Catherine Jeppson: ‘Visionary’ Alumna and Faculty

Portrait of Catherine Jeppson.

Catherine Jeppson. Photo by Lee Choo.

Over the past 45 years, Catherine Jeppson ’71 (Business Administration), MS ’75 (Accounting) has seen California State University, Northridge “grow from a small family to the big family” it is today.

Jeppson’s dedication to her alma mater has not gone unnoticed. This year, she won the university’s Visionary Community Service-Learning Award for her work with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

She received the award at the annual Honored Faculty Reception for her “outstanding” contribution to the betterment of students and the community through a service-learning class or classes. The award is sponsored by the CSUN Center for Community Service-Learning and carries a prize of $1,200.

Jeppson started teaching at Cal State Northridge in the spring of 1978 after she received her bachelor’s degree in finance and her master’s in accounting, both from CSUN. She became director of CSUN’s VITA program in the early 1980s.

During her tenure as director, Jeppson has recruited, supervised and trained hundreds of students to prepare tax returns for low-income individuals, seniors, non-English speaking individuals and the disabled.

“I’ve been involved with the program since I was a student when the program started 41 years ago,” she said. “I came to the university to teach, and ultimately a few years later I took over the program. With the help of other faculty, we built it up to where it’s used as the prototype for starting other VITA programs.”

Jeppson’s endearment to her school does not end with her, but extends to her family as well. “I received my bachelor’s degree and my master’s degree from CSUN,” she said. “My husband also received his bachelor’s degree and his master’s degree from CSUN.  Our two children both received their bachelor’s degrees from CSUN.”

“I can’t think of a better place to spend my career,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I’m doing what I love at a place where I enjoy working with faculty, students and staff.”