Winter 2009

Alumni News


Educator Bill Sonnenschein
Educator Bill Sonnenschein
William “Bill” Sonnenschein, a senior lecturer on leadership and communication at the Haas School, passed away suddenly on Dec. 29 in Madagascar. He died from heart failure following a brief gastric illness.

Sonnenschein, who was 59, was in Madagascar as a special adviser to the president, helping to establish an Office of Leadership and Communication for Sustainable Development. His wife, Ericka Lutz, an author, lecturer, and writing consultant at the Haas School, and his youngest daughter, Anaya, were with him when he died.

Sonnenschein returned to Madagascar in October for a six-month assignment, following a trip earlier in the year. At that time he created a nationwide leadership training program for mayors and community chiefs, wrote presidential speeches, and conducted workshops for the president’s staff. On this most recent trip, he planned to work on a conference for business and environmental leaders.

A Haas lecturer since 1992, Sonnenschein was integral to the teaching of leadership communication at the school, heading up the MBA core leadership communication program for both the Full-time and Evening & Weekend MBA Programs and teaching in the Undergraduate Program and Center for Executive Education. He was consistently recognized for his teaching by students.

“Bill helped transform what was a disjointed set of low-enrollment electives into an integrated core course on leadership communication required of all MBA students that is now an important part of the Haas School’s business curriculum,” said Andrew Shogan, former associate dean who oversaw all Haas instruction until 2008.

Sonnenschein also served as a faculty advisor and executive board member for the Young Entrepreneurs at Haas, an outreach program for local students.

“We will miss Bill dearly,” said Haas School Dean Rich Lyons. “He was a close friend and inspiration to many of us within the Haas community.”

Sonnenschein taught more than 10,000 students at UC Berkeley and several other Bay Area universities during his career. His book Diversity Toolkit was a training tool for organizations and universities. Sonnenschein was also an active volunteer with such organizations as World Pulse, a web and print forum covering global issues through the eyes of women.

A public memorial service will be held March 15 at the International House in Berkeley. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Balls Without Borders, UNICEF, or Doctors Without Borders.



Mike Homer, BS 81
Mike Homer
Silicon Valley technology veteran Mike Homer, BS 81, a dedicated supporter of the Haas School’s Center for Responsible Business, died Feb. 1 after a long battle with a rare brain disease. He was 50.

Homer played a major role in the early development of computing and the Internet, first at Apple as then-CEO John Scully’s technical advisor and then at Netscape as VP of marketing. As he became well known in Silicon Valley as an influential mentor and angel investor, Homer gave back to the Haas community as a founding funder of the Center for Responsible Business (CRB) and chair of the center’s advisory board.

“Mike Homer was a coach, a mentor, a friend, and a true hero,” said Kellie McElhaney, CRB‘s founding executive director, who dedicated her recent book to Homer. “Mike was a real beacon of acting in the best interest of society through his business power.”

From humble blue-collar beginnings in San Francisco, Homer made his way to the upper echelons of the high-tech world through focus, determination, long hours, and a fortuitous penchant for computers.

To put himself through UC Berkeley, Homer held down a full-time supermarket job. At graduation, he landed a job as a computer applications programmer, but was soon after snatched up by Apple to develop systems software. Hit with startup fever, Homer left Apple in 1991 to head marketing for GO, one of the first developers of mobile hand-held computers.

When venture capitalist John Doerr recruited him as the VP of marketing for browser company Netscape in 1994, Homer became a major player in the creation of the commercial Internet. Homer wrote Netscape’s business plan and helped raise the last crucial round of private financing before its initial public offering in 1995, according to the New York Times.

After Netscape was acquired by America Online in 2000, Homer went on to start another technology company, Kontiki, a provider of videoon- demand software.

Homer is survived by his wife, Kristina, and three children, James, Jack, and Lucy.

Edward Dalaei, BS 07

Edward Dalaei

Edward Dalaei, BS 07, died suddenly Oct. 15 after collapsing at UC Berkeley’s Recreational Sports Facility while playing basketball. He died of artherosclerotic coronary artery disease.

Remembered by friends and family as generous, energetic, and thoughtful, Dalaei, 30, was a natural leader who made friends very easily. Born in Houston, Texas, he came to the Bay Area for college, attending a local community college before transferring to Haas in 2005.

Although he was older than many other students, Dalaei had no difficulty adjusting to the social and academic challenges at Haas. “He had an understanding of people,” his girlfriend, Sonia Rao, 09, told the Daily Californian student newspaper. “He could connect with anyone instantly.”

Dalaei was a member of the Alpha Beta chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi, the professional business fraternity, and spent much of his time on campus with his fellow fraternity members. Upon graduation, Dalaei worked at several companies in San Francisco, including Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus, and Cleantech Group, before landing a job at Golden Gate Capital.

“Edward died doing one of the things he loved most – playing basketball – in a place he loved most – the Bay Area,” his family wrote in an obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle.



Biotech Lecturer Tom Sanders

Thomas G. Sanders, who originated and taught the Management of Technology Program class Biotechnology Industry Perspectives and Business Development, passed away Nov. 21 after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Sanders, 68, taught the biotech course from fall 2003 until fall 2007, when he brought on a Chiron colleague to co-teach with him.

Sanders was vice president of business development at MitoKor, a San Diego biotech firm, from 1999 to 2002. Before that, he spent 15 years at Chiron, an Emeryville, Calif., biotech company, where he held several management positions, including director of business development and director of technology alliances and transfer.

Prior to joining Chiron, Sanders was a faculty member in the departments of biology and biochemistry at Lake Forest College and Princeton University. He received his Ph.D. and MS degrees in biochemistry from the University of Illinois, Champaign, and a BA degree in biology from Williams College in Massachusetts.

Contributions in Sanders’ memory may be sent to Dr. Eric Small, Director of Urologic Oncology, University of California, San Francisco, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Mt. Zion Hospital, 1600 Divisadero St., San Francisco, CA 94115. Checks should be made payable to the UCSF Foundation and note that the contribution is for prostate cancer research.


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