President’s Report: Dr. David J. Fike Outlines GGU’s Present and Future

President David J. Fike joined Golden Gate University two years ago and has ushered in changes to keep what it offers to students fresh and responsive to rapidly changing times. He says: “Through economic booms and busts, GGU has remained impressively committed to providing a high-quality, pragmatic and professional education to working adults. That historic and ongoing commitment is our mission and our promise.”

During Dr. Fike’s tenure, new educational routes and degrees have come online that are specifically designed for career advancement for working adults:

Here are some facts gleaned from the report:

About GGU

  • For the second consecutive year, Washington Monthly ranks Golden Gate University America’s #1 School for Adult Learners in its annual College Guide and Rankings.
  • EMBA faculty—more than 80% of them—are scholar-practitioners, active professionals in the real world of business.
  • The incoming Board President, Randall W. Merk,  is a GGU graduate (MBA ’85) who is retired Executive Vice President of The Charles Schwab Corporation and past President of Schwab Financial Products.

About our Students

  • 89% are over 25.
  • 44% of undergraduates are people of color and 62% of first-year law students identify as a minority.
  • 48% of undergraduates are online students.

About our Graduates

  • 68,000+ graduates and climbing
  • GGU had the highest mean earnings of adult students 10 years after graduation among four-year colleges for adult learners.

What’s Next?

Dr. Fike reports that the Framing Our Future initiative will introduce new degrees and programs, integrate degree and credentialing programs for greater student flexibility, expand its partnerships with the business community, and implement strategic priorities and capacity building for continued leadership in the future.

Read the President’s Report >>

GGU’s Women in Leadership Series and Why It Matters

By Marianne Koch, PhD
Associate Dean, Ageno School of Business

We believe that GGU’s annual Women in Leadership event is valuable for women in the San Francisco Bay area at the start of careers in business, law, or entrepreneurship. Open both to the GGU community and the public, this event gives attendees the chance to learn directly from real-world experiences of highly successful and entrepreneurial women.

Marianne Koch

Held in the evening, the Women in Leadership event includes Q&A with panelists, networking with old friends and new acquaintances, and food and drink.  Since its launch five years ago, panelists and moderators – most of whom are GGU alumnae – have included executive-level women from Franklin Templeton Investments, Sequoia Capital, Salesforce, and Yahoo!; entrepreneurs from Lamano Law and Strategy Squad Insurance Services; and public servants from the SF Employees’ Retirement System, SF Child Support Services, and the State Board of Equalization.

This Year’s Event: Sharing Life and Career Experience

Last month, I moderated the fifth iteration of this event, which featured (pictured, left to right) Helen Fanucci, Global Windows Sales Leader, Microsoft Corporation; Nicole Middleton (MS, Financial Planning ’17), CEO of Strategy Squad Insurance Services, and Hazel Blackhart (JD ’08), Group Product Manager, Hematology at Genentech.

To get us started, I asked the panelists to tell us about some decisions they had made – both good and bad in terms of results – and what they learned from them. Their candid responses addressed the fallout from poorly timed decisions, finding the courage to take on assignments that they believed they weren’t quite ready for, and finding a trustworthy mentor who lit the path for them. From my place at the podium, I observed smiles, heads nodding in approval, and outbursts of applause of support from all.

Audience members took turns asking questions and sharing their perspectives on a host of topics related to women at work. Many questions were personal (“I’ve just been promoted to management and I have no role models; what do I do?”), or bold (“How do you deal with men coming on to you inappropriately at work?”). Audience comments were tremendously helpful and resources were shared as well. As in earlier years, the support and interest made for a useful and warm experience.

Women in Leadership organizers (left to right): Amina Kasumov (Enrollment Manager, GGU), Kendra Calvert (Director, Admissions, and Recruitment, GGU) and Marianne Koch.

Although growth in the number of women in leadership positions in the U.S. is extremely slow, events like these serve as a catalyst for that to change – and we are proud to be part of it.

