In the final minutes before everyone logged off from CSUN’s College of Humanities breakout room during the first-ever virtual Founders’ Day celebration, Class of 1970 alumnus Gonzalo Munévar ’70, M.A. ’71 (Philosophy) wondered aloud if he and fellow alum Candice Weber ’70 (English) had ever taken a class together.
The comment sparked a conversation, ultimately resulting in alumni asking each other how they could keep in contact.
“That would be fun,” Weber said, smiling at the prospect of reconnecting down the line with her fellow Matador.
CSUN reconnected dozens of members of the Class of 1970 to one another and to the university, virtually, on Oct. 8 during their 50-year class reunion. Faculty and staff members who began their service to CSUN in 1970 also were recognized and inducted into CSUN’s 50-Year Club.
Due to the pandemic, CSUN shifted the normally in-person luncheon to an online program. The university plans to honor this group on campus at a future Founders’ Day, when it is safe to do so.
This live virtual event featured speeches from CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison, CSUN Vice President for University Relations and Advancement and President of the CSUN Foundation Robert Gunsalus, and Founders’ Day Alumni Chair and CSUN Distinguished Alumnus Harvey Bookstein ’70 (Business Administration), Hon.D. ’16.
There was also Class of 1970-themed trivia, a slideshow featuring images and vintage front pages from The Sundial, and the breakout rooms, which allowed alumni from each CSUN college to reunite and speak with leadership and staff about the university’s current innovations and accolades.
Harrison spoke first of these many accomplishments in her remarks. She also likened the challenges that CSUN’s current students face today to the historic times that the Class of 1970 experienced 50 years ago.
“Big dreams were not waylaid by change and uncertainty,” she said of the alumni, who attended college during the late 1960s. “And this is the Matador spirit.”
Harrison also spoke about this being her final Founders’ Day, as she will step away as president of CSUN at the end of this semester.
“So now, one of my final events here at CSUN is going to make me teary, but I’m so pleased to have the opportunity to share some moments with you and celebrate what you have accomplished through your CSUN education and careers,” she said. “You made change happen. You innovated. You inspired. That’s what Matadors do. Thank you for being here today.”
Gunsalus thanked the Class of 1970, who graduated from what was then San Fernando Valley State College, for helping lay the groundwork for future CSUN success.
“Your formative imprint remains. The early traditions and planning you set put CSUN on a strong course and helped bring about an institution that is one of our nation’s largest and most significant universities,” Gunsalus said.
Bookstein spoke of how nearly 30 years after he earned his bachelor’s degree, he became more involved with his alma mater when a former accounting professor reached out and encouraged him to take a tour of campus.
“I was blown away and wanted to get involved in some fashion,” Bookstein said. “I was not only impressed with the campus, but also the students that I observed. Looking into the eyes of the students helped me remember how important the school was to my opportunity to become successful.”
Bookstein, who went on to become one of the nation’s leaders and innovators in the accounting industry after earning his CSUN degree, has served on numerous leadership boards at the university. After Bookstein and his wife Harriet’s $5 million gift to the CSUN Nazarian College, the CSU Board of Trustees renamed Juniper Hall, home of the Nazarian College, to Bookstein Hall in 2017.
Like Bookstein’s, other stories were shared on Founders’ Day, about how CSUN played a significant role in the success of so many. Munévar, who went on to become a professor at Lawrence Technological University in Michigan and author of eight books, remembered how a CSUN professor’s recommendation led to his acceptance into a Ph.D. program at the University of California, Berkeley. Weber, a human resources professional and personal coach, also noted how influential CSUN was for her.
“The fact that I’m a top-notch communicator and I write very well, present ideas, that I’m a critical thinker — all those things are part of the education inherent in my English degree,” she said.