an international supplier of antennas and transmission lines to the telecommunications industry since July 1983. He was named Chairman of Board of Andrew Corporation in September 1994. From January 1982 to July 1983 he was President and Chief Operating Officer and was elected to the Board of Directors in 1982. Dr. English earned his masters and doctorate in physics from Arizona State University. He studied bulk and surface phenomena in semiconductor and ferroelectric materials at the Sandia Laboratories in New Mexico and later was director of marketing for a division of the Collins Radio Company. He joined Andrew Corporation in 1980 and is on the Board of Directors of the Executives’ Club of Chicago, the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy Fund for Advancement of Education and the National Engineering Consortium. He has authored numerous technical publications.

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