Leaving a Legacy of Service

By Lori Putnam

Maria Tauber

Photo: Maria Tauber rang the Navy Bell at the 2012 Commencement ceremony.

When Maria Tauber joined what was then California State University Northridge’s Ventura campus in 1997, she was hired as a part-time employee. Two weeks later she was asked to manage campus operations and admissions. By 2002, Tauber would be part of a small, but dedicated, group of administrators and staff sharing a vision for a new university in the Ventura area.

 “In the early years,” recalled Tauber, “it would not be unusual to find Stephen Lefevre, Dan Wakelee, George Morten, or myself unpacking desk chairs, or any and all those things you need in a classroom. Whatever it took, we did as a team”. Tauber, who is retiring this year as Director of Academic Personnel, feels fortunate to have been part of the CI story from the beginning.

“Imagine the opportunity to build a university from the ground up,” she said. “That is what is so amazing. I’ve absolutely enjoyed all 15 years – every minute of the time I spent here.”

“I see her not just as a colleague, but as a real friend,” said Associate Provost Renny Christopher of Tauber.

President Rush, George Morten, Wm. Gregory Sawyer

Photo: Dr. George Morten, center, celebrates retirement with President Richard Rush and Vice President for Student Affairs Wm. Gregory Sawyer.

Tauber is one of a number of CI administrators and staff marking significant milestones in their service to the University. Tauber’s longstanding colleague and now Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. George Morten is also preparing to leave CI administration after more than a decade of service.

Looking back, Morten shares Tauber’s sense of possibility and excitement in helping to build a new university.

“The campus afforded us the opportunity to put together ideas that hadn’t been done in other places,” he observed. “We had that herculean energy that comes with creating new things.”

In his many roles on campus, including serving as Dean of Student Life, Morten helped shape the unique culture that is the CI Way. “What really makes it work are the shared values and beliefs that were established in the early days of the campus,” he said. “We had a belief in building and sustaining a supportive learning environment, in working together as a community across traditional boundaries, and in continuous improvement in all that we do.” According to Morten, they carried that attitude and practice with them as new people arrived on campus.

Jane Sweetland (pink shirt) and staff

Photo: Juana Anguiano, Melissa Silva, Gina Farrar, Jane Sweetland (center), Colleen Forest, Rachel Danielson, Kristen Hronek

Retiring Associate Vice President of Enrollment Jane Sweetland remembers that sense of community when she first joined CI in 2002. By way of example, she recounted her initial grassroots recruitment efforts which included sending an email to faculty and staff requesting their help in posting CI flyers in local businesses. “The fact that I could send one email, and have faculty and staff from every area respond, speaks to our collegial and collaborative environment,” said Sweetland.

Although she began her CI career in what was then Career, Health, Academic and Counseling & Psychological Services, Sweetland transitioned to University communications and eventually was named Special Assistant to the President. In that role, Sweetland had a truly unique perspective in observing the growth of CI. “We were always thinking about how we could build a student-centered University to meet the needs of the 21st century,” said Sweetland.

She now retires after a decade with the University, of which eight years were spent in Student Affairs. When asked what makes CI unique, Sweetland echoes her colleagues’ observations of collegial, collaborative, and inclusive. However she adds another important adjective. “A word that shouldn’t be left out is integrity. I think the CI Way means walking the talk and being who you say you are. It means being engaged in the community both local and global in a way that reflects the values of a heterogeneous, inclusive democracy.”

New opportunities await for Tauber, Morten, and Sweetland. Tauber will be traveling with her father who is now in his 90s, while Morten plans to continue teaching. Sweetland will be undertaking a different career in writing. However their ties to CI remain strong, sustained by treasured memories and enduring friendships.

CSU Channel Islands salutes the following current employees who have provided ten or more years of exemplary service and dedication to CI.

William Adams

Timothy Allen

Herb Aquino

Richard Arias

Harley Baker

Terry Ballman

Raudel Banuelos

Frank Barajas

Manuel Barajas

Shawn Bartlett

Jacinta Bastone

Gary Berg

Timothy Berndtson

Robert Bleicher

Jon Brooks

Merilyn Buchanan

Noel Buena

Rainer Buschmann

Romulo Calica

David Carlson

Lillian Castaneda

Renny Christopher

Kathleen Contreras

Wesley Cooper

William Cordeiro

Irina Costache

Linda Covarrubias

Jeffrey Cowgill

Maria Rosario Cuevas

Chanda Cunningham Spence

Cecilia de Soto-Teunis

Lorene DiStefano

Jeffrey Donlin

Geoffrey Dougherty

Barbara Duffin

Thomas Emens

Diana Enos

Rudolph Estrada

Dannie Fox

Nancy Covarrubias Gill

Gustavo Gonzalez

Jeanne Grier

Ivona Grzegorczyk

Arjelia Guillen

Marina Guzman

Philip Hampton

Colleen Haws

Martin Hernandez Tapia

Effie Karacali

Lizabeth King

William Kupfer

Judilyn Le

Jill Leafstedt

Edwin Lebioda

Theodore Lucas

Jesse Lucero

Michael Mahoney

Nasser Mansour

Rogelio Mendoza

Anthony Mestas

Michael Middleton

Sylvia Morales

George Morten

Nancy Mozingo

Kristine Muller

Jose Nieto

Wendy Olson

Richard Paulson

Anna Pavin

Jorge Paz

Robert Perez

Ray Porras

Maria Elena Ramirez

Jack Reilly

Ginger Reyes

Martha Reyes

Toni Rice

Paul Rivera

Leticia Romero

Elizabeth Rubalcava

Richard R. Rush

Sue Saunders

Wm. Gregory Sawyer

Tom Schmidhauser

Scott Shubb

Michael Shuler

Louise Siefert

Dawn Smith

Catherine Strauch

Jane Sweetland

Sergio Tafolla

Maria Tauber

Evelyn Taylor

Barbara Thorpe-Cartee

Martina Torres

Cynthia Ulisse

Dale Velador

Kevin Volkan

Daniel Wakelee

Jane Wanberg

Laura Worden

John Yudelson

Arthur Zumaya

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