Actor / Drama Teacher
Diane Franklin ’16 (English) often compares her life to the story of the tortoise and the hare. First, she was the hare. After a modeling career that begin at age 10, Franklin started acting, where by the end of her 20s, she played main roles in The Last American Virgin, Better off Dead, Amityville II: The Possession and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
Then, in her 40s, she was the tortoise. She attended Moorpark College off and on. She stalled on writing her autobiography, and motherhood had largely replaced her acting career. But after transferring to CSUN, Franklin found an inspiring new career for the next chapter of her life — and the direction she needed to keep running. “At CSUN, I decided I wanted to become a teacher, and bring drama and acting into my class,” said Franklin, who visited campus in June for an interview.
Going back to school, she said, “was a trippy experience learning from teenage peers and being taught by younger professors.” But that initial uneasiness turned into an enriching experience that allowed her to develop the writing skills needed to complete two autobiographies — Diane Franklin: The Excellent Adventures of the Last American, French-Exchange Babe of the 80s and Diane Franklin: The Excellent Curls of the Last American, French-Exchange Babe of the 80s. Currently earning her drama teaching credential, Franklin is teaching in the Rio School District in Oxnard.
Activist / Filmmaker
CSUN freshmen packed the lawn in front of the Oviatt Library for Freshman Convocation, which formally welcomed first-year students. The event included a welcome from CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison and a keynote address by filmmaker, musician and activist Brittany Ann “Bree” Newsome. Newsome gained national attention when she climbed the flagpole on the South Carolina State House grounds in 2015 and removed the Confederate flag. She took action, Newsome said, after the hate-fueled killing of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., and a week of debate about the flag’s presence at the statehouse.
University officials invited Newsome to speak as a complement to the freshman class common reading, Between the World and Me. The book by Ta-Nehisi Coates focuses on race in America. Newsome encouraged the freshmen to be unafraid and to walk their own paths. “Each person in this space represents a different path,” she said. “There are over a thousand different life paths that are represented here that we each walked and led us to being here at this moment.”
Founder of Dermalogica
Innovative entrepreneur Jane Wurwand, co-founder of the skincare company Dermalogica and The International Dermal Institute, shared her expertise on how to turn an idea into a successful business venture, at CSUN’s David Nazarian College of Business and Economics. On Sept. 27, Wurwand offered insight into how she was able to build Dermalogica into a globally recognized personal-care leader. Her lecture, “The Five Words That Changed My Life,” took place in the Charles H. Noski Auditorium on campus.
Born and raised in the United Kingdom, Wurwand’s first job was sweeping hair cuttings off the floor of her neighborhood salon. She worked her way up to “shampoo girl” and later started a career in skin therapy and cosmetics, eventually becoming a licensed instructor. While working for the American hair-care company Redken, she was sent to South Africa to launch its skincare brand, a job that involved travel to the United States.
Shortly after arriving in LA in 1983, Wurwand founded the International Dermal Institute. In addition to training fellow cosmetologists in skin care, Wurwand set out to develop products free of common skin irritants. In 1986, she founded Dermalogica. The company’s products are now the top choice of more than 100,000 professional skin therapists in more than 100 countries worldwide.
Comedian / Actor
The border crossed me,” quipped CSUN alumnus Richard “Cheech” Marin, about the Chicano experience and life as a Los Angeles native. The actor, director and comedian returned to his old CSUN stomping grounds and brought with him some of the young guns of comedy, in Cheech Marin Hosts an Evening of Comedy, at the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (formerly VPAC).
Marin is best known as one half of the comedy duo “Cheech and Chong.” He and his partner, Tommy Chong, released a series of best-selling comedy albums in the 1970s and received a Grammy Award. The comedians’ movie, Up in Smoke, became the highest-grossing comedy of 1978, topping $100 million at the box office. The partnership lasted 15 successful years, and Marin went on to direct and star in numerous films and TV series.
Marin has played many cameo roles, including cartoon voice-overs (Ferngully, The Lion King), and he co-starred opposite Don Johnson in the 1990s TV drama Nash Bridges. In 1996, Marin was cast as Kevin Costner’s best friend in the golf comedy Tin Cup. He also appeared in all three segments of the Spy Kids series and voiced the quips of “Ramone” in Pixar’s Cars and Cars 2. Most recently, the comedy legend has guest starred on the award-winning TV show Jane the Virgin.
Marin has maintained his connections to CSUN, and in 2004, the university honored him with the Distinguished Alumni Award.
The Associated Students-organized Big Show marked a big, loud return to its roots by scoring headliner Dillon Francis, an LA-based DJ-producer — just two days after his 30th birthday. The artist, who has played the likes of Coachella and Electric Daisy Carnival, dropped beats for thousands of CSUN students and their guests. In addition to the electronic dance music (EDM) mainstays of dubstep and “trap,” Francis is best known and loved for helping popularize “moombahton,” the 110-bpm genre. Rolling Stone described Francis’ “vintage moombahton” style as “laid-back, groovy vibes, full of dembow-inflected, reggaeton-inspired beats and overlaid with house flourishes.”