Today Fall 2010


Tommy Lister

Sparking Tommy Lister’s career

A credited Hollywood actor, former wrestler and NCAA Division II champion, Tommy Lister found the strength and footing for a successful career while studying and competing at CSULA in the 1980s.

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  • Taking part in peace, history

    Children playing on tires in Africa.

    Since it was launched 50 years ago, Cal State L.A. alumni, students and faculty have helped shape and carry out the Peace Corps’ mission of delivering person-to-person outreach, education and aid.

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  • For the love of the game?

    Professor Gretchen Peterson tosses a softball.

    A CSULA Sociology Professor discovers that it’s not all ‘fun and games’ in slow-pitch softball when she conducts research analyzing the prevalence and causes for cheating in the sport.

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  • Crossing cultures, time

    Aztec skull.

    Students, faculty and peers celebrate ancient civilizations, clashes and communities through an annual lecture series created to honor the memory of a true Cal State L.A. scholar.

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  • Lessons in learning

    Teacher working closely with student.

    Future educators learn in the classroom and the community in a new grant-funded program that could reshape teacher-training programs nationwide.

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  • Profile in giving

    Irina and the late Leslie Cromwell.

    Founding engineering professor laid the groundwork for student and faculty successes, helping to build today’s top-ranked department and college.

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  • The art of inspiration

    Head shot of Soldate smiling.

    Alums pay tribute to a revolutionary art educator, Joe Soldate (who taught from 1966-2002), by creating endowed scholarships in his name.

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University News

10 ways to reconnect with Cal State L.A.:


  1. Find former classmates, network and renew your relationship with your University by participating with the Alumni Association. For details, call (323) 343-ALUM or visit
  2. Turn a page, and crack open the new One Campus, One Book: Parable of the Sower, by late alumna Octavia Butler. For the third consecutive year, the University is participating in a community reading project. Stay tuned for speaking events and activities throughout the year.
  3. Take a seat, start the wave and cheer on the Golden Eagles. Did you know that the University’s athletic teams have seven national championships and 71 conference team championships to their names? For schedule information, visit:
  4. Take a tour. The campus has grown leaps and bounds—with even more projects on the horizon—and you can get a glimpse of all that has changed in a student-led virtual tour.
  5. Sit, relax and reminisce about your college days sitting in the shade of a tree near King Hall.
  6. Come back to class! It’s never too late to start learning again, and the University’s Extended Education program offers training in everything from accounting and paralegal studies, to fashion styling. Alumnus and muralist Frank Romero completed his degree last spring, decades after having first enrolled at Cal State L.A.
  7. Listen, participate and see top performers and artists during regular shows and exhibits at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex. For details, call the box office at (323) 343-6600 or visit
  8. Join the conversation. Keep current on the political, social and economic issues affecting your community by participating in the Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Institute of Public Affairs seminars and conferences. In December, participants will discuss gang intervention, prevention and suppression in Los Angeles. For details, visit
  9. Be a Part of It! Support your passion by giving back to a student, a program or higher education in general, and investing in Cal State L.A.—a University that provides opportunity to all. You can also start your involvement today by joining groups, like the Friend's of Music or President's Associates. To learn more, visit
  10. Stop by, say hello. Plan a visit to campus to see up close and personal how things have changed. Call the Alumni Association at (323) 343-2586 or University Development at (323) 343-3075 to schedule a tour.

Sports complex named after alumna, tennis great

Billie Jean King and Olympian Rafer Johnson pose with female athletes at the annual Billie Jean King and Friends Fundraiser.

Alumna and Tennis Hall of Famer Billie Jean King poses with Olympian Rafer Johnson and CSULA student-athletes (l-r) Zuzana Cizova (volleyball), Jillian Sangria (tennis) and Liz Franco (soccer).

In recognition of alumna and Tennis Hall of Famer Billie Jean King’s commitment to Cal State L.A. and its student-athletes for nearly five decades, the University has established the Billie Jean King Sports Complex. The complex includes the University’s 3,200-seat Eagle’s Nest Gymnasium, the 4,500-seat Jesse Owens Track & Field, Jim Reeder Field, the campus tennis courts and swimming pools.

King, a 1986 CSULA Hall of Fame inductee and 1997 honorary doctorate recipient, was a Cal State L.A. student from 1961 to 1964. She arrived on campus with the 1961 Wimbledon doubles title, and she repeated the feat in 1962 as an undergraduate. In her career, King won 39 Grand Slam titles, and defeated former Wimbledon men’s tennis champion Bobby Riggs in the famous “Battle of the Sexes” match.

