Cal State LA celebrates success and distinction at Alumni Awards Gala

Alumni gala


California State University, Los Angeles honored eight distinguished alumni at its 2017 Alumni Awards Gala.

The Feb. 3 gala drew generations of Diablos and Golden Eagles, who mingled and enjoyed an evening dedicated to the university and its alumni community. The event coincided with a historic moment in Cal State LA’s history: the university’s 70th anniversary.

PHOTOS: 2017 Alumni Gala

President William A. Covino welcomed guests and thanked them for making Cal State LA proud. A highlight of the president’s remarks was news of a recent New York Times article on a groundbreaking research study. The study ranks Cal State LA number one in the nation for students’ upward mobility.

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"The study published in the New York Times is about you. Look around the room. You are the reason people want to know what’s happening at Cal State LA. Your success is what universities want to replicate---and so do we," the president told the gathering in the Golden Eagle Ballrooms. "As we celebrate our 70th anniversary we also celebrate seven decades of transforming lives, seven decades of producing stellar alumni. We look forward to many more years of success."

Following the president’s remarks, emcee Ben Caron introduced the alumni honorees, who are listed below:

Alumnus of the Year
Gary J. Matus ’69
Managing Director, RSR Partners

Golden Eagle Award
Paisley L. Kadison ’07
Investment Funds Group
Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Distinguished Alumna
College of Arts and Letters
Dr. Margaret Salazar-Porzio ‘05
Curator of Latina/o History and Culture
Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Distinguished Alumnus
College of Business and Economics
John M. Gerro ’74
Real Estate Attorney
Law Offices of John M. Gerro

Distinguished Alumnus
Charter College of Education
Donald V. Bolton ’55, ’63
Retired Administrator
Los Angeles Unified School District

Distinguished Alumnus
College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology
Jorge Ramirez ’04
President and Chief Executive Officer
Heateflex Corporation

Distinguished Alumna
College of Natural and Social Sciences
Pamela S. Duffy ’70
Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP

Distinguished Alumna
Rongxiang Xu College of Health and Human Services
Pamela Angerer Payne ’81, ’91, ’95, RN, NP
Doctoral Student in Bioethics and Health Policy
Loyola University Chicago

Photo: From left to right, Gary J. Matus, Pamela S. Duffy, Donald V. Bolton, Pamela Angerer Payne, First Lady Debbie Covino, President William A. Covino, Margaret Salazar-Porzio, Paisley L. Kadison, Jorge Ramirez and John M. Gerro. (Credit: J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA)​

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Cal State LA is ranked number one in the nation based on the upward mobility of its students. Founded in 1947, Cal State LA is the premier public comprehensive university in the heart of Los Angeles and is dedicated to the mission of engagement, service, and the public good. The University serves more than 27,000 students and more than 247,000 distinguished alumni, who are as diverse as the region we serve. 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 and the TV, Film and Media Center. For more information, visit