CLA Distinguished Alumni 2007May 15, 2007
Best-selling mystery novelist Jan Burke, creator of the award-winning Irene Kelly series including the most recent, titled “Kidnapped,” wanted to write since she was seven years old. She completed her first novel, “Goodnight, Irene,” in the evenings after working as a manager of a sculpting plant. It sold unagented and unsolicited to Simon and Schuster, and she soon left her day job to write full time. Since then, Simon and Schuster has published a long string of her novels and short stories. Among other awards, Burke won the Mystery Writers of America’s 2000 Edgar Award for Best Novel in recognition of “Bones,” and received an Edgar nomination for Best Short Story for “The Abbey Ghosts.” Her short stories have won the Agatha, two Macavity awards and the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Reader’s Award. While at CSULB, she held leadership positions in several student organizations and later worked as a researcher on the university’s oral history project, interviewing individuals for the “Rosie the Riveter Revisited” segments. “The University was a place to meet people who stimulated ideas and exponentially expanded my horizons,” she recalled. Moreover, “The organizational skills I learned through the Associated Students have been invaluable to me,” including as the founder and director of the Crime Lab Project, as organization working to raise awareness about the problems facing crime labs and the need to obtain better funding for forensic science.
Paul Turner says that everything he has done as a judge “was the subject of my four years at CSULB,” because the professors demanded “rigorous and principled analysis of political and legal issues.” Appointed to Division Five of the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District by Governor George Deukmejian, he was confirmed as an associate justice in 1989 and was elevated to presiding justice in 1991. As a presiding justice, he has sat on the California Supreme Court on seven occasions. He is currently a member of the Second Appellate District Executive Committee. He is also a member of the California Judge’s Association, where he has served on civil law and procedure, criminal law, and election committees. On four separate occasions, the California Supreme Court has assigned him as a special master in hearings ordered by the Commission on Judicial Performance. Turner has spoken to numerous bar associations and legal and community groups including the California Judges Association, American Bar Association and the Governor’s Conference on Terrorism. Several times a year, he teaches a class of police officers on warrantless searches and seizures at the CSULB Institute of Criminal Justice. Turner’s hobbies include attending collegiate sporting events, theatre, and concerts at Disney Hall. Both his father, George (1954, M.A., Social Science), and his brother, Charles (1985, B.S., Industrial Technology), have graduated from CSULB. Turner and his wife, Elizabeth, have two daughters and one granddaughter.