Alumni Awards Gala
THE 2022 HONOREES
ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR - Guillermo Zuniga, '86
Guillermo Zuniga, '86
Grifols Biologicals, LLC
Willie Zuniga is the President of Grifols Biologicals LLC (GBLLC), a North American manufacturing subsidiary of global healthcare company Grifols S.A., headquartered in Barcelona, Spain. GBLLC is a manufacturer of life-saving therapies derived from human plasma and used by patients with rare, chronic, and often life-threatening conditions, worldwide.
A native of El Sereno, California, Willie attended El Sereno Jr. High School and Wilson High School. He later graduated from Cal State LA in 1986, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.
Willie’s professional career began in 1979, working as an entry-level manufacturing technician with Alpha Therapeutic Corporation (Alpha), across the street from Cal State LA. Since that time, he has steadily been promoted to management and executive positions. In 2003, Grifols purchased Alpha’s assets in Los Angeles and asked Willie to become the President of Grifols Biologicals LLC. Willie has an employee base of over 900 people and oversight of a state-of-the-art biomanufacturing facility with 2.2 million liters of fractionation capacity.
In addition to his extensive professional experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, Willie has served on the Executive Board of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) and the City of Los Angeles’ Workforce Investment Board, working with the Mayor and City Council to develop strategic initiatives for regional development and training.
Willie’s life-long connection to the area fuels his outreach efforts in the communities of El Sereno, Boyle Heights and Lincoln Heights. He promotes a culture of outreach and engagement with his employees, noting that Grifols footprint in the community expanded beyond the company’s property line. His development program promotes service and engagement in the community, to ensure that the company’s future leaders understood the importance of investment and connection.
His focus can be seen in the Company’s support of City Year, InnerCity Struggle, Legacy LA, National Medical Fellowships, Para Los Ninos, Proyecto Pastoral, Trust for Public Land, and Variety Boys and Girls Club.
Under Willie’s direction, the company provides Grifols Scholarship Awards to graduating seniors from Wilson High School, who are pursuing their post-secondary education in the healthcare and science fields. In addition, he supports the school’s College Feria event which exposes approximately 400 students to various college and university options nationwide.
He has supported a customized Linked Learning program, which annually exposes over 200 local high school students to a biopharmaceutical company and its careers.
With Cal State LA so nearby, Willie concentrated his partnerships and efforts in the College of Natural and Social Sciences. Today, he serves on President Covino’s Advisory Board, to support the university and department programming.
In addition, Willie supports the chemical technology, process technology, and/or biotechnology programs at Los Angeles Trade Technical College, LA Valley College, LA Mission College and Citrus College to recruit manufacturing technician candidates and keep the talent in the area. His community college partnerships throughout the region also promotes a more diverse candidate pool.
In partnership with LA Mission College, LA Valley College, Verdugo Workforce Development Board, Glendale Community College, the Verdugo Jobs Center, Biocom, and Biocom Institute, Willie led the creation of the Los Angeles Regional Bioscience/Biotechnology Industry-Valued Credential, which identifies common “skills and competencies…for biomanufacturing, biotechnology, and laboratory technicians, facilitating the identification of qualified job candidates.”
Willie is married to Chris Chow, a retired pharmacist and marketing director. He is father to three children and “grandpa” to five grandchildren, a title of which he is most proud.
Today, Willie remains focused and committed to saving lives with the products manufactured by the dedicated employees of Grifols and continues to promote his holistic culture of encouraging education, self-growth, job development, and community engagement.
ALUMNI FAMILY AWARD - The Silverman Family, '55, '76, '77
Ronald H. Silverman, Ph.D., '55
Professor Emeritus and Former Chair, Department of Art
California State University, Los Angeles
Amelia Perez-Silverman, '76
Elementary School Teacher
Jeffrey S. Silverman, '77
Ronald H. Silverman, '55
Ronald H. Silverman is a beloved emeritus professor and chair of the Department of Art at California State University, Los Angeles from 1955 to 1988. An internationally respected professor of art education, he was among the earliest academicians in the U.S. to develop an official art education curriculum.
