Four former California State University, Northridge students will be honored with the university’s 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award at special gala alumni celebration.
More than 400 guests are expected at the event to honor the awardees: international marketing executive Bill Imada, chairman of IW Group; audiologist Diane Manzella, and Philip and Gayle Tauber, founders of the international food company Kashi.
The four will be recognized for contributions to their respective fields at a special dinner on Saturday, April 26, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village. The evening will begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by the dinner and awards program at 7:30 p.m.
This year’s honorees join a notable group of past recipients that includes 2012 National Teacher of the Year Rebecca Mieliwocki, banking executive George Leis, former Governor of Hawaii Linda Lingle, Curb Records Chairman and former California Lt. Gov. Mike Curb, CBS executive Michael Klausman, actors Teri Garr, Joan Chen and Cheech Marin, astronaut Scott Horowitz, Oscar-nominated producer Don Hahn and opera singer Carol Vaness.
“One way to judge a university’s quality is to see how successful its alumni have become,” said D.G. “Gray” Mounger, assistant vice president for alumni relations at CSUN. “The alumni who have been singled out over the years to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award embody what CSUN does best — educate thinkers, leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs who positively impact their chosen professions and all of us. Moreover, they make us proud to be Matadors.”
Imada, who received his bachelor’s degree in human resource management from CSUN in 1984, is the founder, chairman and chief collaboration officer of IW Group, one of the nation’s leading minority-owned and -operated advertising, marketing and communications agencies that focus on multicultural markets. Over the past 20 years, Imada has represented such companies as American Airlines, Coca-Cola, Farmers Insurance, Godiva Chocolatier, McDonald’s, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Southern California Edison, Walt Disney Imagineering, Warner Bros. Pictures and many others.
He co-founded the Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund and has been recognized by the White House for establishing the Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ACE), a national organization that gives a voice to the business interests of Asian American and Pacific Islanders.
Manzella, who graduated from CSUN with a master’s in speech communication, is considered a pioneer in the fields of audiology and speech pathology. She has developed a reputation for implementing recent research into new and innovative therapy techniques. She initiated a pilot program in Maryland to mainstream hearing-impaired children into the classroom. With her late business partner, CSUN alumna Julie Gardner, she opened Gardner Manzella, Inc., to initiate new and innovative techniques in rehabilitation that produce positive outcomes in patients. The practice exponentially expanded to include more than 350 employees who provided services in 12 states.
Philip Tauber graduated from what was then San Fernando Valley State College with a bachelor’s degree in music in 1968. His wife, Gayle Tauber, studied political science at Valley State from 1967 to 1972. Since 1972, the pair have been co-founders of startup companies, concentrating predominantly in health and wellness, social responsibility and the preservation of capital. The Taubers may be best known as the founders the Kashi Company, which they started in their home in 1983 and developed into an international food company. The company, known for its healthy, ready-to-eat cereals and cereal-based products, was sold to Kellogg’s in 2000. Gayle and Philip Tauber currently serve as CEO and chairman of Seedling Fund LLC, a family investment company that takes positions in first-stage companies. Philip Tauber, an accomplished musician, also heads Seedling Music.
Tickets for CSUN’s Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner are $160 and can be purchased by calling CSUN Alumni Relations at (818) 677-2137, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or purchasing tickets online at www.csunalumni.com.