Distinguished Alumni Awards Program

Recognizing outstanding alumni is one way the Alumni Association shows its commitment to showcasing the impact of Cal State Northridge on the personal and professional lives of its graduates and the community in which it serves. These honorees represent the thousands of alumni who contribute in countless ways to business, education, the arts and society. These individuals have been honored because they personify the University's tradition of excellence, bringing distinction to themselves and to CSUN through their outstanding achievements.



Fred Nigro '74 
One of Hollywood's Most Powerful Business Managers 

Lauren Ridloff '01 
Globally Inspiring Broadway, Television and Motion Picture Actress

Keith Weaver ’96, M.P.A. ’07 
Executive Vice President of Global Policy and External Affairs at Sony Pictures Entertainment

Please save the date for the 2023 Distinguished Alumni Awards: October 21, 2023.

2019 Honorees

Andrew Anagnost '87 (Engineering)

an inspiring and influential tech executive who is President and CEO of the global computer-aided design giant Autodesk.

Milt Valera ’68 (Journalism)

is one of the most influential leaders in the service, education and advocacy of America’s Notaries Public. He is the Chairman of the National Notary Association

Michelle Vicary ’08 (Cinema and Television Arts)

is recognized as one of the most powerful women in her industry. She is Executive Vice President of Programming and Network Publicity for Crown Media Family Networks.

2018 Honorees

Richard H. Foos ’71 (Sociology)

Founder of Shout! Factory, an audio and home video entertainment company.

Janet Garufis ’77, M.A. ’02 (English ‐ Humanities)

Chairman of Montecito Bank & Trust and inspiring leader in the banking industry

Hon. D. Zeke Zeidler ’87 (English Literature ‐ Humanities)

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge at Edmund D. Edelman Children’s Court

2017 Honorees

Milton Berlinski ’78 (Computer Science)

Titan of the investment banking industry




Mike Darnell ’87 (Communication Studies)

Trailblazer in the television industry and a pioneering force in reality TV


Patricia Maloney ’80 (Chemistry)

Dynamic leader in the programmatic and strategic planning side of science and technology globally

2016 Honorees

Shigemi Matsumoto ’68 (Music)
Classical Music Singer, Educator and Champion of the Arts


Robert D. Taylor ’82 (Engineering)
Financial Industry Leader and Economic Justice Advocate


2015 Honorees

Judy Baca ’69 M.A. ’80 (Art)

Muralist and Community Arts Pioneer

Paul Jennings ’85 (Marketing)

Entrepreneurial Leader in Real Estate and Telecommunications

Donald Petrie ’76 (Theatre)

Acclaimed Filmmaker, Motion Picture and Television Director

2014 Honorees


Bill Imada ’84 (Human Resource Management)

Founder, chairman and chief collaboration officer of IW Group, one of the foremost minority-owned-and-operated advertising, marketing and communications agencies focusing on growing multicultural markets.


Philip Tauber ’68 (Music) and Gayle Tauber ’72 (Political Science)

Dynamic duo. They bring a driving passion to everything they do. The have created several businesses, most notably, Kashi Company, an innovative natural food product enterprise that grew into an international company.


Diane Manzella ’72 (Speech Communication)

Pioneer in the fields of audiology and speech pathology. Her practice has quickly grown to provide rehabilitation services in 12 states with more than 350 employees.

2013 Honorees

Rebecca Mieliwocki

2001 Secondary English Education Credential

National Teacher of the Year for 2012

Ravi Sawhney 

1979 Bachelor of Arts, Art Three Dimension

Creative visionary and industrial designer

George Leis 

1981 Bachelor of Science, Geography

President and CEO of Union Bank's Central Coast Region



2012 Honorees

Joan Chen '92 Bachelor of Arts, 

Radio, Television, Film

Award-Winning Actress

John Harris

1972 Bachelor of Arts, Political Science

CSO of Nestle' Waters

Richard Kaufman

1977 Bachelor of Arts, Music

Internationally Renowned Conductor



2011 Honorees

Don Hahn

1975 Bachelor of Arts, Music

Animated Film Producer

Carol Vaness

1976 Bachelor of Arts, Music, 1998 Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts

Opera Singer

Irv Zakheim

1971 Bachelor of Science, Physical Education

Founder, Zak Designs; a worldwide leader in licensed children's dinnerware



2010 Honorees


Lauren Leichtman

1972 Bachelor of Science, Psychology

CEO and Founding Principal of Levine Leichtman Capital Partners


Robert M. Myman

1967 Bachelor of Arts, Political Science

Founding partner of Myman Greenspan Fineman Fox & Light LLP; a leading entertainment law firm


Diane Warren

1978 Music

Grammy award-winning songwriter and owner of Realsongs; the most successful female-owned and operated business in the music industry



