Campus Welcomes 2013 Distinguished Alumni

Humboldt State University's 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients are Clifford Allenby ('59, Economics, Psychology), Ellie Cachette ('06, Political Science), Robert Henry ('67, Social Science) and Rick Rosenthal ('67, Zoology).

Join the Distinguished Alumni Award winners for a roundtable discussion hosted by Department of Politics chair Noah Zerbe. The talk, titled “What can I do with my major after graduating? How far can it help me and what is my potential graduating from HSU?” takes place in the Great Hall from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, April 19. The event is free and open to the public.

Distinguished Alumni Award winners will also be recognized at the Humboldt State Honors dinner on April 19. The event is invite only.

Read on for more information on the 2013 Distinguished Alumni award winners.

Clifford Allenby

A high-ranking state gubernatorial appointee across eight California administrations, Cliff Allenby (’59 Economics, Psychology) has also been a community activist for more than 20 years, including service to the Elk Grove Unified School District Governing Board.

Allenby served a 23-year tenure with the California Department of Finance, where he rose to the position of deputy director and became the department’s top economic and tax advisor. He went on to work for then-Governor Jerry Brown in the same post, to which Gov. George Deukmejian named him again in 1983. Four years later, Deukmejian shifted Allenby to his Cabinet as Secretary of the Health and Welfare Agency, responsible for 11 departments and offices with more than 40,000 employees and budgets exceeding $28 million. Allenby took a break from state government in the early 1990s to work for the California Building Industry Association as senior staff vice president for governmental affairs. Late in 1997, Gov. Pete Wilson summoned him back to civic service to head the Department of Developmental Services, which he led for eight years.

In succeeding years, Allenby became Gov. Gray Davis’s interim director of the Department of General Services and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s interim director of the Department of Social Services. Allenby stepped down in 2007 to chair the state’s Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board and helped to create the Health Insurance Plan of California and Aid to Infants and Mothers. An attempt at retirement didn’t last long: early in 2011, Allenby was named to his present post, acting director of the California Department of Mental Health, where he oversees 12,000 employees and an annual budget of $6.4 billion. The recipient of many awards over the years, including “Outstanding Public Administrator” from the American Society of Public Administrators, Allenby was honored again in mid-2012 by the society’s Sacramento chapter with the Ross Clayton Lifetime Distinguished Public Service Award for a career that has spanned half a century. Allenby and his late wife Sandy were both graduates of Eureka High School and high school sweethearts and they were married for 50 years. At the end of 2010, they set up the Cliff and Sandy Allenby Endowment to benefit Humboldt State University.

Ellie Cachette

Ellie Cachette (’06, Political Science) is the first recipient of Humboldt State University’s Recent Distinguished Alumni Award. A Bay Area native, Cachette is founder and chief executive officer of ConsumerBell, a San Francisco-based company that helps businesses and customers track and manage product recalls online.

While a student at HSU, Cachette served as project assistant and fulfillment coordinator for Humboldt Merchant Services, a credit card processing provider in Eureka. In that capacity, she helped establish gateways for e-commerce accounts and worked closely with VeriFone, an international electronic payment producer. In 2006, Cachette became project manager for 365 Media Inc., a technology services company that specializes in information gathering and processing. Soon after, she joined Recognos, a business analysis and software design consulting company in San Rafael, Calif. Her clients included Kaiser Permanente and Fisher Investments, a privately held investment management firm founded by HSU alum Kenneth L. Fisher (’72, Economics). In Cachette’s words, working with Fisher made her realize that “success is not determined by where you went to school, but your vision.” Cachette’s passion for consumer safety led her to create Consumer Bell, an online product recall tracking and managing service, in 2010. Since then, her mission has expanded to help companies automate recalls, making the process more efficient and cost effective. With its motto of “Making Safety Easier,” ConsumerBell has tracked hundreds of recall cases in recent years, including mold growth in Capri Sun fruit drinks, bacteria-tainted cantaloupe and defective cribs. After spending a year-and-a half in New York City, ConsumerBell relocated its offices to San Francisco in 2012.

