Three of California State University, Northridge’s most illustrious alumni received the Distinguished Alumni Award at a special gala on Saturday, April 13.
The 2013 recipients—National Teacher of the Year Rebecca Mieliwocki ’96 (Teaching Credential); George S. Leis ’81 (Geography), regional president for the central coast for Union Bank; and Ravi K. Sawhney ’78 (Art Three Dimension), president and chief executive officer of RKS, an innovative, award-winning design firm based in Thousand Oaks—all praised Cal State Northridge for giving them a start along their career paths.
“We focused on the journey, not the destination. …That empowers students to do something great and not always stop and take inventory of what they are doing,” said Sawhney about his education at CSUN. “I’m very proud to be a product of an institution that provided that to me.”
Mieliwocki said she was humbled by CSUN’s selection of her for its highest alumni award.
“I can’t take all the credit for being a phenomenal teacher,” Mieliwocki said. “I have to give CSUN a lot of the credit because they certainly, certainly deserve it.”
Leis, who is a member of CSUN’s Foundation Board and has served on several university committees, including the advisory committee that recommended the appointment of Dianne F. Harrison as CSUN’s new president, urged other alumni to get involved.
“Give generously of your time, your talent and maybe more importantly your financial support as we together take CSUN to the next level,” Leis said.
Harrison, Alumni Association President Dennis DeYoung ’87 (Business), and CNBC commentator, author and master of ceremonies for the event Bill Griffeth ’80 (Journalism) all applauded the honorees and welcomed attendees. A record number, more than 440 people, attended the annual event held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village, Calif.
“I applaud the Alumni Association for this event and its ongoing commitment to honor and showcase our notable, successful and influential alumni and involve them in the life of our university,” Harrison said during her salute to the honorees. “By highlighting the accomplishments and positive impact of alumni such as Ravi, Rebecca and George in a personal way, and by continually recognizing the past recipients of this award, we affirm the quality and the excellence of Cal State Northridge. It sets a tone and keeps a bond going. It connects us all, makes us proud and enhances the value of all CSUN degrees.”
To see video biographies of the honorees, play the video below: