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Summer 2012

Inspiring stories from SSU's magazine.

Cover Story

Why Mother Nature Is Good For You
Psychology Professor Mary Gomes is a pioneer in the field of eco-psychology, a branch of psychological theory and practice that seeks a deeper understanding of our relationship to the Earth. Her work and teaching focuses on our bond with the natural world and on the dramatically troubled state of our modern relationship to the earth. Page 22.

How to Do an Electronic Media Fast
Students go cold turkey and limit access to the various ”screens” in their life for a week. The results are intriguing. Page 24.

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Inside this Issue

A Legacy Continues

The story of a sapling taken from the horse chestnut tree that often lifted Anne Frank's spirits as she hid from the Nazis during World War II took a poignant twist last year when the mother tree died. Page 4.

A Sound Investment

Joan and Sanford Weill donated $12 million to Sonoma State University for the $120 million Green Music Center, making it possible to officially open in Fall 2012. Page 8.

Playing it Cool

Recording horn sections for P. Diddy and working on soundtracks for movies is only a small part of what Doug Leibinger does. Page 10

Sacred Sand Mandala

A rare look at a how millions of grains of colored sand turns into a mandala for wisdom in a unique University Library Art Gallery exhibit. Page 11.

Getting a Headstart

Slow and steady is not winning the race – for this turtle at least. Rapidly shrinking numbers of the Western Pond Turtle, California's only native aquatic turtle species, has sparked the development of a pioneering research partnership. Page 12.

Historical Highlights

A very brave and motivated group of retired faculty and staff spent more than four years culling through various documents about Sonoma State College/University and gathering memories. Page 16.

Water Polo Wonders

If you are a fan of water polo, you probably know the name "Coralie Simmons." If not, it’s probably time you learned. In a playing and coaching career that has taken her to the peaks of her sport, Simmons is now at Sonoma State, trying to build an elite program from the ground up. Page 17.

Semester at Sea

Many college professors explore the world from the podium. Not Professor Rocky Rohwedder – he has taken his lecturn on a global excursion as a faculty member on three voyages of the Semester at Sea program. Page 18.


With the release of his "Thrownology" photo-books, Academic Advisor Matt Flores portrays the world’s famous puns in new ways. Page 20.

Softball Plays Hardball

A new head coach and two freshmen pitchers: not your typical championship equation. But the domination of two young arms – Samantha Lipperd and Julianne Martinez - led the SSU women’s softball team through a very special and memorable season. Page 26.

And More...

  • Message from the Alumni Association President. Page 29.
  • Monet’s Passion. Page 30.
  • Class Notes. Page 31-35.
  • Chuck Fisher. Page 33.
  • Alumni Mixers. Page 37.

Insights is published by the University Affairs Division.