Today Spring 2014


The cutting-edge Television, Film and Media Center opens to prepare students for careers in the entertainment industry. read more

TVFM: The Students

The Master of Fine Arts in Television, Film and Theatre attracts an exceptional mix of students. Meet a couple of the students currently enrolled in the three-year program here. read more

TVFM: The Alumni

Alumna of the Master of Fine Arts program has seen success with her one-woman show. Plus: Read about other alumni in the entertainment industry. read more

To your health care

Professor Walter Zelman leads effort to educate CSU students about health care enrollment options through Covered California. read more

Out-of-this-world connection

Students ask astronauts about life aboard the space station in an intragalactic conference call. read more

Around L.A.

Our regular feature on ways in which Cal State L.A. engages and serves the community and promotes public good highlights the Robert L. Douglass Speech and Language Clinic. read more

Profile in Giving

Our regular feature on Cal State L.A. supporters tells how alumni Charon D’Aiello Sandoval and David Sandoval exemplify the value of creating opportunities for others. read more

CSU Chancellor tours campus

Cal State L.A. makes a major impression during
CSU Chancellor Timothy White's visit to campus. read more

University events

Cal State L.A. hosts traveling exhibit on American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music. Plus: A list of upcoming events. read more



University News

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Allen heads College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology

It doesn’t take a genius to become a great engineer. The best assets of a budding creator are curiosity and problem-solving skills, according to Dr. Emily Allen, the new dean of the College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology.

Allen arrived on campus in November from San Jose State University (SJSU), where she served as associate dean in the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering since 2008. She joined San Jose State as an assistant professor in 1992, earning tenure in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering in 2003.

Allen became interested in building things while watching a friend work on vehicles as a hobby.

“I had a friend in high school that used to take apart his car and weld it back together and I thought it was cool,” she explains. “It was amazing that you could just melt things back together.”

Later, she worked full-time in a shop welding steel for buildings, bridges and other projects.

“If you go to any shopping center near Tucson, Ariz., I probably welded the handrails,” she says. “I learned a lot about construction and tools and worked with people from all walks of life. That’s how I decided I would become a metallurgical engineer.”

Allen went to community college to take math and science classes, and then completed her Bachelor of Science with honors in metallurgy and materials science from Columbia University, and received her Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in materials science and engineering from Stanford University.

In her role as associate dean at San Jose State, she also served as director of the Northern California regional affiliate of Project Lead the Way, a provider of engineering and technology curriculum for secondary schools. SJSU trained more than 200 teachers in the use of the curriculum.

Allen has a keen interest in improving STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education for middle- and high-school students so that they are better prepared for college. Engineering colleges and the CSU in particular can graduate more and better prepared technical professionals if they engage with K-12 to introduce students to engineering and technology early on, she says.

“Many kids have a wrong impression about what engineering is or they think you have to be a genius, which you don’t. It’s problem-solving,” she says. “Especially girls. There are a lot of girls doing well in math that just don’t know what engineers do, so they don’t realize how much fun it could be.”

With strong programs—like the Summer Transition into ECST Program (STEP), student organizations, competitions and clubs—Cal State L.A. is already well-equipped to prepare students for successful careers in engineering, computer science and technology.

“There seems to be a very positive sense about students here at Cal State L.A. People are excited about what we can do next and where we can go. I’m very committed to the mission of the CSU and the students that we serve. Cal State L.A. is a great opportunity for me.”

Allen is eager to meet alumni, “everyone from one year out to 67 years out,” and plans to build strong ties between the college and industrial sectors that are important to Southern California, such as aerospace, construction, energy, biomedical, transportation and communications.


Covino recognized for advancing public good through civic engagement

In October, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) presented President William A. Covino with the 2013 William M. Plater Award for Leadership in Civic Engagement.

The Plater Award was established in 2006 to recognize the critical role of chief academic officers (CAO) in advancing the civic mission of a campus through curricular reform, public advocacy, accountability for institutional citizenship, faculty development and recruitment, and partnerships with community organizations. It’s the first national award to specifically honor the role of CAOs for their leadership in higher education.

Covino was recognized for his accomplishments as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Fresno State.

“This is a great recognition of the commitment of so many at Fresno State to creating a true and lasting university-community partnership, and to the ethic of engagement, service and citizenship that is so deeply
held by our faculty, staff and students,” Covino said of the award.

Under Covino’s leadership, Fresno State students and personnel devoted more than 1 million volunteer service hours through the Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning for three straight years. According to philanthropic standards, the estimated economic impact of Fresno State’s community service was greater than $28.5 million in the past year, according to AASCU.

