The Fresno State Alumni Association’s Top Dog Distinguished Alumnus Award for 2012 will be presented to Marvin Meyers, a 1956 graduate, successful farmer, pioneering water conservationist and university benefactor.

The award will be presented to Meyers on Sept. 28 during the annual Top Dog Alumni Awards Gala at the Save Mart Center.

The Distinguished Alumnus Award honors a former Fresno State student whose scholarship, leadership and service to the university, the central San Joaquin Valley and to California  are exemplary.

Meyers grows almonds in the Mendota area, where he also has been able to bank groundwater through several years of drought, providing hope for other farmers to follow his example and have more consistent production.

Meyers’ success has allowed him to share generously with his alma mater, including a gift that is helping construct the Meyers Family Sports Medicine Center to enhance the Bulldog student-athlete experience for decades to come.

Top Dog Award recipients are chosen from each of the university’s academic schools and colleges and from the Department of Athletics, the Henry Madden Library and the Divisions of Student Affairs and Graduate Studies.

The 2012 Top Dog Recipients and the areas of campus they represent are:

  • James “Bo” Barrett (Alumnus), a winemaker, the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.
  • Desa Belyea (1951), a retired newspaper editor, College of Arts and Humanities.
  • Nick Watney (Alumnus), a professional golfer, Department of Athletics.
  • Mark Shuster (1983, 1997), financial executive, Craig School of Business.
  • Mattie B. Meyers (1966), educator and community activist, Kremen School of Education and Human Development.
  • John Miyamoto (1985), global communications systems engineer, Lyles College of Engineering.
  • James Kennedy (1967, 1969), retired director of operations for the Gemini Observatory in Hawaii, Division of Graduate Studies.
  • Marion Karian (1965), founder of Exceptional Parents Unlimited, College of Health and Human Services.
  • G. Michael Graves (1973), a CPA and chief financial officer of a law firm, Henry Madden Library.
  • Harold Salwasser (1969), a dean of the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, College of Science and Mathematics.
  • Michael Villines (1990), former California Assembly member, College of Social Sciences.
  • Philip Stephens III (1937), whose life was spent helping Fresno State students facing physical challenges, Division of Student Affairs. (Awarded posthumously.)

On the same evening, the Fresno State Alumni Association also bestows the Arthur Safstrom Service Award upon an alumnus or friend of Fresno State who has provided distinguished service to the university and community.

The recipient in 2012 is Maria Gutierrez, a retired television executive and university friend working in the new Center for Creativity and the Arts

Tickets for the Top Dog Gala are $125 per person and available by calling 559.278.ALUM or online at