With leadership and support from the Offices of the President and the Provost, the Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association established the Hall of Honor program in 2010 to recognize the “best of the best” of the University’s retired faculty. The program was expanded the following year to include outstanding retired CSU, Chico staff, becoming the Emeritus and Retired Faculty and Staff Association (ERFSA).
Hall of Honor inductees have provided numerous years of dedicated service to the University and its students and programs, as well as to their own professions. They have also contributed in major ways to the greater Chico community and beyond by serving on boards and advisory councils, and as expert consultants.
This year’s honorees include:
Lisa Emmerich, History
Arno Rethans, Finance & Marketing and Vice Provost
Irv Schiffman, Political Science
Willie Simmons, Physical Education
CC Carter, Student Affairs
Don Osborne, Facilities Management and Services
Shirley Rabo, Staff Council and University Advancement
Margie Wilson, Athletics
A luncheon will be held in their honor from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, May 25, in Colusa Hall, 100 A/B. Please RSVP here to attend.
Arno Rethans’ abiding commitment to CSU, Chico and its students has brought achievements that extend well beyond the classroom and impact the University’s standing in the United States and the world.
Rethans came to CSU, Chico from Pennsylvania State University in 1987. After three years as a professor of marketing, he became dean of the College of Business. During his tenure, the college founded the Business Resource Center, which assisted low-income students and continues to this day as a campuswide program. It also became the first of an elite group of schools around the world to partner with SAP to bring special enterprise software training to students through its University Alliances Program.
Rethans also oversaw a successful reaccreditation of the College of Business by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). This experience presaged a vital role he was yet to play: leading the campus through Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) reaccreditation. This crucial and time-consuming task led to very positive feedback from visiting WASC teams and, most importantly, a lengthy reaccreditation for the University. In 2009, when CSU, Chico received the maximum, 10-year reaccreditation, less than 5 percent of other schools received this honor. This distinction enhanced the University’s prestige in the eyes of higher education organizations and publications.
During this time, Rethans also served as vice provost for planning, resource allocation and evaluation, and then as senior vice provost for Academic Affairs and executive assistant to the president for Institutional Effectiveness. Over a 16-year span, his accomplishments included helping develop the 2007–2012 Academic Plan, institute a new resource allocation model for Academic Affairs, and create an assessment and program review model for CSU, Chico. He served as a mentor and advocate for many faculty, staff, and administrators.
When he returned to the classroom, Rethans resumed his enthusiasm for business and marketing, redesigning an entry level course in global business incorporating e-learning tools and interactive, hands-on lessons. When, in 2016, he was asked to return to academic administration on an interim basis following President Gayle Hutchinson’s appointment, he once again agreed to share his great knowledge and experience in service to the University.
Rethans did his undergraduate work at University of Oregon and earned his master’s degree from the University of Portland. His PhD in marketing is from the University of Oregon.
Charles “CC” Carter
CC Carter exemplified compassion, vision, and dedication during his 37-year campus career, leaving behind a legacy of diversity work pivotal for the University’s continued success.
While pursuing his degree in social work, Carter worked part-time as a paraprofessional in the Educational Opportunity Program. Although after graduation he anticipated working with foster youth, helping kids struggling with challenges he himself had encountered, he was hired in 1980 as the University’s first coordinator of multicultural programs. Working out of a small space in the University Center, Carter had a dream of a much better facility and what it could achieve. As he subsequently worked in several capacities for Student Affairs, including Judicial Affairs and Athletics fundraising, he never lost sight of the potential and necessity of expanded services for diverse students.
In 2008, under Carter’s leadership, the Cross-Cultural Leadership Center (CCLC) opened in the Meriam Library. The myriad initiatives taken by the CCLC include African American and Latinx summits; leadership programs, scholarships, and internships; outreach to high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds; and culturally relevant and challenging presentations and dialogues. All of the efforts are done in collaboration with students under the center’s three founding principles: respect, connect, affirm.
When Carter became director of Student Life and Leadership, he continued his hands-on relationship with the CCLC, helping students and mentoring other staff well beyond the eight-hour workday. He also maintains a role in a Sacramento-based nonprofit, the Alliance for Education Solutions, which has a mission of motivating young people to effect change at the grassroots level.
Carter has received a number of honors for his work, including the Outstanding Service Award from the Multicultural Council, Advisor of the Year, Outstanding Black Faculty/Staff Member, and Outstanding Staff Employee of the Year.
When the CCLC celebrated its 10th anniversary last year, Carter was thanked for his tremendous contributions by students, staff and alumni. Erica Flores, alumna and director of development for the College of Communication and Education, said at the event, “To me, CC symbolizes hope and the future because he’s ingrained that into us.”
Don Osborne made great contributions to campus and the community during his 37-year career, both behind the scenes and in a lead role.
A supervising painter for the Physical Plant and later Facilities Management and Services, Osborne went the extra mile to keep campus as clean and beautiful as possible. Part of his routine was to arrive at the University at 6 a.m. every day to check for graffiti or other issues with campus buildings. The process took over an hour, but it ensured that students and employees arrived seeing a well-maintained campus day after day.