2009 Honorees

Harvey Bookstein

1970 Bachelor of Science, Business Administration

One of California's most respected Accountants

James Otero

1973 Bachelor of Arts, Political Science

Judge, United States District Court (Central California Division)

Debra Farar

1975 Bachelor of Arts, English, 1987 Master of Arts, Education

Past Chair & Member of the Board of Trustees of The California State University



2008 Honorees


Teri Garr
1964 Theatre
Motion Picture and Television Actress and Comedian


Bill Handel
1973 Bachelor of Arts, Political Science

KFI Radio Host and Marconi Award Winner


Adriana Ocampo Uria
1997 Master of Science, Geology

NASA Scientist and Program Executive

2007 Honorees


James Berk
1981 Bachelor of Arts, Music

Chief Executive Officer of Participant Productions


Brad Bowlus                               
1978 Bachelor of Science, Accounting

President and Chief Executive Officer at PacifiCare Health Plan Division


Michael Klausman
1974 Bachelor of Arts, Biology

Senior Vice President, CBS Corporation West Coast Operations and Engineering and President of the CBS Studio Center

2006 Honorees


Grant Ashley
1978 Bachelor of Science, Accounting

Former Executive Assistant Director of Law Enforcement Services for the FBI


Mike Curb
1963 Music

Chairman of Curb Records and Former Lt. Governor of California


Mory Ejabat
1976 Bachelor of Science, Engineering
1979 Master of Science, Industrial Engineering

Chair and CEO of Zhone Technologies

2005 Honorees


Larry Feldman
1966 Bachelor of Science, Business Administration

Distinguished Trial Lawyer 


Barbara Fairchild
1972 Bachelor of Arts, Journalism

Editor-in-Chief of Bon Appetit magazine


Scott Horowitz
1978 Bachelor of Science, Engineering

Former NASA Astronaut

2004 Honorees


Ron Insana
1984 Bachelor of Arts, Radio-Television-Film

Journalist and wealth advisor


Linda Lingle
1975 Bachelor of Arts, Journalism

Governor of Hawaii


Richard "Cheech" Marin
1978 English

Actor, Director, Comedian, Art Collector

2003 Honorees


Sue Herera
1980 Bachelor of Arts, Journalism

CNBC News Anchor


Vincent Barabba
1962 Bachelor of Science, Marketing

Former Head of Strategic Decision Center, General Motors

2002 Honorees


Lynn Doll
1983 Bachelor of Arts, Journalism

President, National Public Relations Agency


Charles Noski
1973 Bachelor of Science, Business Administration
1995 Masters of Science, Accounting

Retired Chair at AT&T


Patsy Flanigan (Deceased)
1979 Bachelor of Science, Home Economics

President of Flanigan Farms and Natural Foods Advocate

2001 Honorees


Daniel Chernow
1967 Bachelor of Arts, History
1989 Master of Arts, Education

UCLA School Management Founder and Director


Steve Howard
1977 Bachelor of Arts, Theatre

Multi-Emmy Award Winner for Costume Design


Bob Miller
1976 Theatre

Multi-Emmy Award Winner for Costume Design


Lois Roberts
1971 Master of Arts, History

Respected Historian, Sociologist and Anthropologist

2000 Honorees


Michael Day
1988 Bachelor of Science, Chemistry
1990 Masters of Science, Chemistry

Caltech Scientist


Bill Griffeth
1980 Bachelor of Arts, Journalism

CNBC News Anchor and Author


Irene Tovar
1969 Bachelor of Science, Sociology

Social Sciences Trail Blazer

1999 Honorees


Yvonne Chan
Master of Arts, Special Education, 1976

Charter School Pioneer and Principal


Frank del Olmo  (Deceased)
1970 Bachelor of Arts, Journalism

Pulitzer Prize winner and Associate Editor of the Los Angeles Times


Dirk Gates
1983 Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering

Former President and CEO of Xircom

Previous Years Honorees


Nikolas Patsaouras
1966 Bachelor of Science, Electrical Engineering

Owner of Nikolas Patsaouras and Associates, a West Los Angeles Engineering Firm


Stephen Crossland
1967 Bachelor of Science, Business
1970 Masters of Science, Business

President and CEO of International Collegiate Enterprises


Claire Bleiman
1971 Bachelor of Arts, History

Secretary, San Fernando Valley State College History Department


Frank St. Denis
1958 Bachelor of Science, Business


C. Robert Kimberling
1972 Bachelor of Arts, English
1976 Master of Arts, Mass Communications

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education


Robert Hiegert
1964 Bachelor of Arts, Physical Education
1968 Master of Arts, Physical Education

Director of Athletics, Cal State Northridge


John Golisch
1972 Bachelor of Science, Business

Co-Owner of Arthur Anderson and Company


Judge Julian Beck
Friend of the University

Former California Assemblyman


Joe Buttitta
1964 Bachelor of Arts, Journalism

Director of Sports, KTLA