CSULB's highest alumni honor, the Distinguished Alumni Award is bestowed annually in each College by the CSULB Alumni Association. In addition to demonstrated pride and positive affinity for CSULB, awardees have achieved a record of distinction, recognition and accomplishment in their fields and a proven record of leadership and service to their communities and society at large.
Celebrating 50 years of alumni excellence, the CSULB Alumni Association is proud to acknowledge this year’s recipients.
Choreographer and Founder/Artistic Director,
Robert Moses’ Kin
1982, Associate of Arts, Dance, Orange Coast College
1999, Bachelor of Arts, Dance, CSULB
Robert Moses founded Robert Moses’ Kin (RMK) in 1995 as a way to create dances that speak to our times. Since then, RMK has premiered more than 80 works. Moses has choreographed for film, theater and opera, including the Lorraine Hansberry Theater, New Conservatory Theater, San Francisco Opera and Bare Bones (U.K.), among others. Since 2005, he has served as the Committee on Black Performing Arts artist-in-residence and artistic director at Stanford University, where he became a dance faculty member in 1995. In 1984, he began his performance career, which led to a position with the American Ballet Theatre. A highly regarded master instructor, he teaches on campuses throughout the U.S. and conducts performance workshops internationally. Moses is the five-time recipient of funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has received numerous honors for his work.
Charles W. Sewright
CEO, Quest Advisors
1969, Bachelor of Science, Accountancy, CSULB
1974, M.B.A., CSULB
1981, Certified Management Accountant
Author; Professor Emerita, Educational Psychology,
Administration and Counseling, CSULB
1978, Bachelor of Arts, Liberal Studies:
Spanish & English, CSULB
1984, Master of Science, Liberal Studies:
Bilingual Special Education, CSULB
1993, Ph.D., Education, University of California, Los Angeles
As a national expert, Jana Echevarria has authored and co-authored numerous books on helping teachers provide more comprehensible instruction to English learners. Her work on the educational model, Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP), is utilized in schools nationwide and in several countries. Recently, she co-authored “California Treasures,” a K-6 reading and language arts program. She is the principal investigator for the Center for Research on the Educational Achievement and Teaching of English Language Learners. From 1993-06, she was a tenured faculty member in CSULB’s Department of Educational Psychology, Administration and Counseling. Echevarria has served on several boards and committees, including the National Center for Learning Disabilities, Grace Christian School and Opportunity Schools, CSULB’s 2010-11 NCAA Division I Athletics Certification Committee, and the College of Education Development Committee.
Kent W. Peterson
Vice President and Chief Engineer, P2S Engineering, Inc.
1986, Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, CSULB
Samuel R. Ward
Associate Professor, Radiology, Orthopaedic Surgery and Bioengineering, University of California, San Diego
1997, Bachelor of Science, Physical Therapy, CSULB
2003, Ph.D., Biokinesiology, University of Southern California
2006, Postdoctoral Fellowship, Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, San Diego
Co-Owner, Pacific Rim Capital, Inc.
1996, Bachelor of Science, Dietetics and Food Administration, CSULB
District Attorney, City and County of San Francisco
1977, Bachelor of Arts, History, CSULB
1996, Juris Doctorate, Western State University, College of Law
Richard W. Bryson
President and CEO, Bryson Financial Group
1966, Bachelor of Arts, Economics, CSULB
A Long Beach native, Richard Bryson is president and CEO of the Bryson Financial Group, one of the largest insurance brokerage firms in the nation. Bryson is very active in community activities, serving as past president of the Boys & Girls Club of Long Beach, Pacific Hospital Foundation, Virginia Country Club, and presently sits on the Memorial Medical Center Foundation board of directors. In recognition of his contributions, he was named the Junior Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year and the National Boys and Girls Foundation Golden Boy. He was inducted in the CSULB’s 49er Athletic Hall of Fame for football and baseball. His connections to the university remain strong, including past 49er annual fund drive chair, 49er Athletic Club president, and a member of the Athletics Director’s Circle.
John E. Leonard
Senior Vice President, Development, Vaccinex, Inc.
1969, Bachelor of Science, Chemistry, CSULB
1973, Master of Science, Chemistry/Biochemistry, CSULB
1978, Ph.D., Biochemistry, University of California, Riverside
During his career, John Leonard helped develop 25 biologic or small molecule drugs for treating cancer or autoimmune disease. Of these drugs, Rituxan, Zevalin and Tysabri received commercial use approval. In 2009, Leonard, who holds five therapeutic antibody patents, joined Vaccinex, Inc. After the 2003 IDEC Pharmaceuticals and Biogen merger, Leonard served until 2005 as vice president and program executive leading the Tysabri development team. His community service includes membership on UC Riverside’s College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences board of advisors, American Association for Cancer Research, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. In 2011, he and his wife, Elizabeth, formed the John and Elizabeth Leonard Family Foundation to continue their philanthropic giving. In 2010, they established a scholarship in CSULB’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
For a full list of past recipients of Distinguished Alumni Awards categorized by college, please click on the college banner below.
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