During his more than three decades of teaching, Ronald mentored and shared his passion for art with countless students while authoring and editing books on art education. Upon his retirement in 1988, he established the Ronald Silverman Endowed Scholarship Fund, which provides financial support to art education students at Cal State LA and, in May 2019, Cal State LA celebrated the naming of the Ronald H. Silverman Fine Arts Gallery, honoring the legacy of this distinguished alumnus and professor.
Born in Cleveland, Ronald moved with his family to Chicago at the age of five before making the move to Southern California, were he resided permanently. His artistic talents were evident early and at the age of nine, he received his first of several scholarships to the Chicago Art Institute.
Ronald was a veteran of World War II and served as an artist in the Army Air Force. After the war, he returned to Los Angeles and attended the Art Center School of Design and Otis Art Institute. He later earned a B.A. degree and art specialist teaching credential at UCLA (1952), an M.A. degree in art education at Cal State LA (1955), and a doctorate in art education at Stanford University (1962).
In 1955, Ronald joined the Cal State LA faculty and, during his 33-year career there, was instrumental in developing new art education programs. Ron was a prolific author who wrote the much-used college text, Learning About Art. Among his major research projects was a federally funded project that explored the challenges of teaching art in economically and academically disadvantaged communities. He was a life member of the National Art Education Association, a founding member and past chair of the Los Angeles County Art Education Council, and a past president of the California Art Education Association, Southern Region.
Cal State LA recognized him with the Outstanding Professor Award in 1977-78 and, in 1981, the Pacific Region of the National Art Education Association honored him for his "outstanding contributions to the profession of art education." In 1989, the California Art Education Association recognized his contributions with its Higher Education Art Educator Award. He was elected as a Distinguished Fellow of the National Art Education Association in 1991.
During the last 10 years of his career, Ronald worked with the Getty Center for Education in the Arts. As one of the founders of the innovative learning strategy known as discipline-based art education, he worked with 21 school districts in Los Angeles County and served as director of curriculum for the Getty's Institute for Educators.
Ronald enjoyed traveling around the world with his wife, Marilyn, and passed on their love of art and music to their three sons - Ray, Jeff and Paul. After retiring, Ronald began painting again, producing many images inspired by the great art of the world, many of which are treasured by the family and hang in their homes.
Ronald was a very loving and proud parent, grandfather, and great-grandfather, who took immense joy in his family. Despite his many professional accolades and accomplishments, he claimed to be most proud of his family.
Amelia Perez-Silverman, '76
Amelia Perez graduated from Ramona Convent in Alhambra and the very next morning she began classes at Cal State LA. The university had just instituted their quarter system, and she was anxious to get started on her B.S. degree in Public Health/Environmental Health Science. Like many Cal State LA students, Amelia is a first-generation college graduate. She followed in the footsteps of her four older brothers. The oldest, Robert, graduated in 1961 from what was then, “LA State College.” They were, and still are, proud Diablos.
During the spring of her freshman year, Amelia applied for a job on campus in the Continuations Department of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library (JFK Library). It was the perfect position for a college student. She was able to adjust working hours to fit her class schedule and the friends she made were important relationships during her college years. Amelia ended up working in the JFK Library for almost 4 years.
During senior year, Amelia received a Chicanos for Creative Medicine (CCM) grant in the Microbiology Department which allowed her to conduct research and attend professional seminars. It was a very enriching experience for the first-generation college student. Her fellow CCM recipients encouraged her to join the Chemistry Club and it was here that Amelia met her future husband, Jeff Silverman.
After graduation from Cal State LA in 1976, Amelia began work as a Registered Sanitarian (RS), i.e. health inspector, at The Ferris Street Health Clinic in East LA. The clinic eventually relocated to the newly constructed Edward Roybal Health Center in the East LA Civic Center, just blocks away from her childhood home.
Jeff and Amelia married in 1978 and she continued work as an RS until the couple began their family several years later. Their daughter, Sarah, was born in 1980, followed by Noah in 1982. While home raising children, Amelia began volunteering in their classrooms. She found working with children to be extremely rewarding and decided to enroll in the Multiple Subject Teaching Credential program at Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena.
Amelia first began her teaching career with South Pasadena Unified School District as a first-grade teacher at Marengo Elementary, then moved to teaching kindergarten at Arroyo Vista Elementary. While teaching at Arroyo Vista, Amelia created curriculum that is still being used to this day. She served as a mentor teacher, coached Critical Friends Groups, and was active on the grievance committee for the Teachers Association of South Pasadena, the local teachers’ union.
