9 Distinguished Alumni Honored

9 Distinguished Alumni Honored
The university honored nine Distinguished Alumni this year.

Cal Poly Pomona has honored nine outstanding graduates with the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor given by the Alumni Association. Now in its 49th year, the awards program recognizes alumni who demonstrate extraordinary professional achievement, community involvement and service to the university.

Representing each college in the university and athletics, the 2009 recipients were celebrated at the Distinguished Alumni Awards banquet on April 24. In addition, their names will be added to a perpetual plaque on the first floor of Building 1.

The 2009 Distinguished Alumni are:

Brothers John and Dan Andrews share deep roots in farming and a kinship with their alma mater. John Andrews (Class of '92, College of Agriculture) is CEO of Trinity Farms in the San Joaquin Valley and a leader in agriculture for the state. He is a member of the California Cantaloupe Advisory Board and the California Melon Research Board and participates in resolving California's water issues by working with the Wheeler Ridge-Maricopa Water Storage District. Former Bronco baseball MVP Dan Andrews (Class of '90, College of Agriculture) will be honored by the Athletics Department. He worked for his family farming operation, run by the Robert S. Andrews Company, as the produce sales manager for 15 years. Two years ago, he started his own fruit and vegetable growing and shipping company, Dan Andrews Farms.

Lawrence Taff (Class of '80, College of Business) oversees financial management and property operations for Pacific Office Properties in Hawaii. Since joining in 1995, Taff has been instrumental in planning new business ventures and property acquisitions. In 2003, he was one of the founding shareholders when the Shidler Group partners converted their private holdings into Pacific Office Properties, a public real estate investment trust.

Victoria Basolo (Class of '91, College of Environmental Design) is a nationally recognized expert on housing issues. She is an associate professor in the Department of Planning, Policy, and Design at the University of California, Irvine. Exhibiting an impressive research record, Basolo has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the California Policy Research Center. She sat on the governing board for the Urban Affairs Association and the Policy Studies Organization and currently serves as editor for the Journal of Urban Affairs.

Jill Bosich (Class of '93, Collins College of Hospitality Management) is the chef-owner of Cowgirl Cookie Co. She believes in the good old-fashioned philosophy that honesty and quality come first. She infuses this notion into her work as a teacher in the Culinary Arts Department at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. Bosich has also served as a lecturer/chef instructor for the Collins College.

James Chew (Class of '84, College of Engineering) is vice president of science and technology for Alliant Techsystems Corp, where is working to transform the company from a commodity-based defense and aerospace company to a high-tech company with profitable systems for assured urban operations, advanced weaponry, medical systems, and advanced chemistry and chemical processing. He has also worked for as an engineer for Boeing Aerospace, Air Force Rocket Propulsion Lab, Air Force Phillips Laboratory, Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Office of Naval Research.

Dr. Una Morris (Class of '70, College of Science) finished her education at Cal Poly Pomona and put herself through medical school while training for the Olympics. After receiving her bachelor's degree in zoology, she earned a medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco, and invested four more years to become a diagnostic radiologist. She participated in the 1964, 1968 and 1972 Games, earning fourth place in the 200-meter race in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Morris provides personal and financial support to the university's Science Educational Enhancement Services program, which promotes diversity among science students.

John A. Mortberg (Class of '70, College of Letters, Arts & Social Sciences) served the city of Carson for more than two decades, first as the immediate assistant to the city administrator and then as the purchasing manager before retiring 12 years ago. In the early 1990s, Mortberg and his team put together the city's Disaster Purchasing System, an initiative that listed vendors capable of responding to a major incident in the city and arranged for reimbursement of costs by FEMA and other agencies for disaster-related expenses. He also worked with labor relations and the Human Relations Commission, and was instrumental in developing an intern program. Mortberg remains actively engaged in civic life as a member of the Redondo Beach Elks. He also contributes to fundraising efforts that benefit veterans and handicapped children.

Bob Pletka, (Class of '06, College of Education & Integrative Studies) is the first graduate in the doctorate in education program offered jointly through Cal Poly Pomona and the University of California. He currently serves as the superintendent of the El Centro Elementary School District. Last summer, he was instrumental in launching the Professional Learning Community for students seeking their doctorate in education. He recently authored two books: “My So-Called Digital Life: 2,000 Teenagers, 300 Cameras, and 30 Days to Document Their World” and “Educating the Net Generation: How to Engage Students in the 21st Century.”