Photo Credit: Jenny LeMaster

About Dr. Marianne Koch

Dr. Marianne Koch is an educator, human resources manager and consultant with experience in designing and delivering educational programs, and managing and consulting in the fields of human resource management and labor relations. She has worked in a variety of venues to help managers improve how they manage people at work, help organizations understand, clarify and improve practices for the management of people at work, and research and write about such issues as collaboration, work / family practices, and the relationship of human resource management practices to productivity. Dr. Koch is the Associate Dean of the Ageno School of Business, HR Program Director and also a Professor of Management.

Women in Leadership’s Tradition of Excellence Continues

Now entering its 5th year, GGU’s Women in Leadership event has attracted successful panelists who have launched businesses or are prominent at corporations, nonprofits, and law firms. The 2016 event was no different and featured alumnae (pictured below, left to right) Givelle Lamano (JD ’10), Attorney at Lamano Law Offices; Sofia Tulchinsky (MBA ’96), Senior Director Global Business Planning & Strategy at Salesforce; and Susan Lovegren (MS, Human Resource Management ’86), Chief People Officer at AppDynamics.

2016 Alumnae Panelists

The 2016 event was hosted by Dr. Marianne Koch who is Associate Dean of GGU’s Ageno School of Business, HR Program Director, and a Professor of Management. Dr. Koch began the session by posing a single question to the three GGU alumnae: What choices did you have to make to get where you are today? The answers touched on themes such as their career paths and accomplishments; challenges and solutions specific to women; networking; and the link between personal and professional development.

Last year’s event drew 175 attendees from the GGU community and beyond. If you want to see more of what you can expect at this year’s Women in Leadership Event, we invite you to watch the video of the 2016 event.

The 5th Annual Women in Leadership Event Is on October 25th!

Attendees of this year’s event can expect another group of accomplished women who will share real-world advice based on their personal and professional journeys. The event is open to the GGU community and the public. Admission to this event is free and refreshments will be provided. We also invite you to take advantage of networking before and after the panel.

2017 Women in Leadership Panelists

Helen Fanucci, Global Windows Sales Leader, Microsoft Corporation

Hazel Blackhart (JD ’08), Group Product Manager, Hematology Franchise Communications, Operations and Alliance Strategy, Genentech, Inc.

Nicole Middleton (MS FIPL ’17), Chief Executive Officer
Strategy Squad Insurance Services

Event Details & Free Registration

Date: October 25, 2017
Time: 5:30 – 8 p.m.
Location: Golden Gate University, San Francisco [directions]


5:30 – 6:30 pm — Registration begins / networking
6:30 – 7:30 pm — Panel discussion and Q&A
7:30 – 8:00 pm — Post-panel networking

For more information about this event, please visit

Get updates and share with friends: #GGUWomen.

Related GGU Blog Post: My Advice for Women in Business: Know What You Want and Ask for It! by Helen Fanucci, ‎Global Windows Sales and Digital Transformation Leader at ‎Microsoft.

All photos above by Jenny LeMaster.

Women in Leadership Event Includes Accomplished Genentech Professional

Hazel Blackhart (JD ’08), a GGU alumnae and Product Manager at Genentech, will be a panelist at the 5th Annual Women in Leadership event in October at GGU.

A biotechnology professional for over 14 years, Blackhart’s experience includes strategic partnerships, operations, patient advocacy, communications and people engagement. Her strengths are in the areas of teamwork & collaboration, leading & influencing, and drive for results.

Blackhart has held various legal positions at Genentech including Head of Global Product Strategy and Global Medical Affairs, Contracts. She was also a member of the company’s Intellectual Property law group.

In anticipation of the Women in Leadership event, we asked her what single piece of advice she would give to women in business. She says:

My one piece of advice to a woman entering a new career or extending her career would be to consider your areas of strength—balanced by the areas you want a challenge in. The right role for me has always been one in which I could leverage my areas of strength as a solid foundation with the opportunity to stretch, grow, and learn. Finding this right balance can be tricky and can take time, but it will set you up for success in the long run!


