September 21, 2009

Praetzellis, Zane, Fritzche, Sims Named SSU Distinguished Alumni for 2009

Sonoma State University's 2009 Distinguished Alumni Awards Banquet on Oct. 15 honors five alumni who have made significant contributions to the community and the campus.

Shirley Zane, Sonoma County supervisor, family therapist, minister, hospital chaplain, educator and inner city social worker, has been selected as an SSU Distinguished Alumni for her more than 25 years of work in health and human services. Zane served as CEO for the Council on Aging until 2008 and has been a strong advocate for Sonoma County's elderly. She led a successful campaign that raised $3.5 million for a new community kitchen in Sonoma County, providing meals to seniors and serving as an emergency/disaster kitchen.

She speaks Spanish fluently and has sponsored the Miriam Lemus Scholarship for bilingual and bicultural counseling. She has also been a guest lecturer at SSU and participated in lecture series as well as courses in MBA leadership, counseling, gerontology, psychology, and women's studies. She earned a Master of Theology from Chicago Trinity Divinity School in 1986 and a Master of Arts in Counseling from Sonoma State University in 1994.

Christopher Fritzsche is a performing artist, an educator, and music director has also been honored with a 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award. Fritzsche graduated cum laude, with distinction from SSU in 1998 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music. After singing leading roles at Sonoma State and with several prestigious Bay Area opera companies, he became a member of Chanticleer, a premier classical a cappella ensemble in 1992.

Since his retirement from Chanticleer in 2003, Fritzsche has served on the voice faculty and performed in many programs with the Music Department as well as with the Sonoma County Choral Society, a Sonoma State University community non-profit partnership. Since 2008, he has served as Director of Music Ministry at the Center for Spiritual Living in Santa Rosa that serves a congregation of nearly 1,000 members.

praetzellis.jpgAdrian Praetzellis, Director of the SSU's Anthropological Studies Center, will be given the Distinguished Faculty Award for his dedication to community outreach and education. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree with distinction in Anthropology from Sonoma State University in 1981, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley.

He joined Sonoma State University as a staff archaeologist at the Anthropological Studies Center (ASC) in 1976 and in 1992, was hired as Assistant Professor of Anthropology. That same year, Praetzellis became director of the ASC, an on-campus research facility with a mission to give students practical experience in archaeology and history. Over the years, ASC has been awarded over $30 million in archaeology-related grants and contracts. To teach archaeological methods,

Praetzellis created an innovative 'artificial archaeological site' on campus, providing students with hands-on archaeological experiences.

sims.jpgSheila Mackintosh-Sims, an academic advisor in the School of Business and Economics, receives the Outstanding Staff Award for her support and dedication to Sonoma State University. Mackintosh-Sims received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography from Sonoma State University in 1981 and worked as a student assistant in the Geography and Personnel department.

Mackintosh Sims has had extensive involvement with the Sonoma State University community. She played a crucial role in the AACSB accreditation of the Business Department. She has also been a member of the SSU AIDS Committee, was chair of the 1995 SSU Human Race Team, and since 2000 has served on the Distinguished Alumni Selection Committee. As a Geography Department alumna, Mackintosh-Sims participates in the Redwood Empire Geographical Society. In her community, she has been active in her homeowners association and a volunteer at events sponsored by the Glen Ellen Fire Department.

The community is invited to celebrate the 2009 honorees at a dinner and reception at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek in Santa Rosa at 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 15. The event showcases the many accomplishments of the Distinguished Alumni. Tickets are $40 and are available through the Alumni Association, (707) 664 2426, or

For full biographies on 2009 honorees and previous recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Awards, please visit their website,

Jean Wasp
Media Relations Coordinator
University Affairs
(707) 664-2057