Dispatches November 2020


Trish (Johnson) Evans [LibArts] has published her first novel this past October. “Katy’s Ghost” is about a former teacher, haunted by a phantom, who learns to move beyond fear and toward acceptance.


Amata C. Radewagen [LibArts], delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives representing American Samoa, was named to the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in January 2020.


Chemin Bernard [SFTV] was awarded Emeritus Member Status by the Casting Society of America in September 2020 for her “remarkable contributions to the organization, the profession, and the art of casting.” She gave Jada Pinkett Smith her first lead role on “Moe’s World” and casted Terrence Howard in “Tall Hopes.”


Kim O’Neill [SciEng] has been appointed assistant dean of Kutztown University’s College of Business in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. She took the post in August 2019. O’Neill previously worked at the University of Washington, Bothell.


Roger Memos [GradSFTV] directed and coproduced his first documentary, “Marsha Hunt’s Sweet Adversity,” a 10-year project, which will have its television premiere on the Turner Classic Movies Channel Dec. 11. An actor who was blacklisted in the 1950s, Hunt, now 103 years old, went on to work for humanitarian causes during the next five decades.


Angela Clarke-Louque [GradEd], who is a professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Technology at California State University, San Bernardino, gave a speech at the Riverside County Office of Education’s Parent Engagement Virtual Summit on May 25, 2020. 


Denise Contis [LibArts] was named EVP and Head of Content for Primetime at CNBC in September 2019. She is in charge of CNBC’s primetime content, production and development. 


Lorcan Barnes [LibArts] purchased Lester Consulting Group, which provides management and fundraising counsel to nonprofits, after working for 24 years as president of Catholic high schools in Dayton, Ohio, and Sacramento. He and his wife, Patti, who have lived in Sacramento since 2004, have three grown sons: Jimmy, 26, Jack, 23 and Pat, 21.

Thomas Delaney [LibArts, LLS ’92] was elected president of the California Judge Association, effective in September 2020. Delaney is currently the association’s vice president and chair of the judicial outreach committee. He is also secretary of the California Latino Judges Association. Delaney was appointed to the bench in 2014 by then-Gov. Jerry Brown.


Don Hagedorn [BCLA] self-published his first novel through Amazon in August. “Ellie Says It’s Safe! A Guide Dog’s Journey Through Life” follows a guide dog puppy from birth to a match with a recent college graduate. Their continuing life story illustrates how lives of visually impaired people are improved through the love and courage of guide dogs.


Matthew Airey [GradBusAdm], who has worked in technology, finance and consulting, published a book in August titled “Steadfast Awareness: Reflections and Life’s Takeaways.”


Christiana Daisy [SciEng, GradBusAdm ’03] was appointed as Executive Manager of Engineering/Assistant General Manager at Inland Empire Utilities Agency, which is headquartered in Chino, California, in October 2019.


Maria Lourdes (Lou) Calanche [LibArts] was named to the five-member L.A. Police Commission by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in August 2020, pending approval by the City Council.


Louis Bronstein [LibArts] is assistant director of Federal Government Relations for the University of California, Irvine, where he is responsible for coordinating and implementing the university’s federal relations activities and serving as an advocate for the university on federal issues.Before to joining UCI, he served over 12 years with the County of Orange as a policy advisor to former Orange County Supervisor Bill Campbell [SciEng ’64]and as the manager of Government Relations for John Wayne Airport. 

Shonda Buchanan [LibArts, GradLibArts ’03], literary editor for the Harriet Tubman Press, wrote “Black Indian,” her memoir of her family’s African American heritage and American Indian roots. The book was published in 2019 by Wayne State University Press.

Heather Buchta [CFA] has written a young adult novel called “Beyond the Break,” which was published by Penguin Teen, imprint of Penguin Random House.

Christian Ehlers [LibArts, LLS ’01] was named a Red Cross Neil Allgood Award winner by the Los Angeles Region American Red Cross in June 2020.


Caroline McBride [LibArts] published her debut romantic comedy novel, “Four Seasons at Angelino’s” in July 2020 (Post Hill Press). The book is influenced by her career as a publicist and her personal escapades around the world.


D.J. Mitchell [LibArts] published his first nonfiction book, “The Soul of an Addict: Unlocking the Complex Nature of Addiction.” The book is written for nonaddicts who want to better understand addiction. Mitchell’s LMU degree was in theological studies, and he analyzes addiction in terms of its similarity to religion in the life of the addict.


Candice Kelsey [GradLibArts] is a writer whose first book of poetry, “Still I Am Pushing,” was published this past March by Finishing Line Press. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children.


Lisa Donohue [GradBusAdm], chief marketing officer of CycleBar, an indoor cyclying franchise fitness company, was interviewed in Authority Magazine in August 2020 about her ideas about leadership and her career path in the fitness industry.


Jacob Padrón [CFA] was named to the advisory council of the New England Foundation for the Arts in December 2019. He is the founder and artistic director of The Sol Project, which produces the work of Latinx playwrights.


Sami Strinz-Ward [LibArts], who led the LMU softball program as head coach for five successful seasons, was named head softball coach at Texas Tech University in October 2020. As coach, her teams won a total of 138 games, and she was named West Coast Conference Coach of the Year three times. As a player at LMU, Strinz-Ward was named PCSC Player of the Year in 2003, leading the Lions to the league’s inaugural championship.


Maximilian Fetaz [BusAdm] was named a shareholder in the Las Vegas office of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. He practices in the firm’s litigation department and represents clients in state and federal courts.

Annalisa (Gross) Schwartz [LibArts, GradEd ’09] took the post of principal of Paularino Elementary School In the Newport-Mesa Unified School District in July 2020. She has been an educator for 15 years and previously was interim principal at Whittier Elementary School.


Jason Johnson [GradEd] was named superintendent of the Hermosa Beach City School District this past May. His term began on July 1, 2020. Johnson left his position as principal of Lincoln Elementary School in the Redondo Beach Unified School District. He also was a special education teacher and an assistant principal in that school district and also served as director of the Redondo Beach Teachers Association.


Sam Fischer [CBA], who twice was the Pacific Coast Softball Conference Player of the Year, signed this past January to play professionally with the California Commotion, a new team in the National Pro Fastpitch League. In 2012, Fischer led the nation in batting average and slugging percentage, and she is a three-time member of the U.S. National Softball Team. She holds multiple LMU records and was inducted into the LMU Hall of Fame in February 2019.

Sara Vlasach [GradBusAdm] has been hired by Emetry, a software company based in Napa, California, as senior director of product marketing.


Hallie Spoor [CFA], now a singer/songwriter based in Brooklyn, New York, released a video for her song “City Angels.” She wrote the song after experiencing a lonely day in New York during the COVID-19 pandemic. Spoor asked friends and family members to send her nostalgic photos and video clips that she could use in the video.

The names of alumni who have passed away may be found on our In Memoriam page.