Celebrating Alumni Achievements
Nancy Seymour, ’52, has assisted her husband Bert, in publishing an autobiography of his 29 years in the Ventura County Sheriff’s office. The book is titled, "Cow County Lawman."
Don Lake,’65, has just released his new book “One Lap Around San Diego Bay.” It features 100 different attractions around the San Diego region. He was a member of the first engineering class at UCSB and had a career in micro-electronics. He has published a number of travel and history books and took many of the photos for his most recent book.
Dave Forman, ’66, has published a new book, “Fearless Talent Choices That Can Make or Break Your Business.” According to Amazon, the book is for “business leaders who want to capitalize on their most valuable asset—their talent—to drive business results.” The book identifies six major directional choices that can make or break your business. Forman has published several books on leadership, including his first one “Fearless HR.” He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the UCSB Alumni Association.
Peggy O’Toole Lamb, ’72 and MA ’87, has published “Darling Love: Letters from World War II.” It contains the letters sent from her uncle, Lt. Frank Frost from the World War II front to his wife, Catherine. The letters were censored during the war, locked away in a metal box, and only discovered in 2015. It is Lamb’s second book of nonfiction centered on letters. Her first was “Then I Won’t Seem So Far Away,” letters from an American traveling in Europe during the 1970s.
Lin Loring, ‘72, has been inducted into the Intercollegiate Women’s Tennis Hall of Fame. The ceremony will take place in Williamsburg, VA at the William & Mary Indoor Tennis Center. Loring was the winningest women’s tennis coach in NCAA Division 1 history. He coached women’s tennis at UCSB after his graduation and then went on to coach for 30 years at the University of Indiana. He was twice named national women’s tennis coach of the year and won nine Big 10 championships .
Stanley Moss, ’72, has published a new work of fiction, Arborea. According to Amazon, this work of fiction describes the collision of a wealthy couple on retreat at an ultra modern resort in the Callifornia redwoods, and a band of eco warriors engaged in a stealth operation. The storm of the century hits in this comedy of errors. Moss is a former member of the board of directors of the Alumni Association and past president of the New York alumni chapter.
Anabel Ford, ’74 MA ’76, has received a $289,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to continue her decades-long research at the Belizean Mayan site El Pilar. Her work is focused on how the Mayan built dense villages in the middle of tropical rain forests. Her work has shown that the Mayans were skilled managers of the forests in which they lived. That stewardship was detailed in Ford’s co-authored work, “The Maya Forest Garden: Eight Millenia of Sustainable Cultivation of the Tropical Woodlands.” Ford is an adjunct faculty member in the UCSB Anthropology Dept.
Gregory Ruiz '80 has been announced as a finalist in the 2021 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (the Sammies), otherwise known as the "Oscars" of government service. The Sammies are presented by the nonpartisan, non-profit Partnership for Public Service. Gregory is one of 29 finalists. The Sammies recognize the unsung heroes in our federal government who have made phenomenal contributions to the health, safety and prosperity of our country. They will be honored at the 2021 Sammies Award show this fall.
Diana Mittelberger, ’81, has retired after 37 years at AT&T. She continues to teach technical writing and career development at DeVry University. She has worked in marketing, information services and customer care at ATT.
Terri Hilliard Olson, ’82, was featured in the recent edition of the Pacific Coast Business Times as one of the “Who’s Who in Professional Services.” She is the president and founder of Terri Hilliard PC. Her legal practice centers on estate and business succession, asset preservation and special needs trusts. Her company has offices in Westlake Village, Burbank and Santa Barbara.
Laurie Von Straussenburg, ’84, has launched her own CPA firm in Mesa, AZ. Her firm provides tax and accounting services for both individuals and corporations. She has been in the accounting industry for 30 years and a CPA for 20 years. She is certified in California, New York and Arizona.
Susie Willet, ’88, has been named director of development at the Santa Barbara Dream Foundation. For the past six years she has been the director and senior director of donor and corporate relations. She also worked with Visit Santa Barbara in their sales and marketing department.
Jeanette Morgan Shaw, ’89, has been elected to the Tigard City Council in Portland, OR. Shaw is the co founder and partner in Techolicy LLC in Portland. She currently is the senior director of Policy, Communications and Marketing for Forth. Previously she was vice president of government relations for National Semiconductor. She also previously served as the executive director of the Oregon Wine Board. She received her executive MBA from Stanford and previously served as a member of the Board of Directors of the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association.
