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Vince Ammirato (1968, B.A., political science) joined his son in Irvine where they have been practicing law together as Ammirato Legal, APC for the past two years. Before that, Ammirato spent 42 years practicing law in Long Beach and Pasadena. Following six months with the Long Beach Prosecutors office, Ammirato committed himself to civil trials, having tried over 130 jury trials. He holds the rank of Diplomate with the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates, was rated AV Preeminent by Martindale Hubble, and was selected Super Lawyer since 2004. Ammirato currently serves as trustee for the Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity at Cal State Long Beach.

Tom Barnes
(1964, B.A., social science) retired a er a 35-year teaching career in history and the social sciences. Barnes was elected to the City Council of Seal Beach as a write-in candidate in 1971. He enjoys travel and has visited 103 countries as well as 42 states. Since his retirement, Tom has authored three books, including “Casablanca Film Trivia: Here’s Looking at You, Kid!” and two history test preparation books. As San Clemente residents, Tom and his wife Vonne frequently make presentations before the California Coastal Commission on behalf of providing for, and defending, public beach access along the California coast.

Michael Connor (1968, M.A., educational psychology) was recently named Distinguished Psychologist by the Association of Black Psychologists. A er graduating from CSULB, Connor earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Hawaii. He served as psychology professor at CSULB from 1970-2008. After retirement, he relocated to Northern California and resumed teaching at the California School of Professional Psychology. Connor was previously honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Mentoring (American Psychological Association, Division 17) and a Lifetime Achievement Award in Community Service (American Psychological Association, Division 45).

Jerry Gaines (1969, M.A., secondary education) was awarded the California/Nevada Credit Union League’s 2016 J. Alvin George Volunteer of the Year Award for over 40 years of volunteer service in the credit union industry. Gaines serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the South Bay Credit Union in Redondo Beach. He is a retired teacher from the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unifed School District. Travel and five grandchildren keep him and his wife Lorraine occupied when not volunteering for civic and nonprofit organizations.


Kathleen Cairns (1976, B.A., 1989, M.A., history), through the University of Nebraska, published her fifth book, “The Case of Rose Bird: Gender, Politics, and the California Courts.” The book provides a look at Bird, chosen by Jerry Brown in 1977 as the first woman to head the California Supreme Court, and highlights the complexities of the woman and the political and cultural climate of California in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Cairns teaches history and women’s studies at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and has authored several books.

Clifford “Cliff” Hard (1971, B.S., criminology; 1976, M.S. criminal justice) is enjoying his retirement afer a long career in law enforcement. His career began with an internship with the San Diego Police Department, followed by three years with the Federal Correctional Institution Terminal Island, and culminating in 31 years with the Orange County Probation Department. Following retirement, he worked another five years for the Probation Department, built a room addition on to his house, and completed numerous home remodeling projects. Hard also authored the novel, “James the Orphan,” and is working on others. He enjoys fishing, camping, woodworking, church activities, interacting with family and friends and is currently working part time at Home Depot.

Martin Limón (1973, B.A., political science) has twelve mystery novels to his credit, including his most recent book, “Ping-Pong Heart,” published in 2016 by Soho Press. His first novel, “Jade Lady Burning,” was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. He has also published over 40 short stories, most of them appearing in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.

Wayne Powell (1978, B.S., business administration-accountancy) has a weekly live radio show titled “Powell to the People” that airs from 1-2 p.m. PST on the Healthy Life radio network. Powell is a Manhattan Beach City Council member and a Los Angeles County Beach Commissioner.


Cara Anzilotti (1987, M.A., history) recently published a book titled “She-Devil in the City of Angels: Gender, Violence and the Hattie Woolsteen Murder Case in Victorian Era Los Angeles.” The book studies the American public’s response to the fate of accused murderer Hattie Woolsteen to examine the complexities of gender history and societal fears about the changing roles of women during the Victorian era. Anzilotti is associate professor of history at Loyola Marymount University.

Rita Mercs (1988, B.A., journalism) signed a three-year contract with Beacon Audiobooks, Inc. Mercs’ novel, “From Hell to Heaven,” explores life and the afterlife and is now available worldwide as an audiobook through iTunes, Audible and Amazon. “From Hell to Heaven” is also available in regular and large print through Amazon.


Shannon Keller O’Loughlin (1997, B.A., liberal studies) has served as Chief of Staff at the National Indian Gaming Commission since 2015. After receiving her undergraduate degree at CSULB, O’Loughlin received her M.A. and J.D. from the University of Arizona. She worked as associate attorney for Dreyer Boyajian LLP from 2005 to 2006, Squire Sanders & Dempsey LLP from 2004 to 2005, and Galbut & Hunter, P.C. from 2002 to 2004. Most recently, O’Loughlin served as Partner and Chair of the Indian Nations Practice Group at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP from 2013 to 2015. She was a Solo Practitioner from 2005 to 2013, during which time she worked on the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Civil Penalties program from 2011 to 2013. In September 2016, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate O’Loughlin to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee, Department of State.