Osborne’s eagerness to serve the University extended to many other corners of campus. He was a member and chair of Staff Council; he was an ardent supporter of North State Public Radio and Chico State Athletics, receiving a volunteer of the year award from the latter; and for a number of years was a member of campus’ Friends of the Animals organization, winning the Cat’s Meow Award from the group in 2008. Osborne also aided many coworkers through his 40 years serving on the board of the University Credit Union, now known as Star Community Credit Union.
In the small town of Capay in Glenn County, Osborne has been a pillar of the community for many years. He has been an active member of the Capay Volunteer Fire Department since 1982. He has served two terms (1983–1988 and 1996–2000) on the Capay Joint Union Elementary School District Board of Directors. In 2006, Osborne was inducted into the Glenn County Educators Hall of Fame. In 2011, the Capay Ranch Women’s Club of Orland recognized him as a “Living Treasure” for his outstanding contributions to the area.
Ian Turnbull, former staff member and chief of the Capay Fire Protection District, said, “As chief, I have had the opportunity to work directly with Don on solving many issues. He has been an involved member, ready to help when needed without pretense or ego. He has always shown solid judgment and a commitment to guide our organization and be a true steward of this critical institution in our community.”
Osborne has a bachelor’s degree in political science from CSU, Chico.
Irv Schiffman is in a very select group of professors who have made equally and extraordinarily significant impacts on campus and in the Chico community.
After joining the political science faculty in 1970, Schiffman developed courses and published in the areas such as environmental law, Israeli politics, and land use planning. His teaching and research was not only at CSU, Chico but also in Israel, where he held visiting professor positions at Hebrew University and the Israeli Institute of Technology. He also directed the CSU International Program at Hebrew University three different years in three different decades.
Among Schiffman’s many publications are Alternative Techniques for Managing Smart Growth, which has had three editions published by Berkeley Public Policy Press, and “Saving California Farmland: The Politics of Preservation” (Landscape Planning, 1983).
Schiffman chaired the political science department from 1988 to 1993, cofounded the Rural and Small Town Planning Program and served on many campuswide committees. His service on behalf of faculty regarding labor issues was also long-standing and extensive, including a term as California Faculty Association president and chair of the CFA Grievance Committee. He received the Outstanding Faculty Service Award in 1993.
Until his retirement in 2005, Schiffman conducted many workshops in the region on growth management and zoning through the aegis of the University’s Center for Economic Development (CED). He also served on its advisory council for six years.
Schiffman was an invaluable member of many City of Chico boards and commissions, starting almost immediately following his faculty appointment. He chaired the city’s Appeals Board, Advisory Committee on Annexation, Architectural Review Board, and Planning Commission, and also served on the city’s Housing Task Force and General Plan Task Force. Since 2002, Schiffman has also been on the River Partners board of directors, including 14 years as chair, and served on the Community Housing Improvement Program board from 2006 to 2015.
Schiffman earned his BA at City College of New York and JD from NYU School of Law. He received his PhD in political science from UC Davis.
Lisa Emmerich’s extensive scholarship and ardent dedication to mentoring students have benefited countless alums as well as the University and greater Chico community.
During her 27-year career as a member of the CSU, Chico Department of History, Emmerich was coordinator of the Native American Studies program and for more than 10 years served as American Indian Club adviser. One former student, now a professor and faculty senate president at another university, described Emmerich as “my mentor” and said, “Thousands of students I have taught for the past decade, without knowing it, have benefited from Lisa’s teaching and mentorship.” Another student, the new director of tribal relations at CSU, Chico, Rachel McBride-Praetorius, said Emmerich “impacted me, changed my life, and how grateful I am to her” for the teaching and direction she provided.
Emmerich has published 24 scholarly articles and book chapters on American Indians and is currently co-authoring “People and Nations A Brief History of Native Americans in the United States and Canada.” She has made a significant impact in the region on how Native American history is taught, both with giving many K–12 presentations and through the North State Social Science History Project. Emmerich has also reviewed grants for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, and organized conferences for Phi Alpha Theta International History Honorary Society and other organizations.
On campus, Emmerich served as director of the Multicultural and Gender Studies Program and was active on Academic Senate, helping to craft a campus sexual harassment policy and a University policy on repatriation. Her impact on women colleagues, much like the help she provided students, was profound. History professor Kate Transchel said, “Understanding the challenges that I would face as a new female faculty member, Lisa gave much of her time and energy mentoring me and offering unwavering friendship and support.”
Emmerich has won several awards for her commitment to CSU, Chico and the community, including the Outstanding Faculty Service Award, Myles E. Tracy Outstanding Student Organization Advisor Award, and the Butte Intertribal Association Education Administrator Award.
Emmerich earned her bachelor’s degree at Goucher College and master’s degree at the University of Virginia. She received her PhD in American history from the University of Maryland.
Margie Wilson’s 40-year career in physical education and Department of Athletics was instrumental in the major successes the University enjoyed expanding its programs during that period.
