The 2016 President’s Dinner and Alumni Hall of Fame Celebration was held Friday, November 4, 2016 at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco).
The SF State Alumni Hall of Fame was created in 1994 to honor alumni who have distinguished themselves through extraordinary achievements in their professional and civic endeavors.
Alum of the Year
B.S., 1963, Economics
Founder and Executive Chairman at Rabbit, Inc..
Gregory Fischbach is founder and executive chairman of Rabbit, Inc., the Social Media app that brings the living room online, allowing people to watch television, movies and media together from anywhere in the world while video and text chatting, all one screen. Mr. Fischbach received his B.S. degree in Economics from SF State in 1963 and earned his J.D. from the University of California, Hastings in 1966. Following an experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in Santiago, Chile, he began work as a trial attorney with the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and subsequently served as assistant U.S. attorney for the Central District of California.
Turning to private practice, Mr. Fischbach joined Orenstein, Arrow, Silverman and Parcher, a law firm representing record companies, music publishers and recording artists, before establishing his own firm, Fischbach & Fischbach, which counted among its notable clients Crosby Stills and Nash, The Steve Miller Band, Emmylou Harris, Boz Scaggs, Thin Lizzy and Merle Haggard as well as Richard Branson’s Virgin Records and Chrysalis Records, among others. He went on to serve as president of Activision International and president of RCA Records International before co-founding the company for which he is perhaps best known, the worldwide video game publisher and media conglomerate Acclaim Entertainment. As co-chairman and CEO, Mr. Fischbach led the company that developed, produced, and marketed some of the biggest hits of the video game industry, including Mortal Kombat, Turok, NBA Jam, All Star Baseball, Legends of Wrestling and South Park among many others. In 2004, Mr. Fischbach founded Hampton Farms Ventures, a firm that invests in and consults with technology, media and video game companies. Apart from his numerous professional accomplishments, Mr. Fischbach is also a licensed pilot and an avid sports fan.
Hall of Fame Inductees
M.S., 1990, Physics
Professor of Astronomy, Yale University
Debra Fischer is a Professor of Astronomy at Yale University where her team is developing next-generation instrument designs to break current measurement precision records and detect planets similar to our own that can serve as targets in the search for life beyond Earth. She earned her B.S. degree at the University of Iowa in 1975, her M.S. degree in Physics at SF State in 1992, and her Ph.D. in Astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1998.
Dr. Fischer began searching for exoplanets as a postdoctoral fellow at SF State in 1997 by measuring Doppler shifts in the spectra of stars. She has discovered hundreds of extrasolar planets with this technique, including the first known multiple planet system in 1999 while a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2003, she was appointed assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at SF State and was promoted to associate professor in 2008. During this time, she led an international consortium that detected more than 30 new extrasolar planets. In 2009, she joined the faculty at Yale University as a professor in the Department of Astronomy. In recognition of her pioneering work in astronomy, Dr. Fischer has received honors and awards from the American Academy of Arts and Science, the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, and the Cottrell Scholar program. Dr. Fischer is also the co-chair for the NASA study of LUVOIR, a 12- to 16-meter space telescope currently under evaluation as a possible future mission.
B.A., 1982, Radio/TV
Sports Director, KPIX 5
Dennis O’Donnell has been a fixture in Bay Area sports broadcasting since 1982, having covered every major Bay Area sports team in their respective championship. He is currently the Sports Director at KPIX 5, the Bay Area’s CBS TV channel. In addition to a daily sportscast on KPIX 5 Eyewitness News, Mr. O’Donnell hosts or has hosted CBS 5’s NFL post-game show “The 5th Quarter,” “49ers Preview,” “Last Honest Sports Show” and the #1-rated Sunday night sports show, “Gameday.”
Discovering a passion for broadcasting at a young age, Mr. O’Donnell completed courses in journalism at Diablo Valley College before transferring to SF State, where he earned his B.A. in Radio/TV in 1982. While in college, Mr. O’Donnell worked for the San Francisco Giants and major league baseball shooting footage and writing highlights of baseball games for “This Week in Baseball.” A subsequent internship in the sports department at KRON TV led to his position as a producer just out of college. While at KRON, Mr. O’Donnell’s contributions helped earn the station “The Best Sportscast in California” award by the Associated Press on five occasions. He also anchored sports with KOVR in Sacramento and KFTY in Santa Rosa. Mr. O’Donnell spent 13 seasons as the pre-season voice of the San Francisco 49ers and currently serves as the sideline reporter. He has provided football and basketball play-by-play for Fox Sports, KPIX, Comcast Sports Network and Bay TV. His work garnered him four APTRA awards for Best Sports Segment and multiple Northern California Emmy awards, including Emmys for his work as a sports anchor and feature reporter. Mr. O’Donnell also serves as emcee for all major Northern California Alzheimer’s events, including Memory Walk and Memories in the Making.
B.S., 1981, Electrical Engineering
President and Chief Executive Officer, Arista Networks
Jayshree Ullal is a leading executive in the technology industry, with a career in Silicon Valley spanning more than 30 years. She is currently president and CEO of Arista Networks where she is responsible for building the company's business in cloud networking and has forged strategic alliances with Microsoft, HP and VMware, to name a few.
Ms. Ullal earned a B.S. in engineering (electrical) from SF State in 1981 and an M.S. in engineering management and leadership from Santa Clara University in 1986. She began her professional career in the tech industry with engineering and strategy positions at Advanced Micro Devices, Fairchild Semiconductor, and Ungermann-Bass before joining Crescendo Communications, where she became vice president of marketing. When Cisco Systems acquired Crescendo in 1993, Ms. Ullal rose to the rank of senior vice president, overseeing for Cisco numerous mergers and acquisitions and approximately $15 billion in annual revenue. In 2008, she was appointed president and CEO of Arista Networks, where she led a successful IPO on the New York Stock Exchange and earned recognition by Forbes Magazine as one of the top five most influential people in the networking industry. Ms. Ullal is also a former trustee of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, an international organization devoted to promoting the role of women in innovative technology. Through a foundation she established with her husband, she also supports cancer research, social services projects, and hunger relief programs in India. Ms. Ullal is the recipient of numerous awards and honors for her work, including EY Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2015, Forbes Magazine named her one its Top 50 Most Successful Self-made Women.
Alumni Service Award
Janice Herwegh Gumas
B.S., 1985, Marketing
Community Leader and Parent Advocate
Janice Herwegh Gumas is a former marketing executive who became a leading advocate for parent engagement at San Francisco State University. She earned a B.S. in marketing in 1985 and enjoyed a successful career in advertising, developing media strategies for local, national, and international clients. Following the birth of her third child, she chose to step away from the business world to focus fulltime on raising her children. When her oldest son enrolled at SF State, Janice brought her business expertise and insight as an alumna to a new role at SF State as founding president of the Parents Council, serving as an advocate for parents and encouraging them to stay informed and involved in their children’s education. She was instrumental in launching outreach to parents and families on social media and helped establish the University’s first regional Parents Council chapter in Southern California. She also represented SF State throughout the California State University system at advocacy, alumni, and parent events. Janice is married to John Gumas, immediate past chair of the SF State Foundation Board and chair of the University’s first comprehensive campaign, and together, they established a scholarship at SF State for students in marketing. Active in the community, they also support a variety of educational, political, social and health care organizations in the Bay Area.
Jean & Vince Anicetti
Katherine & Don Endo
Janice & John Gumas
Judy & George Marcus
Gale & Don Nasser
David Serrano Sewell & Sarah Hollenbeck
Camilla & George Smith
Frederick W. Walters
Dr. & Mrs. Wong