Safiya Umoja Noble

Safiya Umoja Noble (photo by David Celaya)

Educator and academic researcher Safiya Umoja Noble and 14 other Fresno State alumni will be celebrated for their accomplishments on Oct. 26 at the Fresno State Alumni Association’s Top Dog Alumni Awards Gala at the Save Mart Center. Noble will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award for her efforts in social justice, professional accomplishments as an educational leader and success with research on the impact of technologies on society.

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

Each year, one alumnus is chosen from each of the University’s academic schools and colleges, the Department of Athletics, the Henry Madden Library, the Division of Student Affairs and the Division of Graduate Studies to receive a Top Dog Outstanding Alumni Award.

The Arthur Safstrom Service Award honors alumni who have a distinguished record of service to Fresno State. The 2018 Arthur Safstrom Service Award recipient is Harry Gaykian (1955), financial advisor at Wells Fargo Advisors and an instrumental supporter of the University and its students.

“The Top Dog Alumni Awards Gala 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 15 honorees represents what it truly means to be a Bulldog, and we are excited to celebrate their successes with the University and community.”

Noble graduated from Fresno State in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in social sciences before earning her master’s degree in information science and her doctorate in philosophy (information science) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is currently an assistant professor at the University of Southern California, and previously served as assistant professor at the University of California, Los Angeles and at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In addition to her career as an educator, Noble is revered as a researcher, focusing on the design of digital media platforms on the internet and their impact on society. Her work is both sociological and interdisciplinary, marking the ways that digital media impacts and intersects with issues of gender, race, culture and technology design.

Noble’s research has led to numerous peer-reviewed articles and published books, including “Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism” and “The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, and Culture Online.”

Fresno State’s 2018 Top Dog Honorees:

  • Distinguished Alumna: Safiya Umoja Noble (1996), assistant professor at the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication
  • Arthur Safstrom Service Award: Harry Gaykian (1955), financial advisor at Wells Fargo Advisors

Outstanding Alumni by College or Division:

  • Jordan College of Agriculture Sciences and Technology: Jim Marderosian (1979), president and owner of Bee Sweet Citrus, Inc.
  • College of Arts and Humanities: Gerald McMenamin (1972), emeritus faculty for the Department of Linguistics at Fresno State
  • Department of Athletics: Chris Williams (1994), Paso Robles Joint Unified School District Superintendent
  • Craig School of Business: James G. Parker (1972), president and CEO of James G. Parker Insurance Associates
  • Kremen School of Education and Human Development: Michael Giovannetti (1970, ’72, ’01), executive director of the Renaissance Group
  • Lyles College of Engineering: Steven Schmidt (1977), assistant center director for strategic implementation at the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center
  • Division of Graduate Studies: Michael Snell (2004, ’10), CEO of the California Teaching Fellows Foundation
  • College of Health and Human Services: Timothy McGonigle (1980), partner at Folsom Physical Therapy and Training Center
  • Henry Madden Library: Ellen Gorelick (1979), retired executive director and chief curator of the Tulare Historical Museum
  • College of Science and Mathematics: Raymond Rodriguez (1969), professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and executive director of the Global HealthShare Initiative at the University of California, Davis
  • College of Social Sciences: Rosendo Peña, Jr. (1977), associate justice of the State of California Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District in Fresno
  • Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management: Christopher Morse (1988), partner at Moss Adams LLP
  • Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management: Kenneth Wittwer (1986), partner at Moss Adams LLP

Tickets for the Top Dog Alumni Awards Gala are $150 per person and will go on sale in early September. They will be available by calling 559.278.ALUM or online at

For more information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Monica Sozinho at or 559.278.1116.