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In Touch

Keep up with accomplishments and remembrances.

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Thomas (Tomas) Estes (1967, B.A., social science) has opened 18 Mexican bars and restaurants around the globe, co-created the brand Tequila Ocho, and serves as a business ambassador of the Mexico tequila industry.

Joseph J. Scollo (1967, B.A., social science; 1970, M.A., educational administration), Dona Stevens and Ellen Pomella co-authored Urban Challenge in Education: The Story of Charter School Successes in Los Angeles, published by Rowman & Littlefield. Scollo recently retired as a full-time lecturer in educational leadership and co-director of the Charter and Autonomous School Leadership Academy at Cal State Dominguez Hills.

Howard J. Simon Sr. (1968, B.A.; 1976, M.A., political science) authored Poems of Great Bible Stories, published by Createspace. “The book provides narrative poems on faith, conflict, betrayal, romance/ love and triumph,” said Simon, who is pastor emeritus of Hope in Christ Community Church in Compton, Calif.

Daniel Robbins
Daniel Robbins

The 8th annual Krakow Film Music Festival featured “Caesar Now Be Still and Finale,” a concert suite by Daniel Robbins (1969, B.M., composition) based on Miklos Rozsa’s score for the film Julius Caesar. Robbins also orchestrated music from Rozsa’s Valley of the Kings film score for Intrada CD’s 2014 recording, “The Man in Half Moon Street: Great Film Music by Miklos Rozsa.” In November, Robbins delivered his lecture “Music and Our Responses to Film” at the National Association of Composers, USA National Festival in Atlanta. His “Sonata for Violin” was premiered in February 2014 in Santa Monica.


Diane (Raisig) Christianson (1970, B.A., political science) had her third novel, Bamboo Ring, published by Black Rose Writing. The story begins in South Korea in the 1970s and takes the readers on a world tour that includes the countries in today’s headlines.

Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. appointed John A. Slawson (1973, B.S., business administration–finance) as a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge. Slawson has been a Superior Court commissioner since 1993.

Marlene Worhach (1973, B.A., art) is program manager in Collection Management Services for the firm History Associates, advising clients on art and artifact collections.

Art Felix
Art Felix

The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers presented Arthur Felix Jr. (1977, B.S., electrical engineering) with its 2014 SHPE STAR Award for Community Service. He is a risk management program manager in Northrop Grumman’s Information Systems sector and is a member of the firm’s employee group Adelante. He has led a team that promotes engineering careers to students and parents at high schools, colleges and Hispanic groups.

Wayne Powell
Wayne Powell

Manhattan Beach Mayor Wayne Powell (1978, B.S., business administration–accountancy) was elected chair of the Los Angeles County Beach Commission.


Vali DeVries (1981, B.A., journalism–public relations) recently celebrated 30 years as a State Farm Insurance agent in Long Beach. She is a member of Toastmasters International and the Rotary Club of Long Beach.

The Florida High Tech Corridor Council recognized Meredeth Rowe (1981, M.S., nursing) as one of its 2015 Faces of Technology. She is chief scientific officer for CareGenesis Corp., which develops and commercializes technologies to address the needs of family caregivers, and also is a professor and Hughes Endowed Chair for Nursing Science at the University of South Florida.

The Indiana Association of Career and Technical Education Districts named Jonathan P. Groth (1982, B.A.; 1984, M.A., industrial arts) to its Hall of Fame. He is director of Porter County Career and Technical Education and a long-time Indiana educator.

Beverly VanCleef (1983, B.S., chemical engineering) has worked as an environmental engineer for the Department of Defense since 1984. She is currently with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental and Munitions Center of Expertise in Omaha, Neb.

Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. appointed Craig E. Arthur (1984, B.A., psychology) as an Orange County Superior Court judge. He has been a Superior Court commissioner since 2005.

RealD Inc. appointed Anthony Marcoly (1984, B.S., business administration–accountancy) as president of worldwide cinema. He was president of Paramount Pictures International. RealD is a global leader in 3D and other visual technologies for commercial and home theater.

Richard Lapidus (1986, MBA) becomes the new president Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, Mass., in July. He has been dean of the College of Business Administration at Cal Poly Pomona for six years.

Caesars Entertainment Corp. selected Keith Causey (1987, B.S., business administration–accountancy) as senior vice president and chief accounting officer. He was executive director of global business services-finance for General Motors.