“Among an impressive group of finalists for the William M. Plater Award, William Covino stood out,” said George Mehaffy, AASCU’s vice president for academic leadership and change. “He has an amazing vision for the role of the university in preparing the next generation of informed, engaged citizens.”

“I was impressed with how comprehensive civic engagement is at Fresno State. Bill’s leadership connected his campus to all corners of his community, improving the educational outcomes at Fresno State and enriching the community it serves,” Mehaffy said.

In Covino’s first several months at Cal State L.A., he’s already started to define a vision for expanded community engagement with the creation of the Center for Engagement, Service, and the Public Good.


Cal State L.A. establishes new Veterans Resource Center

November marked the grand opening of a permanent home base for student veterans on campus.

“It feels fitting to dedicate the first permanent Veterans Resource Center one week before our nation comes together in celebration of Veterans Day,” said President William A. Covino, who addressed the crowd during the festivities on Nov. 4. “With today’s grand opening, we do our small part to honor our students’ sacrifice for our country, thank them for their service, and enable their transition to student life.”

The new Veterans Resource Center assists approximately 600 veteran and active duty students in navigating the application process, finding support on campus, and preparing them to reach their academic, career and life goals.

The new larger headquarters at Physical Science 113 features a conference room, staff offices, an outdoor patio and a lounge/study area designed to nurture a network of support with others who can relate to the soldier-to-student transition.

“As a United States Coast Guard combat veteran, I understand the readjustment that veterans go through and I am committed to helping students transition to Cal State L.A. where they have the opportunity to achieve their full academic potential,” says Marco Urias, interim veterans affairs coordinator.

Rep. Judy Chu, Assemblyman Ed Chau and Assistant Sheriff James J. Hellmold gave remarks at the patriotic grand opening. Members of the Cal State L.A. Veterans Student Organization were also on hand to offer information regarding campus services, and to give guests an opportunity to sign greeting cards for care packages sent to troops overseas and stateside.

“I’m really proud that CSULA opened its new Veterans Resource Center,” says Mark Kleinsmith, president of CSULA Veterans Student Organization, “…it’s a starting point for veterans and staff to build resources for student veterans and to give them a fighting chance to succeed in higher education.”


Formula SAE team wins first place at regional competition

Cal State L.A.’s team won the Formula SAE division at the first-ever California Challenge at Orange County Great Park in Irvine.

“Cal State L.A.’s Formula Eagle vehicle won the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) event because of the students’ passion to learn, their dedication to the team, and their love for CSULA,” said faculty adviser Trinh Pham, associate professor of mechanical engineering.

The California Challenge is a two-day contest that was part of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2013 on Oct. 5-6. Student teams tested their skills in designing and building Formula, electric or alternative-fuel vehicles. Teams raced as far as they could in one hour on an autocross course on only $1 worth of energy.

Vincent Calderon, a mechanical engineering student, has served as the Formula Eagles team captain for two and a half years.

“The experience has made me realize just how much effort is required to make a project of this size and scope successful,” says Calderon. “This competition was a good test run to see where we excelled and to see where we need to improve for future competitions. Winning first place was just the icing on the cake.”

Next, the team will travel to Lincoln, Neb., for the Formula SAE Series event in June, where they will compete against 80 teams from across the nation.


Alumni News

39th Annual Alumni Association Gala

From left: Liz Hererra (’79), Dr. Arturo Delgado (’79, ’84), Dr. Paul De Castro (’91, ’93), Wesley Ru (’78), Norma Roque (’92), Monique Holguin (’14), JoAnn Copperud (’78), Anthony von Behring Reese (’91), President William A. Covino, Michael A. Lucki (’78), Carol Jackson and Ethan Min Chen (’15).

Paying tribute to some of Cal State L.A.’s most successful graduates, the 39th Annual Alumni Awards Gala was held on Feb. 7 at the Golden Eagle Ballroom. Hosted by the Alumni Association, the event celebrated one community member, two current students, and eight alumni for their professional accomplishments and contributions to the campus.
Here’s what each awardee had to say about what the honor means:

Alumnus of the Year
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of CH2M Hill
“I’m a firm believer in education. Everything I’ve achieved in my life has come from the educational foundation I received from Cal State L.A. … Education is the key thing in our world that really makes a difference; that can really change people.”

University Service
Vice President of External Affairs for Macy’s, Inc.
“Cal State L.A. has given me the opportunity to learn to be a leader and to serve.”

