Darius Assemi leads list of 15 honored at Fresno State Top Dog gala

The Fresno BeeOctober 14, 2013 

Fresno homebuilder Darius Assemi will be the leading man at the Fresno State Alumni Association's Top Dog Alumni Awards Gala on Friday.

Assemi, who has led Granville Homes since 2009 and is described by the Alumni Association as an entrepreneur and philanthropist, will be honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Top Dog Award. Assemi, 53, graduated with honors from California State University, Fresno in 1983 with a civil engineering degree. Before becoming president of Granville Homes, Assemi served as vice president for the local, family-owned and operated home builder.

The most recent example of his philanthropy: He was honored by the Marjaree Mason Center after Granville built a new home in Clovis that will allow women and children to escape abuse.

And Granville Homes is in the midst of its eighth annual Home of Hope charity house giveaway to benefit local nonprofits.

Assemi will be joined by 14 other honorees who represent the university's colleges and schools, athletics, the Henry Madden Library, Student Affairs and Graduate Studies.

Twelve have been named Outstanding Alumni:

• Ruben Castillo, administrator for the Fresno County Office of Education Migrant Education Program.

• Enrique E. Figueroa, chief executive and administrative officer of the Roberto Hernandez Center at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

• Carole Goldsmith, president of West Hills College Coalinga.

• Kirk Grimes, group president for the Fluor Corporation, a Fortune 500 company that does construction projects worldwide.

• Nancy Hollingsworth, president and CEO of Saint Agnes Medical Center.

• Anthony Marquez, Los Angeles bureau chief for The Associated Press.

• Henry R. Perea, Fresno County Board of Supervisors chairman.

• Carissa Phelps, a former foster child who became an author, social entrepreneur and youth advocate.

• Tim Rios, senior vice president of and leader of the Social Responsibility Group for Wells Fargo Bank.

• Ken Schmidt, principal of Ken Schmidt & Associates, a Fresno environmental consulting firm.

• Saundra "Sandy" Speers Stubblefield, volunteer and friend of Fresno State.

• Kevin Sweeney, who set the NCAA career football passing yardage record (since broken) at Fresno State and went on to a brief National Football League career and is now senior vice president at Wells Fargo Bank.

Also, Omel Nieves and Dennis Woods, the co-chairs of Fresno State's seven-year campaign that raised more than $214 million for scholarships, faculty, programs and facilities, will each receive the Arthur Safstrom Service Award, which recognizes service in the community and in support of Fresno State.Woods is president and chief executive officer of United Security Bank in Fresno. Nieves is senior shareholder, chief operations officer and partner of the Pasadena-based law firm Hunt, Ortmann, Palffy, Nieves, Darling & Mah, Inc. and a former Bulldogs basketball player who played on the 1983 National Invitation Tournament-championship team coached by Boyd Grant.

The Top Dog gala is sold out. It begins Friday at 5:30 p.m. in the Save Mart Center and is part of homecoming week.

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