Pitzer Alumni Award Winners

Each year, Pitzer College recognizes alumni who exemplify Pitzer’s core values in their professions and communities and give back to their alma mater. Steven C. González ’85 is Pitzer’s 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, and Michael V. Ceraso ’14 is the 2022 Young Alumni Achievement Award recipient.

Chief Justice Steven C. González is the Washington Supreme Court’s 58th Chief Justice and a board member for the Washington Leadership Institute, whose mission is to recruit, train, and develop traditionally underrepresented attorneys for future leadership.

Michael V. Ceraso is the founder and executive director of Winning Margins, a public relations firm for executives, political candidates, and advocacy leaders. Ceraso also founded Community Groundwork, which offers training, mentorship, and resources to community college students who are interested in government advocacy political campaigns.

Visit Alumni Engagement’s Distinguished Alumni Award page and its Young Alumni Achievement Award page to view present and past honorees.

More Alumni News

The New Yorker profiled writer and The Mountain Goats frontman John Darnielle ’95 this spring. In “John Darnielle Wants to Tell You a Story,” Darnielle discusses art as labor, the value of religious faith, the beauty of Chaucer, and, more or less, the secret to happiness. The New York Times reviewed Devil House, Darnielle’s latest novel, calling the book a “confident, creepy, a powerful and soulful page-turner.”

Quinn Delaney ’76 was appointed by President Joe Biden to the Commission on Presidential Scholars. The Commission “is a group of eminent private citizens appointed by the president to select and honor the presidential scholars,” according to a White House press release.

Asra Elliott (Ahmad) ’00 was appointed by the governor of New Mexico as a judge in the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court. Elliott previously worked as an associate staff attorney for the New Mexico Second Judicial District Court, an associate staff attorney for the New Mexico Court of Appeals, an assistant public defender, and an assistant district attorney.

Rhonda Foster ’82 and her son, Alec, were invited by President Biden to the White House on July 11 to celebrate the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. Foster and her husband, Pitzer Trustee Ruett Foster ’81, have devoted their lives to violence prevention after their 7-year-old son, Evan, was killed by errant bullets in 1997. Alec, who was 10 months old at the time, survived gunshot injuries sustained during the incident. He is now a graduate of the University of Arizona and hosts the WoMen Against Gun Violence podcast, Bullet Points: Hot Topics on Gun Violence Prevention. Foster says she is grateful for the recent passage of gun legislation and continues to advocate for universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons.

Kimberli Gant ’02, curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Brooklyn Museum, was selected as VIA’s 2022 Curatorial Fellow, which carries an award of $25,000 to support curatorial research and travel. VIA Art Fund is a nonprofit founded by an international coalition of individuals and private foundations who believe in the central role art plays in society.

Dana Levin ’87 is the editor of a forthcoming book on the poet Bert Meyers, who taught at Pitzer in the 1970s. The volume, slated for publication in spring 2023, will feature a selection of Meyers’ poems, critical essays, and remembrances from Pitzer alumni and professors, including Maurya Simon ’80, Amy Gerstler ’78, Ari Sherman ’85, and professors emeriti James Bogen and Barry Sanders. The book will be part of the Unsung Masters Series, an initiative whose mission is to bring under-known authors back to readers.

Hunter Lovins ’72, chief of impact at Change Finance, is part of a majority women-run management team that has created the first Certified Carbon Neutral Exchange Traded Fund in the US designed to combat climate change.

Corina Penaia ’16 is a first-year doctorate student at the UCLA Department of Health Policy and Management program. She is also supporting the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Data Policy Lab as the community engagement and research director to advocate for the data needs of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

Diane Shammas ’75 received the Humanitarian Award from the SWANA Association of California State University, Fullerton. Last year, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee honored her with its Alex Odeh Memorial Award. 

Sumesh Shiwakoty ’18 wrote an op-ed, “Can America Prevent Iran from Going Nuclear?” for the international affairs magazine The National Interest. As a policy analyst and commentator, Shiwakoty’s analyses have appeared in publications including The Diplomat, Asia Times, and The Times of India.

Raoul Sojwal ’21 co-authored two articles about gut health and colon cancer detection in the science journals Microorganisms and Molecular Imaging and Biology. Sojwal is a clinical research coordinator/laboratory manager at Stanford University’s School of Medicine.

Cesar Vargas Nuñez ’14 has received the Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship to support his research for his PhD in political science. Vargas Nuñez’s dissertation explores how the public—even those who have anti-immigrant views—can be incentivized to support healthcare for undocumented immigrants. Vargas Nuñez also investigates how undocumented immigrants navigate being excluded from government healthcare programs.

For more news about recent graduates’ fellowships and awards—including Kiera Havill ’21 and Justin Sleppy ’21 earning Fulbright Fellowships, Marya Ornelas ’20 being selected for an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and Matthew Brunstad ’20 participating in the JET Program — visit our 2021–22 Student and Alumni Fellowships page.