Class Notes

College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences


John (Jack) Klein (Crop Production,’51) operates a farm in Woodland, Calif., which produces tomatoes, sunflower seeds, wheat and almonds on 5,000 acres of drip irrigation. He is proud to be farming alongside his grandsons. Two of Klein’s grandchildren are also Cal Poly graduates: Mark Ochoa (Agriculture Systems Management, ’01) and Marissa Hall (Communication Studies, ’10). Mark Ochoa’s wife, Nicole (Newman) Ochoa (Kinesiology, ’02) is also an alumna.

William Thomas Avenell Jr. (Animal Science, ’57) is looking forward to turning 86 in May 2015. He is still active thanks to rapid recovery from heart surgery in August 2013. Best news, he writes, is: “In March 2000, I met a beautiful lady in Scotland and am looking forward to our 12th anniversary in July.”


Isaiah-Ilori-Yoshihiko-Kitamura11< Isaiah Ilori (Agricultural Engineering, ’67, right) recently returned to visit his alma mater for the first time in 48 years after an eventful career as an agricultural engineer in his native Nigeria. At Cal Poly, he reunited with his classmate Yoshihito Kitamura (Mathematics and Agricultural Engineering, ’68, left), who was visiting from Nagano, Japan.


Riley C. Walter (Agriculture,’73; M.S., Agriculture, ’74) was selected for the fourth straight year as one of the top 100 lawyers in Northern California by Super Lawyers.

Marci (Schmidt) Cunningham (Agribusiness, ’74) works at Calcot Ltd., a cooperative cotton marketing organization, but says her passion is endurance horseback riding. In 2014 she rode her Arabian gelding more than 1,000 miles in more than 20 50-mile endurance rides. She has ridden in such locations as the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon National Park, Mojave National Preserve, and Mt. Carmel, Utah. “It’s great to see the country from the back of a good horse,” she said.

David R. Peters (Ornamental Horticulture, ’74) continues landscape, irrigation and backflow work. For the last four years, he has also been making beer at North Carolina nano-brewery Bear Creek Brews. “We only make a barrel a week, but we are hoping to get to two barrels soon,” he wrote. “The demand for our beer is awesome.”

Geri L. (Bielar) Byrne (Animal Science, ’78) was elected to a second term on the Modoc County Board of Supervisors. Byrne sits on the executive committee of the Rural County Representatives of California, the lead organization representing the state’s 34 rural counties. In addition, she raises sheep, raises and trains working border collies, and produces stock dog training videos.

Alan Roach (Agriculture, ’70) attended his 50th high school reunion in September 2015 for Campbell High School in the San Jose area.


Dan Gudahl (M.S., Agriculture, ’87) is the chief of party for a four-year USDA-funded project called Philippine Cold Chain Project. This effort, focused on the Caraga region of the Philippine island of Mindanao, seeks to improve production of high-value perishable food crops while improving marketing and post-harvest handling. Learn more about this project at

Jeannie Marie (Betschart) Stowers (Agricultural Management, ’88) was promoted to production administration and analysis
manager at H.M. Clause Inc. in Modesto, Calif. She began her career with the company in November 1988, when it was known as Ferry-Morse Seed Co.


Roger Hanger (Fruit Science, ’96) has launched the website as part of his work as a certified handwriting analyst. He is completing a mastery handwriting certification program.


< Colton (right), the second child of Marcus Dunning (Agriculture Systems Management, ’02) was born July 15, 2014, joining his big brother Blake (left).

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