The Supreme Court of California appointed Lawrence W. Striley (1987, B.A., radio/television/film) as reporter of decisions for the court and the California Courts of Appeal. He oversees preparation of more than 12,000 annual opinions of the two courts. He received his law degree from Washington & Lee University and was a director of content development at LexisNexis.

Millicent Borges Accardi (1988, B.A., English) received a 2014-15 Fulbright Award to study poetry and fairy tales in the Azores and a 2013 Fundação Luso-Americanato travel grant to present her paper, “Fe, Fi, Fo, Fear in Portuguese Fairytales,” at a conference at the University of Lisbon, Portugal. She received her second Creative Capacity Grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation in Los Angeles in 2014. She is the organizer of Kale Soup for the Soul, a Portuguese-American writers’ reading series.

The call intelligence firm Invoca named Cynthia Stephens (1988, B.A., economics) as chief financial officer. She is a long-time financial executive for technology and start-up firms.


The Orange County Board of Supervisors appointed Lawrence G. Serafini (1992, M.S., civil engineering) as acting director of John Wayne Airport. He has been the airport’s deputy director of facilities since 2001.

Kathy Tavoularis
Kathy Tavoularis

Kathy Tavoularis (1992, B.A., political science) is continuing as executive director of the California delegation to the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, after leading the nation’s largest delegation at the 2008 and 2012 conventions. Her Orange County-based political affairs and consulting business, Tavoularis Projects, completed a successful election year for clients in 2014.

Wells Fargo & Co. named Benjamin F. Alvarado (1993, B.A., interpersonal communication) as president of the bank’s Southern California region, serving customers in San Diego, Orange and Imperial counties.

Brian Victor
Brian Victor

Brian Victor (1993, M.S., psychology) has been selected to the Super Lawyers 2015 California Rising Stars list. This is an exclusive list, recognizing no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state. He practices family law at the Law Offices of Brian A. Victor in San Diego.

Algerian Hart (1994, B.A., sociology), assistant professor of kinesiology and coordinator of the sport management master’s program at Western Illinois University, earned the WIU’s College of Education and Human Services 2014 Excellence in Internationalizing the Campus Award. He and his students attend and present at international sports conferences.

AARP appointed Dana Marie Kennedy (1994, B.A., social work) as director of its Arizona state office. She has worked for a variety of Arizona non-profit organizations and for Arizona Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema.

In addition to being an attorney, Natashia Deon Saunders (1995, B.A., speech communication) is a writer and creator of the reading series Dirty Laundry Lit and was named to L.A. Weekly’s Most Fascinating People 2013 list. She has been a creative writing fellow with Yale University, the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference and PEN Center USA.

Toshiba America Business Solutions Inc. promoted Thomas H. Walter (1996, B.A., political science) to vice president of distribution and aftermarket sales. He is responsible for the firm’s thermal barcode printer segment and green electronics initiatives.

Naomi Rodriguez (1999, B.A., interpersonal communication) is the new senior director of external affairs and community relations for the Los Angeles Dodgers. She was senior director of public affairs, marketing and communications for the Los Angeles Universal Preschool.


The city of Long Beach named Police Department veteran Robert G. Luna (2001, B.S., occupational Studies; 2006, M.P.A.) as chief. To fill his vacancy, Commander Richard Rocchi (2003, B.S., occupational studies; 2007, M.P.A.) was promoted to deputy chief and second in command. Commander Michael Beckman (2008, B.S., occupational studies) was later promoted to replace Deputy Chief Laura Farinella (2007, M.S., emergency services administration), who became Laguna Beach’s new police chief.

Leonard Soskin (2006, B.S., business administration–marketing) is co-founder and developer of Timebomb-Blow Up, a free Apple iOS app that provides anonymous photo and video sharing that expires after 24 hours unless the content gets upvoted to extend its appearance in 15-minute increments. “The best content lives on while the worst fizzles out,” said Soskin, a former game firm brand manager and product director.

The Emergency Nurses Association selected Matthew F. Powers (2007, M.S., emergency services administration) to serve a one-year term as president of the international organization. He is a registered nurse who oversees operational and clinical services for the North County Fire Authority in San Mateo County, Calif.

Julie M. Rivett (2007, B.A., American studies, B.A., rhetorical studies; 2013, M.A., speech communication) is an author and speaker about the legacy of her grandfather, Dashiell Hammett, author of The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man.

Ben Sieke (2009, B.M., percussion performance) joined Union Bank in November as assistant vice president, talent development and learning. In this new role, he oversees the training and professional development of several hundred commercial lending employees located in California and New Jersey.


