June 6, 2016
Tamus Glunz’s world imploded in 2009, during the worst of the recession. She lost her home and investment properties, and was left homeless.
“Life changed dramatically,” she said. “It was a matter of reinventing myself. I’ve been as low as the darkest of the dark, and I’ve been back in the sunshine. I’ve learned in my 50s that it’s not about ‘you,’ and you can’t accomplish it all on your own. You have to surround yourself with positive people and move forward.”
Glunz said she found those positive people at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria and at CSUN.
The 58-year-old Northridge resident spent much of her childhood in Europe, living in Germany, Spain and Majorca and traveling. Her father was a pilot and her mother a stewardess for Pan American World Airways. The family moved back to the United States when Glunz was in fourth grade and settled on a ranch in Madera, Calif.
Glunz’s longtime passion for photography turned into photojournalism in high school and college, which led to a job as a concert photographer. Her first black-and-white images were for the musical group KC and the Sunshine Band. Over the years, Glunz has held a number of jobs, including postal worker.
All that time, she flirted with the idea of returning to college to finish her degree, but never felt comfortable in the classroom. But as the physical demands of her postal worker job began to take a toll on her mobility and issues concerning her investment properties came up, Glunz decided to give college another try.
In 2006, Glunz enrolled at Hancock College — her sixth attempt at completing her college degree — before transferring to CSUN in 2013. It was during her time a community college in Santa Barbara in the 1980s that an attentive professor realized that Glunz had a learning disability and made accommodations. When her world imploded during the recession, Gluntz was determined not to give up.
Despite being homeless — sometimes living on friends’ couches, housesitting or helping those in need of in-home healthcare assistance, or occasionally living out of her car — Glunz dedicated herself to her education. She said she owes her bachelor’s degree in part to the staff at Hancock College and CSUN’s Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP) and Disability Resources and Educational Services, who helped her when she needed it most with words of encouragement, guidance or accommodations for her disabilities.
Singling out CSUN TRIO Director Frank Muñiz and late EOP Director Jose Luis Vargas, Glunz teared up. “I am so lucky,” she said. “I am a lucky girl to have found such amazing people.”
In 201 4, realizing that there were other students like her — homeless or unsure where their next meal would come from — Glunz started what is now the Matador Food Bank, with the help of Justin Weiss, former director of CSUN’s student volunteer service program Unified We Serve. The food bank fed more than 300 students this past year. Glunz has met with CSUN and California State University system leaders about food insecurity and homelessness among CSU students.
At 8 a.m. on Sunday, May 22, Glunz will take part in the commencement ceremony for the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics. As for what comes next, Glunz said she is going to take a minute to breathe and take care of some long overdue health issues.
“I have a lot of opportunities, an abundance of opportunities, and I need a minute to think,” she said. “It’s been a decade-long journey, but we made it.”