Dean Edmund Peckham Award for Merit

Volunteer Service Awards Dean Edmund Peckham Award for Merit

Annually, the CSUN Alumni Association presents the Merit Award, recognizing an emeritus or retired member of the faculty or staff who is loyal to and supportive of the university. Recipients of the award have maintained close ties to the college and continue to contribute to the university's mission of supporting and promoting the welfare and intellectual progress of students. In 2008, the award was renamed in honor of its first recipient, Dean Edmund Peckham, for his continued loyalty and support of the university over four decades.

2019 Emeriti Merit Award Recipient

Dr. Bonita J. Campbell              

Following a decade in industry, Bonita J. Campbell joined CSUN in 1975, becoming the first woman to hold a tenured faculty position in Engineering and, in 1982, the first to hold an Engineering Department Chair position.

After joining CSUN, she acquired funding from grants and private industry to create the Womenin Science and Engineering (WISE) programs in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, designed to facilitate the participation of women in nontraditional majors. The WISE programs brought national recognition to the college and quintupled the percentage of women students enrolled in its academic programs.

Campbell pioneered the creation of the Department of Manufacturing Systems Engineering and Management in 2001. Serving as the founding Department Chair, she established five degree programs, gained the first program accreditations, supervised hundreds of graduate students and funded department endowments.

Active in faculty governance, her numerous roles included terms as Faculty Vice President and Statewide Academic Senator. She also held the positions of Associate Vice President for Academic Planning and Resources for five years and Department Chair for a cumulative total of 13 years. She was honored with campus, regional and national awards for her excellence as a teacher and an educator and contributed generously to a wide range of campus scholarships and programs.

Following her retirement in 2008, Campbell established the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Endowment, centered in the Oviatt Library and overseen by an advisory board. The increasingly influential programs funded by the endowment encourage women to build and advance careers in the fields of science and engineering, preserve the histories of women in science and engineering disciplines, and inform leaders and educators about the contributions that women make in these important fields. In 2015, a second endowment was established to provide related scholarships.

Campbell has left an indelible legacy at CSUN, as aptly expressed by the numerous successful alumni who are making their marks around the world.

2018 Emeriti Merit Award Recipient

Steven Oppenheimer

From the moment he arrived on campus at CSUN in 1971, Dr. Steven Oppenheimer has been transforming lives. He is one of the most influential educators in CSUN’s 60 years, having impacted countless lives through not only his research, but the education and mentorship he has provided thousands of students, who then have gone on to make their own impact. Those students became vascular surgeons, protein chemists, embryologists, dentists, nurses, educators and more. Dr. Oppenheimer began teaching at what was then San Fernando Valley State College in 1971 and has received dozens of accolades in his five decades of teaching, including one of the highest honors in the country for an educator.

On Jan. 6, 2010, he was honored with the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring and received the award from President Barack Obama at the White House. He also had the opportunity to meet with President Obama and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology about issues in science and education. The Professor Emeritus of Biology serves as director of CSUN’s Center for Cancer and Developmental Biology, which promotes teaching and research in areas concerned with cancer and developmental biology and supports courses and workshops for students, teachers and the community. 

From his transformative work and collaborations came about 300 published papers, abstracts/presentations and books with about 700 student co-authors. Dr. Oppenheimer has brought CSUN more than $7 million in research and training grants. For 22 years, Dr. Oppenheimer has collaborated with Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) teachers to promote STEM research done by K-12 students in The New Journal of Student Research Abstracts where he volunteers as an editor. He also currently serves as editor of the International Elsevier Journal Acta Histochemica. Dr. Oppenheimer was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). 

He and his wife CSUN alumna Carolyn Oppenheimer ’92 (Child Development) have supported CSUN’s Department of Biology, the Oviatt Library and student scholarships over the years, further elevating Dr. Oppenheimer’s commitment to giving and making an impact on others.

2017 Emeriti Merit Award Recipient

Tung-Shan Chen

Dr. Tung-Shan “Tom” Chen came to Southern California to teach at California State University, Northridge in 1969. His field of expertise is food science and he taught various courses in food science, food technology, food chemistry and food analysis. Chen is a distinguished and thoughtful scientist, a meticulous investigator, and an authority on the analysis of folate in food. He has received numerous research grants, including the MBRS and MARC programs funded by the National Institutes of Health. As a result of these studies, many students not only completed their master’s degrees under his tutelage, but his scholarly endeavors also resulted in extensive publications in key peer-reviewed journals.

