Alumni association honors four faculty for mentorship, scholarship
The four recipients of the 2023 Faculty Mentor Award from the Pacific Alumni Association are praised by former students and colleagues for their caring nature.
The awards are presented annually to faculty who, through their personal and professional relationships, have mentored students and encouraged alumni to do likewise by providing internships, career opportunities and scholarships.
Those honored are:
- Clinical Assistant Professor Emerita Janet Andrews of the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry
- Professor and Chair of Economics Sharmila King
- Professor Emerita of Business Laurie Lichter-Heath
- Professor Emeritus of Chemistry Charles Matuszak
“Our faculty members are dedicated to teaching Pacific students on campus, but their caring and nurturing does not end there,” said Scott Biedermann ’05, ’20, vice president of development and alumni relations. “They keep in touch throughout the careers of their former students. Commitment for Pacific faculty is life-long.”
The four will be honored at the Faculty Mentor Awards Brunch on Sunday, Oct. 15, during Homecoming and Family Weekend on the Stockton Campus.
Nabiha Ahmed ’23 views Andrews as a mentor and aspires to use the guidance she has received.
“Dr. Andrews is so warmly and logically approachable,” Ahmed said in her nomination letter for Andrews. “She gives the right amount of advice for us to think critically. She is the woman powerhouse I aspire to be one day.”
Andrews ’80, ’83 has had a remarkable career spanning four-plus decades—much of it in various roles with the Dugoni School, including 10 years on the admissions committee. After completing a bachelor’s degree at Marquette University, she earned her master’s and doctorate at the Dugoni School.
“Dr. Andrews has supported me every step of the way during dental school,” said Angela Chen ’23. “She leads by example and it’s obvious students, other faculty and patients love working with her.”
Joshua Foster ’08 views King as a leader and mentor—in the classroom and after graduation. He said her passion to support students as they enter the workforce often makes a difference in their lives.
“Dr. King continues to be a leader within the Department of Economics as chair,” Foster said. “Importantly for alumni, she also continues to engage us to share our career experiences.”
King earned three economics degrees, her bachelor’s from the University of York in England in 1992, master’s from San Francisco State in 1996 and PhD from UC Davis in 2001. She also was the recipient of the Alex and Faye Spanos Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2020.
King summed up her philosophy of teaching and mentorship in a 2021 interview: “Knowing that I could help make others better understand math and economics and how the world works is so fulfilling and gives my life meaning.”
Lichter-Heath started teaching at Pacific in 1984 and left in 1992 as a tenured associate professor in the Eberhardt School of Business. She rejoined the university in 2008 and has served as a lecturer in business law since that time.
She has a unique method of welcoming students in her early morning classes: streaming classical music to help them be at ease to start the day.
“One of the aspects that sets Professor Heath apart is her genuine investment in her students’ success,” said Jawad Ehsanyar ’17. “She consistently demonstrated a deep interest in my academic pursuits and provided invaluable support throughout my journey. Whether it was discussing new projects, research ideas or pursuing grants and awards, she always made time to listen attentively and offer valuable insights.”
Additionally, Lichter-Heath continues to assist small businesses in resolving matters without litigation.
Providing career opportunities and scholarships is another key component of the Faculty Mentor Awards. Matuszak’s passion to help students was memorialized in an endowed scholarship he started in the name of his late wife. The gift honoring Professor Alice Jean Matuszak has a lasting impact on students in the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy.
“My goal with the scholarship is to help students feel supported, fulfill their dreams and contribute positively to society, just like Jean did,” Matuszak said.
Jean Matuszak, who died in 2021 at the age of 85, studied pharmaceutics and medicinal chemistry. She taught at Pacific for 37 years, from 1963 until her retirement in 2000. Charles worked alongside her in the Department of Chemistry in the College of the Pacific.
Charles Matuszak also has an endowed chemistry scholarship to support promising students.