5th Annual Women in Leadership Event

Join Hazel Blackhart and other distinguished panelists as they share stories, tips, and insights on how to navigate a successful career. The event is open to the GGU community and the public. Admission to this event is free and refreshments will be provided.

Date: October 25, 2017
Time: 5:30 – 8 p.m.
Location: Golden Gate University, San Francisco [directions]


5:30 – 6:30 pm — Registration begins / networking
6:30 – 7:30 pm — Panel discussion and Q&A
7:30 – 8:00 pm — Post-panel networking

For more information about this event, please visit

Get updates and share with friends: #GGUWomen.

Anthony Niedwiecki Named New Dean of Golden Gate University School of Law

Golden Gate University President David Fike is proud to announce the appointment of Anthony Niedwiecki as the new Dean of the Golden Gate University School of Law. Coming from his previous position as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Niedwiecki brings a portfolio of administrative accomplishments and a commitment to diversity, inclusion and student success. His appointment begins August 1, 2017.

“We are delighted to welcome Dean Niedwiecki to join us as our Law School Dean,” said President Fike. “Anthony is a natural leader who is uniquely qualified to lead GGU Law during this disruptive period in legal education. He is not only dedicated to a high standard of academic excellence and scholarship, but he is also an innovative thinker with a wonderfully positive outlook and deep dedication to a student-centered learning environment.”

Read the full press release >>

GGU Law Student Links Intellectual Property Law with Food Pics on Instagram

You know you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area when copyright protection and food obsession come together in an academic paper. The paper, by Venus Ho, a third-year law student in GGU School of Law’s Intellectual Property (IP) program, recently won a prize in a student writing competition at the University of New Hampshire.

Venus Ho (’17)

It begins with this scenario: It’s Friday night, and you’re out for dinner at your favorite restaurant. The food comes, looking “so delicious and well-plated that you take photos of the food and your friends with your cell phone.” You upload the photos to Instagram and a few days later, your pictures are everywhere, printed on flyers promoting the restaurant. But you haven’t given your permission—and you’re upset.

The paper criticizes the US Copyright Office’s 2015 proposal as an attempt resolving the problem of “copyright protection for orphaned works” — meaning works whose creator is either unknown or unfound. Ho explains that, in the digital age, this is an increasingly common problem. Her solution: the US Copyright Office should establish a database of orphaned photos and a clearinghouse to collect modest licensing fees from anyone who wants to use an orphaned photo. Then, if the creator steps forward, he or she will be able to earn some compensation for the use of their work.

Ho, who was born in Hong Kong and raised in Toronto, did photography as a hobby during her undergraduate studies and has always been interested in the arts. Studying IP law has been a great way to combine her two great interests: the law and the arts. For her, GGU Law’s small size and the connections her professors and students have with movers and shakers in the legal and creative communities has made her legal education rewarding.

Her next goal: Pass the California and Texas Bar Exams and work at a firm that specializes in IP law.

Learn more about GGU’s School of Law programs >>

Women Make High-Level Contributions at Golden Gate University

As Women’s History Month draws to a close, we would like to acknowledge the accomplished women who make a large contribution at GGU. Women are represented at the VP and Dean level — and are well over half of the degree program chairs and directors.

Vice President and Deans

Barbara Karlin
Vice President, Academic Affairs & Professor, School of Taxation

Rachel Van Cleve
Dean of the School of Law Professor of Law

Kayla Krupnick Walsh, Dean Student Services

Associate & Assistant Deans

Benedetta Faedi Duramy
Associate Dean for Faculty Scholarship, School of Law

Corey Farris
Associate Dean for Law Career Development, School of Law

Marianne Koch
Associate Dean, Ageno School of Business

Jamie Nye
Associate Dean, Law Student Support, School of Law

Ayana Richardson
Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Program

Jelena Kelleher Ristic
Associate Dean and Director for Undergraduate Program

Kimberly Staley
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, School of Law

