Distinguished Alumni

Distinguished Alumni

Since 1994, CSU, Chico has honored alums who have made outstanding contributions in their fields. We proudly present the Distinguished Alumni for 2014.

photo of Trena Kimler-RichardsTrena Kimler-Richards
College of Agriculture

Trena Kimler-Richards is an agriculture science instructor, program coordinator, and ag leadership advisor for Shasta College in Redding. She grew up in a family immersed in developing and running sole proprietorships. She was also very involved in the Nevada Union High School Future Farmers program. Following graduation from Chico (BS, Agriculture, ’82; Credential, ’84; MS, Interdisciplinary Studies, ’02), Kimler-Richards taught at Red Bluff High School. She returned to Chico State to work for the College of Agriculture as an outreach specialist and part-time lecturer while completing her master’s degree. For the past six years, Kimler-Richards has taught a wide variety of agriculture classes at Shasta College. These courses, coupled with a sustainable 90-acre comprehensive college farm, provide students with a solid knowledge of agricultural systems. She believes that her family’s entrepreneurialism and strong work ethic, along with the leadership, marketing, and public-speaking skills that she acquired early on, set the groundwork for her future success.

Edward J. Rollins, PhDEdward J. Rollins, PhD
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

Edward Rollins (BA, Political Science, ’68) is a senior advisor for Teneo Strategy, a senior presidential fellow for the Hofstra University Center for the Study of the American Presidency, and a senior political analyst for Fox News. He has served four U.S. presidents and played key roles in the Reagan administration. He was the first nonmember of Congress to serve as the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee and as the chief political advisor to the House Republican leadership. He also served four years as the senior advisor to the chairman of the Republican National Committee. Previously, Rollins was chief of staff and assistant to the speaker of the California Assembly. In 2011, he was inducted into the American Association of Political Consultants Hall of Fame. His 1996 memoir, Bare Knuckles and Back Rooms, made the New York Times Best Seller list. Rollins was a 2010 recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and in 2012, the CSU Board of Trustees awarded Rollins an honorary doctorate.

Debra CannonDebra Cannon
College of Business

Debra Cannon is founder and chief financial officer of LuLu’s Fashion Lounge in Chico. Obsessed with fashion, aesthetics, and culture, she has mixed business savvy with a passion for family and place. Cannon came to Chico State from Oakland as a freshman in 1968. Detours into the counterculture, marriage, and motherhood resulted in a nonlinear degree but a very rewarding student life peppered with the local color of the Chico community. She graduated at the top of her class in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in American studies and went on to the University of Oregon School of Library Science. Cannon held library positions with Chico State’s Meriam Library, Butte County, and Chico Unified School District. In 1996, Cannon and her daughter, Colleen Winter, founded LuLu’s Fashion Lounge, a boutique in downtown Chico that blossomed into a retail destination, along with GiGi’s Shoe Parlour. Lulus.com began in 2005, and now this successful enterprise occupies a 20,000-square-foot warehouse, employing 115 Chicoans.

Michael SheaMichael Shea
College of Communication and Education

Michael Shea is principal and founder of School+Jackson Inc. He became interested in art and design at a very young age while growing up in the Midwest. In his teens, he moved to Palm Springs, where he was inspired by the plethora of midcentury architecture. He chose to study at Chico State and in 1984 received a degree in information and communication studies, with a minor in art and industrial technology. In 1993, Shea received a master’s degree in design from North Carolina State University. His professional career has included a wide variety of creative opportunities at independent design firms and in internal corporate creative director roles with several major brands. When not in the studio, Shea enjoys spending time with his family, making art, traveling, and enjoying the outdoors in and around Portland, Oregon.

Rob SalmonRob Salmon
College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management

Rob Salmon (BS, Computer Information Systems, ’90) is the executive vice president at Worldwide Field Operations for NetApp. He was one of the first members of the sales organization at NetApp in 1994. Salmon now leads a team of more than 4,000 professionals in 50 countries. He is responsible for the strategy and execution of all sales and services operations, including the ecosystem of go-to-market partners. While running a Fortune 400 global organization is time consuming, Salmon prioritizes the most important people in his life: his wife, Patty, and sons, Michael, 14, and Greg, 11. He also takes pride in his involvement with the Asian American Donor Program, the Fairfield High School Staff Scholarship, and St. Baldrick’s Foundation, for which he has shaved his head three times in support of the fight against childhood cancers.

Mary Rolland
Mary Rolland College of Humanities and Fine Arts

Mary Rolland’s self-determination began in Chico at the early age of 8. She bravely took off her water wings at the One Mile swimming pool and started to swim. She attended Chico State as an art major and was a member of Cardinal Key National Honor Society. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 1967, Rolland won a contest for a pair of Head skis, which sent her to Sun Valley, Idaho, to learn how to use them. She painted in Sun Valley for 11 years before moving to New York City in 1980. Determined to stay in New York, Rolland purchased a loft in SoHo, set up a painting studio, and entered the art scene with a distinct but different approach: private studio visits, which provided enough income to support her painting. Rolland says she is forever grateful for the leadership of the art department at Chico State, especially former faculty Ken Morrow. She has recently established the Mary K. Rolland Scholarship Endowment Fund for Fine Arts at Chico State.

Craig W. Lindsley, PhDCraig W. Lindsley, PhD
College of Natural Sciences

Craig Lindsley is a professor of pharmacology and chemistry at Vanderbilt University and director of Medicinal Chemistry for the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery. He graduated from Chico in 1992 with a BS in chemistry, received his PhD at UC Santa Barbara, and pursued postdoctoral studies at Harvard University. Lindsley worked at Eli Lilly and Co. and Merck & Co., pioneering allosteric modulation in positions of increasing responsibility before moving to Vanderbilt in 2006. He is the founding editor-in-chief of ACS Chemical Neuroscience and has received numerous awards, including the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET)-Astellas Award, the American Chemical Society Philip S. Portoghese Medicinal Chemistry Lectureship Award, and the John J. Abel Award in Pharmacology from ASPET. Lindsley holds 35 issued U.S. patents and has published more than 300 manuscripts.

Don CarlsenDon Carlsen
Distinguished Alumni Service Award

Don Carlsen (BS, Accounting, ’69) has long been dedicated to education. For 31 years, he worked for the Chico Unified School District and the Butte County Office of Education, the last nine years as budget analyst-comptroller. Carlsen’s hobby, officiating football games, became his secondary career, leading to 24 years in the National Football League as No. 39 (recently retired from officiating, he is now an observer for the NFL). 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 where 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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Alum Notes

SHIRLEE ZANE

SHIRLEE ZANE

(’82) is third district Sonoma County supervisor.

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ADAM HENIG

ADAM HENIG

(BA, Political Science, ’02) published an ebook titled Alex Haley’s Roots: An Author’s Odyssey.

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JADE MILBURN

JADE MILBURN

(’12) is a volunteer with Sacramento’s City Year program.

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