Since that time, she has built a reputation for being a dedicated champion of social justice, service, philanthropy, equality, fitness and education. Through an annual gala, King has helped raise roughly $2.2 million in the last decade to support Cal State L.A. student-athletes.

Read a letter from King to the campus community in the “Letters to the Editor” section.

Under the microscope: Research

Partnering to better understand climate change

Biological Sciences Professor Carlos Robles on a research trip with students in Canada.

Biological Sciences Professor Carlos Robles on a research trip with students off the coast of Canada.

Cal State L.A. students and faculty will be participating in a collaborative study on climate change and its impact on Pacific Ocean communities as partners in a new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research institute, the Cooperative Institute for Marine Ecosystems and Climate.

The Cal State L.A. team comprised of biology and geography faculty Carlos Robles, Patrick Krug and Hengchun Ye and student research fellows will explore how changes in climate, rainfall, and watershed discharge might affect coastal marine ecosystems. Their interest, in particular, is in investigating how changes in sea surface salinity from increased fresh water runoff might affect latitudinal species distributions and the behavior of key predators in coastal communities, Robles said.

It’s an area of great importance because many of these species make up the base of the food chain, and changes in their environment could result in a “potential restructuring of the ocean web,” Robles said.

The institute brings together seven California campuses and the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center with a five-year, $55 million federally-funded grant. Robles said Cal State L.A. qualified to participate in the institute, in part, because of its reputation for research in this area. Robles began studying sea surface salinity with the support of an environmental science endowment from Morton La Kretz.

Reinvesting in higher education, discovery

The University was awarded more than $3.5 million in federal funding to support 14 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) projects as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The primary focus of the Cal State L.A. projects are outreach, teaching and research, with funding available to support everything from a student research partnership with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to implementing a new approach for teaching algebra in high schools. For a complete list of projects, visit the University’s newsroom at

“(American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) funding helps our talented faculty generate new knowledge, supports student success through their participation in research and prepares future scientists and teachers,” said Philip LaPolt, director of research and development in the Office of Research and Development. “The federal government realizes that these projects represent a much-needed reinvestment in America’s research and education enterprise.”

Throughout the California State University system, researchers have received more than $62 million in recovery funding to conduct nearly 200 individual STEM research projects.

Powering up ‘green’ research

A $1.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation has been awarded to the University to create a core research facility to support the efforts of the Center for Energy and Sustainability. The multidisciplinary center encompasses four areas of study: fuel cells, photovoltaic cells, combustion and carbon sequestration.


Portrait of CSULA Provot and Vice President of Acadmic Affairs Ashish Vaidya.

Ashish Vaidya took over the position as CSULA provost and vice president of Academic Affairs in October.

Economics professor returns to lead faculty, academic affairs

In October, the University welcomed onto campus a new Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Ashish Vaidya. The former dean of faculty at California State University, Channel Islands, has broad administrative experiences and an extensive record of academic successes. Vaidya also has roots at Cal State L.A., where he served as a professor of economics, director of the MBA program and as the associate chair of the Department of Economics and Statistics.

Doctoral student receives top CSU Trustees’ award

Robert David Black '08 MS, a student in the University's doctoral program in educational leadership, was honored as one of two 2010 CSU Trustee Ali C. Raza Scholars. The $10,000 award is the top honor given by the CSU Trustees.

Black enrolled at CSULA just two months after losing his eyesight, defying all odds with his determination to build and pursue a career in counseling and education.

Alumni News

Alumni honored for accomplishments, commitment and ‘giving back’

CSULA Alumni Association.

Group photo of alumni, faculty and student honorees at the 36th Annual Alumni Awards Gala.

(Top, l-r) Benjamin Caron ’10; Noelia Rodriguez ’86; Susan De Pietro ’71; Stephen E. Pickett ’75; Anne Hiroe Rodriguez ’09; James Wilson Davis ’76. (Bottom, l-r) Richard D. Cordova ’72; Marlene Zepeda ’72; Jeffrey S. Silverman ’77; Deborah A. Proctor ’76; and Eric’73 and Bill ’77 Teitelbaum.

