HSU Names 2008 Distinguished Alumni

Apr 01, 2008

Arcata - The Humboldt State University Alumni Association will celebrate the accomplishments of its 2008 Distinguished Alumni with a gala dinner on Friday, April 18, at 5:30 p.m. in the Kate Buchanan Room at University Center.

The association is honoring Richard Cuneo (B.A. 1962), Terry Grosz (B.S. 1964, M.S. 1966), Lyle Laverty (B.S. 1965) and Robert Thomas (B.S. 1985).

The Distinguished Alumni Awards are the Alumni Association’s highest honor, with a history of nearly half a century.

Richard Cuneo, Chairman of the Board of Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery, is widely recognized for his career in the wine industry. He earned a degree in Business Administration from Humboldt State, and he has since held several positions within the Sebastiani company. He is credited with helping rebuild its image and with making the Sebastiani name synonymous with Sonoma County’s fine wines. Cuneo is a recipient of the California State Fair Lifetime Achievement Award and has been honored by the government of Italy as a Cavaliere (Knight) Officiale.

Terry Grosz began his 32-year career in wildlife law enforcement with the California Department of Fish and Game soon after his graduation from Humboldt State in 1966 with a degree in Wildlife Management. He went on to join the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, moving into positions with increasing responsibility and larger jurisdictions, culminating in his last post as the Fish and Wildlife Service Senior Special Agent. Grosz was responsible for writing regulations, policies, and procedures, responding to congressional inquiries, and travelling throughout Asia to assist foreign governments in curtailing the smuggling of wildlife and establishing cooperative international law enforcement programs. After retiring in 1998, he began a second career as an author. He writes both fiction and non-fiction and has won multiple awards. His stories have been turned into TV specials on Animal Planet.

Lyle Laverty was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2007 as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife and Parks. After graduating from HSU in 1965 with a degree in Forest Management, he began a 30-year career with the U. S. Forest Service, serving at the local, regional, national and international levels. He subsequently left his position as Associate Deputy Chief of the Forest Service to be Director of Colorado State Parks. Under his leadership, two new state parks were created and two more are in the planning stage. Park attendance increased, and special programs were established expanding opportunities for economically disadvantaged youths from urban settings. As Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Laverty oversees policy for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service.

Rob Thomas’s childhood summer trips to national parks ignited his passion for geology, which eventually became his profession. He is a professor at University of Montana Western, where he has helped the campus evolve from a traditional school into an experiential learning university. He teaches most of his classes outdoors in the natural laboratory of southwestern Montana. He is dedicated to public outreach and was awarded the Geological Society of America Distinguished Service Award for his 10 “Geo Venture” field trips. They have enabled both scientists and non-scientists to explore and learn about exceptional places, including Grand Teton National Park and the Canadian Rockies.

HSU’s Alumni Association began recognizing exceptional achievement when it launched its annual Who’s Who Award in 1960. Honorees are acknowledged leaders in their fields or outstanding contributors to their communities, the nation or Humboldt State.

The annual event includes the 2008 Distinguished Alumni Speaker Series on Thursday, April 17 and Friday, April 18, when each honoree will make an on-campus presentation to students in his field of expertise.

The Distinguished Alumni evening April 18 will start with cocktails at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the program and award presentation. For more information or to reserve seats, contact Alumni Relations at alumni@humboldt.edu or 707/826-3132. Tickets are $65.00 per person.