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Summer 2017
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UCSB Alumni Welcomes and Congratulates its Newest Board of Directors Members

The UCSB Alumni Board of Directors elected four new members during the June annual meeting. Members serve a three-year term. The mission of UCSB Alumni is to advocate for the university, and its alumni and students. Board members attend three annual meetings, serve on committees and participate in alumni events.

Nathaly Arriola ’10

Nathaly Arriola ’10
Nathaly Arriola is vice president of The Messina Group, a high-powered political and media consulting group with offices in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and London. The firm’s founder is credited with helping Barack Obama win the presidency in 2012 through the use of data analytics, social media and new organizational techniques. Arriola’s clients include Uber, Tesla and AirBnB. Previously, Arriola worked on the 2012 Obama campaign in Chicago headquarters, then moved to the White House as a special assistant on Hispanic affairs. She held other high-profile communications roles including Deputy Director for Communications and Press Secretary at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. A native of Peru, Arriola earned her bachelor’s in political science with an emphasis in international relations and Latin American studies. She participated in the UCSB Technology Management Program for four years and was a member of the Lambda Sigma Gamma sorority. Arriola is a mentor for The Puente Project that helps young Latinas prepare for college. She attributes much of her success to her experience at UCSB and participation in a UCDC internship in the office of a member of Congress.

Michael Desmond ’90

Michael Desmond ’90
Mike Desmond is an attorney in sole practice in Santa Barbara. He specializes in federal and state tax law, representing businesses and individuals in audits, administrative appeals and litigation with the Internal Revenue Service and state tax authorities. At UC Santa Barbara, Desmond earned undergraduate degrees in history and political science. After graduating, he spent most of the next 20 years in Washington, D.C. attending law school, working at the Tax Division of the U.S. Justice Department and at the U.S. Department of Treasury where, as Tax Legislative Counsel, he served as senior legal advisor to the Treasury Secretary and Assistant Secretary on domestic tax matters. Desmond also worked for several private law firms in Washington before returning to Santa Barbara in 2012 to start his own boutique tax practice. While in Washington, Mike taught as an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center. In 1994 he graduated magna cum laude from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law and has been recognized by Chambers and Partners as one of America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, and as a Leading Lawyer in Tax Law. Desmond and his wife Kristen ’90, also a UCSB alumnus, “have enjoyed the many opportunities the Association provides to interact with current and prospective students as well as alumni.”

Noelle Hirneise ’08, M.A. ’09

Noelle Hirneise ’08, M.A. ’09
Noelle Hirneise is Legal and Compliance Manager with Polaris Property Management, in Los Angeles. She is responsible for the implementation of and execution of legal and compliance strategies, programs, policies, and initiatives for all properties. Previously, Hirneise worked as an attorney specializing in business litigation and HOA matters and as a Real Estate Analyst. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics in 2008 and 2009, and her J.D. from Santa Clara University School of Law in 2013. As a student, she was on the UCSB tennis team, studied abroad in Paris, and was an active volunteer with the Match Point Program to help at-risk middle school students in Santa Barbara. In a letter expressing interest in serving on our Board, Hirneise wrote, “I have utilized my work ethic and problem solving abilities to succeed in past jobs and will bring these capabilities with me to the Board. Being on the Board would be an amazing opportunity to give back to UCSB. I would love to be a part of your team.”

Leslie Solomon Klonoff ’80

Leslie Solomon Klonoff ’80
Leslie Klonoff’s roots run deep at UCSB as both an alumna and parent of two alumni. With a B.A. in Communication Studies, she currently serves on the Department of Communication Alumni Council and chairs the Recruitment and Alumni Engagement subcommittees. She served on the yearbook staff as the Greek section editor and worked three years at Ortega Dining Commons. Leslie’s career focused on management recruiting, event planning and community building, skills she developed while at UCSB and employs today with her volunteer engagements. She has become one of UCSB’S most active volunteers and supporters. Leslie also continues to be an active member in the Alpha Phi sorority. As the All Gaucho Reunion GreekFest chairperson, Leslie has transformed alumni engagement with UCSB’s more than 20,000 Greek alumni, developing a strong network of collegiate alumni chairs in each fraternal organization. With a goal of socially and professionally connecting all Greek alumni with both UCSB and their chapters, she continues to promote service and advocacy across generations of Gaucho Greeks. Her dedication to community service, philanthropy and advocating for a better world is inspiring.