Celebrating the achievements of ten alumni, students and faculty, the Cal State L.A. Alumni Association hosted the 36th annual Alumni Awards Gala in October. Through their professional and personal endeavors in the arts, business, heath care, education, science and innovation, this year’s honorees have brought much honor to themselves and the University.

We thank all of them for their great work and commitment to their communities and Cal State L.A.!

Portrait of Richard Cordova.Richard D. Cordova ’72, Alumnus of the Year
President, Chief Executive Officer, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Widely recognized as being one of America’s leaders in the field, and a prominent minority executive, Richard Cordova has dedicated his life’s work to improving health care access, delivery and quality. In his climb to the top as a hospital administrator, he has not only been an innovator, but a role model and a leading proponent of increasing diversity and representation throughout his profession.

Portrait of Susan De Pietro.Susan De Pietro ’71, University Service Award
Nurse, attorney, educator

With professional roots in nursing and law, Susan De Pietro brings a unique combination of skills and knowledge to both hospitals and academic settings. Through leadership and administrative roles, she has helped develop legal nursing practices, broaden community awareness and mold the future of the industry, educating young nurses on law, ethics and decision-making in the field. She is a part-time faculty member in the University’s School of Nursing and served as the president of the CSULA Alumni Association for the 2009-10.

Portrait of Marlene Zepeda.Marlene Zepeda ’72, Distinguished Faculty Alumna
Professor, College of Health and Human Service

A recognized scholar in the area of child development and family studies, Professor Marlene Zepeda has completed extensive research on Spanish speaking children and families, and early childhood education. Her findings have contributed to the structuring of curriculum and training of personnel in the field.

James Wilson Davis ’76, Distinguished Alumnus Charter College of Education
President, The Davis Group, Ltd.

An educator and administrator for most of his career, James Wilson Davis has worked to create the best learning opportunities for youth, while also promoting a higher level of leadership in private and public sectors through training and executive coaching. 

Stephen E. Pickett ’75, Distinguished Alumnus College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology
Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Southern California Edison Company

In more than 30 years of service to Southern California Edison, Stephen Pickett has been instrumental in resolving energy issues. He has played an important role in projects involving nuclear work, anti-trust law and utility holding companies.

Deborah A. Proctor ’76, Distinguished Alumna College of Health and Human Services
President and Chief Executive Officer, St. Joseph Health System

Leading one of the top Catholic health systems in the country, Deborah Protor has enhanced direct patient care, healthcare education, administration and bio-ethics.

Noelia Rodriguez ’86, Distinguished Alumna College of Business and Economics
Director, John F. Kennedy Forum, Institute of Politics, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

An accomplished executive with extensive experience in strategic and crisis communications, media and public relations, and public affairs and management, Noelia Rodriguez is a stakeholder and contributor on what is happening nationally and internationally.

Jeffrey S. Silverman ’77, Distinguished Alumnus College of Natural and Social Sciences
Senior Vice President, Manufacturing Operations/Product Development, Abraxis BioScience

Jeffrey S. Silverman works at the forefront of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry, assisting teams in creating technologies for blood products and insulin delivery, and developing cancer treatments. 

Eric ’73 and Bill ’77 Teitelbaum, Distinguished Alumni College of Arts and Letters
Cartoonists, writers, producers

A creative duo, Eric and Bill Teitelbaum are recognizable voices in comedy. The brothers draw the nationally syndicated business cartoon, Bottomliners, have worked on internationally syndicated strips, trained artists and designers, and done marketing and production for television shows and materials.

Anne Hiroe Rodriguez ’09 and Benjamin Caron ’10 were also honored as the Outstanding Graduate Student and Outstanding Senior Student, respectively.

For more details, on the event and honorees, visit

Alumni Association Member Benefits Update

As an Association member, you have access to many benefits and services, including:

  • A 15 percent discount on service, parts and accessories, as well as special alumni pricing on new and pre-owned inventory at Longo Toyota/Longo Scion/Longo Lexus.
  • Up to 60 percent off most office supplies at Office Depot.
  • Up to 30 percent off Dell computers, software and accessories.
  • Up to 20 percent off regular performances at the Luckman Theatre on the CSULA campus.

For details, visit

The CSULA Alumni Mentoring Program

Alumni mentor Alex Vargas’91 and mentee Guadalupe Zambrano’12..


Mentor Alex Vargas ’91 and mentee Guadalupe Zambrano ’12 meet regularly to discuss her career goals in law enforcement. Vargas is a Sergeant 2 with the Los Angeles Police Department.