In 2003, Amelia was nominated by fellow teachers to represent South Pasadena as the Los Angeles County Office of Education “Teacher of the Year.” From 70 County School Districts, she progressed to the level of Top Ten LA County Finalists.
At this point, Jeff’s career required a move to San Diego and Amelia secured a position with Carlsbad Unified School District. Jeff eventually returned to West LA where Amelia found teaching positions with a private school, a charter school, and the Los Angeles Unified School District.
While living in West LA, Amelia decided to pursue a lifelong dream and apply for a volunteer docent position at Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Her love of teaching and passion for art were a perfect combination. She sailed through the rigorous training and eventually began writing scripts for school tours.
In 2011, the Silvermans moved back to the Pasadena area and once again family responsibilities took center stage. It was at this point that Amelia decided to cut back and become a substitute teacher for her old district in South Pasadena. Four of her grandchildren now attend the school where she taught for so many years.
Amelia is also back at Cal State LA as an involved alumna. She and Jeff both serve on the Advisory Board for the Ronald H. Silverman Art Gallery.
Jeffrey S. Silverman, ’77
Jeff Silverman has a lifelong relationship with Cal State LA. His father, Ron, joined the faculty of LA State College the year Jeff was born, also the same year as construction began on the current site of the university. Jeff has many memories of visiting the college grounds as a child in the 1960’s where Ron taught in the Art Department on the northeast side of the campus. However, Jeff’s interests lay in the sciences, primarily chemistry, from a very young age. After graduating from Alhambra High School, Jeff enrolled at UCLA.
After two years in West LA, a desire for a more intimate laboratory-based experience led him back to the campus he had visited so many times as a youth. The outstanding faculty in chemistry and biochemistry, plus the opportunity to become immersed in meaningful research, provided a strong foundation for a lengthy career in the biopharmaceutical industry. After graduating with a B.S. in Biochemistry, Jeff went to work in a Medical Genetics research lab at the City of Hope in Duarte. He soon applied for a supervisory position at Alpha Therapeutics, currently Grifols USA, located on Valley Blvd, across from Cal State LA.
Jeff spent 20 years at Alpha Therapeutics where he held many leadership positions in Manufacturing, Engineering, and Technical Operations. During this time he went back to school to attain an M.B.A. from Claremont Graduate University. He also became very involved with the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering, working with many companies across the globe to create common standards and work practices. After his children had left for college, Jeff decided to move into the entrepreneurial world of start-up biotechnology. Over the next six years, Jeff held various executive positions at CancerVax, Cell Genesys and Mannkind Corporation, all start-up companies working on innovative biologic drug delivery systems. Though these enterprises did not see commercial success, they did prepare Silverman for a great opportunity at a small Los Angeles company called Abraxis BioScience. As Senior VP Manufacturing Operations and Product Development at Abraxis, Jeff had oversight of global manufacturing, quality control, logistics and late-stage product development for an innovative nanotechnology drug delivery system for novel cancer therapies. This technology was ultimately purchased by Celgene Corporation to facilitate the global distribution of the lead drug, Abraxane. Due to his extensive involvement with this technology, Silverman was brought on by Celgene as Corporate VP, Technical Operations, where he became responsible for manufacturing and distribution operations for all Celgene’s products in the western hemisphere. In 2018, Jeff retired from Celgene with over 40 years in the biopharma industry.
Since retiring, Jeff has come back to Cal State, sharing his expertise as a lecturer at the BioStart Bioscience Entrepreneurs Boot Camp. He also serves on the Advisory Board for the Dean of the School of Natural and Social Sciences and is an active mentor in the Alumni Mentoring Program. Both Jeff and his wife, Amelia, serve on the Advisory Board for the Ronald H. Silverman Art Gallery, located in the same building Jeff used to visit with his father so many years ago.
GOLDEN EAGLE AWARD - Fanshen Cox, '13
Fanshen Cox, '13
Award-winning playwright, actor, producer & educator, Fanshen Cox recently completed touring her one-woman show: One Drop of Love. One Drop travels near and far, in the past and present to explore the intersections of race, class and gender in pursuit of truth, justice and love. The show is produced by Cox, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon.
