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UC Davis Magazine

Class Notes Archive 1931-2014: Summer 2007

1950After receiving a Ph.D. in 1954 from the University of Wisconsin, Ivan Thomason joined the faculty at UC Riverside, teaching in the nematology and plant pathology departments until 1989. Thomason grew up in Davis, saying that he watched Davis and UC Davis grow from humble beginnings to prominence.
1951After more than 45 years as a successful vegetable breeder and retirement from the Naval Reserve, Carroll Briggs, Ph.D. ’62, is now working in Gilroy as a member of the production staff for Gavilan College’s educational TV station. He has appeared in over 40 shows, most recently as the Moon in Federico García Lorca’s Blood Wedding. During his career as a vegetable breeder, Briggs served as manager of Asgrow’s Pacific Coast Research Stations in Milpitas and San Juan Bautista as well as director of the Asgrow Research Center in Twin Falls, Idaho. He also holds patents on two tomato varieties. In his spare time, Briggs continues to write plays and poetry and paint watercolors.    Donald Cooper died in March 2007 at age 85. A longtime Boulder City, Nev., resident, Mr. Cooper was a Coast Guard veteran of World War II and an engineering project coordinator for North Las Vegas for 20 years. After retirement he worked as a guide at Hoover Dam and later as a security officer. Survivors include his wife, Gloria, his late wife Carol’s two children, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.    Arlynn Alexander “Gus” Cuthbertson, D.V.M. ’53, died at his home in March 2007 at age 84. After serving four years in World War II and fighting in the South Pacific, Dr. Cuthbertson returned to the U.S. to continue his schooling and joined the second class of UC Davis’ School of Veterinary Medicine. He later founded the Elko Veterinary Clinic in Nevada and worked as a veterinarian almost until the day he died. Dr. Cuthbertson also served his community in a number of ways: as a county commissioner, member of the Nevada State Board of Health and the Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, instructor at a local community college and chair of the Elko Hospital board. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Carol, and their five children, nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Another great-grandchild will be born in September.
1959Duane Damron, Cred., a former Bakersfield College football coach, recently received a Carnegie Medal for saving a man’s life during a visit to Biloxi, Miss., in December to help Hurricane Katrina survivors. Damron pulled a man from behind a falling trailer, saving the man’s life and legs but sacrificing two of his own fingers. Despite his loss, Damron’s experience led to love—he recently became engaged to his hand therapist, Marie Glynn, also a longtime Bakersfield resident.
1962The Community Anti-Racism Education Initiative in St. Cloud, Minn., recognized St. Cloud State University President Roy Saigo in April for his dedication to the pursuit of equity and social justice. Commissioned by Saigo to create a positive racial identity and culture at SCSU and in the St. Cloud community, C.A.R.E. also named the first recipient of the Dr. Roy Saigo Award. Saigo, whose accomplishments include bringing more domestic and international students and faculty of color to the university, is retiring after seven years as president.
1964Kathreen Arscott is a substitute teacher and storyteller for elementary schools in Montebello. In 2002 she received an M.A. in culture and spirituality from the Sophia Center, Holy Names University in Oakland.
1968Tom Evans was elected to the board of the Western Municipal Water District and began serving in January. WMWD supplies water in western Riverside County. After college, Evans worked for PG&E for 30 years until 1998 when he retired and went on to work for the cities of Alameda and Riverside as their director of utilities. In 2005, after serving as the interim city manager for the city of Riverside, he retired.    Ruth Leyse-Wallace recently published The Metaparadigm of Clinical Dietetics: Derivation and Applications (iUniverse), a reader-friendly version of her Ph.D. dissertation. The book, which describes how a professional metaparadigm can be used, can help structure thinking in professional practice, education and research.
1971Norman Polston, Ph.D., was featured in a Eureka Reporter article in April about his McKinleyville company, Mad River Science Inc., a manufacturer of non-toxic, odorless nail polish and other safe products for children. The company was an unexpected offshoot of a business Polston developed in Pennsylvania after he graduated from UC Davis, Polston Enterprises, which manufactures specialized paints. More information about his nail polish can be found at
1972Bill Roberts has published A Portrait of Oomoto: The Way of Art, Spirit and Peace in the 21st Century (The Oomoto Foundation), a book about a Shinto sect that uses traditional Japanese arts in its spiritual practice. Roberts lived for 14 months at the sect’s headquarters outside Kyoto to write and take photos for the book. He is now working on a book of photos about Japanese traditions. When not in Japan, Roberts works as a Silicon Valley-based freelance writer, covering the electronics industry.