Build partnerships, develop your career and be inspired by fellow alumni and students by participating in the Alumni Mentoring Program.

Through the thoughtful pairing of student and alumni mentees with alumni mentors, participants create lasting professional relationships and further their career goals, while also “giving back” to their alma mater. Since its inception in 2008, the program has successfully matched and engaged dozens of alumni leaders, students and recent graduates.

Join us for the next Alumni Mentoring event on Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. in the University-Student Union (Los Angeles C Room).

To sign up as a mentee or mentor, visit the Have questions? E-mail the Association at or call (323) 343-ALUM (2586).

Mentor CornerPortrait of Paul Gomez.Paul Gomez ’88


Drawing upon more than 20 years of experience in public relations, including his current post in the Public Affairs Department for the City of Los Angeles Public Works, Paul Gomez ’88 mentors three alumni through the Alumni Mentoring Program. He is also a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, and membership and communications committee.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed passing on my knowledge and experience in the professional working world, while assisting my mentees with establishing strategies to reach their career goals. One of my mentees spent several months as an intern in our office, and another attended a networking event with me, so that I could teach her techniques involved with meeting business contacts.”

Alumni Spotlight

Alumni Spotlight: Sal Castro ’61

A tribute to a Los Angeles legend in educational leadership, activism

Sal Castro'61 speaks to high school students about getting a college education.Alumnus Sal Castro’61 speaks to high school students about his experiences during the 1968 East Los Angeles high school walkouts as well as the importance of higher education in their lives and in the community.

For more than four decades, Sal Castro ’61 has shown a commitment to educating youth in greater Los Angeles about the power of learning.

Education, he says, has the ability to reverse social inequities and pave a path for achieving unforeseen opportunities—and everyone has not only the right, but the obligation to pursue knowledge.

“Change is through education, and that’s what I have dedicated my life to,” Castro said on recent evening, waiting outside a library auditorium where he would speak to several dozen high school students. “I try to motivate these kids, to help them see a brighter future, and to do my part to help mold successful, responsible leaders.”

Castro has carried his message from the playground, to the classroom, to an annual Chicano Youth Leadership Conference (CYLC) he organizes in Malibu, and put hundreds of students on the path toward high education. The well-spoken and passionate educator, who received his bachelor’s degree in social studies from Cal State L.A. (then L.A. State College), however, is probably most well-known for his outspoken presence during the 1968 East Los Angeles high school walkouts.

Picture of Sal Castro (c) with high school students during the 1968 walkouts. (source: historical archive photo)Picture of Sal Castro (c) with high school students during the 1968 walkouts. (source: historical archive photo)

He had a history-making role in the walkouts, a series of protests—also referred to as the “Chicano blowouts”—led by high school and college students focusing on the quality of education for Mexican-American students in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). At the time, Castro was a social studies teacher at Lincoln High School, one of five East Los Angeles high schools leading the protests, and he offered support and guidance to the student activists.

“I was just doing my job,” he said, adding that he never imagined he would become well-known for his work.

In June, the Los Angeles Unified School District honored Castro’s legacy of educational leadership through the naming of the new Sal Castro Middle School, located on the existing Belmont High School campus—where Castro first taught and retired from teaching at in 2003. He taught social studies in LAUSD schools for 43 years.

“It’s been extremely humbling,” Castro said of the recognition. “This is actually an honor to the bravery of all the students who walked out 42 years ago, protesting the conditions of the schools and wanting to improve education. It was unselfish on their part to make schools better for future generations. It was a historic moment—the largest address of grievances by high school students in the history of the United States—and a remarkable part of the American civil rights movement.”

For his efforts in changing the course of public education, Castro was also honored by former President Bill Clinton at a White House ceremony in 1996. A decade later, the events of 1968 were recalled in the 2006 HBO film, Walkout, directed by CSULA alumnus Edward James Olmos. He was also recently recognized by Union Bank and KCET as one of the city's Latino Local Heroes.

“I personally benefited from Mr. Castro’s advocacy and support,” said CSULA Social Work Professor Rita Ledesma. “I attended the CYLC in spring 1968 and UCLA Upward Bound in summer 1968, when Mr. Castro served as the administrator in the program. Over the last several years, I had the great honor to be invited to CYLC to speak to high school students about the importance of higher education and community service.”