Fanshen has been featured in the New York Times and on NPR and has published OpEds on Shondaland, Blavity and the Washington Post’s The Lily. She is a Producer and Development Executive at Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s Pearl Street Films. She has appeared in Days of Our Lives, The Young and the Restless, and Argo. She co-directed the nonprofit Mixed Roots Stories.
She served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cape Verde, West Africa, and has designed curricula for and taught English as a Second Language to students from all over the world. She has been honored with the Peace Corps’ Franklin H. Williams Award, Peace Corps Fellows and Hollywood Foreign Press Association scholarships, an ‘Exemplar of Humanity Centered Media’ award by Media Done Responsibly and Outstanding Alumni Award from Cal State LA Department of Television, Film, and Media Studies and Teachers College, Columbia University.
She holds a BA in Spanish and Education, an MA in TESOL, and a Master of Fine Arts in Television, Film and Theatre from Cal State LA College of Arts and Letters. While attending Cal State LA, Fanshen was the recipient of the Ochari D’Aiello Scholarship established by Charon D’Aiello and David Sandoval and the Alumni Association Scholarship.
Her play, One Drop of Love, was awarded Best Non-Fiction Script by the United Solo Theatre Festival, and the film version won Best Documentary Film at the Roxbury International Film Festival and is an official selection of the San Francisco Black Film Festival and the Black International Film Festival.
Fanshen is also a co-author of the Inclusion Rider which was announced at the 2018 Oscar awards by Frances McDormand and the co-creator and co-host of the Webby nominated podcast Sista Brunch - highlighting Black womxn thriving in entertainment and media.
Fanshen facilitates workshops and delivers keynotes on using narrative in empathy-building, exploring historical context, and how the construction of race affects our closest relationships. In spring of 2020, she delivered the University’s Academic Senate's Distinguished Lecture on Engagement, Service, and the Public Good. During the engaging presentation, she shared stories from her life and career about race, truth, justice and love.
DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS, COLLEGE OF ARTS AND LETTERS - James R. Galbraith, '60
James R. Galbraith, '60
Board Member, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
James R. Galbraith, formerly Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Hilton Hotels Corporation, has a background in news, government and corporate affairs.
He is involved in a number of philanthropic and public policy enterprises. He serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, a pace-setting international philanthropic organization with a value of more than $8.5 billion.
He has served as a member of a seven-person international jury which selects the recipient of the annual $2 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, the world’s largest humanitarian award.
James also served as a member of the nonpartisan boards of the Eisenhower World Affairs Institute and the Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Institute of Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles. He is an emeritus member of the Brown Institute board. He has lectured at Gettysburg College, Wilson College, the University of Houston, California State University, Los Angeles, and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. He is a former member of the Board of Trustees of the California Historical Society. He is a former member of the Editorial Board of the Ventura County Star.
In March 1994, he retired as Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Hilton Hotels Corporation. He joined Hilton in March 1981. Previously, James was Vice President of Corporate Communications for Ticor, a Los Angeles-based financial services company. He joined Ticor as director of corporate communications in January 1976.
From 1960 to 1976, he held a variety of positions in Washington, DC, including service as an administrative assistant to a Congressman, an executive with a Congressional Committee and a national magazine editor. From 1962 to 1964, he covered the United States Supreme Court as a broadcast correspondent for “Three Star Extra,” an NBC Radio network news program.
In 1969, Governor Ronald Reagan--who was serving as chairman of the Republican Governors Association--appointed James to the staff of the RGA, headquartered in Washington, DC. He served as director of public relations from 1969-71 and as executive director from 1971-76.
From 1955 to 1960, he was a reporter, a columnist and an editor with the Pasadena, California, Independent and Star-News. He is a native of Michigan.
Along with President Clinton and other national leaders, James was awarded an Ellis Island Medal of Honor in May 1993. He received his medal in a ceremony on Ellis Island, an appropriate venue because of his service as a member and the finance chairman of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Centennial Commission from 1985-87.