Distinguished Alumna of College of Arts and Letters
Reporter for KMEX 34, Univision Communications, Inc.
“If Los Angeles is the City of Angels, well Cal State Los Angeles is indeed a university of angels, because that is exactly what I found here. … Every day as a journalist now, my goal is to serve the community; to show the values that I learned in this wonderful school and to help future journalists to achieve their goals.”

Distinguished Alumnus of College of Business and Economics
“I’m tremendously grateful for Cal State L.A. for taking in this misfit, this dreamer. To nurturing me and to helping me find the path to my dreams. I’m living my dreams today.”

Distinguished Alumnus of Charter College of Education
Superintendent for Los Angeles County Office of Education
“In a life where my father worked at the Alhambra steel foundry and mother cleaned houses to help feed seven kids; in a home where education was only for somebody else, Cal State L.A. made it possible for me to open a big, big door. It was here to welcome me to see some possibilities I didn’t know existed.”

Distinguished Alumnus of College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology
Co-founder and Partner of Integrated Business Planning Associates
“I am a proud alumnus of Cal State L.A. This was a place in my life where I experienced a lot of support and encouragement in my academic and extracurricular activities. I am struck by how there’s a common theme of students showing up insecure and afraid, then getting the support they didn’t feel from other places and coming away with a new confidence and capabilities that really lead to success in life. I certainly feel like that’s at the heart of my story.”

Distinguished Alumna of College of Health and Human Services
Executive Director for El Nido Family Centers
“I’m extremely grateful for the education I received at Cal State L.A. … I had excellent professors who inspired me to a career in social work and prepared me to go onto graduate school. They instilled in me the professional values that have been the foundation of the work I do today.”

Distinguished Alumna of College of Natural and Social Sciences

Chief Executive Officer for RGA Environmental, Inc.
“I think back about my experience at Cal State L.A. and I realize our professors really believed in us. Getting that self-confidence, which I didn’t have before I got here, I ran with it.”

Distinguished Faculty Alumnus

Professor of Music (Latin Music, Jazz and Piano)
“When I went to University of Texas for my doctorate, I knew it was a magnet to great musicians, but I was always doubting myself (and my abilities). How will I do competing against the best of the best? Surprisingly, I did very well. And it was all because of the level and quality of education given here at Cal State L.A.”

Outstanding Graduate Student

Master of Social Work
“I’d like to thank the university. I’ll be graduating in June and my time here has been so special. … President Covino has shared some of his philosophies and dedication for this university and it falls in line with my vision as a social worker to do public service and public good and I really appreciate that.”

Outstanding Senior Student

Bachelor of Science in Biology
“I’ve heard all my life ‘you have so much potential.’ Receiving this award verifies for me that I’m not only reaching that potential, but that I’m on my way to exceeding it as well. It is thanks to my family and Cal State L.A.’s supportive faculty, staff and Alumni Association that I have been able to accomplish so much in my years here.”


Get Involved

Job Shadowing Program

Seeing the everyday activities of a job is a great way to get a sneak peek of a profession. So why not allow a current Cal State L.A. student to shadow you at work for a day? The Alumni Association is recruiting alumni professionals willing to let students observe their daily work routine, possibly attend meetings, perform minor tasks and network. For more information, call the alumni office or email Ana Casillas at

Support Alumni Scholarship Fund

Alumni Association members have generously awarded thousands of dollars in scholarships to bright and deserving undergraduate and graduate students. We ask for your support to continue and strengthen our mission to provide assistance to our students. Donations are fully tax-deductible. Call the alumni office for more information.

CSU Mega Mixers

The Alumni Association staff has been busy travelling across the nation to connect with alumni where they live. This year, the California State University has hosted alumni events in the major metropolitan areas of Washington, D.C., Chicago and New York. Locally, over 300 alumni from 15 campuses met at Sadie Kitchen and Lounge in Los Angeles in Nov. 4 for a mega mixer. These events bring together alumni from multiple campuses for an evening of networking, socializing and advocacy. To receive information on future mega mixers and other alumni gatherings, contact the Alumni Association. PICTURED ABOVE: Cal State L.A. administrators and alumni mingle at the CSU New York/Tri-State Alumni Reception in Midtown Manhattan on Feb. 27.

CSULA Alumni Association
Phone: (323) 343-ALUM (2586)
Look for the CSULA Alumni Association group page on LinkedIn.


Class Notes


Manas Boujikian (’59) was honored with the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region Legacy Award for 2013.

Hal Mintz (’57), president and chief executive officer of HM Associates, is serving his fourth term on Loyola Law School Alumni Board of Governors.


Michael D. Antonovich (’63), Los Angeles County supervisor for the Fifth District, delivered a speech at the World Economic Forum DAVOS in Dalian, China.

