Chuck Ary (1955), a former Fresno State student-athlete, was inducted to the Dixon High School Hall of Fame. During his coaching career at Dixon High, he coached 10 basketball teams, five baseball teams, four football teams and served as athletic director. He also led a movement in front of the board of education to provide equal pay for all coaches. In 1967, he became vice principal of the school.
Joseph A. Gambini (1956) won the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award.
Lee Patrick Brown (1961, ’94) is a founder of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE). Brown has organized around the needs of African American police executives.
Sean McCleneghan (1964) was inducted into the New Mexico Press Association Hall of Fame.
It took a year for brothers Jeff Ahronian (1993) and Jason Ahronian (1998) to raise money to create a Big Fresno Fair exhibition featuring early Armenian history in Fresno County. The exhibition was so well received it earned the Western Fair Association’s coveted Blue Ribbon Award in its first year on display. The following year, in 2019, the family, including father Richard Ahronian (1968) became Big Fresno Fair Hall of Famers — a fitting tribute for a family full of Fresno State graduates and supporters who set out to recognize the rich history of Armenians in the region.
Christine Vartanian Datian (1974, ’77), a native of Fresno and a resident of Las Vegas, is a weekly contributor to the recipes section of the Armenian Mirror-Spectator newspaper, the first English-language Armenian weekly published in the United States. She has been published in The Fresno Bee, Sunset Magazine, Cooking Light Magazine and the New York Times. She served as an advertising copywriter at Harrah’s in Reno and Lake Tahoe, and at advertising/marketing agencies in Fresno, San Francisco and Las Vegas. She worked for major government subcontractors at the Yucca Mountain Project and the Nevada Test Site in Mercury, Nevada.
Arturo Samora (1974) was named grand marshal for the 2019 Veterans Day Parade in Porterville.
Timothy P. White (1970), who has served as the California State University chancellor since 2012, announced he will retire following the fall 2020 semester.
Aaron Busch was appointed as new interim city manager for Vacaville.
Joseph V. Gomez (1985) was appointed Selma police chief.
Bridget (Chalupsky) Naso (1986), an anchor and reporter for NBC7 News in San Diego, received two first-place awards from the San Diego Press Club for specialty series and feature reporting.
George Petersen (1986), principal at Liberty Elementary School in Fresno, was the only principal in California to earn the 2019 Terrell H. Bell award, recognizing top educators.
George T. Tucker (1984) was named the agricultural commissioner and sealer of weights and measures for Tulare County.
Mustafa Abdallah (1997, ’99) was promoted to executive leadership at Pharmatech Associates.
Manny Fernandez (1997) is now the Los Angeles Bureau chief for The New York Times. As a student at Fresno State, he was a summer intern at The Wall Street Journal’s Los Angeles bureau. After graduating from college, he became a reporter for The San Francisco Chronicle.
Philip A. Girard (1999) is now senior vice president and chief financial officer for California Dairies.
Timothy M. Grafton (1994) is now executive director of Stone Valley Assisted Living and Memory Care Community in Reno, Nevada.
Lori Gonzalez is now superintendent-principal for El Nido Elementary School District in Merced County. Parents across the country were in a unique situation — juggling the stresses of keeping families healthy while many worked from home and also navigating how to homeschool their children because of school closures. Meanwhile, Valley teachers were missing their students and working to find ways to connect. And while Fresno Unified School District had a digital hub of resources available for its 74,000-plus students, one teacher decided to take distant learning a step further.
David Hunter (2004), a transitional kindergarten teacher at Ericson Elementary School, knew some parents were overwhelmed and wanted to create a resource his 5-year-old students could navigate themselves. Hunter enlisted the help of his fellow TK teachers to create a website where students could watch their own teachers guiding activities. His 13-year-old daughter, Amelie, built the site: sites.google.com/view/fresnotk/. The site uses shapes and colors, rather than big words, to help young children easily navigate.
Nathan J. Kreitzer (1990) is now chair of the Music Department at Santa Barbara City College.
William A. Parry (1995) earned the Lemoore Chamber of Commerce Chairman’s Award.
Matthew A. Polanco (1992) is now director of government relations for Visit San Antonio, showcasing the Texas city as a premier for leisure and work.
Suzanne Rodriguez (1991, ’97, ’19), a school supervision and social work expert for Robson Forensic, earned the 2019 Dissertation in Practice of the Year award from the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate. Rodriguez a former school principal in Dinuba Unified School District examined the professional development provided for California principals.
Mark Rose (1997) is now vice president of product management for Ontera, the leaders in silicon-based nanopore diagnostics. He was previously product lead at Google, where he launched the company’s popular Nest brand products.
Toby Wells (1994) is now Turlock city manager.
Mustafa Al-Sayyad (2005), a former all-conference center for the Bulldogs basketball team, is now a linguistic specialist for Legal Interpreting Services, Inc.
Noel Basso (2004) was promoted to director of winemaking for Oak Ridge Winery.
Eddie Becker (2005), a former pole vaulter on the Fresno State track and field team and a network administrator for Community Medical Centers, started Becker Technology Consulting, LLC.
