A Magazine from California State University, ChicoSpring 2015 Issue

Class Notes

Class Notes

We want to hear from you—what you loved about Chico State, what you do for a living, for a hobby, for fun.

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Wildcats on the Move Coordinator
Public Affairs and Publications
California State University, Chico
Chico, CA 95929-0040
E-mail wotm@csuchico.edu
Phone (530) 898-4143
Note: Only cities outside California will have the state name included.

1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s | Marriages/Anniversaries

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(BS, Civil Engineering, ’56) retired in 1999 after a long and successful career. He spent the last 16 years of it as a project manager in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Before that, he worked on many projects in and around Chico with Cook Associates Engineering in Oroville. Hiatt has fond memories of his time at Chico State, the “small college campus with a creek running through it, in a time when things were slower.”

He especially remembers his professors: “I enjoyed Professor Cook’s survey classes, and he enjoyed throwing a few tricks into our problems to see if we could recognize if there was a magnetic declination in the area. Those were great days, small classes and lots of hands-on stuff. I think his approach to surveying helped me a lot while doing two years of surveying in the Army.”

Hiatt’s graduating class of civil engineers included only six students, he says. “We had an engineering cottage across the creek from the main campus. It was a house with two bedrooms used as offices, a living room as our classroom, a kitchen where the first one there made the coffee, and a small basement for some testing equipment. Professor Herb Langdon had one office, and Mr. Guilford had the other office. It was rather informal, and smoking was allowed in our classroom. 

“I remember one of our problems was to design a footbridge across the creek from the engineering cottage. There was an existing footbridge upstream near the science building and auditorium that went to the old gym, but another bridge was desired to get to our cottage and to the living quarters in the Vets’ Village.”

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(BA, Social Science, ’65) was a career officer in the U.S. Navy, retiring after 20 years as a commander. He took part in the Apollo Manned Spacecraft Recovery Team and later became director of advertising for the Navy. He was assigned to Hollywood, where he served as an advisor to such movies as Midway, Top Gun, and The Hunt for Red October. From 1972 to 1975, Sherwood was deputy appointments secretary to then-Governor Ronald Reagan.

After his Navy career, he served as the director of Alumni Relations and Commencement at CSU, Chico, the executive director of the San Francisco State University Alumni Association, and a secretary on the CSU Alumni Association Board of Directors. He was a city and county airport commissioner in Butte County for 15 years. 

In retirement, Sherwood and his wife, Susan, have bicycled through 12 countries in Europe and kayaked the Bay of Fundy, the Panama Canal, and the Great Lakes. He was appointed by Wisconsin’s U.S. Senator Ron Johnson to serve on his Service Academy Selection Committee and continues to assist with the selection of young men and women to West Point, Annapolis, Colorado Springs, and the Merchant Marine Academy. He is proud to say that his daughter, Alicia Hille, is a CSU, Chico alumna, class of 1995.



(BA, English, ’66) retired from teaching at the University of San Francisco and is now pursuing his love of gardening, especially roses. He considers himself a “rose historian” and is currently on the national board of the Heritage Roses Group and the editor of its quarterly publication, Rose Letter. Schramm also contributes writing to other publications, including Pacific Horticulture, American Rose, and Heritage Roses New Zealand. In addition, Schramm serves on the board of the nonprofit The Friends of Vintage Roses and gives talks to various garden clubs, horticultural societies, and rose societies.


(BA, English, ’68) is vice president of the Lake County Chapter of California Women for Agriculture (LCCWA). She farms the home orchard that her great-grandfather planted in 1891. She has a master’s in English from California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo and taught in the language arts department of Cuesta Community College for 12 years before returning to the farm. She is a pioneer of integrated pest management and sustainable farming practices. She served on the research committee of the California Pear Advisory Board for more than two decades and currently serves on the board of directors for the California Pear Growers, Lake County Farm Bureau, and LCCWA.