Barry Goldfarb (’68), an entrepreneur who owns three successful wineries in California, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, from Colorado State University.

Bernard Luskin (’61) was selected as the new interim president at Moorpark College.


Lee Baca (’71) retired as Los Angeles County Sheriff. (AT LEFT)

Richard Baptie (’71), senior vice president and head of the Southern California office of Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company, was elected to the Board of Trustees for Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc).

Yasmin J. Delahoussaye (’75) has been appointed interim president of Los Angeles Southwest College. (AT LEFT)

Janice Maran (’74, ’77 M.S.) retired as a teacher and women’s tennis coach at Orange Coast College.

David S. Milton (’75) retired as Los Angeles Superior Court judge.

Denton (Denny) Mosier (’73) is chair of the city of Pomona Planning Commission and a member of the Community Impact Advisory Council of the Inland Empire United Way.


Gary Ernst (’82) has joined the team of expert mortgage advisers at Samuel Scott Financial Group in San Diego.

Danee Hazama (’85), a professional photographer, has photographs on display at the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum through April 20.

Janet Elizabeth Lynn (’86 M.A.), a semi-retired clinical speech and language pathologist, published her seventh novel, North of the Pier, in December. (AT LEFT)

Thomas McKernan (’81, ’85 M.A.), chairman of the Automobile Club of Southern California, received the Horatio Alger Award.

Linda Thor (’80 M.A.) has been appointed to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education by Gov. Jerry Brown.


Robert Aristo (’91, ’94 credential) is the school psychologist at Thurston Middle School in Laguna Beach Unified School District.

Richard J. Arnold (’97), a retired San Gabriel Police Department captain, has published a book on the history of the city, entitled San Gabriel.

Katherine Fundukian-Thorossian (’91 M.S.) is the superintendent of schools for Monrovia Unified School District.

Elisa Grainger (’91) was appointed to chief financial officer of American Spectrum Realty, Inc.

Susan Rosvall (’94 M.A.) has published her first novel, Silence is Broken, through Dog Ear Publishing. (AT LEFT)

Ramiro Rubalcaba (’98, ’08 M.A.) is the principal at Azusa High School.


Marcus Carroll (’08) is the new track coach at Monterey Peninsula College.


Jesse Deaner (’12) graduated from Class XVI at Verdugo Fire Academy and is currently working as an emergency medical technician for an ambulance company in Los Angeles.

Addison Peterson (’13) has been named an Assembly fellow in the office of Assemblyman Chris Holden.


In Memoriam

Cal State L.A. remembers our distinguished alumni and faculty who have recently died:

Marian Crowell Bessette (’49) was a professional musician and distinguished music instructor who performed with the Roger Wagner Chorale and made many appearances on radio, TV and in public after graduation. Crowell Bessette was the 19th person granted admission when the college was founded in 1947. She organized the campus’ original choir and band and served as the first secretary of the Alumni Association. She wrote the university’s Alma Mater:

All hail to thee, our alma mater dear!
We sing with faith and pride thy praises far and near.
We dedicate our lives to truth and peace and right,
To give the world the torch of freedom’s light.
Hail, All Hail!
     - Marian Crowell Bessette (’49)

Raúl P. Arreola (’52) was a longtime educator who struggled to bring equality to Eastside schools and improve educational outcomes for Latino students.

Arnold Dowdy (’73) was a longtime city administrator in Grover Beach, serving as city manager from 1974 to 1991, interim city manager in 2001 and as a member of the Grover Beach Parks, Recreation and Beautification Commission after retirement.

Joseph Gatto (’57, ’62 M.A.) was the founder and department chairman of the visual arts department at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and taught courses at Pierce College, Cal State Northridge, Cal State L.A., Otis College of Art and Design and the Art Center during his 45 years as an educator.

Emilie Harrington (’67) worked for 37 years in the field of education for Los Angeles city schools and the Hesperia School District.

Charles J. Inacker was a faculty member, chair, associate chair and dean for the College of Business and Economics.

Lillian Kawasaki (’72, ’80 M.S.) was a veteran Los Angeles city administrator who spearheaded major initiatives to protect air and water quality as the first head of the Environmental Affairs Department.

Irving Kett, emeritus professor of civil engineering, was instrumental in developing the survey course, a core course in the civil engineering curriculum.

Lisa Lancaster (’81, ’84 M.S.) worked for decades in the health care sector administering nutritional and health aid to low-income women and children at South Los Angeles Health Projects.

Patti (Whitney) Laursen (’50) was an internationally renowned classical music recording producer who produced a discography of distinguished recordings primarily for the Capitol, Angel, and EMI labels. She was nominated for the “Classical Producer of the Year” Grammy in 1990.