Chen is known by his colleagues and friends for his delightful sense of humor, high standards, ideals and dedication to education. He brought an international flavor to the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences and CSUN. He was assigned by the National Academy of Sciences to serve as a Food Engineering Specialist to the South China Institute of Technology in Guangzhou, and as a result of funding from Kibun Co. (in Tokyo), he taught students to develop new food products using Konnyaku, a food ingredient as a fat replacer.

In 1989, Chen worked with CSUN President James Cleary, FCS Chair Audrey Clark, and Philip Magaram to establish the Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics. The center is known nationally as a Center of Excellence, and its purpose is to support research, community service, and education specific to food science, nutrition and dietetics.

Chen retired from CSUN in 2001 but continued as founding director of the Marilyn Magaram Center. In 2009, he left the Magaram Center and rediscovered another dimension in his retirement: Time to spend with his family, especially his grandchildren, and to travel to exotic places. Chen was honored at the Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics 25th Anniversary Gala on Sept. 15, 2016 for his inspiration and mentorship to Marilyn Magaram and his vital role in building and supporting the center

2016 Emeriti Merit Award Recipient

Daniel Blake 

After receiving his Ph.D. in economics in 1971 from the University of Oregon, Daniel Blake went south for his first teaching job as an economics professor at California State University, Northridge. And he never left. For the next 38 years, Blake made a long-lasting impact on the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics as an educator. But his legacy goes well beyond that because of what he has done outside of the classroom.

Today, Blake receives the Dean Ed Peckham Award for his tremendous service and enduring loyalty to CSUN. Beyond the classroom, Blake went above and beyond for students and fellow faculty members. He was the co-director for the Center of Economic Research and Education from 1976 to 1982. In that role, he helped develop educational programs in economics for mostly high school teachers from surrounding-area schools to take into their classrooms. He organized CSUN’s Minority Business Program and was its director from 1984 to 1987. The program gave counseling, academic, moral support and job-placement resources to underrepresented minority students and thus helped to diversify the business community. From there, Blake became the director for the on-campus San Fernando Valley Economic Resource Center in 2001 and elevated the university’s standing in the local business community by leading the efforts to publish the San Fernando Valley Economic Report and the CSUN Economic Forecast for the San Fernando Valley.

Blake retired from CSUN in 2009, but has continued to remain active. He has served on the Board of Directors for The Valley Economic Alliance and Chime Institute — two nonprofit organizations that CSUN has championed for the purposes of creating economic and educational growth in the San Fernando Valley. And Blake is currently the treasurer for CSUN’s Association of Retired Faculty. The Montana-born Matador has other deep connections to CSUN. In 1998, he married CSUN secondary education professor Bonnie Ericson. His son Brian also graduated from CSUN, and he has a daughter, Sheridan.

There’s a reason, Blake said, why he has been so involved and active at CSUN since he arrived 45 years ago. “Because that’s what we do,” he said. “We,” being educators. “I love education. And the people are all interesting,” Blake said. “You see the youth (of the students) and see their excitement about having opportunity. But there are also a number of fascinating faculty out here who have expertise that they’re just fun to listen to and are stimulating. (Being active) doesn’t stop when you retire.”

2015 Emeriti Merit Award Recipient

Richard Smith

Richard, a beloved psychology professor in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences who began teaching at CSUN in 1965. Richard was chosen as CSUN’s 1991-92 Professor of the Year. Richard, who earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Regis College in Denver and a master’s and Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder is a two-time Distinguished Faculty Award winner at CSUN. Richard was nominated twice by his students for “Who’s Who Among American Teachers” and was twice the recipient of the CSUN Student Ambassadors’ Polished Apple Award.

Since retirement, Richard has continued his devotion to CSUN. Through his generosity, Richard underwrites the twice-annual Richard W. Smith Lecture in Cultural Studies event. His gift enables donors, faculty and students to participate in the event, which features prominent, compelling, timely, published scholars who speak to a variety of current topics and address compelling societal phenomenon. Through his establishment of the Richard W. Smith Endowment for Cultural Studies, in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, his gift enables the study of indigenous cultures. The endowment also includes the Richard W. Smith Professor in Cultural Studies and the Richard W. Smith Student Awards in Cultural Studies.