(BA, U.S. History, ’69; Credential, ’70) served as the principal at Carmel Middle School for 15 years and at Carmel High School for eight years. He is the current president of the Carmel Unified School District Board of Education and was elected to the Carmel Unified School District Board of Education as a write-in candidate, the only one in Monterey County history. Pallastrini was inducted into the Monterey Peninsula Junior College Hall of Fame in 2014. He says he “wouldn’t be anywhere without my days at CSU, Chico (then Chico State).”

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(BA, Industrial Arts, ’71) earned his degree on the G.I. Bill after serving in the Vietnam War. He retired in 2011 after teaching in the California correctional system for 23 years in Susanville and Corcoran and at the Atascadero State Hospital and the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo. In retirement, he and his wife, Jaque, are ordained ministers in New Thought. They have contributed affirmative prayer treatments to Creative Thought Magazine and officiate weddings and memorial services. Edmiston has authored several works of young adult fiction and hopes to collaborate with a CSU, Chico alum to edit and illustrate them. He is one of 22 Chico State alums in his family—Meriam Library Special Collections received support from his great aunt, Ellen Deering.



(BS, Biology, ’72) is the president of Pre-Peeled Products Inc. in Stockton. He has been with the company 48 years. “The money I earned starting out with them put me through Chico,” he says. “After graduation, I worked for California Department of Fish and Game and then the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service while working part time at Pre-Peeled.” He purchased the corporation 10 years ago. In his free time, he immerses himself in America’s past (see photo at left). “My interest in history lead me to doing ‘History in Person’ programs as Commodore Robert F. Stockton,” says Bird. “Being associated with leading events in U.S. history until his death in 1866, the ground is fertile with stories going back to his ancestors arriving in the 1650s.”



(BA, Physical Education, ’72) retired in 2011 after a 35-year career teaching driver’s ed, health education, and special education in the Campbell Union High School District in San Jose. He also coached varsity cross country, wrestling, and track. In 1975, Cunningham and head wrestling coach Rich Kunhis coached Brenda Nunes, the first female high school wrestler in the nation, paving the way for current wrestling programs that allow co-ed teams. His two sons, Greg (’06) and Kevin (’09), and his daughter-in-law, Erica Thibodo-Cunningham, all graduated from CSU, Chico as well. “Greg followed in my footsteps and is a special education adaptive PE teacher down in San Diego, and Kevin is working in a high-tech company in Silicon Valley,” says Cunningham. “My wife, Debbie, and I are extremely proud of them both. Needless to say, Chico is a big part of our family life experiences and memories that we are extremely proud to be part of. Go Wildcats!”


MA, English, ’72) is a therapist, mediator, teacher, award-winning travel writer, and now, novelist. Her two new novels, Fall From Grace and All God’s Children, were recently released. In disguise as thrillers and mysteries, her novels delve into the complexity of polarizing social and political issues. She is working on book three in the Grace McDonald series, to be released in summer of 2015. Kraus left Chico for the University of Texas, Austin, receiving her MSW in 1978. She worked in the counseling center of Washburn University in Topeka, taught at the University of Kansas, co-founded an agency, and has had a private practice for decades in both therapy and mediation. Since 2007, Susan has also done contract work for the Department of Defense as a counselor with soldiers and their families. Susan lives with her husband, Frank Barthell, in Lawrence, Kansas. They have two adult children, Sarah and Ben. Kraus says she has completely lost touch with anyone she knew from CSU, Chico, and she’d love to reconnect. Email her at susan@susankraus.com.


(BA, Social Work, ’72) retired as the probation chief for Monterey County after 39 years of service. He was named chief in 2004, already a 30-year veteran of the probation department. He has a master’s degree in social welfare and a pupil personnel services credential from UC Berkeley.


(BA, Education, ’73) was a teacher in the East Side Union High School District and is now retired. He resides in San Pedro.


(BA, Art, ’73) released his second book, Lotus Land, in December 2014. The book is a collection of short stories with Asian themes that focus on the human condition. His debut novel, Winter’s Melon, was released in 2012 and is a fictionalized account of the Japanese invasion of China in 1937.


