Achieving Excellence
at California State University, Chico

University Alums

Steve Mathews (BS, agriculture with an emphasis on wild land and range science, ’02) manages the 6,000-acre San Juan Creek Conservation Ranch in northern San Luis Obispo County for Wildlands, Inc., a company that creates and restores wetlands through conservation and mitigation banks.

Keith Hawkins (BA, communication studies, ’97) is a professional speaker who addresses more than 400,000 middle and high school students, educators, and parents annually. Hawkins's presentations address issues relevant to teenagers, including leadership, diversity, setting goals, and creating strong relationships.

Amanda Detmer (BA, theatre arts, ’95) made her professional acting debut in a made-for-television movie. She has since appeared in numerous films, including Kiss the Bride, Big Fat Liar, and The Majestic, and has appeared onstage across the country, including at the renowned Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.

Jane M. Hightower, MD (BA, 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. She holds a position on the San Francisco Medical Society Board of Directors and has been recognized as one of the top 500 doctors in the Bay Area.

Mike Thompson (BA, public administration, ’82; MPA, public administration, ’86) is a member of the influential federal Ways and Means Committee. He has been a congressman for California’s First District since 1998, served as a California senator for eight years, and co-founded the House and Senate Wine Caucus.

Antoinette Procopio (BS, mathematics, ’78) is a spacecraft manager at Boeing Satellite Systems, leading teams working on satellite programs. Procopio began her career in aerospace as one of the first female engineers to perform integration and testing of communication satellites.

Bruce Weide (BA, geography, ’78) and Pat Tucker (BS, 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 National Wildlife Conservation Achievement award for their work.

W. Gary Sitton (BS, marketing; MS, computer science, ’68) is the retired CEO of SunGard Bi-Tech Software, a multimillion-dollar financial and administrative software company he co-founded in Chico in 1981. Sitton, who earned a PhD in computer science, was a professor of computer science at CSU, Chico for 16 years.


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.