[caption id="attachment_73063" align="alignright" width="350"] (left to right) SSU Provost Andrew Rogerson, Gary Heck and William Silver, dean of the School of Business and Economics (image credit: SSU)[/caption]

Gary Heck, owner and president of Korbel Champagne Cellars and Kenwood Vineyards, became an honorary inductee of the Sonoma State University chapter of the Beta Gamma Sigma business honor society last month.

Mr. Heck joined students who were inducted into the society at the ceremony to celebrate the group's admission to the prestigious group. The Sonoma State School of Business and Economics cited Mr. Heck's role in the formation of the school's Wine Business Institute as reason for his selection.

"I am honored to be chosen as an honorary inductee. I wanted to create a place for the next generation of wine industry families to study the best practices of the wine business," said Mr. Heck.

Founded in 1995, the Wine Institute operates in close partnership with the wine industry and now offers a number of undergraduate and graduate programs. The institute also offers a number of certificate programs and short courses for current and aspiring professionals in the industry.***

Amid the rising popularity of a for-credit "Banking and Finance Academy" program operated in partnership with Santa Rosa City Schools, Redwood Credit Union recent took part in a new "Bite of Reality" financial literacy program in San Rafael.

Offered in April, which is recognized by a wide swath of public and private entities as "Financial Literacy Month," the course asked students at San Rafael High School to participate in simulations of real-world financial concerns like student loan debt and medical insurance payments. The program was offered in partnership with the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce, and modeled after a program offered by the foundation for credit unions in California and Nevada, the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation.

Redwood Credit Union has plans to support the program as it expands into Sonoma County and elsewhere in Marin, according to an announcement. The next Banking and Finance Academy program will be offered in June.***

Dominican University's Venture Greenhouse incubator and accelerator program will host a "Marinnovation" showcase for innovators and entrepreneurs from Marin County on May 15, with Netflix co-founder and Mill Valley resident Mitch Lowe as keynote.

Other participants will include current clients and recent graduates of the program, representing companies like sustainable packaging company PulpWorks and biofuel startup Dominican Renewables.

 The event is among the evolving and accumulating services and programs offered through the social and environment-oriented business incubator since it was officially launched in late 2011. Clients are encouraged to collaborate with the university, leading to opportunities for students and a pipeline for entrepreneurial ventures. The event is held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 30 Castro Ave. in San Rafael.

Marinnovation is a free event, but registration is required at www.venturegreenhouse.org/marinnovation or 415-497-3308. Local businesses interested in participating should contact Matthew Gaulding at matthew@venturegreenhouse.org or 415-497-3308.***

On May 10, College of Marin will host a celebration for its recently opened Science, Math and Nursing building at the school's Kentfield Campus, featuring a lecture by alumnus Adam Steltzner from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Mars Rover “Curiosity” expedition.

The event will celebrate the completion of a 77,000-square-foot, $56 million facility that first opened to students this January. The building offers modern laboratory and classroom space for students, and also houses the primary equipment for the campus's mechanical and electrical needs.

Members of the public are invited to take part in the free event, as well as tours of the building that will be offered that day. Mr. Steltzner's talk at the new facility will begin at 1:30 p.m., and the full event will stretch through 5 p.m.***Stephen Olson, long-time agriculture instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College and a major force behind the college's Shone Farm programs, has been selected to receive one of the school's highest honors for staff, the President's Medallion of Honor.Mr. Olsen has spent 37 years at the school, helping to launch Shone Farm and serving as vice president and dean of instruction at the Petaluma campus. He has been a part of the Santa Rosa Rotary Club for nearly four decades, having also received Rotary's highest honor, the Harold D. Bostock Lifetime of Service Award.The award will be presented as part of the annual "President's Address to the Community" event on May 30. Details are available at https://santarosajc.ejoinme.org/?tabid=446220.•••

Submit items for this column to Staff Writer Eric Gneckow at 707-521-4259 or eric.gneckow@busjrnl.com.