Alumni reunite for Founders Day and receive tour of Valley Performing Arts Center

Angela Melero

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Former CSUN faculty and alumni will reunite Friday at the annual Founders Day event.

This year’s festivities will include the rededication of the dial fountain in front of Bayramian Hall, which will be renamed in tribute to CSUN’s founding president Ralph Prator.

Also being honored at the event will be the newest members of CSUN’s 50-Year Club, a group composed of alumni who received their degrees 50 years ago.

Shellie Hadvina, associate director of alumni relations, said this is the third year for the 50-Year Club induction, which was a tradition that started in conjunction with the celebration of the university’s 50-year anniversary in 2008.

Hadvina said they are expecting more than 400 people at the event on Friday.

“Every year the event gets increasingly larger,” Hadvina said. “We get attendees from all over California and even out of state.  It’s a fun event for alumni.”

The day’s list of events will kick off with the fountain dedication and then be proceeded by a luncheon where guests will have the opportunity to mingle and reminisce.

Author and journalist Kevin Roderick from the class of 1983 will address the Founders Day attendees and sign copies of his first publication, “The San-Fernando Valley: America’s Suberb.”

Gray Mounger, assistant vice president of alumni relations, said the event’s success is due to the alumni’s love for the university and the friendships they have made at CSUN.

“Events like this keep (alumni) more connected and interactive with the university and each other,” Mounger said. “This many people connecting with each other is just great.”

Mounger said the goal of the Alumni Relations Committee is to keep people connected to the campus and to break the misconception of CSUN’s lack of tradition and nostalgia.

“Founders Day proves that theory wrong,” he said. “ People have a great deal of affection for the university.”

Hadvina said the event targets alumni who graduated between 1958-1972, before San Fernando State College was renamed CSUN.

Alumni will receive walking and tram tours of campus buildings and facilities. The tour will include an exclusive preview of the new Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC), which will celebrate its grand opening in late January of next year.

Vince Barabba, co-chairman of the Founders Day Committee and marketing graduate from the class of 1962, said he is especially excited about the VPAC tour.

He said Founders Day gives alumni and former faculty a chance to see what is going on at CSUN and get a taste of what is yet to come.

“Everything is so profoundly different now,” Barabba said. “Even the trees are different. They used to be these little shrubs. They actually offer some shade now.”

This year’s Founders Day will be Barabba’s first time attending the event, although he said he has managed to keep in touch with fellow alumni through the Alumni Association.

“(This event) is an opportunity to get back in touch with people you were educated with,” Barabba said. “It’s fun to be able to meet and share what life was like back then.”

Hadvina said the gradual growth and expansion of the university sparks a sense of pride in Founders Day attendees each year.

“They really enjoy the quality of the institution,” she said. “It makes them proud to be Matadors.”

The event will formerly conclude at 4 p.m. with an optional invitation for alumni to attend the women’s volleyball game against UC Santa Barbara 7 p.m. at the Matadome.