2014 Emeriti Merit Award Recipient

Ruth Harris

Retired after 26 years as Coordinator of the CSUN Language, Speech and Hearing Center and nearly 20 years of service as Director of CSUN's Early Intervention Program for infants and Toddlers in the Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences, Ruth Harris continues as a dynamic volunteer, dedicated to keeping academic, professional and community networks strong.

2013 Emeriti Merit Award Recipient

Charles Macune

During his tenure, Charles served for many years in the Faculty Senate and its executive committee. Retiring in 2010 after teaching at CSUN for 42 years, he is an active member in the Association of Retired Faculty. He regularly attends university events and reunions, Department of History programs, and anniversary celebrations engaging alumni with enthusiasm.

2012 Emeriti Merit Award Recipient

VSA Nancy OwensNancy J. Owens Ph.D.

Since retiring in 2003 as a professor emeritus from CSUN, Nancy Owens has continued her association with the campus as an active volunteer in the College of Health and Human Development. As the curator of the Family and Consumer Sciences Historic Costume Collection, she catalogs, photographs and stores donated items with the assistance of emeritus faculty Karen Robinette. Owens is past president of the Association of Retired Faculty (ARF) and is the association’s current program chairperson. She has received several honors, including an Outstanding Professor Award from CSUN in 1998, Sorority “Favorite Faculty” Award, the California Faculty Association WHO Award and a Volunteer Service Award from the college in 2009.

2010 Emeriti Merit Award Recipient

Alumni-Picture-EmeritiAward-Don CameronDonald Cameron

Since beginning his career at San Fernando Valley State College in 1960, Dr. Donald Cameron has served the university in many capacities and after retirement as a dedicated volunteer. Before joining the staff of Valley State, Cameron earned a Bachelor's degree in 1953 from the University of Montana and then served two years in the U.S. Army before returning to the university to finish a Mster's degree.

2009 Emeriti Merit Award Recipient

Alumni-Picture-EmeritiAward-Carol KellyCarol Kelly

Since arriving at San Fernando Valley State College in 1969, Carol Kelly has provided key leadership in developing and implementing an innovative interdisciplinary major in child development. With her 40 year affiliation with the university, she has established a legacy of superb teaching, and continues to mentor students and alumni, and provide leadership as an emeritus professor. Carol has opened many professional opportunities for students and alumni, including creating pioneering positions and working at local, national, and international realms to make the world a better place for children

2008 Emeriti Merit Award Recipient

Alumni-Picture-EmeritiAward-Warren CampbellWarren Campbell

Warren Campbell is one of our the University’s pioneers having joined the faculty of the new San Fernando Valley State College in 1961….the start of a 47-year relationship with the University.   A Fulbright scholar, Dr. Campbell served as a professor of political science to 2001 teaching courses ranging from state and local government, public policy, urban administration, political and governmental ethics, to city planning. In the 1970s, he helped establish the Urban Studies and Planning Program and the Master of Public Administration program.

2007 Emeriti Merit Award Recipient

Alumni-Picture-EmeritiAward-Daisy KuhnDaisy Kuhn

Before coming to the university as a member of San Fernando Valley State College’s original faculty, German-born Dr. Daisy Kuhn immigrated to the United States and earned a bachelor’s degree in Zoology from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in Microbiology from UC Davis.   During her tenure from 1959 to 1992, Daisy, now an emeritus professor, taught courses ranging from general biology and microbiology to graduate courses.  As a microbiologist, she has identified several unusual organisms including a new colony of bacteria, and a new species of bacterium, which has been named Conchiformibius Kuhniae in her honor.

2006 Emeriti Merit Award Recipient

Alumni-Picture-EmeritiAward-Sam BrittonSam Britten
Sam Britten, a founding faculty member, is internationally respected in his field and is one of the most beloved individuals to have ever set foot on the Cal State Northridge campus. Britten, who taught at Northridge for 44 years (1959-2003) earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UCLA and then earned his doctorate at USC where he specialized in rehabilitation training and therapy. He realized his calling at UCLA when he was asked to take a group of blind students to Mexico for spring break.