Chairs & Directors

Ageno School of Business

Andrea Anthony, Department Chair for the Financial & Economics Department 

Kendra Calvert, Director of Admissions and Recruitment

Cassandra Dilosa, Director of Administration, Graduate Programs

Judith Lee, Chair of Business Analytics, Operations, & IT Management

Marcia Ruben, Chair, Graduate Management Program Assistant Professor

Marie Spark, Director, Project Management Program

Blodwen Tarter, Chair and Professor of Marketing and Public Relations

PLUS Program

Karen McRobie, Director

School of Law

Rana Boujaoude, Director, Bar Services Program

Olivera Jovanovic, Director, Graduate Law Programs

Reichi Lee, Director, Academic Development Program Adjunct Professor

School of Taxation

Kathleen Wright, Director of State and Local Tax, Braden School of Taxation

Undergraduate Programs

Nabanita Talukdar, Director of Math Programs

Sarah Maslov, Director of Administration, Undergraduate Programs

Associate & Assistant Directors

Academic Affairs, Student Life, and Wellness Services

Jennifer Carri,  Director, Student Life and Wellness Services

Alliah Gilman-Bey, Associate Director, Advising Services

Lori Granger, Assistant Director, Wellness Services
Regina Guerrero, Associate Director for Academic Affairs

Sandra Jimenez, Assistant Director, Student life

Neepa Parikh, Associate Director, Office of Career Services

Saba Sohail, Assistant Director, Advising Services

GGU also supports the success of its female students with its annual Women in Leadership event. You can watch the recent panel discussion, which was hosted by Ageno School of Business Associate Dean Marianne Koch.

Labor Laws, Diversity, and Giving 100%: Dean Rachel Van Cleave Interviews the President of GGU’s Student Bar Association

JATell me something special or interesting about your background before you went to law school?

Unsurprisingly, I have been involved in student government since middle school, through high school and college. I really enjoy being involved in advocating for students and in advancing policies that better support students.

Why did you decide to go to law school?

I am a first generation American; my parents came to the US from Nicaragua and they instilled in me the value of working to improve myself and my community. I saw how my mom was treated by her employer when I learned that her employer was not complying with employment laws, I became frustrated by not being able to do anything about it. Enrolling in the Women’s Employment Rights Clinic (WERC) I have come to appreciate the power my law degree will give me to work for enforcement of the laws intended to protect workers.

The legal profession has not yet achieved enough diversity. It is important that our society has lawyers with different perspectives and backgrounds to ensure that those who seek access to the justice system have a lawyer who can empathize with their situation. I take very seriously my position as a role model and seek to encourage more to achieve greater diversity.

Tell me something special or interesting about your law school experience.

At first, moving from Los Angeles to San Francisco was a big adjustment for me, but I quickly fell in love with GGU. I have made many very good friends and have learned a lot from faculty, especially working with Professor Hina Shah in WERC. In particular, I have learned a lot about the practice of law, working with clients and how to provide effective representation. Professor Shah also helped me and other students start a new student group, Labor and Employment Law Association (LELA). Although I still root for LA sports teams, I love the Bay Area.

What is your greatest source of motivation/support as you work towards your JD?
My family. They have supported me and encouraged me to be a role model for the Latino/a community. The legal profession has not yet achieved enough diversity. It is important that our society has lawyers with different perspectives and backgrounds to ensure that those who seek access to the justice system have a lawyer who can empathize with their situation. I take very seriously my position as a role model and seek to encourage more to achieve greater diversity.

In sports, people often talk about “leaving it all on the field” and I encourage you to approach law school and your legal career in the same way — over prepare, focus on achieving your personal best, 100%, all the time.

What is your favorite thing you do when you are not at law school?
I like to play and watch sports, especially basketball. Playing basketball is a good stress reliever. It may even boost my career. I recently got an elbow jabbed near my eye. A partner at Hanson Bridgett, where I am working this summer, asked me how I got a black eye and when I told him it was from playing basketball, he invited me to join regular pick-up games with Bay Area lawyers at 7:00 am on Fridays!

