Welcome, Cypress College Alums!
Our alumni are a source of pride, representing accomplishments in a wide array of fields. Through our connections with alumni, we foster lifelong relationships and support for the community, students, and activities of our campus.
Congratulations and welcome to the Cypress College Alumni Network! Register today!
As a new member of the Charger family, the Cypress College Foundation is pleased to invite you to enjoy the benefits of our Alumni Network. Benefits are ever-evolving and include invitations to exclusive Foundation and Alumni events and many other opportunities to stay connected.
Included with your registration of $25 you will receive a Cypress College Alumni license plate frame.
Family and Friends – The Cypress College Alumni Network makes a great gift to honor your graduate!
Alumnus of the Year
The Cypress College Foundation initiated the “Alumnus of the Year” Award in celebration of the College’s 30th anniversary. Every year since, the Alumnus of the Year has been honored at graduation. The award serves as recognition for the personal/professional achievements of Cypress College alumni and their contributions to their profession and to the community.
The Cypress College Foundation selects Betty Sarkis as the 2023 Alumnus of the Year. Betty was born and grew up in Tehran, Iran. As a Christian minority, after the Revolution in 1979, she was forced from her home and came to America through political asylum, arriving in San Francisco. Although she could speak Aramaic, Farsi, and French, she spoke no English.
She moved to Cypress and began her journey in 1989 at Cypress College. She started learning English as a second language and graduated in 1991. She then transferred to CSULB and completed her BA and MA in French and began teaching at CSULB as she earned her teaching credential and her first teaching position. Betty is now a high school teacher in Little Saigon where she teaches French and English learning Development and helps immigrant students from Vietnam, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Mexico.
Because of her life-changing experience at Cypress College, Betty has been a strong supporter and advocate of the college. She has inspired her husband, Troy, to give back to Cypress College. Together they have been actively involved since 2007 with the Cypress College Foundation providing significant support through the Americana events that provide an opportunity to students like her to get their education. In addition to her efforts, her husband was also awarded the 2022 Americana Citizen of the Year representing Los Alamitos.
Betty is grateful for her experience at Cypress College and the opportunity that was provided with so many memories and inspiration from her professors and counselors.
Past honorees include alumni from business, entertainment, sports, education, healthcare, law enforcement, the non-profit world, and more. What they have in common—in addition to having attended Cypress College—is a commitment to their profession, their community, and to the college.
Previous Honorees, Outstanding Alumnus of the Year
1996 – Stan Oftelie, CEO, Orange County Business Council
1997 – Dwayne Washington, M.D., Emergency Care Physician
1998 – David Holmquist, Athletic Director, Biola University
1999 – Robin Yaffe Tschumper, Executive Director, Houston County Women’s Resources
2000 – Tom Stretz, Executive Director, Los Alamitos Youth Center
2001 – Nancy K. Smith, Registered Nurse, Los Alamitos Medical Center
2002 – Mike Sellers, Chief of Police, City of Fullerton
2003 – Andy Fu, Service Manager, Irvine Toyota
2004 – Mark Eaton, Retired NBA Basketball Player
2005 – Geri Jewell, Actress, Comedienne, and Advocate for the Disabled
2006 – Walter K. Bowman, Owner, Bowman Real Estate
2007 – Mark Feitelson, Ph.D., Professor and Director, Biotechnology Center, Temple University
2008 – Sheila Carlon, Ph.D., Director & Associate Professor, Regis College Health Services
2009 – Danielle Nava, Director, Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood OC and San Bern. Counties
2010 – James D. Savage, Ph.D., Professor of Politics, University of Virginia
2011 – John Moore, Head Basketball Coach, Westmont College
2012 – Pierre Habis, Senior Executive Vice-President, Union Bank
2013 – Pamela Kahn, Coordinator, Health & Wellness, Orange County Dept. of Education
2014 – Reyna G. Rojas, Teacher, Long Beach Unified School District
2015 – Captain Russ Bird, Navy Pilot, Retired
2016 – Wayne T. Kistner, Attorney at Law
2017 – Swen Nater, Retired ABA and NBA Basketball Player
2018 – Curtis Sheetz, Founder and owner of Total Environmental Management, Inc.
2019 – Catherine Sorensen, Philanthropist
2021 – Nancy Matsui, Retired, American Airlines
2022 – Bonnie Peat, Council Member, City of Cypress; Women’s Club of Cypress
2023 – Betty Sarkis, Teacher, Garden Grove Unified School District