CSU Announces 2005 Wang Family Excellence Award Recipients:
Bakersfield, Fullerton, San Marcos, Stanislaus Recipients Each to Receive $20,000

Contact: Clara Potes-Fellow, 562-951-4806, cpotes-fellow@calstate.edu

(April 12, 2005) – A legendary athletic director, a practical political scientist, a ground-breaking communicator, an innovative teacher’s teacher, and a confidence-building mathematician have been named as the 2005 recipients of the prestigious California State University Wang Family Excellence Award.

The Wang award was established in fall 1998 when then-CSU Trustee Stanley T. Wang provided $1 million to reward outstanding faculty and administrators. The award is designed to "celebrate those CSU faculty and administrators who through extraordinary commitment and dedication have distinguished themselves by exemplary contributions and achievements in their academic disciplines and areas of assignment.” Annually, during a 10 year-period, four faculty members and one administrator throughout the CSU system will each receive $20,000 awards. This is the seventh year the awards have been given.

Wang, who in fall 2000 gave an addition $1.2 million to establish student and faculty travel scholarships for China study, is the largest individual donor to the CSU system office.

The 2005 Wang Award recipients are:

  • Rudy Carvajal, Cal State Bakersfield, University Administrator
  • Raphael J. Sonenshein, Cal State Fullerton, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Public Service (Photo.)
  • Richard L. Wiseman, Cal State Fullerton, Visual and Performing Arts and Letters (Photo.)
  • Laura P. Stowell, Cal State San Marcos, Education, and Professional and Applied Sciences (Photo.)
  • Viji K. Sundar, CSU Stanislaus, Natural Sciences, Mathematical and Computer Sciences, and Engineering. (Photo.)

Rudy Carvajal: Athletic Director at Cal State Bakersfield since 1971, Rudy Carvajal has built a small university program into one of the best Division II programs in the nation, winning an unprecedented 30 national championships in seven different sports and the national Sears Directors’ Cup for the overall excellence of its athletic program. Thanks to his strong student-athlete model and solid tutoring and advising support, university athletes graduate at rates not only rivaling but also surpassing those of campus students in general. In turn, his athlete-students are strongly engaged in community service, “giving back to Bakersfield,” in his phrase, as ambassadors for education.

Holder of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physical education from UC Berkeley, Carvajal has created a legacy of excellence and service at the campus. Some 200 of his students have become school and university coaches, his women’s swim team has taught hundreds of handicapped children how to swim, and his network of community volunteers has raised funds for facilities, such as the Icardo Activity Center and the Antonio Sports Center for Wrestling, that will train a new generation of athletes.

Raphael J. Sonenshein: A professor in the division of political science and criminal justice, Sonenshein is a political scientist with a national reputation in urban politics. He is a lover of teaching, whose “challenging, rigorous and entertaining” classes have earned him high marks from his students. Sonenshein, despite his already heavy teaching and advising load, has found time to create new, popular classes in his field, drawing on original research and a range of creative approaches, including field trips, noted guest speakers, and polling. As one of the top scholars on the politics of Los Angeles, an arena where he has published definitive books, he was called to serve as executive director of a commission charged to create the city’s first new charter in 75 years—a charter later approved by an overwhelming majority of voters.

Sonenshein earned his doctorate and master’s degrees in political science from Yale, and his bachelor’s from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, coming to Fullerton in 1982. A consultant to local governments and in strong demand as a media commentator, Sonenshein also has assisted in developing and analyzing the election coverage of the well-known Los Angeles Times Poll.

Richard L. Wiseman: An entertaining and animated teacher, who has won a raft of campus recognitions for his outstanding teaching abilities, Professor Wiseman is a popular academic advisor as well. He emphasizes his role as guide rather than lecturer, seeking students’ involvement in their own education, and bringing his students in as fellow researchers and co-authors of dozens of publications and conference papers. A productive scholar, whose articles in communication have been considered groundbreaking, he has also given exemplary service to the community in ways that range from serving as a scout leader to helping design traffic safety signs.

A product of public education, earning his doctorate in speech communication at the University of Minnesota, Wiseman came to Fullerton in 1978 where he specializes in intercultural, interpersonal, and nonverbal communication as well as persuasion and research methodology.

Laura P. Stowell: Dedicated to helping shape the long-overlooked middle school experience for the better, Stowell brought both a decade of practical experience as a middle school teacher and a solid scholarly background of study in the field. Coming to the young university in 1992, Stowell drew together a team of colleagues to launch a new middle school credential program for teacher candidates, one that was unique in the state and a model for the nation. She later found funding and provided leadership for the creation of the new Gateway Center in the local school district where university faculty and teacher candidates explore better ways to deliver an exemplary education to their middle school students.

Educated in Ohio, where she earned her doctorate and master’s in reading and education from the University of Ohio, Stowell is known for her enthusiasm and her “wealth of knowledge.” A strong proponent of literacy education, she is a sought-after thesis advisor and a mentor to members of the Future Teachers Club.

Viji K. Sundar: A dedicated, passionate, and visionary teacher, Sundar has undertaken no less a task than to help reform mathematics education, bringing into the bright world of mathematics those deterred by “math anxiety,” dismissive stereotypes, and social barriers, especially female students. She is especially noted for her pioneering work in building math skills and confidence through programs that involve both middle school and high school students as well their teachers. In addition to directing pre-service teachers and involving them in community service as math tutors to immigrant groups, she has also established exchange programs for mathematics scholars in the U.S., Nigeria and India.

Sundar received her master’s and doctorate in mathematics from the University of Illinois, following university work in India. She joined the faculty at Stanislaus in1978, where she has been recognized as an Outstanding Professor as well as an Outstanding Community Service Professor.

“Countless California State University faculty members have dedicated their lives to teaching students, expanding knowledge and serving both their community and their field of study. The CSU staff is equally dedicated to serving students. The selection committee had a challenging task in choosing just one in each category, but these individuals are all extraordinarily impressive,” said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. “We are all grateful to Trustee Wang for providing a way to recognize these individuals for all they do for CSU students.”

Wang, who served as a CSU Trustee from 1994 to 2002, is founder, president and chief executive officer of Pantronix Corp., based in Fremont, CA. The company, incorporated in 1974, provides a range of manufacturing services for semiconductor components, subsystems and modules. Pantronix’s consumer base is worldwide in the medical, aerospace, telecommunications, automotive, instrumentation and computer industries. The China native also founded Amertron Inc., with two manufacturing facilities in the Philippines and one in China.

“Great professors and leaders such as these sow the seeds for the next generation of leaders. All of these individuals have a strong passion for helping students learn and providing them with the best education possible,” said Wang. “My own professors taught me to be who I am today. The faculty recognition award is a way to demonstrate the great respect and deep appreciation I feel for them as a former trustee and student. I am a strong believer that faculty are the key to a high-quality education, which is the door to success and happiness in life.”

The Wang Family Excellence Award is administered through the CSU Foundation. Each campus president annually may nominate one faculty member from each of the four discipline categories. Each president also may nominate one administrator annually. The recipients will receive the awards at the May CSU Board of Trustees’ meeting.

The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, more than 400,000 students and 42,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded more than 2 million degrees, 82,000 annually. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. www.CalState.edu.

For additional information on campus winners, please contact the campus public affairs offices, which may be found at www.calstate.edu/newsline/.

Error processing SSI file

Last Updated: April 14, 2005

Error processing SSI file