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The CSUN for Life Award

Established by the Alumni Association in 2013, the CSUN for Life Award recognized non-alumni friends of CSUN who, over time, have grown close to the University and proudly claim California State University, Northdridge as their adopted alma mater. Through their passionate and consistent contributions of time, donations, talent and attendance at campus events and Matador games, they carry the CSUN message and embody CSUN's unique spirit. The CSUN for Life Award honors those whose service is consistently a reflection of the university's mission and its highest values.

2019 CSUN for Life Recipient

Sanford Paris 

In the late 1960s, after earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting from UCLA in 1959, a Juris Doctor from Southwestern University Law School in 1963 and service in the U.S. Army, Sanford “Sandy” P. Paris began spending much of his time in the San Fernando Valley. The first-generation college student joined his father, Oscar L. Paris, in developing industrial property across the valley.

It was during this time that Paris began taking an interest in San Fernando Valley State College. As a member of the Valley Industry & Commerce Association Board of Directors, Paris was part of a group that encouraged the naming change of Valley State to California State University, Northridge in 1972.

Paris’ involvement with CSUN grew thereafter. With success as a property developer and attorney in the valley, Paris wanted to give back. He chose CSUN as a place to do just that. As a member of the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics Advisory Board, Paris worked with Dean William Hosek to bring professionals from the real estate and accounting industries into classes as guest speakers. Paris was also a regular contributor for the Nazarian College’s Professor for a Day.

Paris served on the CSUN Foundation Board of Directors from 1998-2017 and was chair of the finance committee. He also served on the Nazarian College Advisory Board. Paris made trips to Sacramento on Legislation Day to advocate on behalf of CSUN.

Paris and his wife Valerie’s generous financial support of the Nazarian College and The Soraya are recognized by signage at both campus locations. Paris has made a lasting impact by benefiting various CSUN disciplines through the establishment of endowments at the Nazarian College, College of Engineering and Computer Science, College of Health and Human Development, and College of Humanities.

Paris has been a leader in service across Los Angeles, supporting students, professionals and the Jewish community. In 2004, he received a CSUN Volunteer Service Award. This year, he receives a second — the CSUN for Life Award.

2018 CSUN for Life Recipients

Bonnie Faherty and Edward Feldman

Dr. Bonnie Faherty and Edward Feldman are a husband-and-wife team who are true Matadors.

Both alumni of UCLA with Dr. Faherty also holding degrees from Cal State Long Beach and USC, CSUN has been a significant part of their lives, as both have been devoted to the university in various ways. The connection to CSUN began in 1997 when Dr. Faherty began teaching in CSUN’s Department of Health Sciences. By that time, she was already widely recognized as a patient advocate and leader in the nursing industry. She taught at Santa Monica College, UCLA and Cal State LA and presented at numerous conferences — locally, nationally and internationally. Dr. Faherty became a beloved figure within the CSUN’s Department of Nursing who advocated for and elevated students, faculty and staff through her passion and work. 

Dr. Faherty taught at CSUN from 1997-2001 and was later awarded a Volunteer Service Award from the Nursing Alumni Chapter in 2008. She is an associate professor emeritus in CSUN’s Department of Health Sciences. Dr. Faherty was invited to attend a news conference in 2009 at the White House to show support for President Obama and the Affordable Care Act. Feldman was a difference-maker for decades as head deputy in the LA District Attorney’s Office. His job also included international work and legislative advocacy at the DA’s office. His nearly decade-long efforts in the 1970s and 80s helped reform nursing home care in the state and was a forerunner to national legislation for elder care. Together they have continued to stay close to CSUN, not only living near the university, but continuing to stay involved with many of the institution’s efforts.

 Dr. Faherty and Feldman are members of the The Dean’s Circle for the College of Health and Human Development and both are members of the President’s Associates. Both have been vital CSUN supporters, having worked with the university’s Office of Government and Community Relations, aiding it at the local and state level. Together, they have given to students, CSUN’s Department of Nursing, The Soraya and the Oviatt Library among other areas on campus.

2016 CSUN for Life Recipient

Sally Magaram 

When Sally Magaram married her husband Phil in 1993, she became a part of California State University, Northridge by association. Phil Magaram was a driving force in the creation and development of the Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics at CSUN, which opened in 1991 and was named for his late wife.

Early on, Sally supported her husband in all his efforts to build a foundation for and increase the visibility of the Magaram Center. Then in 2010, her association with CSUN became even more personal. In 2010, she was asked to co-chair the opening of the Valley Performing Arts Center. She worked tirelessly to help make VPAC’s Opening Gala on Jan. 29, 2011 happen.

If you were there that night you recall the star-studded event, which featured an eclectic mix of entertainment from jazz to classical music to spoken word and featured artists such as Monica Mancini and Jazz greats Dave Koz and Arturo Sandoval and saw celebrities such as Andy Garcia, Cheech Marin and Tyne Daly participate. Yes, Sally helped usher in a new era of performing arts for the San Fernando Valley by ensuring that VPAC’s introduction to the world was seen, heard and remembered. Not only that, Sally and Phil are Community Founding Donors of VPAC, as well.

“I was just so proud to serve,” Sally said of CSUN. ”I think it’s a great institution. Mostly what I’m proud of is the Magaram Center because of what we’ve accomplished in the last 25 years.” On Sept. 15, the Magaram Center celebrated its 25th anniversary with an on-campus gala that recognized all the tremendous work and accomplishments of students and faculty who have enhanced and promoted health through research, education and community outreach. Behind the scenes, Sally has been a guiding force for the center, even during challenging times for herself.