In 2000, as part of the 75th anniversary of Pasadena City College, he was among 75 graduates selected to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award. In 1997, during the 50th anniversary celebration of California State University, Los Angeles, James was among 50 university graduates selected as Notable Alumni. He received the University Service Award from Cal State, L.A., in 2002.
He and his wife, Mary, have three children and 10 grandchildren.
DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS, COLLEGE OF BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS - Jorge Orozco, '03
Jorge Orozco, '03
Chief Executive Officer
Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center
Jorge Orozco is Chief Executive Officer at Los Angeles County+USC (LAC+USC) Medical Center, one of the largest and most complex public hospitals in the country. LAC+USC is a 600-bed, Level One Trauma Center and academic teaching hospital whose mission is to provide world class care for all in our community. Through its affiliations with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) and the Los Angeles County College of Nursing and Allied Health, it is one of the premier academic teaching hospitals in the nation.
Prior to his current role, Jorge led Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center. He began an impressive 29-year career at Rancho as a physical therapist in 1989, and was promoted to chief of rehabilitation therapy in 2001. In 2005, he was named chief operating officer with responsibility for oversight of all facility operations. In March 2007 he was appointed as CEO and his clinical and leadership expertise transformed the campus into a state-of-the-art facility that integrated the patient population into all aspects of care.
Jorge earned his Masters of Science degree in Health Care Management from California State University, Los Angeles; a Physical Therapy degree from the University of California at San Francisco; and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Jorge has been actively involved with Cal State LA. In Spring of 2021, he, moderated the inaugural Pérez-Silverman Endowed Symposium, "Understanding Health Determinants and Promoting Equitable Healthcare Access presented by the College of Natural and Social Sciences. Additionally, in 2019, he was a Commencement speaker for the College of Business and Economics and in 2018, he was invited to speak in a classroom as professor for a day.
Jorge is on the Board of Directors of the Hospital Association of Southern California and was recently elected to the California Hospital Association Board of Trustees. He continues to practice at LAC+USC as a Physical Therapist.
DISTINGUISHED ALUMNA, CHARTER COLLEGE OF EDUCATION - Gay Yuen, Ph.D., '84
Gay Yuen, Ph.D., '84
Professor Emerita, Division of Curriculum and Instruction
California State University, Los Angeles
Dr. Gay Q. Yuen has been a leader in education for more than four decades. She received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on Language Literacy and Learning from the University of Southern California (USC), her Masters in Arts in bilingual education at California State University, Los Angeles (Cal State LA) and a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She has influenced teachers, administrators, lawmakers, national and international governments in the design of policy and curriculum and instruction for the fields of bilingual and minority education. At Cal State LA, she served as chair for the Division of Curriculum and Instruction, she oversaw the teacher credentialing programs for elementary/secondary education and graduate education. Throughout her professional life, she has had a singular focus: educational equity and inclusion through the promotion of bilingual education.
Dr. Yuen’s work on education has left a lasting impact in California, United States, and globally; particularly the inclusion of minority and immigrant education as part of the inclusive practices for national governments. Prior to her work in higher education and educational policy, Gay Yuen was a teacher and coordinator for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and an administrator for the Alhambra Unified School District (AUSD). Her work focused primarily in the areas of bilingual and multicultural education; promoting cross-cultural understanding and educational equity for all students of color. Her work focused on the training of language teachers, with specific programs for English as a Second Language (ESL) and bilingual immersion programs for all languages. This work helped create increased attention for districts looking to train students to live in a globalized world. In doing this work, she has led delegations of California educators to Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, France, and Korea in order for them to have a better understanding of the conditions of immigrant and refugee children. Dr. Yuen’s work was one of the first that recognized global education as both a necessity to compete in a global economy and as a social justice issue embedded in the lives of students and their families.
Since the 1980s, Dr. Yuen work has influenced and changed major educational curricular designs and policies from California to the rest of the United States. She established California standards for the certification of bilingual teachers in all languages and established ESL standards for immigrant students in the public schools. The work she did in California led the rest of the nation in educational reforms that impacted greater access for immigrant and refugee children. Indeed, her impact was also internationally recognized and sought after. She received invitations by the governments of the People’s Republic of China, Korea, Republic of China (Taiwan), Singapore, and Saudi Arabia to assist in their minority education programs, policies, and practices. Her work with Beijing University, National Chinese Minority University, and Hong Kong University has led to significant educational reforms in several countries by providing the practices that helped create greater access.