Cachette is a strong advocate of Women 2.0, a Silicon Valley organization dedicated to empowering female entrepreneurs. She has also been recognized by the California State Senate as an “Outstanding Educator” in AIDS and public health and is an active supporter in the campaign to cure AIDS. Her work has been profiled in Forbes magazine and The Wall Street Journal. Cachette currently resides in San Francisco and is an avid sailor and member of the St. Francis Yacht Club.

Robert Henry

One of California’s foremost education attorneys, Robert Henry evidenced his promising future in his accomplishments at HSU (’67, Social Science). Born in Washington State but reared in Humboldt County, Henry was twice elected HSU student body president, served as president of Tau Kappa Epsilon social fraternity and was honored as Humboldt State’s Man of the Year in 1967. He received his law degree in 1971 from the University of California-Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall).

After serving as an attorney for the California State University, Henry formed a law firm in 1984 to represent schools and colleges. The new School and College of Legal Services of California became a notable success, growing to represent more than 200 educational entities—charter schools and school districts, community college districts and county offices of education. Henry’s career spans some 40 years of practice, in which he has successfully represented clients before every level of state, federal, appellate and supreme courts. He pioneered the Joint Powers Agreement, which unites diverse clients and provides them legal services that are accountable, economical and student-centered. Henry’s arguments have resulted in numerous precedent-setting decisions before the California Supreme Court and the Federal Court of Appeals.

In the words of one long-time colleague, Henry redefined legal service for public education in northern California and “saved the taxpaying public millions of dollars and much time and anguish.” In addition to his legal work, Henry has presented hundreds of workshops around the state, training and informing school superintendents, boards of trustees and other education officials and staff about the frequent changes in the law. Despite retiring from full-time work in 2004, Henry has found his services in regular demand; he continues to serve with the School and College of Legal Services, which has offices in several northern California communities. In 2006, the Sonoma County Bar Association honored Henry with its Career of Distinction Award and he is also a recipient of the Rio Dell Elementary School District Distinguished Alumni Award.

Rick Rosenthal

Rick Rosenthal (‘67, Zoology) is a multiple Emmy and BAFTA award winning cinematographer who specializes in natural history. Growing up in southern California, Rick learned to free dive at an early age. His first professional opportunity came when he was hired by Sea World to assist with the care and training of whales. While completing his undergraduate degree at HSU, he also served as the first dive instructor. Rosenthal later received an M.S. in marine biology from San Diego State University.

After graduating from HSU, he was hired onto the scientific staffs at Westinghouse Ocean Research Laboratory in San Diego, and Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Some years later he relocated to Alaska, and worked as a consultant to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the Office of the Governor, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

As a scientist, he has written more than 40 research papers and popular articles on marine biology, ecology and animal behavior. Underwater camera work played a key part in his early research. Compelled to share his observations with a larger audience, he began working in television and filmmaking. In 1984, Rosenthal began a long association with the prestigious BBC/Natural History Unit in Bristol, England. This was a launching pad for many worldwide assignments that included being a principal cameraman for BBC’s landmark Blue Planet series, a nature documentary series described as the “first ever comprehensive series on the natural history of the world’s oceans.” Following this work he received commissions for three major films on the great whales, and key camera work for the BBC/Discovery blockbusters Planet Earth and Life. His latest Emmy (2011) was for the National Geographic television series Great Migrations. Rosenthal’s most recent film work is an integral part of two television specials: Superfish and Hot Tuna. Both films are currently being broadcast worldwide, and have been screened at HSU. His latest film project entitled The Dark Side of the Ocean is scheduled for production this year, and will most certainly push the boundaries of open ocean exploration and discovery.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards honor alumni for achievements in their fields or for service to their community, nation or HSU.