What message/advice do you have for your fellow law students?
No matter what you are trying to — getting a job or preparing for an exam — give it your all and do your best. In sports, people often talk about “leaving it all on the field” and I encourage you to approach law school and your legal career in the same way — over prepare, focus on achieving your personal best, 100%, all the time. My advice for first-year students is to get involved but don’t over commit. Talk to other students about ways to get involved and select what aligns best with your strengths, passion and career goals.

If not in law school right now, what would you be doing?
Politics. Before law school, I was involved in fundraising for the Obama campaign and more recently, if I were not in law school I would have been working for the Sanders campaign. I might eventually get back into politics.

Josue Aparicio finishes his term as the Student Bar Association president this April and will be graduating with a Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) degree in May. Currently, he is Judicial Extern for Presiding Justice Ruvolo at California Court of Appeal.

About the Interviewer

rachel-van-cleaveDean Rachel Van Cleave has devoted her career to legal education. She has taught at six law schools and has been at GGU Law since 2004. She has served as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for four years and is in her fourth year serving as Dean. Dean Van Cleave loves GGU Law’s mission and history and enjoys getting to know students and learning how we can best support their success. In particular, Dean Van Cleave appreciates partnering with students, faculty and staff to enhance all that we do to cultivate lawyers who will be a part of building a better and more just society.

Dean Van Cleave is an avid SF Giants fan but enjoys attending games with Josue and other students who have different baseball loyalties!

Making Choices:  Successful Bay Area Women Share Their Career Experiences

In honor of Women’s History Month, we invite you to watch the video of GGU’s 4th Annual Women in Leadership event that took place last fall. The panel event exposed current students to professional women who gave advice and shared stories on the topics of launching a new career, networking, personal values, and work-life balance. Three GGU alumni served as panelists:

Sofia Tulchinsky
(MBA ’96), Senior Director of Global Business Planning & Strategy, Salesforce

Givelle Lamano
(JD ’10), Attorney, Lamano Law Offices & Alameda County and co-founder of the Three Strikes Justice Center

Susan Lovegren
(MBA ’86), Chief People Officer, AppDynamics

The event was hosted by Dr. Marianne Koch who is Associate Dean of the Ageno School of Business, HR Program Director and a Professor of Management. Dr. Koch began the session by posing a single question to the three GGU alumni: What choices did you have to make to get where you are today? Here are a few choice quotes:

You can’t just decide what you like. You have to go through a series of steps to find out what you don’t like.

—Sofia Tulchinsky (MBA ’96)

I sought out successful female professionals in the Bay Area that shared my values. Personal Development precedes professional development.

—Givelle Lamano (JD ’10)

Selecting companies where I could learn from others was important at the start of my career.

—Susan Lovegren (MBA ’86)

You can watch the full video (below) or watch shorter highlights version on YouTube.


My Life as a Chinese Graduate Law School Student in San Francisco


Aileen Ping Huang is a graduate of the Doctor of Judicial Science (SJD) (’14) program at Golden Gate University specializing in International Commercial Arbitration.

When I was admitted to Golden Gate University Law School’s SJD (Doctor of Juridical Science) program, I was very excited. I dreamed of getting my doctorate ever since I started teaching in China at the Wuhan University of Science and Technology, Zhongnan Campus. I wanted to study in the U.S. for a few reasons: to learn about U.S. law because it has a common law system rather than China’s statutory law system; to introduce U.S. case law to China for academic research and China’s ongoing legal reform; and to experience legal education at a U.S. law school. Most of all, GGU has an excellent SJD program for international students that I could not find in a lot of other law schools.

Translation of First Paragraph

Starting My Journey

My contact with GGU, from my first inquiry through admission, was so pleasant that I felt immediately welcomed as an international student. The journey started with orientation week for new students where GGU staff introduced us to our peer mentors who would facilitate our studies and lives in San Francisco. They were well-informed about how to survive school (and ace every semester!), rent an apartment, get around on BART trains, and sign up for mobile cell phone service. As international students, we had no idea where to find housing and needed information on San Francisco renting. GGU gave us what we needed to figure out where to live and connected us with other students who might be able to share a place.

