Retired executive vice president and general counsel of Mitsubishi James E. Brumm leads the 2016 class of accomplished Fresno State alumni who will be recognized Oct. 15 at the Fresno State Alumni Association’s Top Dog Alumni Awards Gala at the Save Mart Center in Fresno. Brumm will receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award for his success in international law and business, as well as his leadership in corporate responsibility, human rights and the environment.

Each year, one alumnus from each of the University’s eight academic schools and colleges, as well as the Department of Athletics, the Henry Madden Library, the Division of Student Affairs and the Division of Graduate Studies are chosen to be honored with the Outstanding Alumni Award.

Based on scholarship, leadership and service to the University, the Distinguished Alumnus Award is the highest alumni honor given.

Service to the University and community will be recognized with the Arthur Safstrom Service Award, presented this year to Valerie A. Vuicich, administrator of the Career Technical Education/Fresno Regional Occupation Program for the Fresno County Office of Education and a champion of Fresno State and the Central Valley.

“The Top Dog Alumni Awards Gala is an incredible evening filled with the bold stories of our most accomplished alumni,” said Jacquelyn Glasener, executive director of the Fresno State Alumni Association. “This year’s class of Top Dogs embody the best of what it means to be a Bulldog, and their success provides endless inspiration for our students, alumni and the entire community.”

Brumm graduated magna cum laude from Fresno State in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in political science before earning his law degree from Columbia University. He served as an executive vice president and general counsel of Mitsubishi International Corporation in the US where he worked from 1977 to 2012 and served on the board of Mitsubishi Corporation in Japan from 1995 – 2002.

Today Brumm serves as president of Glastonbury Commons, Ltd., a consulting firm, where he is an advisor to Mitsubishi in New York and Japan. His commitment to human rights and environmental issues includes work with NatureServe, the New York City Bar Association, the International Crane Foundation, the Red-Crowned Crane Conservancy in Japan, First Peoples Worldwide, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Forest Trends and the American Bird Conservancy.

While he resides in New York and travels internationally, Brumm has maintained a close connection with the Valley. He served on the board of the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture in Hanford and helped to bring an exhibition of samurai weapons and armor to the Henry Madden Library.

Fresno State’s 2016 Top Dog honorees are:

  • Distinguished Alumnus: James E. Brumm (1965), attorney and advisor to Mitsubishi Corporation
  • Arthur Safstrom Service Award: Valerie A. Vuicich (1979), administrator of the Career Technical Education/Fresno Regional Occupational Program (ROP) for Fresno County Office of Education

Outstanding Alumni by College or Division:

  • Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology: Earl E. Hall (1964) founder of agricultural personnel management company Hall Management
  • College of Arts and Humanities: Dr. Janice M. Emerzian (1969, ’73), State Center Community College District director for the Disabled Students Programs and Services
  • Department of Athletics: Dennis DeLiddo (1969), retired coach of Fresno State’s wrestling program
  • Craig School of Business: Dora Celia Westerlund (1996), founder and CEO of the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation
  • Kremen School of Education and Human Development: Dr. Berta Gonzalez (1970), retired associate dean and founder of the Division of Continuing and Global Education at Fresno State
  • Lyles College of Engineering: Raj Beasla (1989), senior director of service planning and design for Pacific Gas and Electric
  • Division of Research and Graduate Studies: Anthony J. Rubino (1988, 2010), range squadron director for the 412th Test Wing at Edwards Air Force Base
  • College of Health and Human Services: Debbie Poochigian (1974), chairman of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors
  • Henry Madden Library: Dr. Lois Huter Tarkanian (1955, ’65), member of the Las Vegas City Council and former educator
  • College of Science and Mathematics: Dr. Richard Whitten Jr. MD(Alumnus), ophthalmologist and chief medical officer of Vision Health International
  • College of Social Sciences: Dante R. Simi (1963), co-founder and CEO of educational non-profit Learn4Life
  • Division of Student Affairs: Paul DeRuosi (1972, ’85), retired director of development and educational advocate

Every year, Fresno State awards more than $4.1 million in student scholarships. At the Top Dog Alumni Awards Gala the Fresno State Alumni Association will recognize 100 of these scholarship recipients. “The Fresno State Alumni Association is proud to be a leader among the 23 alumni associations of the California State University system in annual student scholarship giving,” Glasener said.

Tickets for the Top Dog event are $135 per person and available by calling 559.278.ALUM or online at For event information, contact Katie Adamo at or at 559.278.5723.

Sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact Javier Morales at or 559.278.8520.