Sac State honors six distinguished alumni for campus and community contributions

Each year, the state of Sacramento recognizes alumni who represent the university’s educational values ​​with exceptional contributions to the campus, community, and society.

Since 1972, the Sacramento State Alumni Association has honored these individuals with Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Six people have been selected by the Alumni Association to receive awards this year, including four Distinguished Service Awards recognizing professional achievement and community service. Additionally, a Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an alum’s exceptional accomplishments in their career, community, personal and professional life. Finally, the Rising Star Award is presented to an aspiring graduate.

A ceremony recognizing this year’s honorees will be held on Thursday, October 13 at the Harper Alumni Center.

Distinguished Service Awards

Francesca Halbakken ’79 (civil engineering)

Retired Deputy City Manager, City of Sacramento

A longtime public servant, Francesca Halbakken leveraged her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Sac State and her passion for helping people have careers with the City of Sacramento that spanned more than 35 years. As a project manager, she oversaw the development of the railyards in downtown Sacramento and North Natomas, and most recently the SAFE Credit Union Convention and Performing Arts Centers.

Lois Harper Mattice ’87, MS ’94 (Physical Education)

Faculty Emeritus and Retired Assistant Director of Athletics and Senior Woman Administrator, Sacramento State

Though she never considered herself an athlete, longtime track and field coach and administrator Lois Harper Mattice propelled her interest in sports and the people who play them to a distinguished career at Sac State. Throughout her nearly four-decade career, Mattice has helped student-athletes succeed in sport and science by monitoring their health and well-being, providing emotional support, and helping them prevent and treat injuries. Although she retired in 2020, she recently returned to campus to work part-time in the athletics department.

Lisa Wrightsman ’05 (Communication Studies)

Managing Director, Street Soccer USA

Lisa Wrightsman, a former Hornet soccer star, is co-founder of Street Soccer Sacramento, an organization that helps people struggling with homelessness, at-risk youth, and other underrepresented populations. The organization serves people of all ages and runs youth programs and monthly camps for young and teenage girls, often featuring Sac State players as coaches. A record 1,000 children participated in programs this summer.

Whitney Yamamura ’84 (Business Administration), MA ’91 (Economics)

Chancellor, Coast Community College District

With deep roots in Sacramento, Whitney Yamamura spent much of his career in higher education in the Los Rios Community College District before recently being named Chancellor of the Coast Community College District in Costa Mesa. He says he owes his career to Sac State. He began working in higher education at American River College in 1989 and has served continuously at all four Los Rios campuses, including five years as president of Folsom Lake College.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Don Nottoli ’78 (government/journalism)

District 5 Warden, Sacramento County

Don Nottoli, a lifelong resident of Sacramento County, will retire from the board after more than 40 years of public service — and many accomplishments. Since 1994, Nottoli has represented District 5, a region extending south from Rancho Cordova through Elk Grove and Galt to the Delta. During his seven terms in office, he has worked to build parks and libraries, rehabilitate former military bases, improve roads, and improve and expand Sacramento International Airport.

Rising Star Award

Liku T. Amadi ’13 (Communication Studies)

Founder, Anasa Law Firm PC

In the nine years since receiving his bachelor’s degree from Sac State, Liku T. Amadi graduated magna cum laude from law school; established Anasa Law Firm, a non-traditional practice helping small business owners navigate the legal system; founded Tryb, a community group that brings young black entrepreneurs and business owners together to network; and taught legal services online and spoke to the community about motherhood and entrepreneurship.


For more information about this year’s Distinguished Alumni Awards, visit the Sacramento State Alumni Association website.

About Daniel Wilson

Daniel Wilson joined Sac State’s communications team in 2022 as a writer and editor. He previously worked for the Sacramento Bee as a producer and audience engagement reporter. He graduated from Sac State University in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He plays video games, watches pro wrestling, and enjoys spending time with his wife and cat.

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