2013 Distinguished Alumni

Gayle Carston


B.A. Sociology, 1977


Gayle Carston's childhood growing up in Petaluma was similar to that of her friends, with some interesting twists: she regularly went to job sites with her dad, a successful general contractor, and was able to drive dump trucks, forklifts and “lots of pick up trucks,” says Gayle. On the weekends, she modeled in fashion shows with her mother and in 1968 was a debutante in New York.

Her experiences were varied thanks to her parents who laid the foundation for a lifetime of philanthropy and community service, much of which has benefitted Sonoma State University.

Gayle attended local schools, eventually marrying her high school boyfriend and going to work for Fostmeier Construction, her dad’s company. It was at this point she enrolled at Sonoma State “College" where she had a strong family connection as her dad’s company constructed several of the buildings on campus including the Student Health Center, the art building and the Children’s School.

She graduated in 1977 from SSU with a degree in sociology and spent her time running the construction office, attending classes and caring for her young son Adam. She is proud to have been in the first class of SSU’s “Project Censored: The Ten Best Censored Stories” course, founded by Dr. Carl Jensen. In 1978 she became a single mother and in 1990 obtained her own contractor’s license.

Later that year she married Arnold Carston and together they ran World of Carpets, a family-owned and -operated business since 1968. In 2000 they started another company, Prosource of Santa Rosa, a wholesale floorcovering business where she currently works.

Gayle is proud of her family's involvement at SSU and enjoys seeing the buildings that still stand on campus.

Gayle and Arnold are benefactors to the Wells Fargo Center, naming the Carston Cabaret. And, at the Green Music Center they named the Carston Music Library. Gayle sponsors the Rochelle Fostmeier Scholarship and together, Arnold and Gayle sponsor the World of Carpets Scholarship, both at SSU.