Campus: Northridge -- September 15, 2006

Committed' Northridge History Major Wins CSU's Hearst/Trustees Award

In fall 2001, Anne Allman Huddleston strode onto the Cal State Northridge campus, sat down in class and found her raison d'Ítre: the study of history.

Later, when associate history professor Thomas Devine introduced his students to the passion and outrage of "Freedom on My Mind," a prize-winning documentary of the early 60s civil rights movement in Mississippi, Huddleston felt the fire.

"When I saw the video, and the courage and sacrifice demanded to abolish Jim Crow, it came to me that that was what I wanted to focus on," said Huddleston, who last month was named one of only 19 California State University (CSU) students selected systemwide for the 2006-07 William Randolph Hearst/CSU Trustees' Award for Outstanding Achievement.

"It's a wonderful honor," she said of the prized Hearst/Trustees award, which recognizes a select group of CSU students who demonstrate financial need, merit, superior academic performance, community service and personal achievement. "It means so much to me."

President Jolene Koester will join officials honoring Huddleston and the other recipients at the CSU trustees meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 19, and at a trustees dinner that evening.

The $3,000 Hearst award will enable Huddleston to work on her master's degree full time, including her thesis on the commitment of a circle of white women in Natchez, Miss., who took a courageous stand against Jim Crow laws. She expects to complete her degree requirements in June 2008.

The Woodland Hills resident is clear on how she will use her CSUN education. She "cannot wait" to ignite the minds of her future high school and community college history students with "a passion for something, for making a difference in the world, and for not wasting their youthful years."

The future teacher is resolute on the subject of using time wisely. "I was a terrible student in high school," she said. "I wanted to be in show business, to sing and dance."

After high school, her admittedly haphazard career path careened from a rock and roll band, waiting tables, a degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, and on to semi-successful sales positions in retail, jewelry, cosmetic products, even investments.

"But it took me years to realize I'm not a business person; it's just not how I'm wired," she said.

Husband Roger gets the credit for "inspiring the academic and intellectual in me," said the scholar. "He has encouraged and cheered me every step of the way."

At 46, cheered on by Roger, Huddleston plunged into the intellectual life of Cal State Northridge.

"Obviously, you don't get smarter as you get older," she said, "but you do better and have more fun with it because you are more committed and focused."

Her commitment has paid off. In addition to the Hearst award, Huddleston won a coveted 2005-06 University Scholarship as well as a 2006-07 CSUN graduate alumni scholarship The Hearst awards are funded by an endowment from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation and individual contributions from the CSU Board of Trustees. Campus presidents nominate one applicant per campus.


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