News Release
University Affairs Office
1801 E. Cotati Avenue
Rohnert Park, CA 94928-3609
(707) 664-2057
    October 4, 2002      File #273
    Contact: Kate McClintock, Alumni Association Director, (707) 664-2426


Prison Warden, Business Creativity Expert, Poet,
Physics Mentor Named 2002 Distinguished Alumni at SSU

In recognition of their outstanding professional achievements and personal contributions to their community, four SSU alumni have been selected to receive Sonoma State University Alumni Association’s 2002 Distinguished Alumni Award.

This year’s Distinguished Alumni are:

LORNA CATFORD, M.A. Psychology, 1975, has been a teacher, counselor, clinical supervisor and mentor. During her years at Stanford University, Catford was awarded the prestigious Dean’s Award for Service to Stanford University. Since 1985, she has lectured on Personal Creativity in Business at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. She joined the faculty of SSU in 1988 to teach several subjects including Transpersonal Psychology,
Creativity in Organizational Management and Human Development. In 1991, she co-wrote "The Path of the Everyday Hero: Drawing on the Power of Myth to Meet Life’s Most Important Challenges," and received national recognition for this work. Catford and her husband founded the Special Parents Project to provide support to local families of children with serious special needs.

DOUGLAS A. POWELL, M.A. English, 1993, B.A. English, 1991 is described by his colleagues as an "inventive and masterful poet," and has become a significant figure on the regional and national poetry scene. In 2002, he was nominated for the Pushcart Prize and won the Boston Review Annual Poetry Award and Prairie Schooner Larry Levis Poetry Prize in 2001. At present he is a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer in Poetry at Harvard University and has lectured at San Francisco State University, University of Iowa, and Sonoma State University. He has published numerous works including two books entitled "Lunch" and "Tea." As a community volunteer, he reads and gives talks at schools and community organizations across the country.

ROBERTO M. RAMIREZ, B.S. Physics, 1971, is a Windsor High School mathematics and physics teacher and was recently described as "?he perfect role model." Since he began his teaching career in 1973 at Healdsburg High School, his alma mater, he has inspired countless students to pursue careers in science, math and engineering. In the past 12 years, he has received numerous awards including the 2002 Carlston Family Foundation Teacher of the Year Award, 1994 California Human Development Corporation’s Outstanding Individual Award, and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Sonoma County Award for Distinguished Community Service and Exemplary Leadership in the Hispanic Community.

JEANNE S. WOODFORD, B.A. Criminal Justice, 1978, is the first woman warden of San Quentin, California’s oldest prison. Just two weeks after graduation from SSU in 1978, she started working at the prison, and has worked her way up from correctional officer to legal affairs coordinator, program administrator, and chief deputy warden. In 1999, she was named acting warden and Governor Gray Davis appointed her to the position permanently in 2000. An often-praised manager and administrator, Woodford is also highly respected for her work to provide active rehabilitation programs, and G.E.D. and college classes for inmates. Despite the demands of her work, she recently volunteered her time to develop the curriculum for a community college-based course offered to Corrections staff entitled, "Public Safety, Leadership and Ethics."

Sonoma State University and the Alumni Association will honor these outstanding graduates during Distinguished Alumni Day, Oct. 17. Highlights of the day will include a luncheon with President Ruben Armiñana, visits to classrooms and campus centers, and open-to-the-public presentations by Powell and Woodford at the Schulz Information Center on campus. The day will culminate with the Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner at the SSU Cooperage.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards was established in 1987 to recognize outstanding graduates and former students, and is the highest honor bestowed on SSU alumni by the Alumni Association. For further information, call (707) 664.2426 or alumni or visit the web site at


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Last Modified: 10/04/2002