Stuart Martell Dunn (’67), a longtime educator in the San Gabriel Valley, taught at El Monte City School District and later became principal at Cherrylee, Wilkerson, Gidley and Cleminson schools.

Gordon B. Severance, emeritus professor of business law, joined the faculty in 1958 and became a lead co-author of Contemporary Business Law, (McGraw-Hill), a college text that circulated nationally in five revisions for the next 20 years. Severance was elected to Monterey Park City Council and became mayor in 1962. (AT LEFT)

Henry Alfred Talifer (’05 M.A.) was a practicing attorney with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office at LAX, and an active member of the State Bar of California.

Ruth Wu, dean emeritus, was chair of the Nursing Department and acting associate dean of the School of Fine and Applied Arts before eventually becoming founding dean of the School of Health and Human Services.


Sports Feature

King holding court

Campus breaks ground on tennis center honoring sports legends

Near the same courts where Billie Jean King played as a student-athlete 50 years ago, the tennis legend will return to campus for a major groundbreaking event in May.

The ceremonial groundbreaking on May 6 at the site of the future Rosie Casals/Pancho Gonzalez Tennis Center at the Billie Jean King Sports Complex is one of several events to mark the investiture of William A. Covino as Cal State L.A.’s seventh president. Both King and Casals are expected to be in attendance at the event.

“I am very excited about the new tennis center,” says Cal State L.A. Director of Athletics Dan Bridges. “It will serve as a fitting home for our nationally-ranked tennis program and provide us a facility that is ideally suited for hosting a variety of community engagement and youth sports activities.”

The facility is expected to be a tremendous asset for the university and its surrounding communities. In addition to hosting numerous collegiate and public-access activities each year, the center will also serve as home to various community organizations dedicated to youth sports and education.

“The East Los Angeles community is severely lacking in quality sports facilities for the development of its youth,” says actor, director, producer and Cal State L.A. alumnus Edward James Olmos. “The Rosie Casals/Pancho Gonzalez Tennis Center will help provide the youth of our community the opportunity to learn and compete in facilities that are among the best that Southern California has to offer.”

The proposed 7,000-square-foot tennis building consists of two floors. The first floor will include the locker rooms, training facilities, coaches’ offices and a concessions kiosk. The second will include indoor and outdoor viewing areas not only for tennis matches, but also for soccer and track and field competitions. Meeting rooms, an activities and learning center and a full kitchen to accommodate hospitality and special events will also be included.    

This building will provide offices and dressing facilities on par with other quality intercollegiate tennis programs and create a highly-attractive and user-friendly complex ideally suited for hosting a wide variety of camps, clinics, tournaments, and community-based activities.

The center is named in honor of tennis legends Rosie Casals and Richard “Pancho” Gonzalez.

Casals, a pioneer of women’s tennis, worked alongside King and others in the late 1960s and ’70s to fight discrimination in the sport. She was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1996 and has been involved with Cal State L.A. and its athletics program for the past 15 years.

Gonzalez, considered one of the greatest players of all-time, was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1968 at the age of 40—the first and only player to be inducted while still active in the sport.

“My late uncle would have been thrilled to see this – a first-class facility bearing his name in the community where he grew up. The Richard ‛Pancho’ Gonzalez Youth Foundation serves in his memory,” says Greg Gonzales, co-founder of the Richard “Pancho” Gonzalez Youth Foundation and nephew of Pancho Gonzalez.

Fundraising is already well under way for the proposed tennis center, which has estimated construction costs of $5 million.

“We’re pleased that our fundraising progress to this point will allow us to break ground on this new tennis facility and we look forward to continuing to raise money for further enhancements to the Billie Jean King Sports Complex,” says Bridges.

The tennis center is the first project in a plan to upgrade all the facilities in the Billie Jean King Sports Complex. Cal State L.A. is seeking private funding for projects that will include major renovations of Reeder Baseball Field and the Jesse Owens Track and Field stadium as well as construction of a new indoor events center that would replace the Eagles Nest Gymnasium as the primary venue for men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball programs and other university and community-based activities.

“I’m delighted to be part of this effort,” says Pam Shriver, who has been greatly involved in the Billie Jean King and Friends Event, the annual fundraiser that benefits student-athlete scholarships in the Athletics Department. “Cal State L.A. gave my late husband, Joe Shapiro, the opportunity to find his passion for teaching. The university and the students it serves have become an important part of my life. The Rosie Casals/Pancho Gonzalez Tennis Center will have a tremendous impact on future generations of Cal State L.A. student-athletes and the communities it serves.”