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From the Dean

May 14, 2019

May 2019

Dear Arts & Letters Community:

The excitement of Commencement 2019 is definitely in the air! The Cal State LA gym is being transformed into a venue for 15 commencement ceremonies across the whole University. Almost 750 students will be graduating from the College of Arts & Letters next week, joining a community of over 245,000 Cal State LA alumni worldwide. If you are one of our newest alumni – CONGRATULATIONS! I look forward to shaking your hand as you walk across the stage to receive your diploma.

One of my proudest moments during this year was when we brought together the voices of students, faculty, staff, and community members to articulate a new vision for the College:

Through the work of our students and faculty, we will be – and be seen as – the creative intellectual and cultural heart of Cal State LA and the Los Angeles region. We will build bridges, both locally and globally, between university and community, students and careers, learning and action.                                           

And now we are beginning to make that vision a reality. We recently named the fine arts gallery the Ronald H. Silverman Fine Arts Gallery after the long-time faculty member and arts educator. The gallery has become, in recent years, the kind of cultural “heart” for the university we envision. Thanks to the generosity of Professor Silverman’s family, we will also be able to use the gallery to help students along the pathway to professional success by providing them with internship opportunities to learn gallery management, operations, and programming. You can read more about the naming, here

During the last weeks of classes, I saw firsthand the many ways in which we help students “connect the dots” between their classroom learning and the world beyond the university: the 69thedition of Statement Magazine, the oldest literary magazine west of the Mississippi was launched with great fanfare at a banquet in the Golden Eagle Ballroom, the launch of the new BA in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) was announced to a room full of students and their families who are completing the existing WGSS minor or certificate, music students (and a few faculty members) performed in the Luckman, and I had the opportunity to see eight short films in just 30 minutes at the Gravitas Animation Club showcase in an absolutely packed U-SU Theatre. On the evening just before commencement, you can see some of those dots being connected with our off-campus partners at the Community Impact Media documentary film screenings at Hauser & Wirth Gallery, where students have been developing their cinematic voices for social justice.

Pathways to Student Success, Community and Cultural Connections, and Voices for Social Justice – these are the focus of our mission to transform lives and sustain thriving communities and cultures through the study and practice of the Arts and Humanities. I am so proud of what our students, faculty, and staff have accomplished this year and grateful for the opportunity to serve the Arts & Letters community.

Best wishes,
Linda Essig