CSU Announces 2003 Wang Family Excellence Award Recipients:
Bakersfield, Chico, Fullerton, San Bernardino Recipients Each to Receive $20,000

A prolific jazz composer and performer, a cutting-edge farming researcher, a guide to would-be teachers, a math wizard, and a dynamic historian have been named as the 2003 recipients of the prestigious California State University Wang Family Excellence Award.

The Wang award was established in fall 1998 when then-Trustee Stanley T. Wang gave $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 and one administrator throughout the CSU system will receive $20,000 awards. This is the fifth 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 ever.

The 2003 Wang Award recipients are Doug Davis, CSU Bakersfield, Visual and Performing Arts and Letters; Cynthia A. Daley, CSU Chico, Education, and Professional and Applied Sciences Fields; Claire Palmerino, CSU Fullerton, University Administrator; David Pagni, CSU Fullerton, Natural Sciences, Mathematical and Computer Sciences, and Engineering; and Robert Blackey, CSU San Bernardino, Social and Behavioral Sciences and Public Services.

Doug Davis

A 20-year member of CSU Bakersfield's faculty, Davis is a well-know jazz composer and musician who heads the university's jazz program. His students, both as individual musicians and in jazz combos, regularly sweep the competition. They have regularly won the premier west coast collegiate competition at UC Berkeley as well as prestigious Kennedy Center awards. Under his direction, the jazz program has recorded and released over 150 student compositions, drawing praise nationally. A wonderful teacher, described as "a truth-teller without the arrogance of office," he is also an accomplished performer and composer. He has written more than 100 widely-recorded jazz compositions as well as produced over 60 compositions for a range of presentations, from symphony orchestra to solo piano.

Davis earned his bachelor's of music at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and his master's and Ph.D. in composition from Harvard. Prior to coming to Bakersfield, he taught for six years at Emory and Henry College in Virginia. In addition to his university work, Davis also organizes and runs the community's annual Bakersfield Jazz Festival, which draws upon high school and college student musicians as well as nationally known jazz musicians.

Cynthia A. Daley

Cynthia Daley, from CSU Chico, is one of those high-energy, many-hatted professors who set a standard for their universities. A researcher who has drawn $1.7 million in grants to the campus for projects involving fellow faculty, community agricultural partners, and research students, she has also set up student internships in the community, offered how-to workshops to students, teachers, ranchers and industry professionals, and served as faculty advisory to several student animal science clubs on campus. Her research includes the cutting-edge—she helped produce the first cloned calf in California—as well as the eminently practical, such as her study which resulted in a less polluting method for composting rice straw and manure.

Daley earned her bachelor's degree in animal science from the University of Illinois, her master's from Fresno State, and her doctorate, in endocrinology, from UC Davis. She joined CSU Chico's faculty in 1998. Raised on a cattle farm in Illinois, she owns and operates a cattle ranch in northern California, giving her teaching a strong real-life footing. A respected and engaging teacher, she takes pride in "helping students reach beyond their expectations of themselves."

Claire Palmerino

Palmerino currently oversees CSU Fullerton's Academic Advisement Center, which steers students through the university's general education program and serves as home to undeclared majors. She also directs the Center for Careers in Teaching, which provides an educational "road map" for future K-12 and special education teachers. Students who come in "confused and lost" emerge with their paths made crystal clear. To get the word out, the highly-organized and lucid Palmerino has conducted workshops, created a dedicated website, and produced an email newsletter. In addition, she has propelled coursework articulation agreements with the regional community colleges, helped develop a successful blended teacher education program, and launched a student ambassador program to recruit prospective teachers.

Palmerino earned her bachelor and master's degrees in psychology from CSU Long Beach and her doctorate from UCLA. She began teaching as a lecturer at CSU Fullerton, where her expertise in subject matter preparation and the credential program led to her selection as founding director of the Center for Careers in Teaching. Her colleagues describe her as "an exceptional leader, an outstanding advocate for university students, and an inspiring mentor to students and faculty."

David Pagni

One of the most respected math educators in the world, CSU Fullerton's David Pagni has researched, studied, and gathered funding to improve the learning and understanding of mathematics by thousands of students and teachers, with a special focus on low-performing middle schools and high schools in Orange County. His impact has been massive. Described as a "Math Wizard" by his K-12 audiences, Pagni has sought not only to provide "great ideas," but also to make math fun for both students and teachers. An innovative, talented, and thoughtful educator, he has dedicated himself to making a difference, whether by shepherding thousands of new teachers through the intricacies of math education or by providing small scholarships to needy college students.

A Fullerton faculty member since 1969, Pagni, the first in his family to attend a university, received his bachelor's degree from CSU Chico, his master's from Notre Dame, and his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Pagni is a popular speaker who has given hundreds of presentations, a respected researcher who has received over $13 million in grants in the field of math education, and the author of a dozen books and hundreds of journal articles.

Robert Blackey

A more than 30-year veteran faculty member at CSU San Bernardino, Robert Blackey is a "dynamic speaker and discussion leader" who inspires his students, bringing the past vividly to life and entrancing his audiences with his richly illustrated presentations. One student noted that Blackey's memorable presentations left him with "a life-long love of history." Professionally active, he served on several committees of the College Board and as vice president of the American Historical Association, where he promoted the teaching of history, wrote a regular column of teaching innovations, and worked to increase the number of minority students in the profession. He also has spoken to countless student groups, both regionally and nationally, to encourage them to put college in their futures.

A native of New York, Blackey earned his bachelor's in history at CUNY, and his master's and doctoral degrees at New York University. He came to CSU San Bernardino in 1968. In addition to specialized writings on English, Irish and African history, he also has published widely on teaching and learning and has authored seminal books on the concept of revolution.

"Countless CSU faculty throughout the state have dedicated their lives to teaching students, expanding knowledge and serving both their community and their field of study. The staff at CSU campuses are 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 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, sub systems 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., a manufacturing facility in the Philippines, in 1989.

"Great professors and leaders such as these sow the seeds for future generations of leaders. These individuals all have a strong passion for helping students learn and providing them with the best education possible," said Wang. "My 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 trustee and former student. I am a strong believer that faculty are most important to 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. The presidents also may nominate one administrator annually. The recipients will receive the awards at the May 13th CSU Trustees' meeting.

The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, nearly 408,000 students and 45,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded more than 2 million degrees. 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.

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

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Last Updated: 8 April 2003

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