Dr. Yuen’s career in education is a touchstone for her community activism. She has worked closely with immigrant parents to help them understand their rights and responsibilities in the American school system. As an extension of this work, her early years as an activist at UCLA helped guide her work through the 60s and 70s as she helped to establish local, state, and national nonprofits that addressed the needs of the Asian American, Pacific Islander community. To this end, Dr. Yuen has also raised millions in funds and served on numerous nonprofit boards such as Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, the Asian Youth Center, the International Leadership Foundation, the President’s Asian Pacific Advisory Council of Pasadena Community College, and East West Players, to name a few. Named a “Local Hero” by KCET television, Dr. Yuen has received numerous awards for her work in education, women’s rights, and social justice. Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, California Assemblyman Ed Chau, and Congresswoman Judy Chu all recognized Dr. Yuen with their Women of the Year awards.
She is currently the President of the Board of the Friends of the Chinese American Museum of Los Angeles (CAM); leading a four-million-dollar expansion of the museum in historical El Pueblo. The mission of CAM is to teach the public about the history and contributions of Chinese in American, from the 1850’s to today. CAM’s message is that all of our histories need to be told and that all of our communities’ histories are all stories of U.S. history. She has also recently been named Commissioner for Human Rights for Los Angeles County. Dr. Yuen was recently presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Chinese American Elected Officials. While for most, this represents a closing of a chapter for achievements and services rendered to a community, Dr. Yuen remains an activist. For Dr. Yuen, the Lifetime Achievement Award is a recognition of the work she has accomplished and the work she still continues to pursue for social justice, equity, and inclusion.
DISTINGUISHED ALUMNA, COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING, COMPUTER SCIENCE, AND TECHNOLOGY - Gina Orozco, '91
Gina Orozco, '91
Vice President, Gas Engineering and System Integrity
Southern California Gas Company
Gina Orozco is Vice President of Gas Engineering and System Integrity for Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), Sempra Energy's regulated California utilities.
Gina oversees gas engineering and system integrity and has the responsibility for engineering support, integrity management, operations training, asset management, research and development, and information systems.
Gina was previously the Vice President of Gas Distribution, being responsible for providing leadership to a team of approximately 2,300 employees at SoCalGas and SDG&E as well as overseeing gas distribution operations, maintenance, construction, resource management, local engineering, and planning.
Since joining SoCalGas as an engineering intern in 1990, Gina has held a variety of increasingly responsible roles in engineering, field services, system operations, environmental, international development, and labor relations.
Gina has a master’s degree in Business Administration from Claremont Graduate University and a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the California State University, Los Angeles.
She currently serves on the board of directors for Adventist Health White Memorial Medical Center Charitable Foundation and the California State Parks Foundation. Gina also is on the Drucker Industry Advisory Board and is an alumna of the Southern California Leadership Network and Leadership California.
In 2016, Gina received the Latina Corporate Pillar Award from the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. In that same year, she was also listed as one of the 50 Most Powerful Latinas in corporate America by the Association of Latino Professionals for America. In 2020, Gina was recognized as the Woman of Year by the Adventist Health White Memorial Charitable Foundation.
DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI, COLLEGE OF ETHNIC STUDIES - Charon D'Aiello Sandoval, '80, '86
Charon D'Aiello Sandoval, '80, '86
Former Director, Affirmative Action Program
California State University, Los Angeles
Charon D’Aiello grew up in El Sereno and began her studies at Cal State LA in the fall of 1960 as a business major. A few years after enrolling she stopped attending classes to work full time in a series of positions on the campus from a clerk typist to a department secretary to administrative assistant to the Dean of Letters and Science. Charon thrived on campus and took advantage of the many speakers and forums, as well as the many kind faculty members who mentored her.
She began taking classes again part time and by 1980 received her Bachelor’s degree in Pan African Studies. In 1986 she completed a special master’s degree with emphasis in intercultural communication, public administration and personnel management.
In 1967, her brother, her only sibling, was killed in Viet Nam. This event greatly affected her views and changed her life significantly. She became involved in community activism. The young Italian/Jewish woman attended meetings of radical groups and ultimately committed to La Raza Unida to support Chicanos in her community and fight discrimination.