Joe Acaba, ’90, has been named by NASA to the team that will make the early Artemis Moon missions. NASA’s goal is to put people on the moon by 2024 and Acaba joins a team of 18 astronauts that will be assigned the first missions. Acaba has been a NASA astronaut since 2004. He has logged a total of 306 days in space on three different missions. In 2009 he served on the International Space Station and conducted two spacewalks. In 2012 he flew a Russian Soyuz spacecraft to the Space Station and served as flight engineer. He has served as a flight trainer for the Soyuz in Star City, Russia. He received his degree from UCSB in geology, received a masters of science in geology form the University of Arizona, and a ME from Texas Tech in 2015.
John Hinderaker, ’91, has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the U.S. District Judge of Arizona. He is one of 94 federal district judges in the U.S. He was nominated by President Trump in December 2019 and confirmed in September 2020. He previously served on the Pima County Superior Court in Arizona from 2018-2020. He received his law degree from the University of Arizona.
Gregory Schell '92 has produced a feature film called, Mayberry Man. The movie follows an arrogant movie star is trapped in a modern day Mayberry where he's given a chance to discover the true meaning of friendship and family.
Stephen Davis, ’93, has been named to the 2020 Forbes/Shook Best-in-State Wealth Advisors. Davis is a financial advisor in the Westlake Village office of UBS Wealth Management. Davis has more than 27 years of experience in the financial advising industry. The Forbes/SHOOK list is made up of 4,000 financial advisors across the country that are judged on the basis of interviews, compliance records and revenue generated for the firm. Davis is a member of the UCSB Alumni Association Board of Directors.
Dawn Wright Ph.D. '94, is among the newly elected members of the American Academy of Arts & Science. She completed an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in physical geography and marine geology. She is the chief scientist at the Environmental Systems Research Institute
Shawn Landres, MA ’95 PhD ’13 is serving as the chair of the Santa Monica City Planning Commission. He is also a leader on the Los Angeles County Innovation Commission, which helps plan and coordinate local government efforts in land use planning. Landres is a senior fellow at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and volunteers as a mentor to graduate students in the area of public policy and planning.
Victor Geraci, PhD ’97, has published “Wine By Design: Santa Barbara’s Quest for Terroir.” Geraci’s doctoral thesis produced the book “Salud! The Rise of Santa Barbara’s Wine Industry.” After receiving his degree he worked as a wine expert for the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. He is almost finished with a new book on John DeLuca and the California Wine Institute’s late 20th Century fight against neo-Prohibitionism. In 2017 he published “Making Slow Food Fast in California Cuisine.”
Sheila Hwang, MA '97, PhD '08, was among 100 St. Louis-area educators to receive “Emerson’s Excellence in Teaching Award.” The awards pay tribute to area educators from kindergarten to college teachers for their achievements and dedication to the field of education. Emerson is a global technology and engineering company. Hwang is a professor of English at Webster University in St. Louis. She is current working on a project entitled “The Watering Place in Jane Austen’s Novels: Space, Language and Consumerism.”
David Tappeiner, ’97, has opened a law practice in Santa Barbara with longtime friend Mark DePaco. Tappeiner received his law degree from the University of Denver College of Law and practiced in Colorado from 2000-2006, before returning to Santa Barbara. He was previously a partner in the Santa Barbara law firm of Fell, Marking, Abkin, Montgomery, Granet and Raney.
Stephanie Harris-Uyidi ’97 is featured as The Posh Pescatarian on Emirates Airlines channels and has been featured in Cuisine Noir magazine. The Pescatarian diet is more of a lifestyle which eliminates pork, beef and chicken consumption. Pescatarians choose seafood as their primary source of protein. The diet is featured on Uyidi’s website and her YouTube Channel.
Mike Magpayo, '01, has been named the interim head coach of the UC Riverside men’s basketball team. Prior to that appointment in July he was the associate head basketball coach at UCR. His career has involved basketball positions at Columbia University, Campbell University, USF and finally UCR. He is the founder and president of the Asian Coaches Association and for seven years had a successful real estate business. He is the first NCAA Division 1 head coach of full Asian heritage.
Arvind Gupta, ’02, has published a new book “Decoding the World: A Roadmap for the Questioner.” The book explores how to use clean-tech to solve some of the most vexing problems facing the world, from food shortages to climate change. Gupta founded and grew IndieBio into the largest biotech seed-fund VC in the world, according to his publicist. Gupta received his degree in microbiology.
Pearl ’04 and Aron ’04 Mizrahi, welcomed their little Gaucho Lilah into this world on Aug. 14.