Tom Bosenko (2000) retired after 30-plus years with the Shasta County Sheriff’s Department.
Tom Brandstater (2007, ’08), former Bulldogs and NFL quarterback, was inducted into the Turlock High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Holly R. Bunt (2006) is now president of the Enid, Oklahoma branches of Great Plains Bank.
Mike Dunn (2003), former human resource manager at Fresno State, was named 2020 Citizen of the Year by the Kingsburg Chamber of Commerce. He described living in Kingsburg as the next “best thing to living a Hallmark movie.”
Alia (Merrell) Eriksen (2005) owns a design company called Prickly Pear Paints. Her watercolor art has attracted about 19,000 followers on Instagram, and her work is now being sold at Hobby Lobby.
Todd France is now president of Airborne Maintenance and Engineering Services in Wilmington, Ohio.
Maria “Lupe” Jaime (2001), senior director of early care and education at the Fresno County Office of Education, was appointed to the Early Childhood Policy Council by Governor Gavin Newsom.
Ryan Louie (2002) is now managing partner for Ford Financial Group.
Courtney (Jantz) Nehls (2005) is now director of community engagement for Minor League Baseball, headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Tanya Nichols (2001, ’04) and Bill McEwen have released their new book called “Stinger,” a knowledgeable romp through business and family intrigue in the Central Valley.
Katie Otto (2003) is now development and operations director at the California Farmland Trust.
Michael Pires (2002) is now president of Automation Group.
Garth Richards (2003) is the business development representative for Spirit 88.9 and owner of G&K Properties and Garth’s Custom Barrels.
Thomas Rouse (2009) earned an Emmy nomination for his production design work on the television show, “Queer Eye.”
Samikshya Budhathoki is one of 10 UC Cooperative Extension climate-smart educators who are helping farmers and ranchers improve soil health, irrigation practices and manure management.
Frances “Skip” Echeverria (2011), former host of New Rock 104.1’s “The Morning After,” is now part of the Afternoon Drive team weekdays from 2-6 p.m. on News Talk 580 and 105.9 KMJ.
Kristopher Greene (2019) is the enrollment services adviser and operations manager for University of California, Merced.
Amanda (Kiene) Hall (2013) is now digital fundraising specialist for the Fresno State Alumni Association.
Hannah Johnson McAbee is now director of philanthropy for the Central Valley Community Foundation.
Dante Marsh (2017), a standout cornerback for the Bulldogs football team from 1998-2000 who went on to play 11 years for the Canadian Football League’s BC Lions, earned a Master of Science degree from Concordia University in Chicago.
Liz Martinez (2019) is now recreation coordinator for Selma’s Recreation and Community Services.
Fabiola Ramirez Munoz (2016) is now a TV reporter at CBS 47 and KSEE 24 in Fresno.
Tanvi Jithendran (2013), a speech-language pathologist who treats patients recovering from stroke or trauma as well as those with dementia and swallowing difficulties, is now at Adventist Health in Hanford.
Sargon Kaninya (2013, ’14) is now production manager for T. G. Schmeiser Co., Inc., a farm equipment company in Selma.
Ben Piffero (2010) is now teaching seventh-grade science at Computech Middle School in Fresno.
Kathleen Schock (2017), adjunct faculty at Fresno City College, is now host of news magazine program “Valley Edition” on Valley Public Radio FM89. The show airs at 9 a.m. Friday mornings with a rebroadcast at 7 p.m. and is also available as a podcast.
Corey Torres is now district manager for Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Park District.
Jenny Toste (2011) is now a realtor with Realty Concepts, specializing in Valley residences and ag land, as well as mountain properties.
When Gavin Baird (2014) became the first Fresno State student ever to earn the prestigious Marshall Scholarship to study in the United Kingdom, he represented his beloved University alongside students from some of the most respected schools in the world. Now a legal analyst for Google, Baird has started a grassroots effort to mentor other Fresno State students from various majors interested in applying for prestigious scholarships and graduate schools, sharing with them tips he learned along the way. Three students he recently mentored include Micah Olivas, who you can read about on Page 24; Danielle Richman, who earned the Dean’s Medal for the College of Social Sciences; and Demi Wack, who served as student body president in 2018-19.
Gina Avalos (2020) was hired by KSBY 6, the NBC affiliate in San Luis Obispo.
(A) Julie (DeJong) Becker (2008, ’12) married Eddie Becker (2005) on Dec. 27 in Fresno.
(B) Katie (Adamo) Bewarder (2009, ’12) and Shane Bewarder welcomed their child, Beau Anthony, on Nov. 27.
(C) Kasandra Brooks (2013) and Adam Brooks welcomed their second child, Luke Aaron, on April 19.
(D) Marvelle Harris (2016) and Alyssa Vega welcomed their first child, Mezziah Mars, on May 3.
(E) Monica Tasier Lyon and Glenn Lyon welcomed their child, Steven Allen, on Jan. 5.
(F) Amy Ramirez (2013,’15) and Orlando Ramirez welcomed their second child, Hudson Kang, on Aug. 14.
(G) Lyndsey (Besser) Roach (2008) and Jeff Roach welcomed their first child, Charlie Marie, on Oct. 28.