2005 Emeriti Merit Award Recipient

Alumni-Picture-EmeritiAward-Robert GohstandRobert Gohstand

Professor Gohstand joined the faculty of the Geography department of San Fernando Valley State College in 1967. Bob served as a "Russia" specialist sharing his special knowledge about the region during the height of the "cold-war" years.

2004 Emeriti Merit Award Recipient

Alumni-Picture-EmeritiAward-John GuerreraJohn Guarrera

John Served as the director of the Center for Research and Services in the College of Engineering and Computer Science until his retirement after 30 years at the university. Even in his retirement, John continues to serve the university as an unofficial advisor to the dean on matters related to the Center for Research and Services.

2003 Emeriti Merit Award Recipient

Alumni-Picture-EmeritiAward-Gwen BrewerGwen Brewer
Gwen Brewer was born in Utah and raised during the Depression in Utah, Iowa, and Minnesota. A first generation college student, she took on several full and part-time jobs to continue her education. She married and had two children before getting her Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate University in 1967.



Vern Bullough

Vern is an internationally recognized medical historian who specializes in the history of sex, sexual practices and taboos, and nursing history. Vern has authored, co-authored or edited nearly 50 books and has contributed to more than 70 other books.

2002 Emeriti Merit Award Recipient

Alumni-Picture-EmeritiAward-William Del SteckWilliam "Del" Stelk
Del began his teaching career in 1938 in a one-room schoolhouse but was interrupted by a greater cause to protect and defend his country in World War II. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and was assigned to the Pacific Theater where he served honorably in four of the most casualty ridden campaigns in our nation's history.

2001 Emeriti Merit Award Recipient

Alumni-Picture-EmeritiAward-Art TaitArt Taitt
Art Taitt is one of the most beloved individuals in the history of CSUN. A mentor to many, Art has always gone beyond the job description in teaching and motivating current and former students and advising faculty and staff to reach beyond personal and professional goals

2000 Inaugural Emeriti Merit Award Recipient

Edmund Peckham
Emeriti Faculty, Former Vice President for Student Affairs
Ed Peckham has most certainly made a difference in the lives of over four decades of current and former CSUN students. The son of two teachers, he learned the value of education and mentoring and at an early age knew that he would be oriented toward a career in education. After graduating from Worcester Academy in June 1941, he went to Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, his father’s alma mater.  He competed on the freshman tennis and fencing teams and worked in Bear Lair, developing a love for billiards and table tennis and his lifelong interest in contract bridge. Drafted in December 1942, at the age of 18, he spent three years in the United States Army, eventually being discharged as a sergeant in February 1946.  Ed proudly states that he “had the fortunate distinction of never shooting or being shot at by anyone.”  He returned to Brown. While completing his studies and serving as captain of the fencing team, Ed met a music teacher from Oregon who had just joined the Bancroft School faculty, Dorothy Miller.  They were married in 1947.  The following spring Ed earned his degree in Modern and Medieval European History.  Shortly thereafter, at the recommendation of his favorite advisor and professor, he proceeded to Harvard University where he received a Master of Arts (1949) and Ph.D. (1954) in American History and Foreign Relations. He began his teaching career as a graduate assistant at Harvard. After teaching, professorial, and administrative positions at Rice University and the University of the Pacific, Ed and Dorothy came to Northridge and began his service to San Fernando Valley State College in 1967 as the Dean of Student Activities and Housing. Ed was faced with the difficult task of initiating —from the ground up—a comprehensive program that would improve student life through meaningful experiences and participative campus activities.  A difficult task in any time, the tumultuous late 1960’s were unlike any preceding era in the history of American Higher Education. To add to the challenge and Ed’s task at hand, Valley State had the distinction of being the nation’s fastest-growing university.   Ed was the right person at the right time. By 1969 he was named Dean of Students and in 1985, Vice President for Student Affairs.  Although Ed retired in 1991, he and Dory have remained close to the University.  In 1992, Ed was named Honorary Lifetime Director on the Alumni Association Board of Directors, the only person who is ever likely to hold that honor.  Ed was instrumental in helping the Association create and enhance its support for current students through its Legacy and First Generation Scholarship programs. His support of the university has not been limited to his adopted alma mater’s Alumni Association.  He and Dory are long-time season ticket holders, fans and contributors to intercollegiate athletics, loyal supporters of the library and campus cultural and performance arts.