Class Notes


  • Portrait of Carlos Illingworth.Carlos Morales Illingworth (’04) was elected president of the Cal State L.A. Alumni Association, and is the youngest person to hold the position of leadership in the organizations’ 56-year history.



  • Portrait of Michael Cross.Michael Cross (’96 MBA) is the new vice president of finance and administration at Johnston Community College in Smithfield, North Carolina. He had previously served as the assistant dean for finance and business for the College of Agriculture and Life Science at N.C. State, and as the director of financial services at Cal State L.A.
  • Sergio Diaz (’94), a former deputy chief of operations in the Central Bureau of the Los Angeles Police Department, was named chief of the Riverside Police Department.
  • Christopher Greco (’93, ’95 MA), an assistant professor of music at Benedictine College in Kansas, is directing the Kansas Jazz Collective concert series initiated under his direction. He was also recently honored as being a “Jazz Musician of the Day” by the worldwide online source for jazz music,
  • Steven Harris (’91 MS), the former director of the Global AIDS Program for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Haiti, was appointed as the medical director-health authority for Dallas County Health and Human Services.
  • John Matheus (’98 MA) left La Salle High School in Pasadena after 31 years working on campus as a teacher, coach, athletic director and vice principal.
  • Portrait of Mohamad Saatara.Mohamad Saatara (’97) is the assistant coach for the University of Michigan’s men’s track and field team. The former CSULA All-American will oversee all field events for Michigan.



  • Portrait of Jo Buczko.Jo Buczko (’80, ’98 MS), a Pasadena City College student health services coordinator, was honored by state legislators with the “Women in Business Legislative Award” at the 11th annual luncheon. The award celebrates those who contribute to the greater good of the workforce through the advancement of business and serve as role models to the community.
  • Portrait of Intissar Durham.Intissar Durham (’83), the chief airports engineer/deputy program manager of Los Angeles World Airports’ Airport Development Program, was honored with the Los Angeles Engineering Public Servant Award by the Friends of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology at Cal State L.A.
  • Norlin Evans (’81) retired from his position as partner at Ernst & Young.
  • Agustin Moreno (’89, ’96) is in charge of the verification of METRO’s electronic system of buses throughout Los Angeles.
  • Portrait of Linda Wah.Linda Wah (’85, ’89 MBA), a former president and board of director of Cal State L.A.’s Alumni Association, was selected to serve on the Pasadena Area Community College District Board of Trustees.



  • Duane M. Carter (’79), a jazz trumpeter, composer and arranger, has been recognized along with his band as being one of the top jazz musicians in the Austin area.
  • Rose Marie Joyce (’76 MA), a longtime college administrator, has been named the interim president of West Los Angeles College.
  • Michael Lucki (’78) was named the senior vice president and CFO for CH2M Hill, a Colorado-based global engineering, consulting and operations firm.
  • Darline P. Robles (’72) retired as superintendent of the Los Angeles County Office of Education.



  • Jim Ramey (’69), the director of golf course maintenance at Sunriver Resort in Lawrence, Kansas, is one of only 1,700 to receive professional designation as a certified golf course superintendent.
  • Frank G. Robitaille (’69), the president and founding member of one of the top insurance brokerages in the nation, Armstrong/Robitaille/Riegle, received an honorary alumni award during Cal State Fullerton’s Vision and Visionaries gala.
  • Diane Watson (’67) was awarded three lifetime achievement honors this summer from Special Needs Network, Educating Young Minds, and the Stonewall Young Democrats.


