Four Honored By President's Commission

Apr 18, 2022

Person of the Year, Sunshine Award winners are honored for their contributions to the California campus community.

  • - Taylor Kodric (left) and Dr. Azadeh Block, co-chair of the President's Commission for the Status of Women.

  • - Crystale Fleming (left), staff winner of the Sunshine Award; Ann Bergamasco, co-chair of the President's Commission for the Status of Women; interim University President Dr. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson; Dr. Susan Morris-Rutledge, Person of the Year; and Dr. Louise Nicholson, faculty recipient of the Sunshine Award.

Cal U’s celebration of Women’s History Month recently with the recognition of four outstanding members of the University community.

For the second year, the President’s Commission for the Status of Women presented the Sunshine Award, named in memory of the late Dr. Melanie Blumberg, to three individuals: Taylor Kodric, a master’s degree student in the school psychology program; and Dr. Louise Nicholson, associate professor of biology and microbiology ; and Crystale Fleming, an academic counselor in the Office of Academic Success.

Dr. Susan Morris-Rutledge, associate professor of education and ESL coordinator, received the commission’s Person of the Year Award for faculty.

Named for the late professor of history, the Sunshine Award is presented to those who are champions for students and colleagues. The award is so named to honor Blumberg’s knack for spreading positivity and to acknowledge those on campus who share that ability.

Those who wrote letters of nomination highlighted the winners’ attributes.

“Dr. Rutledge is always ‘there’ to listen and to provide a voice of reason while working through challenging times. She enjoys sharing instructional strategies and brainstorming together to find innovative and engaging ways to help our students achieve success. She brings ‘light’ to many situations and always makes others laugh through challenging times.”

“While a clever graduate student, Taylor also possesses exceptional interpersonal skills. She is an engaging, mature, intelligent and friendly young woman with whom I genuinely enjoy interacting.”

“Crystale has many qualities that make her an outstanding mentor. Perhaps most notable is her incredible patience. … No matter what, when these students and situations arrive, Crystale springs right into action.”

“I have worked with Louise for years on the American Democracy Project, a campus group that promotes civic engagement. In that capacity I have seen her almost endless energy put towards promoting the work of that group. … She is also a great mentor and support of student research. … I consider her to be one of the best advisors in the honors program.”

Interim Cal U President Dr. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson joined the Zoom presentation of the awards to thank the winners for their efforts.

“This committee has played a large part in creating a positive campus climate and inspiring our students to move forward and change the world in a better way,” Dr. Dale said. “Members are advocates for women and women’s issues and role models for colleagues and students.”