FRESNO — Dr. Matthew Jendian, Dr. Mark Keppler and Caty Perez from Fresno State have been selected for membership in the first cohort of The James Irvine Foundation New Leadership Network.

The network is a new program that brings together 12 diverse San Joaquin Valley leaders across issues, sectors and generations. The group will learn, collaborate and build relationships with one another to contribute to a better future for the Valley.

Foundation officials say the program differs from other leadership programs in two ways. First, it will include a unique mix of individuals, who are brought together across traditional divides and second, it will share innovative leadership and social change approaches to help create an enduring network of leaders committed to improving the Valley for decades to come.

Matthew Ari Jendian is founding director of Fresno State’s Humanics Program in Community Benefit Administration and serves as a professor and chair of the Department of Sociology.

He is the recipient of the 2012 President’s Award of Excellence presented by the University Advisory Board at Fresno State, the Provost’s Award for Faculty Service, the Social Action Award from Temple Beth Israel, and the Amigo Award from Vida en El Valle.

Jendian received his B.A. in Sociology and minor degrees in Psychology and Armenian Studies from Fresno State and his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California.

Mark Keppler is the executive director of The Maddy Institute for Public Affairs, a non-partison public policy institute housed at Fresno State. He also teaches in the university’s Craig School of Business. He earned his B.S. in Business, with a minor in Economics, from the State University of New York, as well as an M.S. in Industrial Relations and a law degree from the University of Wisconsin.

Keppler is a mediator for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a labor-management arbitrator for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. He is the founder and chairman of the Clovis Community Foundation, as well as the founder and chairman of the Coalition for Community Trails, which merged with Tree Fresno in 2005.

Caty Perez serves as a director of development at Fresno State. She spent 12 years working for the Craig School of Business and now supports the Lyles College of Engineering, College of Science and Math and College of Social Science. She works on major gifts, planned gifts and volunteer leadership.

Perez is a charter member and past president of River Park Rotary, where she has twice-received the Service Above Self award. She was named the 2004 Woman of the Year by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, named in the inaugural class of the “Top 40 Under 40” and served as a member of Leadership Fresno Class XIX.

She has a B.A. in Applied Mathematics and minor in Business Leadership from Fresno Pacific University and M.A. in Education Leadership from Fresno State.

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