Campus: Cal Poly, Pomona -- May 04, 2001

Seven Honored For Professional Achievements, Community Service As Cal Poly Pomona Recognizes Distinguished Alumni

Seven individuals representing decades of achievement were acknowledged for contributions to their professions and communities when Cal Poly Pomona held its 2001 Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony and Reception in April.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards are given jointly by the university and the Cal Poly Pomona Alumni Association. Established in 1961, they are a way to honor and recognize alumni for their professional achievements and community service as well as loyalty and support to Cal Poly Pomona.

Nominees have achieved prominence in their chosen field and brought distinction to the university and or their community through their accomplishments. Nominations are open and received throughout the year from all university and alumni constituencies.

This year's honorees include:

Ronald W. Gregoire (bachelor's degree, accounting, 1971) recognized by the College of Business Administration. Current residence: Palm Desert, Calif. After becoming a CPA in 1972, Gregoire got involved in automotive sales operations early in his career, eventually owning several dealerships in Pasadena and Cerritos. He is a supporter of the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts and the South Coast Repertory Company and one of the founders of the McCallum Theater for The Performing Arts in Palm Desert. Gregoire currently serves on the Cal Poly Pomona University Education Trust (UET) Board and is a longtime financial supporter of the university. In 1996 he was inducted into College of Business Administration's Accounting Hall of Fame.

J. David Rogers (b.s., geology, 1976) College of Science. Pleasant Hill, Calif. Rogers started his own consulting firm, Rogers/Pacific, in 1984. He received his master's (civil engineering) and Ph.D. (geological and geotechnical engineering) from UC Berkeley, where he was an adjunct member of the faculty until accepting the Hasselman Chair in geological engineering at the University of Missouri-Rolla. Author of more than 100 articles, he is a frequent contributor to programs airing on PBS, the Discovery and History channels, and has been honored with numerous national awards. Rogers is a member of the College of Science Advisory Board and Geology Cluster Group and has served on the College of Sciences Biotechnology Building Development Advisory Committee.

Rex O. Baker (b.s., agricultural biology, 1962; master's degree, agricultural science, 1983) College of Agriculture. Corona, Calif. Baker is now professor emeritus after spending 25 years teaching in the university's agricultural biology program. A highly respected speaker/consultant on a wide range of subjects including vector ecology, wildlife public safety and damage management issues, he is also general partner in a Northern California pest control company. Formerly a deputy agricultural commissioner for San Diego County, Baker returned to teach at Cal Poly Pomona in 1976. He has served as the CSU chancellor's representative and director of the Pesticide Regulations Pest Control Advisory Committee, as well as being director of advisory boards for Food and Agriculture.

Eva Wassermann (b.s., hotel, restaurant & travel management, 1986) Collins School of Hospitality Management. Chicago. Wassermann is presently the north central region vice president of managed development for Hilton Hotels Corporation. During her career she has worked in hospitality consulting as well as asset management and acquisition of hotel properties. A certified hotel administrator since 1994, Wassermann serves on the Lodging Industry Investment Committee and was a founding member of the Hotel Asset Manager's Association. She is also an active member of the Collins School of Hospitality Management's Advisory Board.

Gerald J. Salontai (b.s., civil engineering, 1977) College of Engineering. San Diego. Salontai is president, CEO and chairman of The Kleinfelder Group, Inc., a management, engineering and science consulting company with 54 offices throughout the western United States. His technical specialty is in geotechnical engineering with expertise in construction, management/testing and environmental engineering. Active in a number of professional organizations, Salontai is a director of the San Diego Chapter of the Consulting Engineers and Land Surveyors of California and on the board of directors of Associated Soil and Foundation Engineers. He has taught Civil Engineering courses at Cal Poly Pomona and served on its Civil Engineering Industry Action Council.

Steven Bruecker (b.s., physical education, 1974) College of Letters, Arts & Social Science. Escondido, Calif. Bruecker currently teaches physical education at Hidden Valley Middle School in Escondido. After receiving national recognition for his table tennis program in 1996, he wrote the book "Table Tennis for the Education Program" to help schools implement it into their curriculum. Bruecker then spent the next four years lecturing on the topic throughout the country while continuing his teaching assignment. Honored by a number of organizations for his efforts, in 1999 he was selected National Middle School Teacher of the Year by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

Dolores Villaseñor (master's, education, 1980) College of Education and Integrative Studies. Claremont, Calif. In her 28th year as an educator, Villaseñor is one of three principals at the Pueblo Elementary Complex in the Pomona Unified School District's Village at Indian Hill. After initially teaching and serving as a teacher specialist/curriculum coordinator for PUSD, she was promoted to assistant principal at Washington Elementary School. She later spent seven years as principal of Kellogg Polytechnic Elementary. Villaseñor is active in several educational committees and associations including the Association of California School Administrators and the California Association of Bilingual Education. She works with Cal Poly Pomona's WIN-WIN Advisory Board and recently served as a district liaison for the university's Center for Leadership & Service Learning.

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