In 1977 her experiences made her uniquely qualified for a relatively new administrative position which became available; that of Director of the Affirmative Action Program on the campus. The position required finding ways to recruit and hire a more diverse pool of faculty and administrators to better reflect our student body.
In 1980, Charon met her husband David through political activity off campus and they have been together since then. They continue to remain committed to finding new opportunities for people on this campus even years after retirement.
Charon and David established the Ochari D’Aiello Scholarship in memory of their son and established an endowment for the Student Services Center, which has been named for them. They have also set up a fund at Cal State LA to assist Dreamers with specific financial issues.
Charon serves on the boards of the Violence Intervention Program of Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center, the National Hispanic Media Coalition, the Italian American Museum of Los Angeles and the Presidents Council at Cal State LA.
DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI, COLLEGE OF ETHNIC STUDIES - David Sandoval, '75, '87
David Sandoval, '75, '87
Former Director, Educational Opportunity Program
California State University, Los Angeles
David Sandoval is the former director of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at Cal State LA. He entered the program in 1969 as a special admissions student and obtained his degree as an EOP graduate. During the 1960s, he was a student and community activist with UMAS, MECHA, and Brown Berets. He combined his media talents with a concern for the community to write and produce short video and film documentaries. He eventually became a peer counselor in the EOP program, and worked his way up to director by 1985, a position he held for 23 years.
When he was seventeen, the working-class Chicano from what is now the City of Commerce was invited to attend a summer program sponsored by the New York Society for Ethical Culture. The six-week Encampment for Citizenship program was designed to educate youth about civic responsibility, participation, and tolerance and to encourage political activism and volunteerism. There, David met peers of different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds from all over the word. The experience supported his budding career as a photographer and filmmaker and allowed him to meet influential people through international travel.
David admits that while on his travels, he felt a tinge of sadness that others could not share his experience. Returning to Cal State LA, he found a way to help himself and others through the Educational Opportunity Program, which provides access for economically and socially disadvantaged minority students who display potential for academic success.
Inspired by his concern for the community, he has written and produced short films, documentaries and radio shows. His production credits include “Guadalupe” and ‘Una Nacion Billingue” for the national PBS “Realidades” series. He also served as National Coordinating Producer for “Infinity Factory,” a PBS series on math targeted to Black and Latino children. In the late 70’s, he co-hosted and produced a weekly cultural affairs radio show entitled “La Vida Latina” for KPFK-FM, a Pacifia station. In 1971, Sandoval co-produced the first Los Lobos album “Los Lobos Del Este De Los Angeles: Just Another Band From East L.A.”
He has traveled extensively throughout Europe, Mexico, and the former Soviet Union. He has led EOP students on study/lecture tours to Chiapas, Cuba and Selma, Alabama.
Sandoval has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mexican American Studies and a Master’s Degree in Education from Cal State LA. He also attended UCLA, taking graduate course work in motion picture and television production. He has completed all coursework in the doctoral program in Educational Management at the University of La Verne.
His wife, alumna Charon D’Aiello Sandoval, is also retired from Cal State LA. Their support of the university was recognized in 2014 through the naming of the Charon D’Aiello Sandoval and David Sandoval Student Center. David serves on the board of the Presidents Council at Cal State LA.
DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS, COLLEGE OF NATURAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCES - Ronald Bates, Ph.D., '68
Ronald Bates, Ph.D., '68
Former President, League of California Cities
Ronald Bates, Ph.D. has been a dedicated public servant for 52 years. He has served as President of the League of California Cities 1996-98, President of the Southern California Association of Governments 2000 and President of the Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations 2002. He currently serves as a Council Member in Los Alamitos and previously served as Mayor. Working for the League of California Cities, he serves as Vice Chair of the California Massage Therapy Council responsible for regulating the standards for massage certificate holders and the curriculum and training at massage schools in California. He is also a Board Member and Secretary of Anaheim Regional Hospital.
