1997 - 4th Distinguished Alumni

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Gary Griswold

College of Agriculture
BS Agricultural Business, Class of 1965

Gary Griswold, a 1965 CSU Chico agribusiness graduate, has been a long-time advocate for both the university and the CSU system. A former member of the CSU Chico College of Agriculture Advisory Board, Griswold has worked, now, with four different deans of the college.

In the early 1990s, Griswold was a major force in the founding of Superior Ag, a group of College of Agriculture alumni who were instrumental in lobbying to prevent the elimination of the agriculture program at CSU Chico. Today, Superior Ag raises more than $40,000 per year to fund college scholarships, support student organizations, support field days at the University Farm, provide instructional support and build an endowment.

Griswold has served on the CSU Chico Alumni Association Board of Directors, chaired the governmental affairs committee and was the alumni representative to the CSU Alumni Council. A nut farmer for more than 30 years, Griswold has recently retired from a 39-year career in banking, but remains active in advocating for agriculture and CSU Chico.

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Dennis Hefner

College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
BA Economics, Class of 1967

Dr. Dennis L. Hefner received a B.A., Economics, in 1967 from California State, Chico and an M.A., Economics, in 1969, and Ph.D., Economic, in 1971, from Washington State University. Dr. Hefner also held a number of administrative and faculty positions at CSU, Chico, from 1976-90, the University of Maryland from 1970-72, and Washington State University from 1967-69. He was Vice President for Academic Affairs and professor of Economics at California State University, San Bernardino, from 1990-94, and was transition team leader at CSU, Monterey Bay, in 1994. He has previously served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. In addition, he was Director of research PAID Prescriptions, Inc. in California and an economist and social research analyst for the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Hefner served as president of SUNY Fredonia between 1996 and 2012. In 2013, The State University of New York Board of Trustees has voted unanimously to appoint Dr. Dennis L. Hefner as Interim President of SUNY Potsdam.

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Chris DiGiorgio

College of Business
BS Business Administration & Management,
Class of 1981

After nearly 32 years, DiGiorgio will be retiring from Accenture later this year. He is also the Managing Director of Corporate Development at Emerging Technologies in Silicon Valley. He is the chair of the Tech Museum of Innovation, co-chair of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, on the executive committee of the Bay Area Council, and vice chair of the Bay Area Economic Institute.

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Russ Woody

College of Communication & Education
BA Information and Communications Studies,
Class of 1978

Russ Woody graduated in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and a minor in speech and drama. He was a production assistant on the Benson and Bosom Buddies shows and he sold scripts to Benson and Barney Miller and wrote episodes for Fantasy Island and Webster. As part of Mary Tyler Moore’s production company, he wrote episodes for Newhart, Hill Street Blues, St. Elsewhere, and Slap Maxwell. He was co-executive producer of Mad About You and consults on The Jeff Foxworthy Show. He won an Emmy in 1990 as writer/producer for Murphy Brown and a Golden Globe Award in 1997 as co-executive producer of Cybill.

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W. Gary Sitton

College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management
MS Business Administration, Class of 1967

Gary and Judy Sitton owned Bi-Tech for 20 years, and he also taught computer science at Chico State for 17 years. When Bi-Tech was acquired in 1995, the company had 220 employees. He and Judy stayed on to run the business until 2000 and then retired.

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William Morris

College of Humanities & Fine Arts

Artist William Morris, a star in the Department of Art in the mid-1970's, is a world-class glass blower, teacher, and lecturer- and the subject of nearly 100 publications, from newspaper stories, airline magazine articles, and features in such magazines as Smithsonian, Glass Art Magazine, American Craft Magazine, and Town and Country to books written specifically about him. He received an Individual Artist Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1994. Solo exhibitions of his work have appeared in galleries worldwide including the Glass Art Gallery in Toronto. He has exhibited his glass in group exhibitions as well, delighting audiences in France, Japan, Italy, Mexico, Sweden, Canada, and Germany and at dozens of galleries throughout the United States. He enjoys bow-hunting, motorcycle riding, and mountain climbing.

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Walter E. Ryley

College of Natural Sciences
BA Physical Science, Class of 1972
MA Physical Science, Class of 1974

Walter Eugene Ryley is president of Cupertino Electric, based in San Jose, California. He received his B.A. in 1972 and M.A. in 1974 in Physical Science from California State University, Chico. His five years of experience with state and federal programs involved supervision of scientific research and formation of guidelines and legal standards. Gene taught physical science for one year at Butte College. His experience during his career with Cupertino Electric includes that of an electrician, project manager, chief estimator, and vice president of sales. In January 1995, Gene was appointed to the position of Executive Vice President, and in January 1997 he was appointed to the position of President of Cupertino Electric, Inc. He is a member of the National Association of Electrical contractors and a member of the National Association of Electrical Contractors and a member of the executive committee of TEC, an organization of Chief Executive Officers. Tennis and golf are two of Gene’s special interests, and he has won three national championships in sailing.

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