In Memoriam

  • Mary Diehl Abrams (’62 MA) worked for decades as a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District and had a lifelong dedication to the promotion of literacy.
  • Francis Azariah (’61) worked in semiconductor companies where his career in international marketing expanded over 30 years. Along with his eldest brother, Azariah helped establish an orphanage and school in their ancestral village in South India.
  • Richard Dee Beltran (’60) worked in the engineering field for almost 30 years, and served on the board of LAPD “PALS,” dedicated to “at-risk” youth and raising funds for a Northridge Youth Center.
  • Harold C. Brown (’58, ’61 MA) was an emeritus professor of education, who specialized in the department of elementary education. He began his University career after a decade of teaching in the Los Angeles Unified School District, and then returned to teaching at the secondary school level after finishing his University career.
  • Alan Kendal Brunelle (’72 MS) served five years in the U.S. Navy and then went on to work for several engineering companies, retiring from Raytheon Missile Systems.
  • Ruth “Ann” Carver (’64) taught for 25 years in elementary education in Barstow and Bakersfield, returning even in retirement to teach preschool at the Ventura Missionary Church School.
  • Samuel M. Caplin, an emeritus professor of botany, taught a variety of science courses, including inorganic chemistry, biology, fungi, morphology of vascular plants, cytology and micro technique, plant tissue culture and radiation biology. He was active in his community and professional organizations, and had a lifelong interest in nutrition and nutritional supplementation.
  • Ferdinand Michael Domingue (’74 MA) dedicated 26 years of his professional career to Raytheon, and following retirement became a regular volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and Direct Relief International.
  • Alfred H. Fritz, an emeritus professor of mechanical engineering, began his career working in industry, designing and developing optical and hydraulic equipment and systems for 20 years. As an educator he taught upper division and graduate courses in machine design, and even served as the chair of the department for a brief time.
  • Douglas Matthew Gould (’89 MA) taught in the Pasadena Unified School District for 30 years. He also served as the chair of the history department, was class advisor and served on many committees dedicated to curriculum, school improvement and community service.
  • Peter Edmund Hidas (’70) had a 40 year career at the Pasadena accounting firm Martin Werberlow, LLP. He also coached a girls softball team, and was well-liked for his wise instructions and counsel.
  • Helen Shirley Holsome Lewis (’78) worked in the aerospace, education and health care industries, before beginning her dream job with law enforcement. Lewis worked as a deputy probation officer at the Los Angeles County Probation Department for many years.
  • Edward Skvarna (’66 MA) was a decorated military veteran who served in Japan as a member of the Army Corps during World War II, and a beloved educator with 35 years in the El Monte City School District. Skvarna received the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal for his service during the war, which included flying over and taking aerial shots just minutes after the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb over Hiroshima.
  • Charles Williamson (’68) worked at California First Bank in San Diego, and Union Bank in San Francisco and Los Angeles. He was instrumental in establishing an educational fund for Cawthon Elementary School in Cypress.
  • John Edward Winters (’70 MA) was a master educator and a longtime employee of the Compton Unified School District, where he held positions as a teacher, administrator, coach and mentor.
  • Marie-Antoinette Zrimc, an emerita professor of French, taught at Cal State L.A. for nearly 30 years. During her tenure, she helped refine the master’s degree in foreign language program, proposed several undergraduate courses in areas of linguistics and literature, and helped initiate an interdisciplinary major in comparative literature

Sports Feature

Basketball programs set sights on memorable seasons

With many new faces—and one of the strongest recruiting classes in recent years—Cal State L.A.’s men’s and women’s basketball programs are gearing up for a competitive and optimistic 2010-11 season.

The men’s program, led by sixth-year head coach Stephen Thompson, has its sights set on a run to the NCAA Division II playoffs for the first time since 2000, while also maintaining a streak of competitive finishes in the California Collegiate Athletic Association. The Golden Eagles qualified for the CCAA Championship Tournament for the second time in three seasons last year and had a notable road victory at Cal Poly Pomona, which went on to win the 2010 national championship.

Center Carl Hoffman looks for his shot against Syracuse.

Thompson welcomes back a strong core of players, including four starters: sophomore center Carl Hoffman, junior forward Leland Jones, junior guard Chris Robinson and sophomore guard Trevor Hopkins. Jones, now in his third season with the program, had the most significant shot of the season, a game-winning put-back at the buzzer to beat Cal Poly Pomona.

But even with the strength and skill of the Golden Eagles returning team, what coaches and fans are most excited to see is the class of new recruits in action. Bolstering the squad are six newcomers:  Franklin Session, a guard from Weber State; David Norris, a guard/forward from Sacramento State; Ryan Wetherell, a guard from USC; Bussey Ellis, a guard from Chaminade; Ozzie Morrison, a forward/center from Barstow Junior College; and Aj Kapanoske, a center from Sacramento State.

“I’m very excited about this incoming class,” Thompson said. “They are a very talented group. We look for great contributions from all of them.”

Intense play under the basket during a women's basketball game.

The women’s program, meanwhile, has a much different look and approach from the top down. Starting at the head coaching position is Janell Jones, who comes to CSULA after successful stints at Mercer University, UC San Diego and Oklahoma City. Jones spent three years at Division I Mercer after achieving great success at UC San Diego, where she was 50-10 over two seasons. She brings a career record of 260-80.