(BA, Psychology, ’76; MA, Psychology, ’79) was recently appointed chief deputy appointments secretary in the Office of the Governor. He previously served as a consultant for the California State Senate Office of Research, and served as a staff director, principal, and senior consultant for the California State Senate Appropriations Committee from 1990 to 2012.


(BS, Biological Sciences, ’77) retired after spending more than 35 years working in California’s oil industry. He spent the last 27 years working in the 35R Laboratory at Elk Hills, and he worked as a drilling fluid engineer and a petroleum chemist before that. He is now looking forward to “a long and well-deserved vacation.”



(BA, Child Development, ’79) is a program coordinator in Washington State University’s Counseling and Testing Center department. She was previously a part of University of Idaho Extension’s 4-H Youth Development program.

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(BA, Information and Communication Studies, ’80) completed a seven-day mural project with his daughter, Emma, in the Simpson Thacher law office in Palo Alto. After working as a graphic designer and magazine art director, he moved on to freelance illustration. His artwork is regularly featured on the front cover of The New Yorker magazine, and his 50th cover was published this year.


(BS, Business Administration, ’84) was elected Butte County superintendent of schools and sworn into office in January 2015. He was selected as one of 100 superintendents to meet with President Obama about the use of technology in schools. He was selected for the National Journalism Merit Award for supporting journalism in schools and was appointed chair of the California K–12 High Speed Network.


(BA, English, ’85) had a poem published in the Lodi News-Sentinel. The poem, titled “The Legend of Tom Kettleman,” tells of the life, death, and legacy of Tom Kettleman, an infamous turkey in the town of Lodi. Nachand is a retired correctional officer and currently works as a part-time custodian in Lodi at Emmanuel Lutheran Church.



(BS, Physical Science, ’86) is the founder of Data Resource Group, one of Oregon’s fastest growing companies. Prior to founding his own company five years ago, Rhodes worked for 20 years in the technical staffing industry in Portland, Oregon. He has several patents in the United States and Canada for various methods and apparatuses that successfully treat solid dog waste. He spends most of his free time volunteering as head timer for his youngest daughter’s high school and club swim meets.


(BA, Journalism, ’87) has over 25 years of experience as a published writer and a public relations consultant for creative agencies and nonprofit organizations. In 2014, she published Land of Sunshine: Reflections of a Sugar Plantation Named Paauhau, a book based on her family’s long history living on a sugar plantation on Hawai’i Island. Her writing was also included in Aloha Aina Volume II: More Big Island Memories.


(BS, Business Administration, ’87) was appointed senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary of Infinera, a leading provider of Intelligent Transport Networks. He most recently served as vice president and general counsel of Marvell Semiconductor Inc., which he joined in 2008. He has a juris doctorate from Santa Clara University School of Law.


(BA, Physical Education, ’87) accepted a position at Radford University in southwest Virginia after working for 16 years in athletics, recreation, and exercise science at the University of Delaware and for two years in Academic Affairs at Old Dominion University. Miller will serve as an administrator, teach a kinesiology class for the Health and Human Performance Department, and serve on the editorial review board for the Recreational Sports Journal


(BA, Music, ’88; MA, Music, ’91) returned to Chico State to direct the spring 2015 musical, The Will Rogers Follies. Before that, he founded the company iTheatrics in New York to enrich middle and high school theatre programs.


(BA, American Studies, ’88) became Merced Union High School District’s assistant superintendent for business in December 2014. Previously he was Atwater High School’s principal for five and a half years. He started with the district in 2001 and holds a master’s degree in educational leadership from Chapman University. He and his wife of 20 years have three children.

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(BA, Physical Education ‘90; MA, Physical Education, ‘96) recently finished his PhD in exercise physiology at the University of Utah. His research used MRI to look at how resistance training affects muscle in women who have undergone bariatric weight-loss surgery.


(BA, Psychology and Journalism, ’90) is a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley. He was appointed by Florida governor Rick Scott to the Board of Trustees of Florida SouthWestern State College in 2014. In 2013, he joined the Board of Trustees of AMIKids Crossroads, a group home and school for foster boys. He has volunteered as the citizen representative on the Charlotte County Value Adjustment Board since 2009. He has two sons and a daughter.



