Fall/Winter 2019: Alumni Updates


Yosh Uchida, ’47 Biological Science, ’04 Honorary Doctorate, was recognized by the Nisei Week Foundation as a 2019 Nisei Week Pioneer Spirit Honoree at an awards celebration in August in Los Angeles. SJSU’s legendary judo coach, who also served as the U.S. Olympics’ first judo coach, has received many honors during his long and distinguished career, including the Order of the Sacred Treasure, presented by the emperor of Japan, the Freedom Award from Asian Americans for Community Involvement, and induction into both the SJSU and the USA Judo Hall of Fame.


Peter Ueberroth, ’59 Business Administration, ’86 Honorary Doctorate, business executive and former CEO of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, was keynote speaker at the Entrepreneurship Week Capstone Luncheon, sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurship, Craig School of Business, Missouri Western State University, in March. He is currently chair of the board of directors for Aircastle Limited and a board member of The Irvine Company.


Robert Mount, ’69 MA Microbiology, and wife Madi Ehrlich Mount, ’65 Education, own Boatique Winery in Kelseyville, where the couple’s collection of antique and custom-built wooden boats, including the 33-foot Van Dam Alpha Z, are also on display.

Belta Sgambelluri Perez, ’65 Education, received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 Guam Business Magazine’s Businesswoman of the Year gala in April. President and founder of John Robert Powers LLC, a dance, voice, modeling and acting school, she was inducted into the Modeling Association of America International Hall of Fame in 2015.


Linda Aratani, ’71 Occupational Therapy, received a 2019 Woman of the Year Award from the Downtown Los Angeles chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League and Japanese Women’s Society of Southern California. A retired occupational therapist, she heads the Aratani Foundation, a grants agency that provides funding to Japanese-American cultural organizations, headquartered in Huntington Beach.

Rebecca Arthur, ’77 Interior Design, a ceramics artist based in Corvallis, Ore., exhibited her work in a show titled “Let It Be: Randomness in Abstract Art” that ran from July through October at the Coos Art Museum in Coos Bay.

Sam Geil, ’78 Business Administration, head of Geil Consulting, a management and leadership consulting firm based in Clovis, joined B-K Lighting’s Board of Directors in February.

Brian Grayson, ’73 Journalism, retired as executive director of the Preservation Action Council of San Jose, a post he assumed in 2008. Over the past three decades, PACSJ has worked to save historic buildings from demolition, including the Century 21 theater on Winchester Boulevard, which shut down operations in 2014. Grayson previously served nine years on San Jose’s Planning Commission.

Donald Grishaw, ’79 Music Performance/Spanish, retired after a 41-year teaching career at Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo.

Michael Machette, ’72 Geology, president of Paleo Seis Surveys, recently gave a talk at the Sequim (Wash.) Science Café on the topic “Tsunamis and Earthquakes on the Cascadia Subduction Zone,” a convergent plate boundary that stretches from Canada’s Vancouver Island to Northern California. He began his career as a research geologist working with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Ann Maglinte, ’74 Art, who teaches art at Mendocino College, taught a watercolor workshop on painting birds for the Mendocino Art Association at the Ukiah Garden Club in April. She has been painting in watercolor since age 10 and has illustrated three books, including Secrets of the Oak Woodlands (Heydey, 2013).

Geoffrey McCormack, ’72 BA, ’74 MA, Art, based in Eugene, Ore., recently exhibited his work at Mabel Hansen Gallery, Coos Art Museum. After 30 years as a sculptor and illustrator, he began working in watercolor in 2007. He received a Gold Award from the California Watercolor Association in 2018.

Mary Lou Taylor, ’70 English, ’71 Teaching Credential, published her latest poetry collection, In the Beginning (Frog on the Moon), this summer. She is also the author of Bringing Home the Moon: New and Selected Poems (Aldrich Press, 2015). Read more at maryloutaylor.wordpress.com.

Gary Zanardi, ’71 History, was named 2019 Porter (N.Y.) Citizen of the Year in recognition of his work with veterans at VFW Lake Post 313 and his service as Porter’s deputy historian. A Vietnam War veteran, he spent 18 years working in Los Angeles as a private investigator.

Roy Zimmerman, ’79 Music, a political satirist and singer/songwriter, recently brought his show to Stockton’s First Unitarian Universalist Church. He and his wife and stage partner, Melanie Harby, a bluegrass guitar player, perform throughout the U.S. “We want people to laugh,” Zimmerman said, “but we also want to encourage them to work for social justice.”


Jeff Andreson, ’83 Finance, is the new president of Fremont’s Ichor Holdings, manufacturer of critical fluid delivery subsystems for semiconductor capital equipment. He previously served as the company’s CFO.

