Dispatches Summer 2017

Thomas Girardi
[LibArts], cofounder and senior partner of Girardi Keese, a law firm in Los Angeles and professor at Loyola Law School, was named to the annual list of Super Lawyer’s Top 100 for 2016. In 2013, he was ranked the region’s No. 1 attorney in the 2013 Southern California Super Lawyers.

Vincent McGraw
[LibArts, Law ’71] retired as a Superior Court judge for the state of California, and now teaches aikido in his hometown, Chowchilla, at Ava Fitness. Prior to his career in the law, he was a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.

Lance Mason
[SciEng], who has a dental practice, has had eight essays or stories published in the past year, and several have won awards or been included in anthologies. His novel, “The Killing of Chuy Muro,” has been optioned for a film by Framework Studio in Culver City, California. The story is based on a screenplay by Dan Gomez [CFA], an Emmy Award winner.

Miguel Gasca
[SciEng] became the newest member of the Rainbow Municipal Water District board, Division 3 this past February. The district’s headquarters are in Fallbrook, California.

Greg Erlandson
[LibArts, GradLibArts ’79] has been named director and editor-in-chief of Catholic News Service. He was formerly the president and publisher of Our Sunday Visitor.

Richard Murphy
[BusAdm] was re-elected to a second four-year term on the Los Alamitos City Council in November 2016.

Dena Maloney
[LibArts], who is president of El Camino College in Torrance, California, was named a 2017 Wheelhouse fellow in February 2017. The fellowship is a program of Wheelhouse: The Center for Community College Leadership and Research, which is based at the University of California, Davis School of Education.

Mike Podegracz [SciEng], city manager the City of Hesperia, received the Victor Valley College Foundation’s Distinguished Community Service Award for his dedication to the High Desert area. He is a registered professional engineer in California, Florida and Georgia.

David Hamilton
[LibArts] received the 2016 Glenda McDonald Board Administrator Award for Outstanding Commitment to Social Work Regulatory Board Service from the Association of Social Work Boards. He was recognized for dedicated service to licensed social workers and leadership within ASWB.

Nora Hannah [BusAdm] was named a 2016 Woman of Achievement for service to the community by Xavier College Preparatory High School in Phoenix in May 2016.

Lillian (Suffolk) Kilroy [LibArts] was hired as vice president of marketing with APG Federal Credit Union in Aberdeen, Maryland, this past March.

Annette (Radaich) Walker [SciEng] was chosen in March 2017 as one of Modern Healthcare’s Top 25 Women in Healthcare. She is president for strategy for Providence St. Joseph Health in Irvine, California, and CEO of the St. Joseph Health division, where she is responsible for strategy, marketing, business development and project management operations across the Providence St. Joseph system.

Thomas Chabolla
[LibArts] was named executive vice president and COO of NeighborWorks America, based in Washington, D.C., in October 2016. He has previously worked for the Service Employees International Union, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Karen (Hizon) Valdes [LibArts] was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown, to the California State Board of Education in March 2017. She has been assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for the Menifee Union School District, based in Menifee, California, since 2006.

Gregory Boyle, S.J.
[GradLibArts], founder of Homeboy Industries, was the guest speaker of the 27th annual Rotary International District 5300 and Garbis Peace Institute’s Peace Conference in October 2016 in San Dimas, California.

Sam Lagana [LibArts] was named stadium announcer for the Los Angeles Rams in July 2016. He is in his 15th year at Pepperdine University as associate vice chancellor. He and his wife, Eileen (Devlin) Lagana [CFA ’88], who is the vice president of sales for Point360 Post Production, have two daughters.

John Peschong [CFA] took the oath of office and was seated the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors in January 2017. He represents District 1.

Christopher Silva
[LibArts, Law ’89], president and CEO of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards in Santa Rosa, California, was honored as 2016 Winery CEO of the Year by North Bay Business Journal at its 4th Annual Wine Industry Awards in November 2016.

Steven Sweeney [BusAdm] has joined the Duane Morris LLP Los Angeles office. Sweeney has extensive experience in corporate transactions, including banking and financial institutions, mergers, acquisitions and bank regulatory matters.

Eileen (Sheridan) Wibbeke
[LibArts] recently completed a Fulbright Specialist grant project in New Zealand. She lectured on the Geoleadership Model at four universities in and around Auckland. She also participated on a panel regarding geoleadership at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia.

Katie (Miller) Cobb
[CFA] was recently named president of philanthropy for Barrow Neurological Foundation in Phoenix. Previously she was executive vice president and COO at the Phoenix Symphony.

Joseph Martinez [LibArts], principal at Carpenter Community Charter School in Studio City, California, was honored at the Charter College of Education’s 27th Annual Distinguished Educators Awards Dinner held in November 2016, at California State University, Los Angeles.

Michael Silane [BusAdm, GradBusAdm ’95] was named managing director of BNY Mellon Wealth Management’s Southwest Region in January 2017.

Scott Klier
[CFA] was named the producing artistic director of California Musical Theatre in November 2016. He will oversee its Music Circus productions.

Mary Christianakis
[GradLibArts], associate professor of critical theory and social justice at Occidental College in Los Angeles, has been appointed editor of Teacher Education Quarterly.