Nearly five years ago, Sally battled breast cancer. She never lost her spirit. And she won the battle. Her zest for volunteer work never stopped. In fact, it increased. She is on the Board of Governors at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the Board of Directors for the Tower Cancer Research Foundation and Couples Against Leukemia. Sally said she gets a lot of inspiration from family. Her six grandchildren are the loves of her life. Her stepdaughter Jodi and her husband Scott and stepson Justin and his wife Amy have brought her so much joy. And of course, Phil, has also inspired her with his vision and dedication to service.

And though she didn’t attend CSUN as a student, she has become part the university’s family, and thus been inspired by its causes and its purpose. “Truthfully,” she said of CSUN, ‘it’s been like a love affair.”

2013 CSUN for Life Recipients

 Richard and Marcella Tyler

Both Marcella and Dick have worked for the University.  Marcella served as the executive director of marketing and communications for CSUN’s college of extended learning for over 30 years.  And, as Dick points out, Marcella failed retirement when she attempted it a few years ago.  She continues to work part time as the executive director of program advancement for the Tseng College.  However, it should be noted that she probably took her lesson on retiring from Dick who in retirement after a long career as a public relations executive continues to work as a public relations leader but now does so by giving his time pro bono to some of the nations major charities. 

It is hard to describe Marcella’s dedication to your work and her commitment to excellence in all she does for CSUN. 110% does not begin to capture it.  In addition to long days leading the marketing, communications, and public relations team (leading with a hands-on approach and a great deal of care for the staff reporting to her and for her colleagues), it was not unusual for her to also go out into the community two or more evenings a week to spread the word for CSUN – to tell the University’s story and make new friends for CSUN.  It was not part of her job; it was part of her personal dedication to the University and her commitment to its work.

Dick worked for the University too.  He was a public relations executive for more than 35 years for firms such as American Airlines, the Ford Motor Company and a number of other Fortune 500 companies.  But, he also found the time in his demanding professional schedule to teach public relations courses for CSUN for over 13 years all tolled and to mentor CSUN students as the faculty advisor to CSUN chapter of the PR Student Society of America.  Dick also formed and led a volunteer group of leading PR professionals to service a guide and support to CSUN’s Interim President Louanne Kennedy.  In addition, he served as CSUN’s Associate Vice President of Public Relations and Communications briefly as CSUN needed the support of someone with Dick’s experience to move the University forward at a time of transition.  A few months later, Dick was asked by incoming president Jolene Koester to take over the role of Vice President of University relations and served in that role though the first year of Jolene Koester’s presidency ensuring a smooth transition and an increased sophistication in the way CSUN approached public relations. 

Both Marcella and Dick are “Fellows” with the Public Relations Society of America.  They also share a background in journalism with the early years of their career spent in the newspaper world in Los Angeles and beyond.  They have leveraged their background and network of connection in the public relations and press communities to the advantage of CSUN for decades.  Why?  Just because they felt that CSUN’s value to those it serviced needed to be better and more broadly understood and supported.

Both Marcella and Dick have service on a variety of CSUN committees.  They are the kind of committee members who always step forward to do the work and support others.  As a sampling of the impact of their work, Marcella served on the committee that created CSUN’s honors convocation; she served on the committees that planned and managed CSUN 25th, 40th, and 50th anniversaries; she was president of the CSUN Faculty Club for three terms; and she now serves on the CSUN Alumni Association Board.  University search committees, the inauguration of two presidents; and the earthquake recovery all have had the attention of Marcella with Dick right beside her supporting the effort more often than not.

Marcella and Dick are regular donors to the University, but what many do not know, is they also regularly invest to do things like bring guests regularly to CSUN performances just so influential members of the larger LA community get to know about the arts at CSUN.  They simply find needs at CSUN and then they respond in their own way.  For example, five or six years ago Marcella discovered how hard life can be for those who reach 18 years of age in the Foster Care System.  She took it upon herself to work with the Foster Care System to bring some of these individuals facing adult life alone and far too soon to the CSUN campus and she made sure they met all the people who could help them.  She showed them that college was an option and she and Dick make sure some of their hardships were a bit easier as they made that transition to college. 

Marcella and Dick care about the University as it if were a member of their family.  Indeed CSUN provided the education to one of their own children who became a teacher in the LA public schools (and still is and exceptional teacher in that context).   At least a few times each year you can find Marcella quietly sitting with a CSUN students she found crying alone as the stress of academic life became a bit too much when mixed with life in general – she buys the coffee and sits for as long as it takes for that student in need to find the courage to try again.  She guides, she supports, and she does so just because it is the right thing to do.  Dick too seems to suffer from a similar sense of the importance of doing what needs to be done. 

What can be presented here in this limited space is only the briefest sample of decades of service to CSUN that is truly amazing in its scope and impact.  And, made all the more significant because of the quiet selfless grace that is the hallmark of how Marcella and Dick live and work.

There is no doubt that over the past decades since Marcella and Dick began their multifaceted and continuing relationship with CSUN, that the University has been regularly enhanced by their work, their care and dedication, and their vision and values.  They have been decades and still are members of the CSUN staff, volunteers of an extraordinary sort, CSUN supporters, patrons of CSUN arts, parents of a CSUN alum, student mentors, spokespersons for CSUN, and so very much more.  They both richly deserve to be the first to be given the CSUN for Life Award.