December 8, 2003 Vol. VIII, No. 4



Dorothea "Granny" Heitz, alumna whose "spirit squad" members were campus ambassadors in the 1960s, is pictured above at Volunteer Service Awards event with President Jolene Koester and attorney I. Allan Oberman.

University Honors Top Volunteers at Annual Awards Event

Attorney I. Allan Oberman, Journalist Robert Rawitch Receive Heitz Awards for Outstanding Leadership

Fifteen of Cal State Northridge's most active alumni, faculty and community friends received Volunteer Service Awards, the university's highest tribute to volunteers, at a campus luncheon and ceremony in November. Five major individual volunteer leadership awards also were presented at the event.

"Service and volunteerism are at the heart of our great university," said President Jolene Koester, who delivered greetings at the Alumni Association's second annual event honoring volunteers. "Our volunteers help shape the future of our institution, contribute to its vitality, and enhance the lives of thousands of students."

"The Service Award event," added Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations D. G. "Gray" Mounger, "provides a way to recognize and thank those who selflessly give their time and resources to help fulfill Cal State Northridge's mission."

The Dorothea "Granny" Heitz Awards for Outstanding Volunteer Leadership, named for the alumna whose self-styled "spirit squad" members became unofficial campus ambassadors in the 1960s, were presented to two longtime friends of the university, attorney I. Allan Oberman and Robert Rawitch, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist (right).

During his tenure as Alumni Association president, Oberman helped launch the Distinguished Alumni Awards and the Emeriti Merit Award. He was instrumental in negotiating partnership agreements guaranteeing funding of nearly $1.5 million in private support of university programs and scholarships.

Rawitch, who earned a Pulitzer Prize for his Los Angeles Times coverage of the 1994 Northridge earthquake, has served on the boards of the Journalism Alumni Association, the University Corporation and the Cal State Northridge Foundation.

Receiving Emeriti Merit Awards were Gwen Brewer, English professor emeritus, and medical historian Vern Bullough, history professor emeritus. Brewer, whose 28-year CSUN career included her work with the Department of Secondary Education and a term as director of composition in the English Department, recently completed her term as president of the Association of Retired Faculty.

Bullough, an international authority on the history of sexual practices and the history of nursing, founded and directed Northridge's Center for Sex Research. He and Brewer, married five years ago, are active university supporters.

The Alumni Association Service to Society Recognition went to alumna and Teacher Curriculum Center librarian Karin Duran. For nearly 30 years, Duran has taught a Chicano/a Studies class training students in research methods and information processes. Nearly every student majoring in Chicano/a Studies has been taught and mentored by the librarian.

Recipients of Volunteer Service Awards were:

Milton Valera, veteran journalist and alumnus who is president of the National Notary Association, past president of the Journalism Alumni Association and member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Deborah Feldman, attorney who serves as advisory board member of the Dean's Council, the Family Business Center and the Center for Real Estate.

Deborah Leidner, Los Angeles Unified School District A Superintendent, who assists with the university's Teachers for a New Era Initiative and helps design course curricula and class lectures. Brigid Baty of the Metropolitan Water District, the alumna who helped develop a civil engineering design course that has become a program model.

Sam Sokolow, retired economist and active Gerontology Program volunteer, a founding member of Study, Activity, Growth and Enrichment (SAGE), the College of Extended Learning's learning-in-retirement organization.

Susan Tartakoff, a client of the Center of Achievement for the Physically Disabled, who helped raise more than $100,000 for the Abbott and Linda Brown Western Center for Adaptive Aquatic Therapy.

Hermine Mahseredjian, faculty member and a key figure in the establishment of the Armenian Student Association and the Association of Armenian Alumni.

Jeffrey Holt of the Mountain Geology, Inc., consulting firm of professional engineering geologists, who advises the Geological Sciences Department on "real world" geologic services issues.

Wendy Machlovitz, a history alumna central to the creation and coordination of the Natchez Project—a research effort led by history professor Ronald Davis that is focused on antebellum courthouse records in Natchez, Miss.—as well as its related student internship program and the Biennial Historic Natchez Conference.

Tina Fitzpatrick, longtime member of the Matador Athletic Association Board of Directors and volunteer chairperson for "Matador Mania," a major fundraiser for Intercollegiate Athletics.

David Honda, former race car driver, president of D.S. Honda Construction Inc. and an active alumnus who has chaired the Foundation Board of Directors and served on the North Campus-University Park Development Corporation Committee and the President's Associates.

Debra Goldman, founder of a Head Start toy loan library for disadvantaged children and chairperson of the Oviatt Library's Friends of the Library organization.

Earl Weiss, attorney, certified public accountant, chair of the Accounting and Information Systems Department and committed supporter of the Accounting and Information Systems Alumni Chapter.

Carole Shepherd, entrepreneur and immediate past president of the new Health Administration Alumni Chapter, who increased the chapter's membership and hosted events in support of the Health Administration Program.

Nolan Stewart, recreation therapy advocate, educator and alumnus who helped create the Recreation Alumni Chapter, and whose psychosocial rehabilitation programs have contributed to the discipline at Northridge.


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