UCSB Alumni Congratulates its 2017 Scholarship Winners

Amanda “Andy” Chen ’17 has been awarded UCSB Alumni’s Russell A. Buchanan Award for History Majors. A first-generation Taiwanese-American attending UCSB’s honors program on a full scholarship, Chen is a triple major in Classics, Medieval Studies, and Linguistics. Her languages include Chinese, German, French, Latin, Greek and some Danish and Russian. Her professors describe her as among their brightest and most motivated students. She spent her junior year studying abroad in England and plans to return there to continue her education.

Francesca Towers ’20 received a scholarship from Lorin ’68, M.A. ’69 and Karen Letendre. Her artwork is on display in the Letendre Alumni Art Gallery wall at Mosher Alumni House. Her work has also been displayed in The Glass Box gallery, The Box in Isla Vista Theater, and published in The Catalyst, UCSB’s student-run literary magazine. Towers intends to continue her studies in oil painting and become an arts teacher to encourage others to see value in and communicate through art.

UCSB Alumni Legacy Scholarship Recipients

Jonathan Cloughesy ’17 is a biospsychology major who plans to attend grad school to further his studies into the benefits of mindfulness and meditation with the goal of improving life for all. UCSB has provided him with the opportunity to delve into such topics as ancient Greek philosophy and molecular genetics, earn SCUBA certification, take a Beatles guitar course, join campus groups including Amigos de UCSB and the Buddhism and Mediation Club, and above all, make lifelong connections with students and faculty passionate about living life to its fullest.

Jesse Eaton-Luria ’20 is a Global Studies major with an emphasis in Spanish who hopes to live abroad in a Spanish speaking country and do volunteer work. From joining the Student Activist Network to playing her first game of intramural soccer, Eaton-Luria has found that UCSB encourages all students to live to their fullest potential and always try new things, because “everyone in this one-of-a-kind community will be welcomed with open arms.”

Jessica Vived ’19 plans to attend law school and practice international law. A double major in mathematics and philosophy with a concentration in Ethics and Public Policy, Vived hopes to make a positive difference in the world and “help other people who are unable to help themselves.” She credits her TA, Zachary Rentz, with helping her find her life’s purpose.

Connor Reilly ’18 will earn both a bachelor’s and master’s in Material Science. His goal is to work in a research position for a materials engineering or chemistry firm. He credits his father and friends, all UCSB alumni, with inspiring him to attend UCSB, “create lifelong relationships and follow his passion in career and life.”


Class of 1968
Join us in celebrating your 50th reunion!

12th Annual All Gaucho Reunion, April 26-29, 2018

If you’re interested in serving on the 50th reunion planning committee, please email Samantha Putnam,


Kia McInerny ’69, recently released her second novel, “Max in Filmland” (Size Four Publications, 2017), a comedy of manners set in 1970s Euro-Hollywood. McInerny’s novels include “Bond Hunter”, an international thriller, based on little known facts McInerny uncovered concerning Hitler’s financial ties to Wall Street.

George Kieffer ’69 George Kieffer ’69 has been elected Board Chair of the University of California Regents for 2017-2018. Kieffer, who was first appointed a Regent in 2009 by then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, is a former president of the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association. Kieffer is a partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, a national law firm. His goals as chair include “examining the costs of higher education, continuing to expand access to more and diverse Californians, and promoting the uniqueness of all 10 UC campuses.”


Charles Newman ’70 joined the Board of the Community Environmental Council (CEC) in Santa Barbara. The CEC is an environmental nonprofit focused on moving the Santa Barbara region away from fossil fuels and energy-intensive products.

George Gmelch Ph.D. ’75 has published “Baseball Beyond Our Borders, An International Pastime,” a collection of essays that celebrate the globalization of baseball while highlighting the histories and cultures of the nations in which the sport is played. Gmelch is a professor of anthropology at the University of San Francisco and Union College in upstate New York. He has authored or edited 13 books.

Steve Hirsh ’76 was honored on June 7 during the 20th annual Jewish Vocational Service Strictly Business L.A. Awards Lunch at the Beverly Hilton. Hirsh received the Founder’s Award for establishing Strictly Business, a program through which corporate leadership assists Angelenos in transitioning from poverty to employment.

Nadine Hays ’77 was named Chief Growth Officer for OmniClaim, based in Woburn, Mass., a leader in healthcare cost containment and payment integrity. As CGO, Nadine will lead sales and marketing, and play a critical role in developing the company’s corporate, product and go-to-market strategies.

In June, Ben Hallock ’79, retired after 38 years of service in Santa Barbara County’s public schools as a football and track coach, and science teacher. His team won multiple championships. Hallock served as a mentor to students and coaches at Bishop Diego, Santa Barbara and Carpinteria high schools.