(BS, Construction Management, ’91) was promoted to executive vice president and chief operations officer of Webcor Builders, one of the largest general contractors in California, in January 2015. He started working at Webcor as a project manager in 1998 and has steadily risen through the ranks since then.


(BA, Art, ’96) founded the Chico Arts Foundation in 2011 to raise funds for the city’s Arts Commission. The foundation is partnering with the CSU, Chico student public relations firm Tehama Group Communications to create an interactive tour of Chico’s public art pieces.


(BS, Agricultural Business, ’96) has worked in the pension and health benefits field since graduating. He moved to Washington in 2005, and in 2014 transitioned into his current role as northwest regional plan manager in charge of increasing the geographic area served by BeneSys Inc., a Taft-Hartley Third Party Administration firm. Read’s two children live in Chico with their mother, and his daughter hopes to attend CSU, Chico.


(BA, Latin American Studies, ’98) is one of two captains in the Napa Police Department and is the highest-ranking female officer in the department’s history. Previously, Gonzales was a lieutenant with the Chico Police Department, where she worked for two decades. Gonzales was also a part-time criminal justice lecturer at CSU, Chico.



(BA, Philosophy, ’96; MA, Interdisciplinary Conflict Resolution, ’98) is the CEO of HimalAbility, an organization that provides accessibility resources to people in the Himalayan region of Nepal. Her organization recently brought a Mountain Trike wheelchair to a Tibetan refugee in Nepal, giving him the gift of mobility. In the past, she has funded housing, music programs, and computer and technology training in several Tibetan refugee camps in Nepal. She also developed a student exchange program, bringing students from around the globe to refugee camps in learning exchanges, and helped nine Tibetan students pursue education and careers in America. She is now semi-retired but still continuing her work, one project at a time.


(BS, Computer Science, ’98) is a product marketing manager at Grass Valley, a Belden brand. She was named TVNewsCheck’s 2015 Technology Woman to Watch, an award that recognizes female engineers who display the potential to make significant contributions to their industry in television, online, and radio technology.

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(MBA, ’00) is the executive director for the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association. 


(BS, Biological Sciences, ’00) has worked for the past eight and a half years as the Alameda territory manager for the Garratt-Callahan Company. He previously worked as a chemist for NuSil Silicone Technology and at Amgen and Genentech biotechnology companies. 


(BS, Exercise Physiology, ’00) was recently appointed vice president and business development officer of Five-Star Bank in Chico. She has 15 years of experience in the banking industry and has worked with a diverse group of businesses in banking and financing.


(BA, Communication Design, ’00) is the CEO of Colusa County Fairgrounds. He worked at Chico radio stations for nine years before moving to San Diego and working as a Sleep Train store manager for six years. After that, he moved back to Colusa, where he has had several occupations including working as the events coordinator at Colusa Casino Resort for five years. 


(attended, ’00) has been working as an actor in Hollywood for the past four years, with roles in Blood Relative, various children’s shows on Nickelodeon, and all iterations of the CSI series. He is currently working on producing a short film in Chico to showcase the town’s acting talent. Magaña is a Biggs native and has participated in local productions including Butte College’s Rent.


(BA, Sociology, ’02; Master of Public Administration, ’08) was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to the 27th District Agricultural Association Shasta District Fair Board of Directors. He is an officer in the Redding Police Department. He was previously an advisor for Educational Talent Search at CSU, Chico and a secondary school advisor and instructional aide for Region 2 of the U.S. Department of Education’s Migrant Education Program. Llamas is a member of the Redding Peace Officers’ Association and resides in Redding.


(BA, Special Major, ’03) developed the Makerspace at the Tehama County Department of Education. The Makerspace is a creative lab for children of all ages, designed to engage their imaginations while teaching them science. Carlson’s program is now a part of a national network of maker spaces through the Maker Education Initiative.


