Joan and Sanford Weill and Two Distinguished Alumni Honored at President's Dinner, April 27

The SSU Alumni Association hosts the 2012 President's Dinner, an evening celebration for this year's honorary degree recipients and distinguished alumni, on Friday, April 27 in the Green Music Center's Prelude. A champagne reception begins at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner and the program at 6 p.m.

Philanthropists Joan and Sanford Weill will be recognized as the 2012 honorary degree recipients. The Weills donated $12 million to the Green Music Center Fund. This donation enabled the University to complete the main concert hall, the adjoining lawn and commons performance venues, officially named the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall, Lawn and Commons. This was the largest cash gift in the University's history.

At the May 12 commencement ceremonies, Joan Weill will receive an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts and Sanford Weill will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

Distinguished Alumni honored at the event include Shari Shamsavari St. Martin ('95, M.A. Psychology), and Judy Gantz ('77, B.A. Theatre Arts).

The Distinguished Awards Program is a time-honored tradition at Sonoma State University. The award is a symbol of achievement and success presented to distinguished alumni from among SSU's six academic colleges. It is the highest honor bestowed by the SSU Alumni Association.

Scheherazade Shari Shamsavari St. Martin is being honored for her comprehensive work with children and dedication to enhance people's lives. She was recently awarded by the Mexican government, the "Premio Nacional de Accion Voluntaria y Solidaria" for her leadership in organizing the cultural exchange program between Mexico and Sonoma State University for a symphony of children who performed at the Donald and Maureen Green Music Center in June 2011.

Her professional experience includes extensive work with children, establishing internships for psychology students, workshops for all levels of teachers, physicians, hospital staff, technology workers and many diverse non-profit organizations.

Judy Gantz is being honored as an international movement specialist, teacher and lecturer. She founded the non-profit Center for Movement Education and Research at UCLA. She has choreographed numerous exercise videos, was the former fitness editor of Shape Magazine, Kinesiology for Dance, and taught in the UCLA fitness certification program.

She continues to work with women in business with Embodied Leadership Training, and serves on the board of Toolbox, a social-emotional learning curriculum that integrates the expressive arts.

All proceeds from the event go to the Alumni Association scholarship programs.

For further information, contact Anne Biasi, Associate Director, Alumni Relations, Director, SSU Alumni Association, 707.664.2693 or

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