Mitzi Onizuka (1991, B.A., psychology), founder and co-owner of boutique winery Mikami Vineyards in Lodi, CA, announced that the winery was recently awarded 90-points by Wine Enthusiast for their 2013 Zinfandel. The award is in addition to their Double Gold Medal win at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition (SFCWC), the largest wine competition of American wines. Said Onizuka: “In the past, we’ve had our wines served at the Jewels of the Night events and we look forward to continuing to support CSULB!”

Danny Wilson (1995, B.A., sociology) recently published a book through Archway Publishing titled “The Clever Toad in Color.” Wilson is a proud veteran of the U.S. Navy and holds three degrees, including an M.A. in Management. He has always enjoyed fables and has fond memories of the stories he was told as a child, which inspired him to write this book for young readers.


Michael Anastasi (2001, B.A., journalism) was appointed Vice President/News of the USA TODAY Network-Tennessee, overseeing the Network’s news operations throughout the state including Memphis, Knoxville and Nashville. He also is vice president and executive editor of the Tennessean in Nashville. Anastasi joined Gannett, parent company of the USA TODAY Network, in November 2015 following three and a half years as senior vice president and executive editor of the Los Angeles News Group. The organization won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Local Reporting.

Ira Gostin (2005, B.S., occupational studies) a veteran investor relations and marketing communications professional recently launched a new company in Reno, NV called 120 West Strategic Communications. Before launching 120 West, Gostin was vice president of investor relations and corporate communications for a mining company, where he took the company through an initial public offering, secondary offering, listing on the New York Stock Exchange and two mergers.

Justin McDonald (2009, B.S., occupational studies) was named Fire Chief of the Arcata Fire District in Arcata, CA in June 2016. He joined the District 22 years ago as a volunteer firefighter. In 2001, McDonald was hired as a full-time firefighter and has served as a captain, battalion chief, and most recently as the Assistant Chief of Operations. He will manage the District’s three fire stations with 25 full-time positions and 20 volunteers.


MARRIAGES | Andres Cardenas (2001, B.A., journalism) married Christina (Esparza) Cardenas (2002, B.A., journalism) on May 24, 2014 at Saint Bartholomew Catholic Church in Long Beach. The couple welcomed their first child, Cruz Domingo Cardenas, on May 1, 2016. Andres is a curriculum editor at EMS III. Christina is a marketing communications specialist at Cal State Fullerton.

IN MEMORIAM | Richard “Dick” Shaff (1961, B.A., political science), longtime head of San Francisco’s largest convention and exhibition complex, the Moscone Center, died unexpectedly on Aug. 2, 2016. Shaff’s accomplishments throughout his career were remarkable. He spent 55 years in the industry resulting in countless industry and civic awards, including a lifetime achievement award from the International Association of Venue Managers. His contribution to the success of the Moscone Center, and the hospitality industry at large, is unparalleled. Yet, he believed his great-est personal achievement was what he and his dear wife, Marilyn, accomplished during their 56 years together. Beloved by his family, friends and colleagues, Shaff’s passing was met with an outpouring of love and compassion that told of his life’s impact. He is also survived by his daughter Lori, son Greg, daughter-in-law Marisa, and five grandchildren Kyle, Hayley, Hannah, Wayne and Austin.

Don Urquhart, who taught political science at CSULB until his retirement in 1982, died on July 21, 2016 in Vista, CA at the age of 95 years old. Urquhart had the distinction of being the oldest retired member of CSULB faculty. Born on June 11, 1921 in Miami, Arizona and raised in Washington State, Urquhart served in the U.S. Navy during WWII and then completed work for an M.A. from the University of Washington, and a Ph.D. from UCLA. A pioneer member of the faculty at what was then Long Beach State College, Urquhart played a significant role in development of the Political Science Department, serving as department chair from 1966 to 1968. He was a dedicated teacher who took pride in inspiring a number of his students to become university professors. It was his dedication to teaching that led him to give up the department chairmanship and return to the classroom before his eventual retirement. Even-tempered and thoughtful, Urquhart contributed to continuity among his peers by mentoring new department faculty members.

Jerry L. Weaver, a member of the CSULB Political Science Department from 1966 to 1977, passed away on May 10, 2016 in Newark, Ohio at the age of 77. Weaver initially concentrated his research on Latin American elites, with special reference to Guatemala, and later became interested in issues of health care delivery. In the mid-1970s, Weaver introduced health policy undergraduate and graduate courses, and was also known for teaching many sections of the freshman American Political Institutions course at CSULB reserved for EOP students of lower-income background. While on leave from 1975 to 1977, Weaver directed the Public Administration program in the Political Science department at UCLA. In a career shift in 1978, he joined the U.S. Foreign Service where, as a Refugee Affairs Counselor assigned to the U.S. Mission in Sudan, he designed and led a clandestine and privately-financed movement of more than 10,000 Ethiopian Jews from Sudan to Israel from November 1985 to March 1986. For this accomplishment, he was honored by Vice President George Bush with the State Department “Superior Honors” award.

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