Achieving Excellence
at California State University, Chico

Alums

Success After Graduation

Carolyn Shoemaker (B.A., history, ’49; M.A., credential, ’50) is the world’s most successful living “comet hunter.” She is recognized worldwide as a planetary astronomer with the discovery of 800 asteroids and 32 comets. Shoemaker is a research scientist at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Peggy Newfield (B.A., history and B.A., Italian, ’77) is owner and chief executive officer of Latin American Escapes, a company that focuses on educational and sustainable tourism.

Bruce Weide (B.A., geography, ’78) and Pat Tucker (B.S., nursing, ’79) founded and operate the Wild Sentry program in Montana, which educates more than 20,000 children and adults every year about wolves. In 2004, the couple received the prestigious National Wildlife Conservation Achievement Award.

Mark Ulriksen (B.A., visual communication, ’80) is an artist whose illustrations have appeared on the cover of The New Yorker, as well as in many other magazines, including The Atlantic Monthly, GQ, Rolling Stone, and Time.

Kelly Candaele (M.A., psychology, ’80) is a journalist and documentary filmmaker who has written for the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and The Nation. He won an Emmy for A League of Their Own, about his mother’s years as a professional baseball player, and wrote the story for the film of the same title.

Stephen A. Gonsalves (B.S., civil engineering, ’81) serves as vice president and principal structural engineer for Nichols, Melburg, and Rossetto, the Chico firm responsible for Nettleton Baseball Stadium and the expansion of the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. Gonsalves received the Chico Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year Award for 1998.

Mike Thompson (B.A., public administration and economics, ’82; M.A., public administration, ’86) has been a congressman for California’s First District since 1998. He served as a California senator for eight years.

Jane M. Hightower, M.D. (B.A., biological sciences, ’83) made a splash in the media with her study linking mercury poisoning with high-end fish consumption. The study led to FDA warnings and California State Proposition 65 enforcement.

Matt Olmstead (B.A., English and B.A., journalism, ’88) is a writer and executive producer for the TV show NYPD Blue. After graduation, Olmstead moved to Hollywood and, four years later, sold his first film script.


From the halls of Congress to corporate boardrooms, from exploring outer space to taking on Hollywood, Chico alums have made outstanding contributions in their fields. We are proud of their accomplishments and grateful for the way many mentor the graduates who follow. Those listed on the left represent only a few of many accomplished alums.