Steve Ortiz, ’04, has been honored by Hospice of Santa Barbara with its Philanthropy Award for his work during the COVID-19 crisis at the United Way of Santa Barbara. Ortiz serves as the President and CEO of the Santa Barbara United Way office. The award honors Ortiz’ work with other area foundations and non-profits in providing child care assistance to front line medical providers and support for quarantine, contact tracing and isolation efforts.
Ashley M. Ratcliff '06, graduate of UCSB (major: Sociology, minor: Professional Writing - Editing Emphasis) recently published a self-help memoir, Jesus Year, about her journey with multiple sclerosis — from the jarring decline in health to her diagnosis, to finding her new normal and inspiring fellow chronically ill people along the way. It became a bestseller on Amazon earlier this month.
Niki Sandoval, PhD ’07, has joined WestEd a worldwide consulting firm that works toward improving educational outcomes for youth and adults. She will be focusing on strategic planning and resource development. For the past 11 years she has been Education Director for the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and previously served as a director of the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association Board of Directors.
Candace R. DesBaillets '07 has joined Fox Rothschild LLP in Seattle as an associate in the Labor & Employment Department. Candace defends employers in individual and class action litigation, including against claims involving discrimination, disability accommodations, harassment, retaliation and wage and hour violations.
Kevin Hall, ’08, has been honored by the Santa Barbara Independent in its 2020 Best of Santa Barbara issue. His real estate firm was named the “Best Real Estate Team”in Santa Barbara.
Cody Makela '08 has been named standout financial planner by Arlington Financial Advisors, an independent financial advisory firm located in the heart of Santa Barbara.
Orlando Johnson, ’12, a star basketball player at UCSB has signed a contract to play in Australia with the Brisbane Bullets of the National Basketball League. Johnson was selected in the second round of the NBA draft in 2012 by the Sacramento Kings and was immediately traded to the Indiana Pacers. Johnson has played in the NBA and professional teams in Spain, the Phillipines, China, Lebanon, Bosnia and Taiwan. Last year he played for the Avtodor Saratov in Russia averaging 14 points and four rebounds per game.
Chloe Martinez, PhD ’13, has published a chapbook of poems “Corner Shrine.” She is currently the program coordinator of the Center for Writing and Public Discourse and a lecturer in Religious Studies at Claremont McKenna College. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Award in poetry three times.
Petra Persolja, ’18 MA, ’19 PhD, led a children’s concert at the UCSB Summer Music Festival. The event was virtual and featured Persolja’s piano virtuosos.
Gabe Vincent, ‘18, the star standout for UCSB basketball was a backup reserve for the Miami Heat in their recent NBA championship series against the Los Angeles Lakers. He is only the second UCSB player to play in the championship series. Brian Shaw made the finals with the Orlando Magic in 1994-95 and then played on three Lakers championship teams. Vincent is the ninth all time scoring leader for UCSB.
Kelly Edyburn, ’16 MA, '19 PhD, has been appointed assistant professor at the School of Psychology at Loyola Chicago. She worked as an intern at the Travis County Juvenile Probation Dept. in Austin, Texas and later did postdoc research at the Children’s Equity Project at Arizona State University. The program she joins is based on the scientist-practitioner model and emphasizes social justice and ethics.
Preston Maag, ’19, has produced a new film titled “10 Miles Out” celebrating backpacking in the Los Padres National Forest. It premiered at the Nature Track Film Festival. Maag works in Southern California as a social media producer and as a sales specialist at REI. He received his degree in Film and Media Studies.
Patty Flores, ’20, launched a new tech company called Festively. During the holidays the company opened an online marketplace featuring holiday gifts from more than 100 different women and minority owned businesses in Southern California.
Sofia LeBlanc, ’20, has been named the newest digital strategist at Witmark. She will work on strategic planning projects and public relations programs.
Vianna Mabanag,’20, has been appointed a media assistant at Witmark. She will be developing digital strategies and original social media content.
Elsie Whittaker, ’47, who served for many years as the co-chair of the Riviera Reunion, died Oct. 20 in Southern California. She was a member of the sorority that eventually evolved into the Pi Phis. Her major was music and she served on the Associated Students board as its secretary. She was known as the heart and soul of the Riviera Reunion, the reunion of alumni that attended college on the Riviera campus.
