Awards of Distinction 

The Montys are a time-honored tradition at San Diego State University. The award is a symbol of achievement and success presented to distinguished alumni from each of SDSU's seven academic colleges, Library and Information Access, and SDSU Imperial Valley Campus. In addition, distinguished service awards are given to an exceptional alumni volunteer and an outstanding university employee.

The Montys honor those who have made significant contributions to San Diego State University, the San Diego community or California, nationally or internationally.

Sunday, October 8, 2017
Doors open at 5 p.m.
Reception immediately following awards program

Don Powell Theatre
San Diego State University

Tickets are $100 if purchased before September 25, 2017; $125 thereafter. The Montys Champion tickets are $250 and include priority seating and acknowledgement in the event program. Sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact Jen Ranallo at for information.

Purchase Tickets

Honorees for 2017 include:

Christine ProbettChristine Probett

College of Arts and Letters
Christine Probett

Christine Probett (’85, social science; ’87, aerospace engineering; ’97, EMBA) now lectures in the Fowler College of Business and Weber Honors College after retiring from a successful career in the aerospace industry.  She has earned multiple honors including Associated Students’ Outstanding Faculty Member, Most Influential Professor for five Outstanding Graduates and Faculty Advisor of the Year for Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, one of the four student organizations that she advises.

Karen Janney, Ed.D.Karen Janney, Ed.D.

College of Education
Karen Janney, Ed.D. 

Karen Janney (’10, educational leadership pre-K – 12 school leadership), Ed.D., is superintendent of the Sweetwater Union High School District, California’s largest high school district. Having served as an executive coach for SDSU’s National Center for Urban School Transformation, her vision, integrity, and focus on student well-being throughout her career have led to accolades including her recognition as California Secondary Principal of the Year.

Daniel GoddardDaniel Goddard

College of Engineering
Daniel Goddard

Daniel Goddard (’87, aerospace engineering), a member of the Senior Executive Service, is Director, Information Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the nation’s premier research organization for command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) and cyber technologies. AFRL has provided funding for basic research in Digital Signal and Image Processing to SDSU College of Engineering faculty, enhancing opportunities for both faculty and graduate students. 

Darla K. AndersonDarla K. Anderson

College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts
Darla K. Anderson

Darla K. Anderson (’82, environmental design), who sits on the national board of directors for the Producers Guild of America, is a film producer for Pixar Animation Studios where her award-winning movies including “A Bug’s Life,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “Cars” and “Toy Story 3” have generated more than $2 billion. Having pioneered a path for women in filmmaking, she serves as a role model for students in SDSU’s Film and New Media program. 

Robert KainRobert Kain

College of Sciences
Robert Kain

Robert Kain (’85, physics, mathematics), biotech executive, inventor and entrepreneur, is chairman and founder of Mesa Rim Climbing and Fitness Center. With more than 40 patents issued or pending, he was an early executive at Illumina, where he helped lead the company’s evolution from a startup into a world leader in the design, development, and manufacturing of integrated systems for genomic analysis.  

Mark SnellMark Snell

Fowler College of Business
Mark Snell

Mark Snell (’80, accounting), who recently retired as president of Sempra Energy, is a former chair of the Fowler College of Business Board of Directors and a former member of the board of trustees of Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute and Rady Children’s Hospital and Health Center. Highly regarded in San Diego’s business community and recognized nationally, he shares his experience and expertise with SDSU students by speaking in MBA and Executive MBA classes.

Dorothy L. W. Smith, Ed.D.Dorothy L. W. Smith, Ed.D.

Library and Information Access
Dorothy L. W. Smith, Ed.D.

Dorothy L. W. Smith, Ed.D., a career educator and advocate of quality education for all students, is past president of the San Diego Unified School District Board of Education and the City of San Diego Ethics Commission.  She co-founded the McGill School of Success and was inaugural director of SDSU’S Aim-to-Teach program. A leader in many organizations, she has received the USD Remarkable Leader in Education Award and the Freedom’s Foundation Champion of Education Award.

Kathleen LangKathleen Lang

SDSU Imperial Valley
Kathleen Lang

Kathleen Lang (’05 public administration, ’07 MPA), DPA, works through the public health department to improve health care and increase quality and accessibility of health services in Imperial County. In addition to her involvement with the Boys and Girls Club, the Centinela State Prison Advisory Council, and the Brawley Chamber of Commerce, she is a past president of the alumni chapter at SDSU IV where she is a psychology and public administration lecturer. 

Bill EarleyBill Earley

Distinguished Alumni Service Award
Bill Earley 

Bill Earley (’86, finance), a U.S. Congressional Gold Medal Award recipient,  has participated in over a dozen regional nonprofits, boards and public service agencies in San Diego and is the chief administration officer and general counsel for West Health. He made SDSU history as the only person to serve as president of SDSU Alumni, Associated Students and the former Aztec Athletic Foundation (now Aztec Club).

John KolekJohn Kolek

Distinguished University Service Award
John Kolek

John Kolek recently retired as associate executive director of Associated Students after 28 years of service at SDSU, which included supervision of the opening and operation of what is now Viejas Arena. For the first 20 years of the facility’s history, he has led a team that has continually improved the arena’s capabilities to host the university’s largest and highest‐profile events and help showcase SDSU on a national level.