Betty Carr, ’81 MA Art, recently taught a painting workshop for the El Valle Artists Association at the Pine Shadows Club House in Cottonwood, Ariz. An American Impressionist Society master painter and signature member of the Arizona Plein Air Painters Association, she has taught both privately and in primary and secondary schools during her career.

Laura Durr, ’89 Accounting, who most recently served as CFO of Polycom, Inc., joined the board of directors of TiVo Corporation, an entertainment technology firm, in April.

Frederick Ferrer, ’83 MS Psychology/Counseling, former CEO of the Health Trust, is the new CEO of Child Advocates of Silicon Valley, an advocacy organization for at-risk kids. “Silicon Valley is one of the healthiest communities in the world. Making the healthiest healthier was never the goal,” he told the press. “If I were to improve the health of the most vulnerable, that would be a success.”

Clay Gregory, ’80 Marketing, ’82 MBA, retired as CEO of Visit Napa Valley in April. Under Gregory’s leadership, the organization grew from three employees in 2009 to its current staff of 28 and opened the Napa Valley Welcome Center in the riverfront section of town in 2011. Earlier in his career, Gregory served as president of Jackson Family Wines and as general manager of Robert Mondavi Winery.

Larry Hancock, ’84 MA Music, who has served as Opera San Jose’s general director for the past five years, announced plans to retire at the end of the 2019-2020 season. He was founder Irene Dalis’s first hire in 1984 and her close collaborator, serving the company in many capacities over the years. A Florida native, he intends to return to his home state.

Bill Kelly, ’89 Aeronautics, ’14 MPA, retired as the city of Santa Clara’s fire chief in July, after nearly 35 years of service in the Santa Clara Fire Department. He started as a volunteer in 1982 and has served as chief since 2012.

Doug McNeil, ’83 Industrial Technology, president and CEO of the nonprofit Lighting for Literacy, was honored in 2019 by multiple awards, including the Jefferson Award for Public Service, United Methodist Church Bishop’s Award, the city of Monte Sereno Public Service Award and the Dwight Clark Beyond Courage Award.

Judy Shintani, ’80 Graphic Design, a faculty member at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, owns and operates Kitsune Community Art Studio in Half Moon Bay. A member of the Asian American Women Artists Association, she is a board member of the Northern California Women’s Caucus for Art.

Don Smith, ’82 Photojournalism, who worked as a sports photographer for Sports Illustrated and photographed the San Jose Sharks for 28 years, now focuses on landscape photography. See his work at donsmithphotography.com.

Aaron Tachibana, ’82 Finance, was appointed CFO of Menlo Park’s Personalis, a cancer genomics company. He previously served as CFO of Lumentum Holdings in Milpitas.

Roger Thornton, ’88 Industrial and Systems Engineering, ’94 MS Engineering, vice president of cybersecurity at AT&T, delivered the keynote address at the fourth annual Cyber Investing Summit in New York City in March. Since 2012, he has also served as chief technology officer at San Mateo’s AlienVault, a cyber threat detection firm acquired by AT&T in 2018.

June Tran, ’85 Audiology, owner of Crema Coffee and Pier 402 restaurant in San Jose, received an NBC Bay Area/AACI Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Award in May. In 1975, following the Viet Cong’s takeover of Saigon, she left Vietnam with her family for the United States.


Lino Azevedo, ’97 Art, exhibited his work at The Arts Center in Jamestown, N.D., in a show titled “Lobotomy.” An assistant professor of art at Williston (N.D.) State College, he is also a 2019 artist-in-residence at Ireland’s Greywood Arts. Learn more at azevedoart.com.

Annette Bianco, ’92 Aerospace Engineering, ’94 MS Engineering Management, former chief systems engineer at Lockheed, was the featured speaker at the Los Altos/Mountain View/Palo Alto American Association of University Women luncheon in May. The event celebrated the organization’s Tech Trek Science scholars.

Mimi Carter, ’97 Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management, was appointed director of sales and marketing at BEI San Francisco, a new boutique hotel. Her previous posts include sales manager at Hyatt Hotels Corporation and director of sales at Autograph Collection’s Hotel Adagio, also in San Francisco.

Brian Patrick Duggan, ’93 MA Education, published General Custer, Libbie Custer and Their Dogs: A Passion for Hounds, from the Civil War through Little Bighorn (McFarland, 2019). An American Kennel Club judge, he also serves as editor of McFarland’s “Dogs in Our World” series.