Irma (Goggia) Rennie '50, passed away on December 29, 2020, at the age of 91, in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. She was born and raised in Santa Barbara. She graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in Junior High Education. She would later become a substitute teacher for the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District. She was also a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority. She was married to Charles Rennie Jr., the love of her life for 59 years, who preceded her in death and was the loving mother to three children, Charles, Richard and Cathy. She will forever be missed.
Josephine Millett, ’52, died Aug. 27 in Santa Barbara. Her career included teaching, social work and administrative support. She retired as a computer programmer at UCSB. She served on the executive board of the UCSB Retirees Association, was a member of the Golden Arrow of the Pi Beta Phi sorority, and a charter member of the California Zeta Chapter of the Pi Beta Phi. She won numerous awards for her flower arrangements.
Joan Swanger, ’56, died Sept. 14 in Florida. She received her degree in early childhood education and taught kindergarten for more than three decades in private and public schools in Florida. She was a member of the Delta Zeta sorority.
Judy McKee, ’66, died Sept. 2 in Santa Barbara. In the 1990s McKee created a successful Brentwood boutique, Alison. It featured American folk arts and crafts gathered from around the U.S. After Alison closed McKee worked at UCLA in their Slavic Languages and Literatures department. When she returned to Santa Barbara she worked at the UCSB Art Museum and was a longtime supporter of
the Women’s Fund.
Jack Fox, MA ’69, died in Rancho Mirage, Ca. Fox was the former executive director of the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association from 1978-82. He started his career at UCSB in the Recreational Sports department and went on to become associate director of the Alumni Association in 1972. After retiring from UCSB he served as executive director of the Chico State Alumni Association. In 2019 he was honored by the Alumni Association as one of the “Legends of the Family Vacation Center” for his work in turning the Vacation Center into an ongoing, successful program of the Alumni Association.
Craig Steven Palonen, ’69, died July 24 in Santa Barbara. He had a long and successful career in real estate development. While pursuing a master’s degree in business from CSU Long Beach he discovered his passion for building and construction. He completed 23 residential and commercial projects in 24 years.
Carl Sjovold, ’70, died Sept. 19 in Santa Barbara. He served four years in the U.S. Navy and worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 30 years.
Betsy Anne (Nevitt '73) Robanser, born August 24, 1950 died on December 27, 2020. A beloved sister, Betsy Nevitt earned a BA in History with Honors and saw being a graduate of UCSB to be an honor in itself. She passed away in Bellingham, WA where she raised her 2 sons. Her passion for history, decency and compassion for her fellow man is the legacy of her education and family.
Thomas Lindsay Peters, ’73, died Sept. 5 in Laguna Beach. He spent his entire career in environmental planning at CH2M in Portland, Ore. He retired as the Senior Vice President of the Western Region for CH2M. He was a supporter of the Bren School and helped reform national organ transplant policies. His family has established the Tom Peters Memorial Fellowship Fund.
Doran Ross, MA ’75, died Sept. 16 in Los Angeles. Ross was a renowned museum curator of African and African-American art at the UCLA Fowler Museum. Ross helped develop the museum’s $22 million renovation in 1992 and became the first full time non-faculty director of the museum in 1996. He was a prolific scholar making more than 40 research trips to 18 different African countries to study art. His focus was Ghanian art and he helped edit a textbook on Ghanian textiles. During his career he was a lecturer at Santa Barbara City College, UC Berkeley and the California Institute for the Arts.
Suree Gould, ’76, died Nov. 4 in Santa Barbara. A theater arts major, she was active in children’s theater in Santa Barbara. She worked for many years in the Cottage Hospital residential treatment program and later earned her masters in psychology from Antioch University.
Darryl Richard Tate, ’76, died Sept. 1 in Ventura. He spent 33 years as a criminalist with the California Department of Justice at the Criminalistics Lab in Goleta. He started as a part-time lab technician while attending UCSB and retired as the Laboratory Director in 2009.
Jim Clendenen '76 was a winemaker and the owner of Au Bon Climat, a winery based in Santa Maria, California. Clendenen began his winemaking career working at Zaca Mesa Winery for three vintages. He was one of the most important vintners in Santa Barbara County history, an influential force on the international wine scene, and a legendary bon vivant known for crafting both world-class wines and long, epic lunches. He died in his sleep over the weekend. He was 68 years old.
Penelope “Penn” Borden, PhD ’85, died Oct. 10 in Santa Barbara. She received her BA and MA in history from the University of Montana in Missoula. Lecturer Emeritus in Spanish and Portuguese Esperanza
Elizabeth “Liza” Mary Rindge-Peterson, ’88, died January 27 in Torrance, CA. She was a Publicist for CBS, Warner Bros., and Lifetime Entertainment, before becoming Vice-President of Entertainment Press and Publicity at NBC Universal. She also worked as an independent Consultant in the industry. In recent years she was Vice-President of Mesmer Properties, a company founded by her grandparents.
