illustration of men holding hands"People's friendships aren't as different as they may seem," says Sonoma State University sociology professor Brian Gillespie, the lead author of a 25,000-subject friendship study published June 18 in the journal PLoS One. "There are, in fact, some noteworthy similarities."

It was those similarities that surprised Gillespie in the paper, Homophily, Close Friendship, and Life Satisfaction Among Gay, Lesbian, Heterosexual, and Bisexual Men and Women. "There are fewer significant differences between gay men, lesbians, and bisexual men and women and how they utilize their friendships than we expected," he says.

"The fact that these similarities exist, where we originally expected some differences based on gender composition, friendship type, and sexual orientation, points to greater gender egalitarianism and gay, lesbian and bisexual acceptance," says Gillespie.

Thomas TargettWith NASA's flyby of Pluto, the United States became the first nation to visit every planet in the solar system. Sonoma State University physics and astronomy professor Thomas Targett weighs in on the new images and their importance to space exploration.

angelique lopezSonoma State University student-athletes recorded the highest grade point average in the school's athletics history in 2014-15 academic year. The 290 student-athletes combined to earn a 3.037 GPA, with 55 Seawolves earning All-Academic honors.

"Our top priority has always been academic excellence," said Bill Fusco, senior director of intercollegiate athletics at SSU. "To see the unprecedented effort put forth by our student-athletes this past year is quite impressive. We are extremely proud of their individual and collective efforts to not only excel in competition, but to excel in the classroom as well."

lizthach.pngLiz Thach, Master of Wine, has been named Sonoma State University's Distinguished Professor of Wine.

The new title comes as part of the Wine Business Institute Board's effort to support the growth of the institute and its academic and research programs. "I am pleased to grant this well-deserved title of Distinguished Professor of Wine to Liz Thach," said Ruben Armiñana, president of Sonoma State University. "Her accomplishments as a professor and Master of Wine make her the ideal candidate to carry out the initiatives of the Wine Business Institute within the scope of this new role."

hall of fame class of 2015The 2015 induction class of the SSU Athletics Hall of Fame includes Andrew Bailey, Chelsea Hennan, Kevin Wong, Kristy Sather, Benjamin Ziemer and Marlene Bles. The group will be honored for their athletic excellence and contributions to the history of Sonoma State University athletics at a ceremony in the Student Center on October 24.

jaquay butlerThe 26 student leaders representing the Faces of SSU campaign at Sonoma State University want you to know something: "We are more than what you see."

The goal of Faces of SSU is to raise diversity awareness on campus. That includes diversity of ethnicity, gender and experiences. "Not everyone's experience at SSU is the same," says Mo Phillips, director of Campus Life at SSU. "Faces of SSU is an opportunity for us to look a little deeper into a student's experience. It's an opportunity to see past who you think I am, and see who I really am."

matt james at the california academy of sciencesSonoma State University geology professor Matt James is passionate about the Galapagos Islands' importance to the scientific community. But he's not just telling his students about it--James organized an international symposium to ensure the birthplace of the theory of evolution continues to yield important discoveries for future generations.

The three-day symposium brought researchers and conservationists from around the globe to San Francisco State University and the California Academy of Sciences at the 100th meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Pacific Division last week.

ajay gehlawatSure, you know Bollywood films are from India, and you probably know they involve a lot of singing and dancing. But here are some things you might not know, courtesy of Sonoma State University theater and film professor Ajay Gehlawat, whose new book, 21st Century Bollywood, correlates with his recent Bollywood and Globalization class.

1. All Bollywood films are from India, but not all Indian films are Bollywood films. There are other regional film industries, in Madras, Calcutta and other regions, and many eschew the songs and big-budget production that are staples of Bollywood films.

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