Lynn Wasylina ’80, has been appointed chief financial officer of ANA Enterprise, in Silver Spring, Maryland, the organizing platform of the American Nurses Association, American Nurses Credentialing Center, and American Nurses Foundation. Wasylina brings more than 30 years of financial and strategic management experience, most recently as CFO for the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, in Arlington, Virginia.

The Santa Barbara Foundation honored philanthropist Jon Clark ’82 in May as Man of the Year at an awards event held at the Coral Casino. Clark is president of the James S. Bower Foundation which provides grants and support to Santa Barbara non-profits. Clark, who grew up in Santa Barbara, majored in business economics and psychology at UCSB. He serves on the boards of Cottage Health Systems and Storyteller, and is a member of the Foundation Roundtable. Prior to joining the Bower Foundation in 2007, Jon was executive director at the Wendy P. McCaw Foundation, and executive director at the Community Environmental Council.

Terri Hilliard ’82 has opened a new law office in Santa Barbara. The firm provides estate, elder care and special needs planning services. Hilliard also has an office in Westlake Village.

Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Antony Ufland ’87, of Newport Beach, to a judgeship in Orange County Superior Court. Ufland has served as senior deputy alternate defender at the Orange County Alternate Defender’s Office since 2005. Ufland earned his law degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.

Jennifer Hawks ’86 produced and directed her first film, “Everything it Takes,” a documentary that follows the year-long odyssey of Mary Helwig, a 2016 Iditarod competitor in Alaska. Helwig lost her home and kennel in 2015’s Sockeye Fire, the same year she was training as a rookie for the Iditarod. The film won Best Film Overall at the Equinox Women’s Film Festival.

Former UCSB Men’s Volleyball head coach Ken Preston, (1979-2008) the winningest bench boss in program history, was named a Legend of the Dome during a game between UCSB and BYU in April. Over a 30-year career, Preston won over 500 games, reached the postseason 19 times, played for the 1988 national championship, and produced 27 All-Americans and 49 All-MPSF selections.

The UCSB Alumni UK chapter recently held its annual Gala, raising more than $17,000 for student scholarships, including $2,000 for the UC Alumni UK Study Abroad Scholarship Fund. The group’s July fundraiser in London to benefit the Study Abroad Scholarship is nearly sold out.

Eduardo “Eddie” A. Angeles ’87 received the Distinguished Public Service Award from the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) on June 8 at the 2017 Aviation Business Conference held in Washington, D.C. Angeles, who is a senior assistant city attorney for Los Angeles World Airports Legal Division, was honored for his commitment to advancing a “safety first” culture in aviation. In 2014, Angeles was appointed by President Barack Obama as Associate Administrator for Airports at the Federal Aviation Administration.


For the third consecutive year, Sonny Kothari ’90, was nationally recognized as a top advisor by Barron’s magazine in its annual “America’s Top 1,200 Advisors: State-by-State” list. Kothari is a financial advisor in the Brea office of Merrill Lynch.

Catherine Rodriguez ’91 was named to the Health Care Foundation for Ventura County Board of Directors. As Ventura County’s chief financial officer, Rodriguez administers the county’s $2.2 billion budget. She also serves as interim CFO for the Ventura County Health Care Agency.

Jade Wu ’92, M.A. ’93 published a book, “Flash Points: Lessons Learned and Not Learned in Malawi, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.” Wu has worked on U.S. foreign assistance projects in Malawi, Kosovo, Germany, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Philippines. Her foreign affairs analyses have appeared in The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, and Foreign Policy Journal, among others. She lives and practices law in the Washington, D.C. area.

Bill Weeshoff ’93 was named senior marketing strategy and planning director for The Howard Hughes Corporation’s Ward Village in Honolulu, HI. He will be responsible for developing marketing strategies around the development of the 60-acre community, including retail and development.

Deputy Superintendent Susan Salcido ’95, M.A ED. ’96 has been appointed superintendent of the Santa Barbara County Education Office. The agency is the intermediary between the California State Department of Education and the 20 school districts serving nearly 70,000 students within the county.

Trent Bryson ’98, and his father, Richard, co-owners of Bryson Financial, received the 2017 City National Bank Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Based in Long Beach, CA, Bryson Financial provides corporate and personal financial planning services.

Olympic gold medalist and UCSB swimmer Jason Lezak ’99 was named a Maccabi Ambassador to Team USA for the 20th World Maccabiah Games to be held in Israel in July. Lezak will join fellow Olympian Lenny Krayzelburg for two exhibition relays during the swimming competition finals.


Lisa Willett Fry ’04 was inducted into the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Hall of Fame and the Santa Barbara Court of Champions in May. Fry was a member of the UCSB women’s basketball team, helping them win four conference championships and reach the NCAA Sweet 16 Tournament in 2004.

