2006 Distinguished Alumni

The Sonoma State University Alumni Association is proud to honor the outstanding acheivements of two distinguished alumni. In October 2006, the Association recognized these individuals for their contributions to their respective fields and to society.

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Michael L. FultonMichael L. Fulton at Ion Beam Optics Inc.

Michael Fulton’s pioneering work and success in developing optical thin-film technologies has become the foundation for new and innovative products. Fulton’s work has significantly impacted the high technology community setting the foundation for his current effort to develop renewable sources of energy.

While attending SSU during the day, Fulton worked full-time in the evenings as a coating technician at Optical Coating Laboratory, Inc. After completing the B.S. in Chemistry and M.A. in English, Fulton became a process engineer with OCLI. In this capacity, he led the team that brought the world’s first end-Hall ion source into production. Now, ion-assisted deposition technology is ubiquitous in the thin-film coating industry.

In 1989, Fulton joined PSI MAX Optics where his efforts with IAD technology led to an innovative method for producing ultra narrow band pass filters. This technology became the foundation for the growth of the optical telecommunication industry enabling the successful production of the optical filters used in the wavelength division and multiplexing technology.

Fulton’s success and reputation as a pioneer in thin-film technology led him to join the Boeing High Technology Center where he positively impacted almost every coating project at the Center through application of his IAD technique.

At Boeing, he developed an innovative technology for the deposition of anti-reflection coating on solar cells that significantly increased the efficiency of these devices.

In the course of Boeing’s program to develop concentrator arrays for space power, Fulton invented a unique thin-film deposition method for protecting silicone Fresnel lenses against UV radiation. This work continues today with Entech for NASA.

After Boeing closed the HTC, Fulton moved to Singapore in 1993 to work for AVIMO Singapore Ltd. He was the optical coating expert for Singapore establishing the Center of Thin-Film Excellence. Upon returning to California in 1997, Fulton joined ZC&R Coatings for Optics where he designed and manufactured the window coatings for the International Space Station. At ZC&R, Fulton also built the world’s first ion-assisted filter cathodic arc deposition system, producing diamond-like carbon films at room temperature that are 90% as hard as diamonds. In 2000, Fulton joined the Rockwell Science Center where he worked on laser eye protection technology for pilots. Fulton also designed and produced the hyper-spectral filter for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

In 2003, he founded Ion Beam Optics Inc. where he is pioneering work on increasing the efficiency of space-based solar systems. Fulton’s company, IBO, has now joined a sustainable living project directing the R&D effort with World’s Nest. Fulton’s mission is to convert the high efficiency space power technology into terrestrial solar systems to dramatically increase the production of electricity here on earth.

John KornfeldJohn Kornfeld teaching a class.

John Kornfeld has been a teacher and prominent educator for more than 30 years, including 11 years in the Monte Rio School District where he taught grades five through eight, and during the past 11 years as a member of the faculty of the SSU School of Education. A gifted teacher who is universally admired by his students and colleagues, Kornfeld has introduced innovative curriculum approaches that integrate literacy and language arts instruction with social studies, science, and the arts.

At Sonoma State, he displays stellar teaching abilities and receives extraordinarily high student evaluation ratings. In addition, he contributes to local, state, and national educational communities through his scholarly publications, presentations at conferences and in-service presentations. His articles and book chapters address such important issues as curriculum, assessment and the politics of teaching. His writing has been published in prestigious national journals in the fields of social studies, teacher education, and curriculum.

Kornfeld’s presentations reflect his scholarly writing and his concern about the quality of instruction and the impact of standardization on teachers, teacher educators, and students. Notable in both his writings and presentations is his collaboration with teachers in schools and with colleagues here and at other universities; thus, his scholarship models the collaborative approaches to teaching he recommends to others.

For many years his teaching was recognized in his district and throughout the county as a model of teaching effectiveness. He was designated a mentor teacher in 1984 and Teacher of the Year in 1992.

As a professor at Sonoma State, he was named by the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce as a recipient of the Excellence in Education Award in 2000.

His service to Sonoma State University has been varied, and includes mentoring students as Program Advisor for the Single Subject Credential Program and Director of Graduate Studies in the School of Education. He also chairs the School of Education Graduate Committee and, for the past two years, chaired the University’s Graduate Studies Committee.

Kornfeld earned his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at Indiana University. Prior to receiving his master’s degree in Education from Sonoma State University, he earned an A.B. degree in English from Princeton University.