Jefferson ’88, PhD ‘99 died Aug. 9 in Monterey, Mexico. She became a lecturer in 1999 and held a number of administrative positions in the department until her retirement in 2017.
Mary MacRae, ’91, died in Santa Barbara on Oct. 26. MacRae was the office manager for Alumni Affairs and the manager of the Mosher Alumni House. She handled the hundreds of reservations for Mosher and oversaw the operations of the building. Previously she had been the Executive Director of Center Stage Theater in Santa Barbara, which hosted numerous community theater productions. She had a long career in the Santa Barbara theater community after her graduation with a degree in English.
James Thomas Huebner, ’99, died Oct. 5 in Santa Barbara. He received his degree in American and Iberian studies. He lived on the Hollister Ranch for many years and was a well known local surfer.
Geoff Jewel, ’07, died Nov. 12 at Campus Point on the UCSB campus. He was the work desk manager in the Bren School and had worked at UCSB since 1996. He graduated with a degree in paleobotany and environmental studies. For many years he led trips for the UCSB Adventure program that involved climbing, ocean kayaking and canyoneering.
Chad James Thodos, ’21, died Nov. 5 in San Mateo, CA. He was a fourth year majoring in Film and Media Studies.
Jayden Quinn Lotz, ’21, died on Nov. 6 in Bakersfield. She was a senior majoring in economics and accounting.
Peter Aleman Jr., ’22, died Nov. 3 in Pleasant Hill, CA. He was a junior transfer student majoring in Political Science.
Faculty and Staff
Richard “Dick” Jensen, H’06, died Nov. 29 in Santa Barbara. He served in a number of administrative and consulting roles for the University of California. He came to UC Santa Barbara in 1964 as an assistant dean of students and eventually became the assistant chancellor for planning and analysis. He held that role until 1990 when he took the job of associate chancellor at UC Santa Cruz. He retired in 1999 but spent many years as a consultant for the Office of the President reviewing system budgets and finances. In 2005 he was asked by Chancellor Henry Yang to become interim executive director of the UCSB Alumni Association, a position he held for two years. He also did consulting work for the University of Illinois on their capital budget and planning. He was very active in community affairs and a prolific philanthropist. He served on the Board of Directors of the Community Environmental Council and later as a member of their President’s Council. He received his undergraduate degree from Washington State in 1959 and his master’s degree in economics from the University of Washington in 1964.
Professor Emeritus of Biology, Joseph Hurd Connell died Sept. 1 in Santa Barbara. Dr. Connell served on the UCSB faculty from 1957 to 1991. He received his doctorate from Glasgow University in Scotland and worked at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute before his move to UCSB. He received the Mercer Award in 1963 and twice received Guggenheim Fellowships for his research studying coral reefs and rainforests in Australia.
English professor emeritus Carol Braun Pasternak died Sept. 2 in Santa Barbara. She received her doctorate in English from UCLA in 1983 and joined the UCSB faculty in 1987. During her last two years at UCSB she served as Dean of Summer Sessions. She was a prolific writer and researcher in the area of Medieval literature and chaired the Medieval Studies department at UCSB.
Donald Barton Johnson, professor emeritus of Russian and Slavic Studies at UCSB, died Aug. 25 in Santa Barbara. He received his PhD from UCLA in 1966 and joined the faculty at UCSB that same year. His specialty was the writing of Vladimir Nabokov and Sasha Sokolov and he published a groundbreaking book in 1985 entitled “Worlds in Regression: Some Novels of Vladimir Nabokov.” He served twice as the president of the International Vladimir Nabokov Society.
Barrie Bergman, a longtime UC Santa Barbara Foundation trustee, died Sept. 11 in Santa Barbara. Bergman’s parents established a small record store in Chapel Hill, N.C. , the Record Bar, which Bergman built into the country’s second largest music chain with more than 180 stores in 30 states. The company was sold in 1989 and Bergman founded a second company Bare Escentuals which he grew into a national chain before selling it. Bergman received a number of honors from the music industry and retail organizations. He authored a book detailing his successful business practices: “Nice Guys Finish First: How to Succeed in Business and Life.” He was a member of the board of directors of the Santa Barbara County Bowl and a longtime supporter of UCSB Arts & Lectures.