The Santa Barbara Court of Champions also inducted former UCSB basketball players Alan Williams ’15, center for the Phoenix Suns; Kayte Christensen ’02, a color commentator and former WNBA player; Lucius Davis ’92; and Josh Merrill ’12.

NBC News Correspondent Katy Tur ’05 earned a Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in TV Political Journalism for her professionalism during coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Theodore Burnes Ph.D. ’06 in Counseling/Clinical/School Psychology recently published his book, “Teaching LGBTQ Psychology: Queering Innovative Pedagogy and Practice.” The book is a theoretical and practical guide for individuals who teach and train about LGBTQ psychology in diverse groups and settings.

Bobbie Verdegaal ’06 was named New Teacher of the Year by the District of Columbia Public Schools. Verdegaal made a major career change in 2015, from an office job to education, earning her teaching certificate online and currently works at a combined middle and high school in Washington, D.C.

Acupuncturist and herbalist Tram Pham ’07 is the new owner and operator of the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, which provides holistic health care. Pham was chosen to run the clinic by administrators of the estate of Dr. Henry Han and his wife, Jennie Yu, who were murdered along with their young daughter in 2016.

Documentary host Reza Aslan Ph.D. Sociology ’08 was fired by CNN for making vulgar and derogatory statements about President Donald Trump in a series of tweets. Aslan was the host of the network’s hit show, “Believer,” in which the religious scholar travels worldwide exploring religions. Aslan is a creative writing professor at UC Riverside.

Elijah Ettenger ’15 was named District Representative in the office of U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal D-Santa Barbara, in January. Prior, Ettenger was a field representative in the California State Assembly.

UCSB Alumni Board of Directors member Zach Rentz M.A. ’15 was awarded the 2016-17 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award from the UCSB Academic Senate. This prestigious honor is given in recognition of exceptional teaching accomplishments, and is an indication of high esteem by faculty and students alike. Rentz teaches in the philosophy department.


In Memorium


Jean Tinsley ’49 died on April 25, 2017 in Atherton. She was a pioneer woman in the field of aviation achieving many firsts including being the first female worldwide to fly the XV-15 tilrotor aircraft. A private pilot, Tinsley owned her own aircraft and was one of very few female helicopter pilots at the time. UCSB Alumni named Jean a Distinguished Alumni Award winner in 1991.


Timothy Ferris McMahon ’50 died on December 30, 2016. An Army veteran, McMahon earned his law degree at Hastings College and practiced law in Santa Barbara. He was president of the Santa Barbara County Bar Association and the Santa Barbara County Law Library Board of Trustees. The Santa Barbara County Law Library was renamed The McMahon Law Library in 1997 by the County Board of Supervisors

Joanne Ruth Culley ’52 died on June 6, 2017 in Poway. Culley worked for many years as a teacher in the San Diego area.

William Bryson Smith ’58 died on May 20, 2017 in San Diego. He worked as a salesman/engineer for Raychem Corporation and ITT Canon prior to opening The Bryson Company and working with NASA, Fender Guitars and others.


Mervin Louis Lane Jr. M.A. ’61 died on December 31, 2016, in Santa Barbara. He was deeply invested in music and the arts and spent many years teaching music at his children’s schools. He taught English literature at Santa Barbara City College where he introduced curriculum additions including yoga, Tai Chi and philosophy, and published several literary works.

Uffe “Jack” Carsten Larsen ’68 died on May 1, 2017, in Santa Ynez. A Denmark native, Larsen immigrated via Canada to Solvang in 1961, where he and his wife, Marianne, owned the Mollekroen Restaurant for 28 years. After retiring, Larsen was a substitute teacher at Santa Ynez High School, and served as president of the Santa Ynez Valley Rotary and in leadership with other local organizations.

W. Lowell Robertson ’64 died on December 17, 2017, in Nevada City, California. Lowell, aka the Tog, had various careers before establishing his own business in Nevada City. Sonic Technology remains a thriving international firm. He was respected and appreciated for his contributions to the Nevada City community and is missed by his wife of 50 years, Diane (Sheerer), his children and many friends.

Harold Martin Sjovold ’60 died on March 11, 2017, in Santa Barbara. A local native and lifelong resident, Sjovold was an Army veteran stationed in Japan during the mid 1940s. An exceptional athlete, Sjovold was scouted by the Dodgers in high school and played for a Montana minor league team. He was a systems analyst at Vandenberg Air Force Base.


