Dos Pueblos might have robots, and San Marcos might have entrepreneurs, but Santa Barbara is “the high school,” said Paula Lopez at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony for the oldest high school in Santa Barbara. The 1983 graduate and award-winning broadcast journalist, who left fame and acclaim in Los Angeles to work in her hometown, was joined as an inductee by Dr. Ellen Simpson (’35), Floyd Norman (’53), George Burtness (’49), and Dr. Erno Daniel (’64).
Simpson, among the first female doctors who dedicated much of her time to diabetic children — and a pilot to boot — passed away in 2011, so her niece Robin Rickershauser accepted the award in her place. Simpson was born premature with a weight of under three pounds, said Rickershauser. Her mother rigged up two incubators with shoeboxes for Simpson and her twin. They survived. Simpson was “a really strong woman as she had to be,” said her niece.
After a successful career in Silicon Valley and managing real estate for his alma mater, Stanford University, George Burtness returned to Santa Barbara as a volunteer extraordinaire, offering his time and energy to organizations like the Lobero Theatre Foundation, the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, Recording for the Blind, the Braille Institute, Direct Relief International, Lotusland, the Santa Cruz Island Foundation, and Cottage Hospital. He has traveled the world with the environmental charity Earthwatch, and he urged current Dons to volunteer themselves.
Floyd Norman left Santa Barbara for a career as an animator where he drew storyboards for iconic Disney projects like Sleeping Beauty and also worked for Hanna-Barbera. He co-owns a company called Vignette films where, among his other projects, he creates educational media for kids. He impressed his adolescent audience by naming the litany of celebrities he has gotten to hang out with, like Tom Hanks and Alice Cooper.
With a doctorate in physical chemistry and a medical degree, Dr. Erno Daniel is a longtime employee of Sansum, where he became one of the first certified geriatric specialists while moonlighting as an author and university lecturer. His son accepted the award as he was leading a seminar in the Virgin Islands. He still passed on the advice, “Always learn as much as you can from everyone you meet.”