FRESNO — Steven Were Omamo, whose dedication to feeding the hungry helped his organization earn the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020, is among this year’s Top Dog Alumni Award honorees.
The Top Dog awards recognize a select group of accomplished Fresno State alumni who have made significant contributions to society, and whose accomplishments, affiliations and careers have honored Fresno State.
This year’s Top Dog Alumni Award honorees will be celebrated with a one-hour special, televised event on ABC 30 in the greater Fresno area at 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 1. The televised broadcast will also be live-streamed for those outside the region.
Omamo, now president for New Growth International which is based out of Nairobi, Kenya, and Chicago, will receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award — the highest honor given by the Fresno State Alumni Association for career achievement. His humanitarian work helped provide millions of people with resources to address acute hunger or need related to emergencies, natural disasters, outbreaks and conflicts.
Were was born into a farming family in Kenya and graduated from Fresno State with a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness in 1986. Throughout the past 15 years he has managed a variety of areas for the UN World Food Programme. He served as a country director in Ethiopia when the organization was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020.
Today Omamo runs a management consulting firm focused on agro-food and building educational programs that develop transformative processes and innovative solutions to help countries, governments, NGOs, foundations and private sector clients promote food security and sustainability.
Each year at Fresno State one alumnus or alumna is selected from each of the University’s eight academic schools and colleges, plus the Department of Athletics, the Henry Madden Library, the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, and the Division of Research and Graduate Studies to receive a Top Dog Outstanding Alumni Award. The Outstanding Alumni Award recognizes Fresno State alumni for exceptional accomplishments in their field(s).
The Arthur Safstrom Service Award honors alumni and friends of the University who have made significant impact through dedication of time, talent, and/or treasure. The 2022 Arthur Safstrom Service Award recipient is Dr. Sudarshan Kapoor, a Fresno State professor emeritus of social work education and founder and inaugural director of Fresno State’s Peace and Conflict Studies Program. Kapoor established the Fresno State Peace Garden in 1990 and has led efforts to establish the five monuments standing in the garden today. He coordinated and planned numerous events over the years, paying tribute to the iconic leaders memorialized as a way to inspire students, campus and our community.
“The Top Dog Alumni Awards is an inspiring event that recognizes the achievements of our most accomplished alumni,” said Jacquelyn Glasener, executive director of the Fresno State Alumni Association. “This year’s class of honorees represent what it truly means to be a Bulldog. We are excited to celebrate their personal achievements and to inspire others through their impactful stories.”
Fresno State’s 2022 Top Dog Honorees
- Distinguished Alumnus: Steven Were Omamo (1986), president, New Growth International; former director, UN World Food Programme.
- Arthur Safstrom Service Award: Sudarshan Kapoor, professor emeritus and founder of the Peace Garden at Fresno State.
Outstanding Alumni by College or Division:
- College of Arts and Humanities: Ray S. Doumanian (1967, ’82), former president, HR, LLC and Jacqueline Doumanian (1974, ’82), educator; community advocate.
- College of Health and Human Services: David Pomaville (1986), director of environmental health and safety, Caglia Enterprises, and former Director of Public Health for Fresno County.
- College of Science and Mathematics: William R. Silveira (1999), oncologist, Community Cancer Institute, Clovis Community Medical Center.
- College of Social Sciences: Ana Jovel Melendez (2005), director of legislative affairs, State Water Resources Control Board.
- Craig School of Business: Joshua Easterly (1998), co-founder, partner and co-president of Sixth Street and is chairman and CEO of Sixth Street Specialty Lending.
- Department of Athletics: Rod D. Higgins (alumnus), NBA veteran and vice president of basketball operations, Atlanta Hawks.
- Division of Research and Graduate Studies: Philip Neufeld (1993, ’15), executive officer, enterprise services, core infrastructure, cybersecurity, learning analytics, Fresno Unified School District.
- Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management: Sabahudin Tricic (1999, ’06), foundation faculty, University of Kansas Grantham.
- Henry Madden Library: Jason A. Hubbart (2000, ’02), professor and director, West Virginia University.
- Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology: James W. Nielsen (1967), California State Senator, 4th District.
- Kremen School of Education and Human Development: Violet L. Chuck (1978), executive director, Educare Services Inc.
- Lyles College of Engineering: Joseph F. Pickett (1994), president, Pickett & Sons Construction, Inc.
For more details on the Top Dog Alumni Awards, visit fresnostatealumni.com.
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