Judy Simmons ’72 died on April 8, 2017, in San Diego. Simmons was devoted to non-profit work, serving in development for La Jolla Country Day School, the San Diego Symphony, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Girl Scouts San Diego.

Gregory Crum ’73 died on March 8, 2017, in San Pedro. While at UCSB, he majored in history, was on the swimming and water polo teams, and was named an All-American swimmer. He taught in San Pedro schools and worked as a salesman for Coors.


Michele Malia Bennett ’89 died on February 28, 2017, in Santa Barbara. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Bennett was an accomplished athlete who loved playing golf.

Tara Cloud died on January 22, 2017, in Arequipa, Peru. A traveling scholar, award-winning photographer/blogger, Cloud taught history and ESL at Santa Barbara City College. An advocate for peace, Cloud cared about education, political causes, women’s issues and animals and was a volunteer for the Women’s Community Building Project and Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center.

Phillip Lee Mitteldorf ’83 died on April 2, 2017, in Santa Barbara. He worked as a portfolio manager at Navallier & Associates in Reno for many years. He earned a degree in physiological psychology from UCSB and an M.B.A from the University of Nevada, in Reno.

Scott Hinman ’84 died on March 29, 2017, in Irvine. Well-known in the aquatics world, Hinman coached Olympic gold medalist Amanda Beard, the U.S. National Senior Women’s Team and helped develop women’s water polo nationwide. Hinman established the UCSB Women’s water polo, serving as head coach, and was the men’s team assistant coach. Most recently, as a swimming and water polo coach at Irvine High School, Hinman earned coach of the year awards from multiple groups.

Christine Renee Rickabaugh ’88 died on May 2, 2017, in Los Gatos. Rickabaugh worked as a human resources recruiter for Apple, then Technical Recruiter for Acuson. Injured in a 1993 river rafting accident on the American River, Rickabaugh lived in a skilled nursing facility until her death.


Mary Ellen LaCombe (Parker) Conway ’95 died on January 20, 2017, in Santa Barbara. She was Manager/President of Raysan Federal Credit Union at the Raytheon Company in Goleta, where she had worked for two decades before retiring in 1990. She continued to work as a temp for various local companies and was a dedicated community service volunteer.

In Remembrance: UC Santa Barbara Students, Faculty, Staff and Community Friends

Samuel Ira Boldissar died on March 25, 2017, in a rock climbing accident in Joshua Tree National Park. Samuel was a third year doctoral student studying chemistry.

Patricia Johnson Forgie died on May 4, 2017, in Santa Barbara. Prior to teaching philosophy at UCSB, Forgie taught at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and at California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo. She served on the Goleta Union School District Board of Trustees, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden education department and the University Religious Conference in Isla Vista. She completed three marathons, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and trekked in Nepal, among other adventures.

David Gold died on January 23, 2017, in Santa Barbara. A first lieutenant in the U.S. Air Corps, Gold flew 53 missions into China during World War II. After the war, he became a sociology professor and taught at the University of Iowa and UC, Berkeley, before joining UCSB where he served as Sociology Department chair.

Mary Jo Little died on April 14, 2017, in Santa Barbara. A long-time local resident, Little attended Santa Barbara High School, Santa Barbara City College, and UCSB where she was assistant dean in the College of Creative Studies after 18 years as office manager of Environmental Studies. The Jo Little Scholarship Fund has been created through the UC Santa Barbara Foundation to honor her memory.

Donna Catherine Saar died April 4, 2017, in Santa Barbara. At UCSB, she worked first in Student Health Services, then as an undergraduate advisor in the Music Department, and was a member of UCSB’s Retirement Committee. Saar was a dedicated volunteer for Girl Scouts, Teddy Bear Cancer Community and several area schools.

Michael Towbes died on April 13, 2017, in Montecito. A well-known philanthropist and businessman, Towbes was chairman and co-founder of Montecito Bank & Trust, and founder of the Towbes Group, a development and property management firm that built thousands of affordable housing units throughout the Central Coast and Southern California. At UCSB, Towbes built the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics residence hall, and served on the boards of the UCSB Economic Forecast Project, the UCSB Foundation, among many other organizations. The Towbes Foundation, established in 1980 by Towbes and his late first wife, Gail, provides support to more than 300 causes, including the arts, health and education. Towbes led the restoration of the landmark Granada Theatre in Santa Barbara. He grew up in Washington, D.C., studied civil engineering at Princeton University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and served in the Navy Civil Engineer Corps during the Korean War. Towbes was known for his character, generosity and integrity.

Parker James Williams died April 12, 2017, at UCSB. Parker was a second year student with junior standing who was a pre psychology major with a minor in history.