Honoring University Volunteers
On Thursday, November 5, I attended the 2009 Volunteer Service Awards. Organized by the Alumni Association, the annual event is the University’s way of expressing thanks and appreciation to the many volunteers who enrich the campus community through their generous contribution of time, energy and enthusiasm, often through the efforts of distinguished campus support organizations like the CSUN Arts Council and the Friends of the Oviatt Library. The contributions and service of our volunteers are especially apparent in a time like today when the University faces serious fiscal challenges. Because they are volunteers, their support of the institution is genuine and self-evident, and we are very fortunate to have the benefit of their attention and services.
Numerous awards are given during the banquet ceremony that recognize outstanding service and leadership at the college and University levels, and within the Alumni Association.
The event culminates with the highest recognitions for leadership and loyalty that the University offers at the ceremony: the Dorothea “Granny” Heitz Outstanding Volunteer Leadership Award (see the video below) and the Dean Ed Peckham Award.
The “Granny” Heitz award is named for the late Dorothea “Granny” Heitz who, as one of the University’s greatest boosters through her work and her leadership of the “Granny Girls,” defined what CSUN spirit is all about. The award is presented to individuals who serve as outstanding volunteer role models and leaders. This year’s “Granny” Heitz award went to Gene Detchemendy, an alumnus of Cal State Northridge who has remained a visible and dedicated alumni leader. He has served nearly 15 years as a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, including a two-year stint as the Association’s president beginning in 2004. His leadership has re-connected numerous alumni to the campus and strengthened the Alumni Association’s support for Cal State Northridge.
BELOW: Video tribute about “The Legend of Granny Heitz,” which was produced for presentation at this year’s banquet. For more information and credits, visit the University’s YouTube Channel site.
The Peckham Award is named for Vice President for Student Affairs Emeritus Edmund Peckham, who served with distinction for many years as the University’s vice president for student affairs and dean of students before retiring in 1991, and who has continued to remain active in serving and advancing the campus through myriad ways well into retirement. This year’s Peckham recipient was Professor Emeritus of Child and Adolescent Development Carol S. Kelly. Dr. Kelly served with distinction on the faculty for 40 years before retiring in 2007. Known for her leadership in developing the campus’s innovative interdisciplinary major in child development, she has continued to remain engaged at the University, particularly in advancing her discipline, securing scholarship support for students, and continuing her work in creating opportunities for and protecting the rights of children.
The event was a wonderful celebration of the people who make Cal State Northridge such an outstanding institution. My thanks to the organizers, particularly the Alumni Association under the leadership of the Alumni Association president, Tammy Tolgo, and the staff of the Alumni Relations office, who made the event a success. My deepest gratitude as well goes to the many volunteers who were honored at the event and to the many people who continue to serve the campus with pride and distinction.