The women’s program also has nine newcomers on the court: Gretchen Tiernan, a guard from University of the Pacific; Erika Ruiz, a guard from St. Mary’s College; Lorin Hammer, a guard from Mercer; Lacy Ramon, a forward from Mercer; Amber Coleman, a forward from Mercer; freshman Lindsey Hammer from Sequoia High School; freshman Karmen Gunn from Luella High School; freshman Paris Lamar from Saint Anthony High School; and freshman Angeline Jefferson from Maranatha Christian High School.

Jazzi Johnson, the leading scorer on last year’s team and Shatori Dearman, who was fourth on the squad in scoring and second in rebounding, are among eight returning players.

“I am excited to be back in the CCAA and I look forward to the opportunity to build the Cal State L.A. women’s basketball team into a championship program,” Jones said.

Reserve your seat

For more details, or tickets, visit Athletics' web page.

Their Say

What is it like being part of an Honors Community?

We caught up with 28 CSULA students admitted into the General Education Honors Program—which will expand into an independent Honors College next fall—to find out what it is like to be part of a competitive academic program where critical thinking, community engagement and creative leadership are cultivated. The students were on a walking tour of Los Angeles’ Chinatown Cal State L.A. TODAY caught up with them.


Michael Mattice
Honors Program Freshman, Psychology

“It makes me feel an overwhelming sense of excitement and reverent equality between my professors, and it’s wonderful. I’ve never experienced anything like this.”



Tiffany Chen
Honors Program Freshman, Business and English

“Everyone is already willing to be so friendly. The thing is, when you are in an honors program…they all believe in the hard work; and it’s just nice to know that other people are as hard working as you in these classes.”



Moises Olavarrieta
Honors Program, Anthropology

“Growing up you always hear that once you are in college you are on your own, that once you are in college, no one is going to be there to help you, but this just kind of shows the opposite. There are good people out there that want to help you do something with your life and help you succeed.”



Philomena Pirrone
Honors Program Freshman, Nutritional Science

“I chose to be part of the Honors College program because it’s more of a smaller community and you get to know everyone better, and they give you more opportunities to be a part of the L.A. community and helping others. Right now, we are walking through Chinatown and we’re discovering and learning about all the history of Chinatown, and it’s really interesting because a lot of the stuff I didn’t know.”



Gabrielle Alvarado
Honors Program Freshman, Nursing

“I’m really happy to be a part of the Honors Program because I think it keeps us focused. It’s smaller classrooms and one-on-one with each other.”



Ricardo Moreno
Honors Program Freshman, Math

“It’s really cool to be part of the Honors Community because like all of these people here are going to be in the same classes, so we can kind of talk to each other and collaborate, and we won’t get lost on the first day of school. … And it’s a small class, so we are all going to be together and there will be a lot more discussion. My old school was small too, so it’s going to help me transition.”



Xiaoying Jiang
Honors Program Freshman, Biochemistry

“I feel really lucky to be in the Honors Community because you get to meet your classmates just way before and you then you get a good connection with them. I feel like everyone is on the same pace as I am, whether it’s academically or any other field that you might have. You just meet a lot of new people before, and it's really nice.”


Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Portrait of Billie Jean King.

To the Cal State L.A. Campus and Community:

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the special gift you and the California State University Board of Trustees have bestowed upon me with the renaming of the sports complex at Cal State L.A. to the Billie Jean King Sports Complex.

This effort involved so many people who touch the University and I am thankful to each of you for this honor.

My years at Cal State L.A. were a big part of my life and my career. I went to school there, I played sports there and in part, many of my values were founded there. Those formative years were a major stepping stone for me.

It is humbling for me to be part of Dr. James Rosser’s vision for this outstanding University. Much of the advancement the University has made over the past 30 years has been because of Dr. Rosser’s leadership, his commitment to excellence and his desire to create a community of which we can all be proud.

I also would like to thank Dan Bridges and the entire Athletics Department team. Your dedication to the student-athlete is impressive and I hope you know you are positively impacting the lives of the students who participate in your programs.

Today, the Cal State L.A. campus and community is a place where people champion people. I am proud and grateful to be part of this outstanding campus and exceptional community.

Go For It!

Billie Jean King's signature.

Billie Jean King

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