Alumnus Garry Maisel to receive President’s Medal at Commencement

Garry Maisel, seen above at an event held this month in his honor, will receive the President’s Medal for Distinguished Service.

When Garry Maisel ’80 (Business Administration) graduated from Sacramento State, he was named the most outstanding undergraduate in finance. It was the first in a long line of honors for Maisel, and at Commencement on Saturday, May 20, he’ll receive another: the President’s Medal for Distinguished Service.

Maisel is the president and CEO of Western Health Advantage, an organization dedicated to improving health care access and affordability, as well as a member of the University Foundation at Sacramento State’s board of directors and the co-chair of the Campaign Leadership Committee.

The President’s Medal for Distinguished Service is awarded at Spring Commencement ceremonies to recognize outstanding service to Sacramento State. The medal is not awarded every year and is reserved for individuals who have made the highest, and most positive, impact on the University.

Maisel also received a Distinguished Service Award from Sacramento State in 2013.

“One of the first lessons I learned at Sac State was, no matter which career field you’re in, it’s your interpersonal communication skills that can set you apart,” he told Sacramento State in 2014. “Occasionally I talk to students and I always stress that you need to be a good communicator in how you interact and deal with people.”

Founded in 1996 by Maisel, Western Health Advantage provides customer service to more than 135,000 members in Northern California and has a current annual revenue of $750 million. The company is regularly featured in the Sacramento Business Journal’s annual list of the top 50 fastest-growing companies.

Maisel personally and professionally supports a number of local organizations, including chairing the board of the B Street Theater and the Health Plan Alliance. He also currently serves or has prior service on several boards, including Women Escaping a Violent Environment (WEAVE), the California Association of Health Plans, the Mercy Foundation, the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, the American Heart Association, the Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council, and Valley Vision.

His many honors include the 2015 Humanitarian of the Year Award from UCP Sacramento, the 2014 Executive Leadership Award from Community Link Capital Region, the 2011 Individual Arts Leadership Award from the Sacramento Arts and Business Council, and the 2010 Sacramento Metro Chamber Businessman of the Year.

At Sacramento State, Western Health Advantage has a room named at the University’s Center for Health Professions as a result of its contributions to the Campaign for Nursing.

For more information about Spring Commencement, visit csus.edu/commencement.

Ephraim Williams, most senior Sacramento-area pastor, to receive honorary degree

Ephraim Williams, center, stands with Jody and President Robert S. Nelsen during an event in his honor earlier this month.

Ephraim Williams, who leads the St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church and is the Sacramento region’s most senior pastor, will receive an honorary doctorate from the CSU at Sacramento State’s May 19 Commencement ceremony.

Williams has been at the helm of the Oak Park church since 1971, growing it from 133 members to more than 4,000 today, making it one of the region’s largest congregations. During that time, he has performed more than 900 marriages, 2,200 funerals, 2,100 baptisms, and 6,100 sermons while becoming, in the words of the Sacramento Bee during an article last year celebrating his 50th year as a pastor, “a major force in Sacramento civic and spiritual life.”

You don’t need to look farther than around Oak Park to see evidence of his impact. The Ephraim Williams Family Life Center – which promotes physical fitness, proper nutrition, recreation, health, and wellness – is adjacent to St. Paul church, and Ephraim Williams College Prep Middle School is close by as well.

Williams participates regularly in the CSU and Sacramento State’s “Super Sunday” effort to encourage college enrollment. He also spearheads the St. Paul and Oak Park Community Outreach Program, which provides recreational, educational and family support programs, including an after-school tutorial program, emergency assistance, health and wellness programs, a culinary program for at-risk youth, and summer programs for children and youth. He also has served in community organizations such as the Sacramento Baptist Ministers Conference, the Sacramento Urban League, the NAACP, and the Sacramento City Unified School District, and also was instrumental in changing the name of Sacramento Boulevard to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Williams received the 2014 Peace Award from Sacramento State’s Center for African Peace and Conflict Resolution in recognition of his “exemplary leadership in building bridges between religious and civic life in the Sacramento region.”

Williams will receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. Honorary doctorates recognize excellence in areas that benefit humanity, CSU campuses, the state, nation, or world. They are conferred by the CSU Board of Trustees jointly in the name of the CSU and Sacramento State. For a full list of past winners, visit csus.edu/commencement/honorarydoctorate.

For more information about Spring Commencement, visit csus.edu/commencement.

Former Sacramento Bee publisher and alumna Cheryl Dell to receive honorary doctorate

Cheryl Dell, former publisher and president of the Sacramento Bee, stands with Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen at an April 28 event in her honor. She will receive an honorary doctorate during the Spring Commencement ceremony on May 20.

Cheryl Dell, a Sacramento State alumna whose three-decade career in the news industry was capped by serving as publisher and president of her hometown newspaper, will receive an honorary doctorate from the CSU during Sac State’s Spring Commencement on May 20.

Dell ’82 (Communication Studies), retired in March after nine years heading the Sacramento Bee. Her 30-year career as a newspaper executive included positions at The Fresno BeeThe News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash., and the Tri-City Herald in eastern Washington. She returned home in 2008 to assume the top spot at her hometown paper, where her goal was to ensure that the more-than-150-year-old Sacramento paper continued to play an essential role in informing the region. Under her leadership, the Bee received virtually every major journalism award, including a 2016 Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartoons.

Throughout her career, Dell also has been heavily involved in volunteering. She has served on the board of directors for numerous organizations, including the Sacramento Tree Foundation, Valley Vision, Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization (SACTO), The Salvation Army Advisory Board, and MLK 365. She also served on the executive committee and was chairman of the board of the Inland Press Association, one of the oldest and largest newspaper membership organizations, serving more than 1,000 member newspapers in the United States.

In 2013, Dell received a Distinguished Service Award from Sacramento State, and in 2014 she was named to the Sacramento Business Journal’s list of “Women Who Mean Business.” She also has returned to her alma mater as an invited speaker and gave a presentation on the state of the newspaper industry at the launch of the Spring 2014 Sac State Magazine.

Dell will receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters during Commencement. Honorary doctorates recognize excellence in areas that benefit humanity, CSU campuses, the state, nation, or world. They are conferred by the CSU Board of Trustees jointly in the name of the CSU and Sacramento State. For a full list of past winners, visit csus.edu/commencement/honorarydoctorate.

For more information about Spring Commencement, visit csus.edu/commencement.