By Nancy Vigran
Reporter for the Sun-Gazette
FRESNO – On October 26, the Fresno State Alumni Association honored its Top Dog Award winners during the Alumni Awards Gala at the Save Mart Center. Among those named was Tulare’s Ellen Gorelick, who earned Top Dog status through the Henry Madden Library.
“It was really a beautiful event,” she said.
The following day, Top Dogs and their plus ones attended the Bulldogs homecoming game, sitting in the President’s Sky Box. The 2018 award winners were honored on the field during half-time activities. The Bulldogs dominated Hawaii, 50-20, adding to the excitement of the weekend.
It was during the summer, Gorelick said, she received a call from the Alumni Department telling her she was a Top Dog, she said. She was a combination of shocked and pleased. Although Gorelick spent her time in the art department during her time at Fresno State, many years later she worked on a project with the Madden Library, which prompted her award in that field.
Gorelick, who has lived in Tulare County since the early ‘70s, graduated from Fresno State in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, followed by a MA in 1982. She co-founded the Tulare Regional Arts Council and was the leading instigator for the creation of the Tulare Historical Museum. She was the museum’s first curator, and later worked a second stint as its executive director and chief curator. It was during this time she worked on the project with the Madden Library.
Gorelick credits her college instructors for inspiring her.
“It was because of them I was able to teach at COS, and at Fresno State,” where she also ran the art gallery, she said. It was through her education that she developed the skills to manage a gallery, and a museum.
“An education is very important, you never know where it might lead you,” she said.
The Alumni Association has been awarding its Top Dogs since 1953, said Nicole Traverso, events manager and volunteer coordinator. Nominations are submitted from those on campus as well as out in the community, she added. A committee then whittles down the nominations to the winners.
The Distinguished Alumna award was given to 1995 grad Safiya Umoja Noble, and the Arthur Safstrom Service Award was awarded to Harry Gaykian, a 1955 grad. Eleven others, besides Gorelick, received awards from various colleges and divisions of the university.
A call for 2019 nominations will go out in January.