Mike Forcht, ’90 MBA, former vice president of human resources at ADLINK Technology, is the new senior vice president of human resources at Emeryville’s Gritstone Oncology, a clinical-stage biotechnology company that develops cancer immunotherapies. He holds a doctorate in organizational leadership from the University of San Francisco.

Jamie Lentzner, ’94 Art, an educator and artist based in El Dorado Hills, created the Color Wheel Art Curriculum for Lake Forest Elementary School. She has also worked as an educational game designer and, in 2002, founded Jamie’s Painting & Design.

Midori Lichtwardt, ’95 Speech Communication, previously assistant city manager of Tracy, was appointed interim city manager in February. A Tracy native, she has worked in local government in several capacities during her career, including in the Departments of Public Works, Human Resources and Administrative Services.

Jerrod Maruyama, ’99 Graphic Design, an illustrator who specializes in character designs, discussed and showcased his work at the WonderGround Gallery, Disneyland Resort, in March.

Michelle Smith McDonald, ’90 Journalism, communications director for the Alameda County Office of Education, was appointed to the Zone and Water Agency Board of Directors in May. A former ESPN sports journalist, she was inducted into the Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame in 2015.

James McGrath, ’94 Psychology, former associate dean of academic support at Texas A&M University School of Law, is the new president and dean of Western Michigan University School of Law in Lansing.

Sig Mejdal, ’95 MS Operations Research/Cognitive Psychology, ’03 MS Industrial and Systems Engineering, formerly a NASA biomathematician, currently serves as assistant general manager of analytics for the Baltimore Orioles. The son of Scandinavian immigrants, he grew up in San Jose and is a devoted Oakland A’s fan.

Masako Miki, ’99 BFA Art, received the 2019 Kala Artist Institute Master Artist Award and exhibited sculptures inspired by Japanese folklore at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in January. View her work at masakomiki.com.

Traci Mitchell, ’92 Accounting, joined Giga-tronics, based in Dublin, Calif., as corporate controller and principal accounting officer in March. For 10 years, she owned her own accounting consulting firm and has served as a Giga-tronics consultant since 2018.

Hamid Mohammadi, ’92 BS, ’96 MS, Electrical Engineering, former vice president of sales and applications at Megachips Technology America, joined Santa Barbara’s Innovative Micro Technology as the firm’s new vice president of sales in June.

Col. Constance “CJ” Moore, ’93 MS Nursing, a 25-year Army veteran and Army Nurse Corps Association historian, published Maria Longworth Storer: From Music and Art to Presidents and Popes (University of Cincinnati Press). Storer is the founder of Cincinnati’s Rookwood Pottery.

Avelino Pombo, ’98 Advertising, who previously developed shows for HGTV and Food Network, is currently video creative director at Sephora.

Donald Robertson, ’92 MS Accounting, former vice president of finance and chief accounting officer at San Jose’s Western Digital Corporation, was named new vice president and chief accounting officer at Santa Clara’s NVIDIA in June.

James Smith, ’96 Economics, ’05 MPA, who has worked more than 20 years in municipal government, is the new economic development director for the town of Fountain Hills, Ariz.

Shannon Starzyk, ’93 Psychology, retired as executive director of Delta Learning Center, a nonprofit learning center in Antioch. She had served in the post for 12 years. She is also the owner of Starzyk Instruction Services, a firm that provides training to public service safety instructors throughout California.

Tamara Sunkett, ’92 English, who previously served as assistant superintendent of the Riverview Gardens School District in St. Louis, Mo., is the new principal of Oakville High School in the Mehlville School District.

Jennifer Welker, ’96 Accounting, previously vice president of accounting at The Picerne Group, is senior vice president of accounting at NB Private Capital, a real estate firm specializing in student housing, headquartered in Aliso Viejo.

Eddie Zacapa, ’98 Journalism, resident coordinator at White Rock Village, affordable housing in El Dorado Hills, published Essentials for Cultivating Passionate Volunteers and Leaders: Guidelines for Organizations that Value Connection. After graduation from SJSU, he studied theology at William Jessup University and worked for San Jose’s Family and Children Services Center and The Center for Non-Violent Relationships.


Jenny Dearborn, ’04 MBA, CEO of Actionable Analytics Group and authority on applying data analytics to workforce learning and development, recently joined the board of directors of Dublin-based Emplay and the advisory board of Fond, headquartered in San Francisco.

Jan Diemont, ’08 Microbiology, who has held research posts in agricultural and healthcare biotechnology at Genetech, Codexis, MedImmune and other companies, joined NewLeaf Symbiotics in St. Louis, Mo., as the company’s fermentation scientist.

Deborah Feng, ’04 MBA, former associate director for mission support at NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, was appointed Cupertino’s city manager in April.