He was City Manager in Buena Park in Orange County, and La Habra Heights, South Gate and Pico Rivera in Los Angeles County and was primarily responsible for restoring or maintaining fiscal integrity and stability to those cities. In South Gate, he was a major contributor to the Azalea Project, the largest commercial development in the city’s history. As Assistant City Manager and consultant in Anaheim, he worked with the City Manager and Legal Counsel negotiating major agreements for the construction, financing and operation of the Pond of Anaheim, which finished construction on time and under budget in 1993.
In note of his accomplishments, he received the National Public Service Award in 2014 from both the National Academy of Public Administration and the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA.) In 2000, he received the Tranny Award by the California Transportation Foundation for an elected official’s contribution to transportation.
Following undergraduate work at California State University, Los Angeles in Government and Physics and serving as Cal State LA’s Student Body President in 1968-69, he went on to receive an MPA and Ph.D. from the University of Southern California in Public Administration specializing in finance and personnel administration with further work in finance completing his Certified Financial Planning (CFP) credential in 1988.
He has been married to Marilyn Bates Ph.D. for 51 years. They have two daughters and two grandchildren ages nine and four. He and his wife fund an Internship Program for Public Administration graduate students at Cal State LA and scholarships for high achieving high school students living in Pico Rivera. He also serves on the Advisory Board for the Dean of the School of Natural and Social Sciences at Cal State LA.
DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS, RONGXIANG XU COLLEGE OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES - Richard M. Tefank, '75
Richard M. Tefank, '75
Executive Director, Los Angeles Police Commission
Richard M. Tefank is the Executive Director for the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners and has served in that role for over 17 years, under twenty-five different Police Commissioners. He has over fifty-three years of law enforcement experience, including his service as a police officer, Chief of Police and with the State of California Attorney General’s office.
Richard was born in Weehawken, New Jersey and at the age of one moved to Fresno, California with his family. His family ultimately located to Ontario, California where he spent his teenage years and graduated from Chaffey High School in 1963. After graduation from high school he enlisted in the United States Air Force serving four years in Texas, Mississippi, California and Alaska.
In 1968 he began his law enforcement career with the Montclair Police Department where he served four years. In 1969 began his college education enrolling at Chaffey College and graduating in June 1972 with an Associate of Science Degree in Police Science. In November 1972, he became a police officer with the Pomona Police Department where he served for 17 years, promoting through the ranks of Senior Patrolman, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain and being appointed Chief of Police in 1986. In January 1973, he enrolled in California State College, Los Angeles where he graduated in March 1975 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Police Administration. During his time serving the community of Pomona, he was a member of the Pomona Host Lions Club and Vice-Chair of the Pomona Valley YMCA.
Richard was selected as the Chief of Police for the City of Buena Park Police Department in December 1989 serving there until his retirement on March 31, 2001. During his service to the community of Buena Park, he was on the Board of Directors of the Buena Park Boys and Girls Club for ten years, serving as President for two years. He was recognized with the Carl & Edith Rhenborg Award for Service in 1997 and the Volunteer of the Year in 1998 and was selected as the Cypress College Americana Citizen of the Year for Buena Park in 1999. Professionally, he was the President of the Orange County Chiefs of Police and Sheriffs Association in 1995, was a member of the Board of Directors of the California Police Chiefs Association for eight years, and was President in 1999. In 2000, he was awarded the prestigious Joe Molloy Memorial Award for outstanding service to California law enforcement by the California Police Chiefs Association.
Upon his retirement, he was selected by California Attorney General Bill Lockyer to serve as his Southern California liaison to Chiefs of Police, Sheriffs and District Attorneys. He served in this role until November 30, 2003. On December 1, 2003, he was appointed as an Assistant Inspector General, Office of the Inspector General for the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners. He served in that position until June 1, 2004 when he was appointed by the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners as their Executive Director where he is the Commission’s chief administrative officer and reports directly to the Board. The Executive Director is charged with the supervision, appointment, discharge, discipline and transfer of the Commission’s executive staff and Commission Investigation Division personnel. The Executive Director oversees budgetary appropriations for the Police Commission, including the recommendation of an annual Police Commission budget. The Executive Director is also the Board’s liaison to the Office of the Chief of Police and Police Department and represents the Commission at various meetings and events.
Richard and his wife Marilyn have been married for forty-five years and have two children, one of which passed away from cancer in 2007, two grandchildren and two great grandchildren.