(BS, Business Administration, ’03) joined First Northern Bank’s Agribusiness Lending Team as vice president/commercial loan officer in December 2014. He serves customers throughout First Northern’s service area from his Woodland office. He previously worked for Umpqua Bank and Bank of America. While at CSU, Chico, he was a Golden Key National Society member and a member of Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society.


(BA, English, ’04) was elected to Chico City Council in November 2014. He originally left CSU, Chico to run a successful public relations firm, and then he returned in 2005 to complete his degree. He still runs his business, which produces annual home and garden and bridal shows in Chico and Yuba City.



(BS, Recreation Administration, ’06) is working on his master’s degree in ocean sciences at University of California, Santa Cruz. He also works with the university and the National Marine Fisheries Service to study the life cycles of Chinook salmon. He is currently studying the migration patterns of spring-run salmon near Chico. He says that he has Chico to thank for his love of the outdoors.


(BA, Art, ’07) recently left a job with AT&T to devote more time to his passion—stop-motion animation and filmmaking—and has already produced two short films. The first film, Wormholes, was featured locally in Chico’s Shortz! Film Festival as well as the Keep Chico Weird competition. It was also accepted into several festivals outside of the United States. His second film, The Spaceman, is a combination of live-action and stop-motion animation. It premiered in the Pageant Theatre in February.


(BA, Art, ’09) recently moved to Mobile, Alabama, to teach at the University of South Alabama as the head of the printmaking department and continue his studio practice. He previously taught at Ohio State University as well as Columbus College of Art and Design. He completed his MFA at Ohio State University in 2011.

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(BS, Business Administration, ’13) is a country singer-songwriter from Red Bluff. He has opened for big-name country artists including Scotty McCreery, Lee Brice, Tracy Lawrence, Neil McCoy, and Billy Currington, among others. He recently finished in the top 10 in the American Country Star contest in Nashville and came out with his latest single, titled “Nothin’ Quite Like Summer.” He enjoys team roping, hunting, fishing, and spending time with friends and family.


(BS, Civil Engineering, ’13) received a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering with an emphasis in structural mechanics from the University of California, Davis in December 2014. He is a project engineer for McClone Construction in Shingle Springs.

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(BS, Business Administration, ’69) and his wife, Marlene, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on May 23, 2014.


(BS, Computer Science, ’02) married ANDREA HAMEL (BA, Psychology, ’07) in September 2014 in Fortuna. She is a transfer and graduation counselor at Humboldt State University; he is the director of client technology at Humboldt State University. The couple resides in McKinleyville.


(BA, Liberal Studies, ’06) and ROBERT DALY PRESTON (BA, Geography, ’06) were married Sept. 14, 2014. She earned her Master of Education from Seattle University in 2010 and works for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in Menlo Park. He will receive his Master of Public Administration from San Francisco State University and works for Meridian Management in San Francisco.


(BA, General Anthropology, ’07) and Felicity Monsees-Russell were married Oct. 4, 2014. He earned a master’s degree in cultural resource management at Sonoma State University and works as the U.S. Forest Service archaeologist for the Hat Creek Ranger District out of McArthur. She works for Intermountain Physical Therapy, managing the marketing of the physical therapy office and gym. They reside in Burney.


(BA, Psychology, ’10) and Cassiopeia Keyes were married Oct. 11, 2014. She is currently working with Target Corporation in Chico. He is working with Milestone Technologies Inc. in Chico.



(BS, Nutrition and Food Sciences, ’10) and STEPHEN RIDGE (BS, Business Administration, ’10) became engaged on campus in February 2015 after almost nine years of dating. “We were lucky to have someone pass by us on campus at that moment to capture it all! Chico State played such an important role in our relationship, and I’m beyond excited that he chose a place that is so special to us,” says Alexander.


(MS, Environmental Science, ’11) and Lukas Welsh were married Aug. 29, 2014. She is the director of technical data at Crop Data Management Systems Inc. in Marysville; he is a cable splicer specialist with Pinnacle Power in Benicia.

Zach Phillips, Public Affairs and Publications