Since 1960, Humboldt State University has been recognizing the achievements of alumni when HSU launched its annual Who’s Who Award. This year, HSU celebrates its 2021 Distinguished Alumni who have been recognized as leaders in their fields and have been outstanding contributors to their community, nation, or HSU.
Rich Casale (‘75, Natural Resources Management) has spent more than four decades protecting California’s natural resources and agricultural industry. He worked for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as a district conservationist for 43 years until his retirement in 2017. Following retirement he worked as a NRCS wildfire restoration contractor, assisting California communities recover from devastating wildfires. Casale has served thousands of Californians over his career with their natural resource management needs. He has written numerous technical articles and publications including the soon to be released, “Post-Wildfire Restoration Guide” for NRCS.
Heidi Moore-Guynup (‘98, Psychology, ‘00, M.A. Psychology) has served the students and families of Humboldt County in a variety of ways throughout the last two decades.
In 2017, Moore-Guynup was named assistant superintendent of educational services with the Humboldt County Office of Education (HCOE), before becoming superintendent of the McKinleyville Union School District.
She currently serves on the Humboldt State University Foundation Board, the President’s Community Advisory Committee, and the College of Professional Studies Advisory Board. She also teaches in HSU’s Educational Leadership credential program, where she donates her time to help ease college budget constraints.
Drew Petersen (‘91, Physical Education) is the strength and conditioning coach for the Humboldt State athletic department. He began the strength and conditioning program at HSU in 1991 and is responsible for the design and implementation of the year round strength and conditioning program for all HSU sports. Petersen has coached 55 strength and conditioning All-Americans and mentored and developed numerous strength and conditioning coaches throughout the years, many of whom have gone on to become Division I, II and III coaches as well as a head NFL strength and conditioning coach.
Robert Romano (‘95, English, ‘96, M.A. English) is the co-founder and C.E.O of BookheadEd, featuring the online language arts curriculum StudySync, which develops and publishes English language arts (ELA) curricula and provides multimedia exercises, lessons, and other materials. Today over 3 million students and teachers use StudySync daily.
As CEO, Romano creates the vision for the company, conceptualizing the multimedia elements, and finding unique applications of technology. He also prioritizes the focus for 100 employees—among them are academic, engineering, and marketing experts. In less than 10 years, the company has a major foothold in classrooms across the nation.
Cathy Sandeen (‘76, Speech Communication) is the President of California State University, East Bay. Sandeen earned a Ph.D. in communications from the University of Utah and a Master of Business Administration degree from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. She was named an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow in 2010-11. Prior to becoming president of CSU East Bay, Sandeen was chancellor of the University of Alaska Anchorage from September 2018-December 2020, and chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Colleges and UW-Extension for four years.
Lynnette Zelezny (‘79, Psychology, ‘81, M.A. Psychology). In 2018 Zelezny made history by becoming the ﬁrst woman president of California State University Bakersfield. In 2020 Zelezny was recognized as the Robert C. Maxson President of the Year by the California State Student Association (CSSA). In addition to her Psychology degrees from Humboldt State, Zelezny has earned a Ph.D. in Applied Social Psychology from Claremont Graduate University and an M.B.A. with distinction from the Craig School of Business at Fresno State. She has also earned professional certificates in management from Harvard University and in executive leadership from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
Prior to joining CSU Bakersfield, Zelezny served for 30 years at Fresno State in roles that included provost, associate provost, dean and associate vice president in continuing and global education, associate dean for the campus’s Craig School of Business, and chair of the psychology department.
Note: This story was originally published on April, 7, 2021.