21 Feb 19
Orange County Register
Five Titan alumni and an honorary alumnus will be recognized for their service and support of the university Feb. 28, during Cal State Fullerton’s Vision & Visionaries dinner and celebration at El Dorado Ranch.
Established in 1994, the Vision & Visionaries awards are the highest honors that the university bestows on alumni and community supporters. The Vision & Visionaries awardees selected over the years represented distinguished achievement in areas such as academia, the arts, athletics, business, journalism, humanities, and science.
The accomplishments of these honorees are a tribute to the university community who educated, motivated and served them as students, said CSUF officials.
This year’s honorees are:
Stephen Knott, chairman of the board, Knott’s Berry Farm, (retired)
Honorary Alumnus Award
Knott and his family have been dedicated supporters of Cal State Fullerton for decades. Knott is an emeritus member of the university’s Philanthropic Foundation Board of Governors, and is highly involved with the Guardian Scholars and President’s Scholars programs.
As a supporter of the Guardian Scholars program, he welcomes new students, and travels to attend commencement. Knott’s charitable gifts were recognized in 2007 when he received the Bronze Legacy award at the university’s Legends & Legacies gala.
He worked at Knott’s Berry Farm for 50 years, starting out as a grounds sweeper, and eventually serving as chairman of the board until his retirement in 1997. His family of Titans includes his daughter Kimberly Knott-Verhoef ’86, ‘94 (B.A. business administration —marketing, MPA public administration), and son Daniel Knott ’93, ‘97 (B.A. business administration-finance, MBA business administration-marketing).
Patrick S. Donahue, chairman and chief executive officer of Donahue Schriber, is being honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award. (Photo courtesy Cal State Fullerton)
Patrick S. Donahue ’78, (B.A. business administration-marketing), chairman and chief executive officer, Donahue Schriber
Distinguished Alumnus Award
Pat Donahue and his company, Donahue Schriber, have been generous supporters of Cal State Fullerton’s Real Estate and Land Use Institute, the Guardian Scholars Program, which supports former foster youth, and the Veterans Resource Center.
His vision and leadership led to the creation of the annual RELUI luncheon, which brings CEOs from the Orange County real estate community together for an annual update and the Titan Future Leaders Talk series, which showcases leadership skills to mentor CSUF students.
Donahue Schriber’s executive team spearheaded the Orange Country Real Estate Luncheon, an event that has raised more than $2 million to benefit Orange County veterans and granted funds to the Veterans Resource Center. Donahue and his wife, Paula, also personally support the Guardian Scholars program by annually providing new laptop computers for all incoming scholars.
Donahue Schriber owns and operates 65 retail shopping centers, encompassing 11 million square feet, and valued at more than $3.5 billion.
Laurie Haack, Battlefield Radar SW Section Manager in Integrated Defense Systems, Raytheon, is being honored with the Distinguished Alumna Award.(Photo courtesy Cal State Fullerton)
Laurie Haack ’79, ’06 (B.S. computer science, M.S. software engineering), Battlefield Radar SW Section Manager in Integrated Defense Systems, Raytheon
Distinguished Alumna Award
Laurie Haack has led efforts with Raytheon to support multiple College of Engineering and Computer Science initiatives. She has been a driving force behind the Women in Computer Science and Engineering program; the ECS Center for Cybersecurity; and the future Navigation, Controls, and Guidance Center.
She has had a major impact on CSUF engineering and computer science students and programs. She visits CSUF often — as a member of the ECS Leadership Council, an ECS Professor for the Day, at the CSUF/Orange County Girl Scouts STEM event, and a career fair recruiter. Haack also mentors students as a partner on faculty research projects and encourages her Raytheon co-workers to sponsor directed research projects, teach as part-time instructors, and serve as judges for student projects.
She was the only female in her first undergraduate computer science course and was named “Best Master of Science” student in the first graduating class of the Software Engineering Master’s program. Shortly after receiving her master’s degree, she was named as one of CSUF’s, “50 Women of Distinction” for her career and life achievements. She has worked for Raytheon for 40 years.
Elizabeth Macias, Superior Court Judge, County of Orange, is being honored with the Distinguished Alumna Award. (Photo courtesy Cal State Fullerton)
Elizabeth Macias ’95 (B.A. psychology and ethnic studies), Superior Court Judge, County of Orange
Distinguished Alumna Award
Elizabeth Macias, a Superior Court judge in Orange County’s Central Justice Center and a former deputy federal public defender, has shared her story to inspire Titans as the commencement keynote speaker in 2013, and in classrooms, at luncheons and during her keynote for the launch of the Criminal Justice Success Academy.
She recently partnered with CSUF criminal justice faculty to offer a unique criminal courts experience to Titans preparing them with skills to aid in their transition to the legal profession.
Macias is a first-generation Mexican American and the first in her family to obtain a high school diploma and college degree. She is a graduate of California Western School of Law. In 2017, her alma mater, Santa Ana High School, named its Legal Studies Academy for her and the Orange County Hispanic Bar Association named her Judge of the Year. She is the vice president of the California Judges Association and president of the California Latino Judges Association
Scott O’Brien, president of the Safariland Group, is being honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Scott O’Brien ’77 (B.A. business administration-marketing), President, The Safariland Group
Distinguished Alumnus Award
Scott O’Brien is an active member of the Dean’s Advisory Board for Mihaylo College of Business and Economics and is highly invested in the college’s student success programs. He and his wife, Deanna, were initial benefactors that contributed toward the construction of Mihaylo Hall.
The Safariland Group works with Mihaylo graduate students in the college’s Small Business Institute capstone program, offering an intensive semester-long consulting opportunity for MBA students. He also launched a student internship program for operations and supply chain management students to work at the manufacturer that provides security products to law enforcement and the military.
He began his career with Safariland in 1973, while he was a student at CSUF. He worked in marketing, operations and manufacturing for the company and was appointed president in 1993.
Joaquin Valdepeñas,Principal Clarinetist, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, is being honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award.(Photo by Nicola Betts)
Joaquin Valdepeñas ’78 (B.A. music-performance), Principal Clarinetist, Toronto Symphony Orchestra
Distinguished Alumnus Award
Joaquin Valdepeñas is considered one of the most distinguished clarinetists of his generation. As a soloist and recitalist, he has been principal clarinetist in the Toronto Symphony Orchestra since 1980. He also is a founding member of the Grammy-nominated Amici Chamber Ensemble.
He recently returned to CSUF to teach classes for maturing clarinetists, as a guest artist. He has engaged more deeply with his alma mater by enriching the experience of our music students through master classes, lectures and personal mentorship.
His dozens of recordings have earned two JUNO awards and three Grammy nominations. He has performed with Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Leif Ove Andsnes and Kathleen Battle. He also has performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, as a soloist and in concerts throughout Europe and the United States.
A native of Torreon, Mexico, Valdepeñas grew up in Anaheim, where he began studying the clarinet with the school band at 13, using a borrowed instrument. After completing his studies at CSUF, he was admitted to the prestigious music performance program at Yale University, where he earned his master’s degree. His talent, passion for music performance, and education exemplify Cal State Fullerton’s mantra – “Titans Reach Higher.”
Event sponsors include Donahue Schriber Realty, and GEICO. For more information about Vision & Visionaries, visit the event website or call 657-278-2586.
— CSUF news services