California State University, Northridge will honor three globally impactful alumni whose influential work has left an indelible footprint on their respective fields on April 29.
Financial industry giant Milton Berlinski, reality TV trailblazer Mike Darnell and science and technology leader Patricia Maloney are the recipients of CSUN’s 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards and will be honored at the 19th annual gala event at the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village.
Berlinski, who earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Northridge in 1978, came to CSUN as an international student from Aruba and is now one of Wall Street’s most accomplished figures. In 2013, he co-founded the private investment firm Reverence Capital Partners LLC. Today, he is the company’s managing partner.
Berlinski was the architect behind Goldman Sachs’ Private Equity advisory business and ran its corporate strategy group, becoming one of the most important dealmakers in the country. Berlinski worked for Goldman for 26 years, rising to the ranks of its top executives. It was national news when, in late 2011, Berlinski retired from the firm.
“CSUN has a lot of people to honor, so the fact that they chose me as a recipient … I was very touched,” Berlinski said. “[CSUN] allowed me to mature and become self confident in my ability to get things done and learn, in a positive sense, how to differentiate between right and wrong, good and bad.”
Darnell, who earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from CSUN in 1987, took advantage of an internship he had while an undergraduate and made reality TV history. He is the president of alternative television at Warner Bros. and is in charge of three of its companies — Warner Horizon Unscripted Television, Telepictures Productions and Shed Media. Darnell oversees 35 series, including “Little Big Shots,” “The Bachelor,” “The Voice” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
Prior to joining Warner Bros., he was the president of alternative television at FOX, where he oversaw and developed such shows as “Joe Millionaire,” “Family Guy,” “The Simple Life,” “Hell’s Kitchen” and the mega-hit “American Idol.” While other networks passed on “American Idol,” Darnell was the executive who said “yes.” “American Idol” became the top-rated show on TV for eight consecutive seasons.
“Honestly, I was flattered,” Darnell said of the alumni honor. “What CSUN did for me was a couple of things — the quality of education was great, and I was able to stretch it out at the time, still get my degree and be able to work jobs to support myself and get my foot in the door.”
Maloney, who earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from CSUN in 1980, is the principal director for joint operational programs in the NASA Programs Division at The Aerospace Corporation, and she was named the company’s 2005 Woman of the Year.
Maloney manages relationships and oversees a team working with some of the most prestigious partners in The Aerospace Corporation’s portfolio — including NASA, the U.S. Air Force and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
She previously worked in numerous leadership capacities for Mobil Oil Corporation. One of her most influential roles was as worldwide trading coordinator and crude oil operations manager during the first Gulf War.
“CSUN, my chemistry degree, taught me how to attack a problem,” Maloney said. “And if it was which crude to send to Mobil’s Singapore refinery, or how to find the root cause of a satellite anomaly, it is the process that matters. And that is what I have taken with me the last 37 years.”
The 2017 CSUN Distinguished Alumni Awards gala event is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. with a pre-event reception. The dinner and program are expected to start at 7:30 p.m.
For tickets, sponsorship information and details on placing a tribute ad in the event’s program, visit www.csun.edu/daa2017.