Oliver de la Paz [SciEng] will serve as the 2017 National Judge for the Dyer-Ives Poet Competition hosted by the Grand Rapids Public Library. He is author of four collections of poetry and a professor at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Gian Sardar Schwehr
[LibArts] had her debut novel, “You Were Here,” published in May 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

Shonda Buchanan
[LibArts], an English professor at Hampton University in Norfolk, Virginia, received the PeopleAdmin’s Inspired2Educate Award in 2016. The award honors teachers, administrators or staff members who have inspired others to pursue a career in education.

Cammie (Lapierre) Ferreras [LibArts] was named regional manager of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty in Bedford, New Hampshire, in January 2017.

Argelia Velasco [CFA] and her husband, Omar Velasco, published their first book about their love story, “Amor Al Aire.”

Sunshine (Cologgi) Riehl
[SciEng] is a veterinarian at Advanced Veterinary Care of San Elijo in San Marcos. In October 2017 she successfully performed a stem cell therapy procedure on an eleven-year-old Golden Retriever that suffered from arthritis in the knees and wrists.

Joel Kling
[SFTV], who runs a video production company called Kling Creative, published his first children’s book in summer 2016. “What Do You Notice, Otis?” is a story of mindfulness as seen through the eyes of a small goat named Otis.

Joseph Stephen was born to Liz (Odeh) Jennison [BusAdm ’01, GradBusAdm ’05] and Tony Jennison [BusAdm, GradBusAdm ’05] on Nov. 7, 2016.

Venus Johnson [LibArts] was named director of public safety for Oakland, California, in January. She was appointed by Mayor Libby Schaaf. Johnson previously served a prosecutor in Alameda Co., and in the state Attorney General’s office as a legal and policy advisor to Kamala Harris, now U.S. Senator for California.

Sara Mijares
[BusAdm] and her husband, Greg Del Fium, welcomed their daughter, Liliana Lucia, on July 3, 2016. She weighed 5.5 ounces and was 17 inches long, showing up at 36.6 weeks.

Juan Carlos Ramirez
[BusAdm] is the owner of Xielo Artisan Desserts, located in the Woolworth Building in downtown Oxnard, California.

Brenda (Kirsch) Frketich
[BusAdm], owner of Kirsch Family Farms in St. Paul, Oregon, has been awarded the 2016 Ag Connection of the Year award by Oregon AgLink. She earned the award for connecting urban Oregonians with the lives and concerns of rural Oregonians, particularly through her blog, NuttyGrass.com. Frketich was featured in the winter 2015 issue of LMU Magazine.

Ashlee Goodwin [CFA] has had her book titled “These Things Will Never Happen Quite Like That Again” published in March.

Gregory Marcus [SciEng] recently graduated from the United States Air Force Test Pilot School as an experimental test pilot with a master of science degree in flight test engineering. The course consisted of more than 2,500 hours of academic instruction and 120 hours of flight time in 24 different aircraft during the course of 48 weeks.

Naemah Morris [GradEd] became principal of her high school alma mater, Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles.

Esteban Zuno [BusAdm] and Kim (Nierva) Zuno [BusAdm] welcomed their second daughter, Isabelle Jolie, on Sept. 3, 2016.

Jonathan Segura
[BusAdm] is a trial attorney at BASTA, a non-profit organization that provides cultural-sensitive social, professional, legal and educations services to those in need. BASTA has offices in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Lancaster, California.

Jeannette Miyazono
[LibArts] is director of client relations for Northwestern Mutual in Chicago.

Brandin Cohen
[BusAdm], who works in the sales and marketing department for Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks, co-founded Liquid I.V., which produces a powder drink mix that is designed to improve hydration.

Brian McDonald [BusAdm], superintendent of the Pasadena School District, was honored at the Charter College of Education’s 27th Annual Distinguished Educators Awards Dinner, which was held at California State University, Los Angeles in November 2016.

Jenna Palefsky [LibArts] and Will E. Dugoni, III [BusAdm] married on June 11, 2016, in Healdsburg, California. Will was captain of the LMU baseball team, and Jenna was president of Delta Gamma and Order of Omega. They met in their freshman year and dated all through college and law school. Now, 10 years later, they finally sealed the deal!

Brandon Sorbom [SciEng] is a Ph.D. candidate at MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center, Sorbom is researching how much radiation magnetic materials in fusion tokamak reactors can endure before they are compromised.

Jhia Jackson
[CFA], as a communications intern for Idealist Careers, the nonprofit, social impact careers publication of Idealist, wrote an article on advice for first-generation graduate college students featuring fellow alum Fred Carr [SciEng].

Emilio Solano [GradEd] is director of Williamette Academy in Salem, Oregon. The academy is Williamette University’s college access program for students from historically underrepresented groups attending schools in the Salem-Keizer School District, also in Oregon.

Michael Bates
[GradEd] was appointed president of Notre Dame Schools in Munson Township, Ohio, in November 2016. His responsibilities include implementing a strategic plan, driving the advancement and finance teams, and overseeing marking and enrollment management.

Jasmine Johnson
[GradEd], in her fourth year as a fifth-grade teacher at Richmond College Prep Elementary School in Richmond, California, was awarded the 2017 Teaching Excellence Award from among more than 70 nominations in February 2017. She received the award from the West Contra Costa Public Education Fund, a foundation in Richmond, California.