Some international students like me, whose native language is not English, would run into various problems. Nevertheless, we were never left to fend for ourselves and fortunately were given timely help from GGU staff.

Touring San Francisco

The most fun part of orientation week was the tour of San Francisco in motor carts. The student advisor of the law school international studies led the trip. He introduced the history of each place we visited. Along the way, our peer mentors told us about nice places to shop, dine, exercise, and have fun.
As law students, our lives can be hectic and stressful at times. I recharged by going to exotic places in the city we discovered together. Of course, above all places, Chinatown is my favorite. Although it has a large Chinese population, it is only a physical replica of China and a far cry from modern China! I like tasting various Chinese food options, but they are not quite authentic because they are Americanized. Yet, it has some flavor of my hometown, which soothes my homesickness.

At the GGU Sompong Fulbright Symposium on International Law in 2013. Left to Right: Chen, Li (law professor from Shanghai Fudan University School of Law); Professor Arthur Gemmell (GGU adjunct professor); Aileen, and classmate Weiwei Zhang (GGU SJD candidate).


At GGU you will have no problem connecting with your fellows through various events jointly held by GGU and different groups and organizations. GGU alumni work in various organizations and businesses. This establishes a good avenue for us to develop friendships, to have fellowship, and, more importantly, to land future work opportunities. I am a member of the Asian American Bar Association and I got to know some Chinese-American lawyers at a networking event. I shared with them my interest in legal translation and they offered me a volunteer opportunity that I am still committed to.

Doctoral Journey

The main part of my journey at GGU law school was the doctoral research paper. It was no doubt a gigantic project, which took lots of time and effort to finish. What was encouraging to us was that the Law School committee members were always there for us; so we kept making progress until our dissertations were finished.

Aileen on graduation day

As my research was about Chinese arbitration and culture, I took the International Commercial Arbitration course, which was taught by Professor Arthur Gemmell. I was fascinated by this course not only because it was the topic of my research, but also because he did a great job drawing our attention to the key issues and giving us challenging case analysis assignments. With his instruction, I developed new reasoning and analytical skills by the end of the term.

The chair of the International Legal Studies, Professor Christian Nwachukwu Okeke, showed great concern to international students throughout the process. Considering the challenge of writing the dissertation in English, he assigned Professor Nancy Younge as our technical coach to help us with issues of formality, structure, and grammar in our papers.

Aileen (center, sitting) and students of the Comparative Law course taught by Professor Christian Okeke (directly behind her).

There seemed to be nothing GGU had not considered to help international students, from the beginning to the end of the program. GGU makes me feel at home in the U.S. Regardless of what part of the world you come from — or what race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, or age you may be — GGU opens its arms to embrace you. Whatever you need here, GGU cares and is ready to help. That is the spirit of GGU and that is the spirit that makes GGU shine!

About Dr. Aileen Ping Huang

Before moving to the U.S., Dr. Aileen Ping Huang earned the BA degree in Chinese Language and Literature at Wuhan University, and the JM (Juris Master) degree specializing in International Environmental Law at Zhongnan University of Economics and Law. She taught Professional English and the Fundamental Law bilingually at Wuhan University of Science and Technology, Zhongnan Campus. She also taught Chinese to foreign experts when she was the coordinator of the University’s international office. She came to the U.S. in 2007 and started her legal study at the LL.M U.S. legal studies at California Western School of Law, and later devoted herself to the SJD (Doctor of Judicial Science) program at Golden Gate University specializing in International Commercial Arbitration, earning an SJD doctoral degree in May 2014. She is currently studying Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts, and Probate Law at GGU, and plans to sit on the California bar. Currently, she is researching Chinese law and culture. She is also active in rendering voluntary legal services in mediation, arbitration, legal interpretation for nonprofit organizations such as Asian American Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus, San Francisco Community Boards, and the SF Homeless Supportive and Housing. She is a member of the San Francisco Bar Association, and a member of the Asian American Bar Association.

International student? Request information here >>