Wilson started as a work-study student in the Department of Physical Education in 1969, and never strayed far from that first job, ultimately working for Athletics. The breadth and depth of her responsibilities, however, grew significantly over time. As an administrative analyst/specialist for Athletics, she was in charge of, among many other responsibilities, purchasing processes, contracting and procurement, and personnel policy and procedure for seven collective bargaining units. Wilson was also required to compile materials for NCAA and federal audits and financial reports, work without parallel elsewhere on campus, which could take months to complete. Throughout her tenure, she juggled her long-term projects and daily work assignments with a well-organized focus and poised approach.
While working under nine different athletic directors, Wilson consistently made extra efforts to help the University showcase the best athletic teams possible. Through budget crises, reorganizations and program expansion into the NCAA Division II’s California Collegiate Athletic Association, she was the go-to person for the coaches and administrators she served. “Margie was the pioneer in the Department of Athletics and the glue that held everything together,” said Don Batie, former athletic director. “She is the department ‘history.’”
Among the many extra things Wilson did for Athletics was serving for 10 years as secretary-treasurer and event manager for the Chico State Athletic Hall of Fame Committee. She also served five years in the same capacity for the Athletic Auction Fundraising Committee. In 2002, she was inducted as an honorary member of the Chico State Athletic Hall of Fame. Four years later, she was accorded the campuswide honor of being named Outstanding Employee of the Year. Wilson also served on Staff Council for several years and coordinated successful blood drives.
Wilson was regularly involved in community service and fundraising projects for Athletics, whether doing the bookkeeping or making items herself to be donated and auctioned. “She often went beyond the call of duty,” Batie said. “Margie Wilson was one of the most outstanding individuals that I had the pleasure of working with.”
Shirley Rabo was a caring and helpful presence on campus for 37 years, during which time she, more than any other person, helped make Staff Council the envy of other CSU campuses.
Rabo began working for Staff Council in 1978 on a part-time basis, after she had earned her bachelor’s degree in business and management and briefly worked as a federal employee. She could not have known that this would be the start of 34 years of service in the office, spanning 17 different Staff Council chairs. Her longevity at Staff Council allowed for transitions and change to occur smoothly over the years. In particular, Rabo oversaw a reorganization mandated in the 1980s that led some CSUs to suspend their staff councils. As other campuses slowly rebuilt their councils, they used CSU, Chico’s Staff Council as their model for shared governance and staff recognition and support.
All of the many successful Staff Council programs bear Rabo’s fingerprints, including the annual art exhibit, blood drives, fundraisers and get-togethers, the University Needy Children’s Program, and the Staff Awards Luncheon, which she helped expand into one of the largest employee events of the year. Rabo herself was honored at the event in 2009, as Outstanding Staff Employee of the Year. “Shirley’s work ethic, cooperative and caring attitude, loyalty, people and communication skills, adaptability, and willingness to help whatever the tasks were all extraordinary,” said retired staff and Hall of Honor member Eunice Toussaint, who was the first recipient of the annual award.
For the last three years of her campus service, Rabo worked in University Advancement. Her communication and organizational skills, as well as her knowledge of the campus community and local and regional groups, were extremely helpful to the fundraising and friend-raising aspirations of the University.
Perhaps most significantly, staff colleagues simply loved working and getting to know Rabo. “Shirley is an extraordinary woman with a heart of gold,” said Terry Battle, Hall of Honor member and former Staff Council chair.
“She added that essential ingredient to what we often refer to as the Chico Experience: humanity,” added former Staff Council chair and librarian Paula Scholtes.
William “Willie” Simmons, Jr.
Through the course of his long life and campus tenure, Willie Simmons was one of CSU, Chico’s most memorable coaches and faculty members.
Following service in the US Army Air Corps in World War II, Simmons attended CSU, Chico and became one of the college’s most outstanding athletes. Upon graduation, he was convinced by legendary coach and physical education chair Art Acker to teach at the University. With Acker as his mentor, Simmons earned his doctorate and grew as a teacher, developing a pedagogical style that blended class content with personal growth. In the words of emerita professor Fran Coslet, another renowned teacher and coach, “He had an unorthodox style that was very effective, and he used sports as a laboratory in learning life’s lessons. He was beloved by many young people who had the good fortune of enrolling in his classes.”
Simmons is probably best known for his many years coaching boxing and teaching ballroom dancing, two activities he himself excelled in, but was able to impart not just the technique but the joy and satisfaction that could be had from both. Hundreds of alumni over his 47-year career were the beneficiaries. But Simmons’ contributions went well beyond these two areas. He was a strong advocate for the benefits of exercise, including many years when this was not widely understood, and naturally led by example, jogging around campus encouraging others. He was a thoughtful administrator, not just leading PE to be a more progressive program but reorganizing it at the behest of President Robert Hill. For the broader athletic community, Simmons was a constant and important presence in and around Chico, officiating games and organizing youth sports and recreation for decades.
Until his death in 2017 at the age of 98, Simmons could fondly recall many of the campus and community members he had taught and mentored. It is fair to say all of them remembered him.
Simmons also earned his master’s degree and teaching credential from CSU, Chico. His PhD in physical education is from the University of Oregon..
—Story by Joe Wills, retired director of University Communications