1973Bill Baxter earned his 500th career win coaching girl’s high school basketball this past season. In his 20 years of coaching at El Camino High School in Sacramento, his teams won five section title games out of 10 played, three NorCal title games out of five and one out of three state title games.   Kenneth Lovelace Jr. died in August 2006 in Fredericksburg, Va., at age 56. After graduation, he pursued a career in geology and civil engineering, working in Alaska for a number of years. As a senior civil engineer for Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., he was responsible for geotechnical, geologic and hydrologic investigations and designs. In 1989, Mr. Lovelace served in the Peace Corps for two years in the Morocco village water program. Upon his return, he began working for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Superfund Program writing national groundwater cleanup policy and became an internationally recognized expert on cleanup of contaminated groundwater. Survivors include his wife, Patricia Corbett.
1974Laura (Fischmann) Havstad is in private practice as a clinical psychologist. She and her husband, Tom, live in Sebastopol and have three daughters, including one attending UC Davis.    Karen Joy FowlerAdapted from an article in UC Davis College Currents Occupation: writer of novels, short stories and poetry, including The Jane Austin Book Club Drawing on the wide world: Relishing the tales of political intrigue that her professors discussed in lectures, Karen Joy Fowler, M.A. ’74, developed her love for stories while studying political science in college. It was not until she was 30, however, that Fowler seriously began writing, drawing from her political science education and interest in the theory and history of a country’s politics. “I like the theory of a story, giving you the big picture of how the world works,” she says. “I like the big perspective.” Now the author of four published novels, Fowler likes to focus on her characters’ personal lives and the larger outlook of the world, rather than on the minute details of her characters’ thoughts or personalities. Bestselling and big-screen success: In 2004, Fowler published The Jane Austen Book Club (Putnam). The novel that made her a bestselling author is now being made into a movie. “I am pretty removed from the making of the movie, although I did visit the set one day,” Fowler says. “It is much like when I heard the audio version of the book, which was very well done. It was a bizarre feeling to hear my words being read by another person. It’s not really mine anymore.” A local inspiration: Despite her national success, Fowler remains loyal to her local community. Living in Davis with her husband, Fowler frequently holds readings in Davis and Sacramento libraries, lectures at UC Davis and finds peace in the back of downtown Davis’ Bogey’s Books, where she will occasionally spend time writing new material. But it’s not writing that Fowler says is her biggest accomplishment—it’s raising two children who are now grown. “When my kids went to college, I imagined that I’d be more productive in my writing. But what I’ve realized is the opposite is true—I put aside my writing for almost everything.”
1976Paula (Smith) Paul manages U.S. regulatory affairs for Dupont Crop Protection and works part time as a physician assistant in emergency medicine. She and her husband, Michael, are celebrating the graduation of their youngest child, Faye, from the University of Southern California.
1977Charity Kenyon, J.D., a media and First Amendment lawyer with Sacramento law firm Riegels, Campos & Kenyon, was selected for the American Inns of Court’s 2007 Professionalism Award for the Ninth Circuit. The award is presented annually to an individual whose life and practice display sterling character, unquestioned integrity and dedication to the highest standards of the legal profession.
1978Mark Dias was recently promoted to professor of neurosurgery at Penn State University College of Medicine in Hershey, Pa. He also serves as vice chair of the Department of Neurosurgery and as the director of pediatric neurosurgery. His research involves the prevention of abusive head trauma through a parent education program, which has served as a model nationwide. Dias has received a Commissioner’s Award from the New York State Administration on Children, Youth and Families and Prevent Child Abuse New York. He was also recently appointed incoming chair of the section on neurological surgery for the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dias currently lives in Hershey, Pa., with his wife, a 21-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son.    Casey Walker has founded the Institute for Inquiry Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing thorough explorations of physical, biological and cultural life through a new, more participatory form of journalism. She recently launched a Web site for the organization (, which features as its first topic “A Wireless Age?”
1979Michael Ghiglieri, Ph.D., recently published Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite (Puma Press) with co-author and veteran park ranger Charles Farabee. The book discusses the 900 fatalities that have occurred in Yosemite’s 156 years of recorded history. As a sequel to Ghiglieri’s 2001 book, Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon (self-published), his newest work offers detailed, thoroughly researched accounts of the park’s tragedies.