Martha Parham (2011, Ed.D.) is the new vice president of marketing and public relations for the American Association of Community Colleges in Washington, D.C. She was director of public affairs, marketing and government relations for the Coast Community College District in Orange County.

Kristyn Leon (2012, B.A., journalism) joined the KABB-TV Fox San Antonio, Texas, news team in March after being a news anchor at KXRM-TV in Colorado Springs.

Amy Laughlin
Amy Laughlin

Amy Laughlin (2013, credential), a teacher and Title I intervention specialist at Hansen School in Anaheim, was named one of five 2015 California Teachers of the Year by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.



Daniel R. Bergman (2012, B.S., mathematics) and Caitlin Aikenhead (2012, B.A., communicative disorders) married in December. They met as CSULB President’s Scholars.

Ira M. Gostin (2005, B.S., occupational studies) married Erin De Los Santos on New Years Day in their home in Reno, Nev. He is a former photojournalist with the Associated Press in Southern California and is vice president for investor relations and corporate communications at Tahoe Resources Inc., a multi-national mining company. She is a nurse with Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center.

Elizabeth A. Swift (1980, B.A.; 1985, M.A., mathematics) married Charles L. Avey in Columbus, Ohio, on Nov. 25. She is retired from Cerritos College and he retired from Comerica Bank. They live in Westerville, Ohio.


Jeremy M. Harris (2004, B.S., criminal justice, B.A., political science), Kellee (Parker) Harris (2002, B.A. political science) and daughter, Brynn, welcomed son and baby brother, Austin Madison Harris, on Oct. 10.


Bonnie M. Bryson (1990, B.S., criminal justice) died Aug. 29 at age 62. She was a long-time travel agent, international traveler and photography hobbyist.

Walter P. Carson (1972, B.S., business administration-marketing) died Dec. 3 at 79 in Ventura, Calif. He was with Merchants Home Delivery Service/Exel Direct for 32 years and later owned the Sub Station II restaurant in Oxnard.

James “Lew” Comer, professor emeritus, physical education, died Jan. 14 in Costa Mesa, Calif., at 91. He joined the campus in 1971, briefly serving as athletic director, and retired in 1980.

Samuel G. Councilman, professor emeritus, mathematics, died June 1 at 79. He taught from 1968 to 2004, serving in the Academic Senate and from 1990 to 1999 as chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

Teresa (Murphy) Farrell (1978, M.P.A.) died Jan. 21. The former women’s basketball player served as head of the statistics crew for men’s and women’s volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball for 30 years.

Wolf R. Imbler (1965, B.A., political science) died Sept. 27 in Fullerton at age 73. He was a bilingual fourth grade teacher at Richman School in Fullerton.

Priscilla Maltbie (1970, B.A.; 1972, M.A., English; 1975, B.A., comparative literature) died Dec. 16 in Long Beach at 66. She was a writer for the Orange County Department of Education and a children’s book author while dealing with severe physical disabilities.

Edward B. McLeod Jr., professor emeritus, mathematics and computer science, died Dec. 20 at age 90. He joined the campus in 1965 and retired in 1986.

Bob Pestolesi (1953, M.A., elementary education) died Dec. 4 at 86. He joined the faculty in 1955, coaching football, tennis and golf and was Physical Education Department chair from 1967 to 1978.

David L. Rodda (1969, B.A., social science), assistant track and field coach for 14 years and a former coach with Team USA, died April 3.

Raul Rodriguez (1969, B.A., art) died Feb. 18 in Pasadena at 71. The award-winning designer created more than 500 Rose Parade floats as well as float and architectural decor designs for clients including Disney, Universal Studios, Six Flags theme parks and the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas.

Billie Sheaffer (1964, B.S., nursing) died Jan. 8 in Long Beach at 86. She was a retired Long Beach schoolteacher and was known for caring for injured birds.

Darrell L. Sperber (1969, B.S., industrial technology), owner of Manhattan Beach Toyota, died Jan. 14 at 68.

Jim Stangeland, head football coach from 1969 to 1973, died Oct. 25 at 92. He led the team to two PCAA championships and the 1970 Pasadena Bowl.

Jerry Tarkanian, men’s basketball coach from 1968 to 1973, died Feb. 11 at 84 in Las Vegas. He led Long Beach State to a 122-20 record, four PCAA championships and four NCAA tournament appearances.

Fred J. Waddell (1957, M.A., education administration) died Aug. 19 at age 84 in San Angelo, Texas. He was a longtime educational administrator in California and Texas.

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