CSUN Alumni Reunite at Annual Founders’ Day Celebration

  • William Watkins

    Keynote speaker William Watkins ’74 (Urban Studies), CSUN’s vice president of student affairs and dean of students offers his remarks at the luncheon. The event, which was held on Sept. 20 at California State University, Northridge, brings together alumni, faculty and staff in an annual homecoming for those with ties to CSUN and its early days as San Fernando Valley State College. Photo by Lee Choo.

  • Proud Matadors

    Proud matadors unite and reminisce about their days at San Fernando Valley State College. Attendees browse through historical displays throughout the day at the University Student Union’s Grand Salon. Photo by Nestor Garcia.

  • Alumni greet

    Marianne Mertzel, member of the President’s Associates Executive Council (left) greets alumna Barbara LaZear ’64 (English), also a member of the President’s Associates, at California State University, Northridge’s annual Founders’ Day. Photo by Nestor Garcia.

  • Rock wall

    Alumni Marlene Leone ’72 (English), M.A., ’79 (Educational Psychology and Counseling) and Nicholas Leone ’74 (Art) admire the rock wall located at the Student Recreation Center. The SRC was one of the campus tours offered to the attendees. Photo by Lee Choo.

  • VPAC

    Sally Adelblue, director of audience services at CSUN’s Valley Performing Arts Center gives attendees a tour of the state-of-the-art VPAC, which was completed in 2011. Photo by Nestor Garcia.

  • Inductees

    The highlight of Founders’ Day is the induction of 30 CSUN alumni, faculty and staff who either earned their degrees or worked at the university between 1958 and 1963, into the 50-Year Club. Photo by Lee Choo.

For Jules Gruen ’63 (History and Physical Education), it was San Fernando Valley State College’s proximity to his home and small classes that made the campus so appealing. His father, Frank, had also earned a master’s in public administration from the burgeoning campus and had nothing but accolades for the kind of education he received.

“It had a good reputation even then,” said Gruen, who had not visited the campus in more than 40 years until his return on Friday, Sept. 20, for the annual Founders’ Day celebration hosted by the CSUN Alumni Association. “I received a great education and have had a rewarding career.”

Gruen, a resident of Sacramento who worked as a special education teacher, said it was “exciting” to return and see the impact CSUN is still making on the lives of students.

Gruen’s remembrances were echoed by many of the more than 200 alumni, faculty, staff and friends who attended Founders’ Day at California State University, Northridge. The day included a luncheon with remarks by Vice President for Student Affairs William Watkins ’74 (Urban Studies) and greetings from Alumni Association President Francine Oschin ’84 (Journalism), M.A. ’85 (Mass Communication) and Vice President for University Advancement Robert Gunsalus.

Attendees also were invited to participate in college receptions and tours of various facilities, including the Delmar T. Oviatt Library’s new Learning Commons, the Valley Performing Arts Center and the Student Recreation Center. However, the highlight of the event was the induction of 30 alumni, faculty and staff, who either earned their degrees or worked at the university between 1958 and 1963, into the 50-Year Club.

As written on the side of the Sol Center in the University Student Union, Watkins said the relationship the university hopes to create with students and alumni is: “Students today, Matadors Forever.”

“This is your university. Those of us who are current stewards of this university invite you to advise us, to voice your aspirations, to financially support CSUN, making gifts to ensure your own legacy while helping future generations to achieve success in their lives,” Watkins said. “We ask that you also serve as ambassadors and spokespersons, telling our story about the many ways that CSUN shines.”

For more information about the alumni association, visit the CSUN Alumni Association website.