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LAUSD chief and Cal State LA alumna applauds students at Honors Convocation

April 29, 2016

Frances Gipson, chief academic officer for the Los Angeles Unified School District and Cal State LA alumna, applauded the stellar academic achievements of thousands of students who gathered at Cal State LA on Friday for the 55th annual Honors Convocation.

Gipson, who graduated from the University in 1998 with a master’s degree in educational administration, was the keynote speaker for the ceremony at the University Gymnasium.

She recalled growing up in the Palm Springs area and being influenced by her teachers and grandmother, who was among the first group of women to graduate from USC Law School. They taught her the importance of social justice and making a difference.

 “Let's challenge ourselves not to be good, but to be great,” Gipson told the students."You have no choice but to be a hero."

Honors Convocation recognizes Cal State LA students whose academic records place them in the top fifth percentile of their peers. Dean’s List honorees, recipients of scholarships and grants and general education honors program participants were also acknowledged.

As LAUSD’s chief academic officer, Gipson oversees the implementation of instructional strategies for the district’s 600,000 K-12 students. She is also responsible for managing a variety of academic programs, including core elementary and secondary instruction, gifted and talented education, advanced placement courses, and multi-lingual and multicultural education. Gipson previously served as principal of the award-winning El Sereno Middle School and Magnet Center, where she launched dual-language learning in Spanish and Mandarin. The center became the first California Gold Ribbon school in East Los Angeles. Gipson started her 20-year career in public education teaching primary grades at 107th Street Elementary School. She later held several administrative positions in the LAUSD before being named chief academic officer in 2015.

During the ceremony, Cal State LA President William A. Covino told the students that they would become the standard-bearers for Cal State LA and help the University fulfill its mission of engagment, service, and the public good.

"You exemplify what it means for Cal State LA to be an outward-facing university," Covino said. "I could not be prouder of your achievements here, and all that you will accomplish in the future."

Photo: Frances Gipson speaking at Cal State LA's 55th Honors Convocation in the University Gymnasium. (Credit: J. Emilio Flores)

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Cal State LA is a university dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 27,000 students and 240,000 distinguished alumni, who are as diverse as the city we serve. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, Cal State LA has long been recognized as an engine of economic and social mobility. Led by an award-winning faculty, the University offers nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and the humanities.

Cal State LA is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex, TV, Film and Media Center and the Center for Engagement, Service, and the Public Good. For more information, visit