Achieving Excellence
at California State University, Chico

University Alums

Darwin Murrell (BA, Biology, ’62) was director of the Danish Centre for Experimental Parasitology at the University of Copenhagen and also worked for 30 years as a U.S. Navy and USDA scientist. He is an advisor to the World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and International Atomic Energy Agency. His honors include the Presidential Rank Award of Distinguished Executive and induction into the USDA-ARS Science Hall of Fame.

Jane Hightower (BS, Biological Sciences, ’83) is a board-certified internal medicine physician in San Francisco. In 2002, she published a landmark study that brought the issue of mercury in seafood to national attention. Hightower is the author of Diagnosis Mercury: Money, Politics, and Poison and continues to research and lecture on the issue. She was on the San Francisco Medical Society Board of Directors.

Kathy Crusco (BS, Business Administration, ’87) is the executive vice president and chief financial officer of Epicor Software Corporation. She is responsible for its legal, financial, IT, and other logistic functions. Crusco was vice president of worldwide finance for Polycom, Inc.

Lain Hensley (BA, Recreation Administration, ’93) is co-owner and COO of Odyssey Teams, Inc., which specializes in using philanthropic activities for team building. He has delivered training and motivational speaking to more than 500,000 people worldwide and has traveled to 58 countries fitting prosthetic hands. His goal is to donate 100,000 prosthetic hands in his lifetime. Hensley sits on the board of directors for the Ellen Meadows Prosthetic Hand Foundation.

Sandy Lerner (BA, International Relations, ’75) and Ed Rollins (BA, Political Science, ’68), two of CSU, Chico’s most successful alumni, were awarded honorary doctorates at the 2012 commencement. Rollins received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, and Lerner received an Honorary Doctor of Science. Lerner co-founded Cisco Systems, Inc., maker of the first commercially viable router that allowed computers to network. Rollins is a veteran political analyst and campaign manager who has served four U.S. presidents, and managed Ronald Reagan’s landslide re-election campaign in 1984.


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.