Jennifer Foster, ’03 MA Education Administration, was selected to serve as principal of La Colina Junior High School by the Santa Barbara Unified School District Board of Education and assumed her new post in July. She previously served as the school’s assistant principal.

Hilda Keller, ’08 MA Education Administration, former assistant principal of LeyVa Middle School in San Jose, is the new principal of Ascencion Solorsano Middle School in the Gilroy Unified School District.

Tony La Rosa, ’06 Marketing, joined Santa Monica’s Clearlake Capital Group, a private equity investment firm, as managing director. He oversees the company’s internal IT systems as well as assists Clearlake portfolio companies with the implementation of IT infrastructure initiatives.

Natalie Lopez, ’08 MLIS, is outreach librarian at Palomar College Library in San Marcos.

David Miyako, ’01 Finance, one of three new park managers hired by Yosemite National Park in March, was promoted to Division of Business and Revenue Management chief. He has worked in various Yosemite posts for a decade and earlier in his career served as a financial analyst at Abbott Laboratories and Hewlett-Packard. He holds an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Marily Oppezzo, ’03 MS Nutritional Science, a registered dietitian, currently consults as a sport dietitian for Stanford’s RunSafe program.

Alexandra Orologas, ’08 MPA, is assistant city manager of El Cerrito.

Eric “Rudy” Ruderman, ’04 Art—Studio Practice, puts his climbing skills to work maintaining wind farm turbines in Maui, the Midwest and elsewhere as an employee of Santa Cruz’s Rope Partner. A certified Society of Professional Ropes Access Technician, he previously worked “rigging stages” for Las Vegas shows and as a member of the Yosemite Search and Rescue crew.

Pallavi Saxena, ’09 MUP, senior advisor/strategic planning at Metrolinx, a Crown agency that manages road and public transport in Ontario, Canada, was selected as one of 2019’s “Fast Trackers—10 Under 40” by Railway Age and Michigan State University’s Center for Railway Research and Education. She is also a research associate at Mineta Transportation Institute.

Susan Serrano, ’09 MLIS, is library director of the Clinton (Iowa) Public Library. Previously she served as assistant director of the Butte County Library system in northern California.

Mike van Hattem, ’04 Environmental Studies, a senior environmental scientist at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, gave a talk in March at a McKinleyville Land Trust fundraiser titled “California Species of Special Concern: An Amphibian Perspective—Who They Are and Why They Matter.” His research specialties include environmental law and wetlands science.


Christine Allen-Blanchette, ’11 Computer Engineering/Mechanical Engineering, is one of twelve scholars selected as Princeton University’s first cohort of Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellows. She completed her doctorate in computer and information science from the University of Pennsylvania earlier this year. As a research fellow, she will join Princeton’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Jonathan Pacheco Bell, ’17 MLIS, an urban planner based in South Central Los Angeles since 2006, was appointed to the inaugural board of directors of Words Uncaged, a nonprofit that provides narrative therapy programming to incarcerated Californians.

Sarah Brown, ’13 MLIS, previously the city library manager for Tulare’s public library, is the new library director of the Grayslake Area Public Library District in Illinois.

Corinna DalColletto, ’12 Information Systems Management, is director of solution development at Zinier, a start-up automation firm based in Burlingame.

Tracy Hinson, ’13 Journalism, is the newest meteorologist on the weather team of 5 On Your Side, based in St. Louis, Mo. She previously worked as a meteorologist and reporter at KPTV in Portland, Ore., and KSBW in Salinas. “I’m excited that my love of weather has landed me in St. Louis,” she told the press. “While I’m a native of California, my heart is always where the storms are.”

Kathy Jung, ’12 MLIS, is manager of the Rancho Santa Fe branch of the San Diego County Library. She began her career as a library technician at Rancho Santa Fe and is a previous recipient of a Laura Bush Librarians for Diverse Communities grant.

Patrick Kingshill, ’14 BFA Art/Spatial Arts, based in Santa Fe, N.M., recently exhibited his ceramic art at Santa Fe’s Gerald Peters Projects Gallery.

Diana Lopez, ’10 MLIS, branch manager/senior librarian at the Marin City branch of Marin County Free Library, was recognized by Library Journal as one of nine “2019 Advocates” for her success in enhancing library services and providing opportunities for local teens to develop their technology skills.

Justin Willis, ’12 Sociology/Criminology, is a professional mixed martial artist and Ultimate Fighting Championship competitor, heavyweight division.


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1 Response

  1. victor smith '72 says:

    I was quite impressed with this online version of the Fall/Winter issue of the SJSU Washington Square. Very well done with lots of interesting info and articles.

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