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Alumni Awards Gala

Alumni Awards Gala 2018
Friday, October 12, 2018
Reception at 5:00 p.m.
Dinner and awards presentation at 6:30 p.m.
Golden Eagle Ballroom
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032
Please join us at the California State University, Los Angeles 2018 Alumni Awards Gala as we honor and celebrate the notable accomplishments of our distinguished alumni. Established in 1973, these awards are presented by the University in recognition of personal achievement, professional success or humanitarian service. Recipients are those who have attained prominence in their chosen fields and have brought pride to Cal State LA.


Isaac Larian, '78 ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR

Isaac Larian, '78
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
MGA Entertainment, Inc.

 Photo of Isaac Larian

Isaac Larian founded MGA Entertainment in 1979 and built it into the largest private toy company in the world. In 1984, MGA Entertainment became the first official distributor of Nintendo handheld LCD games in the United States, and in 2001, MGA Entertainment launched the Bratz line of dolls that revolutionized the doll industry. In 2006, MGA Entertainment acquired the iconic brand Little Tikes diversifying the company into toys for preschoolers and younger children. Isaac is also a significant shareholder and board member of Zapf Creations, AG headquarters in Rodental, Germany. Zapf brands include Baby Born and Baby Annabell.

Isaac’s vision continues to lead MGA Entertainment into new frontiers of consumer entertainment and he is still at the forefront of the development and creation of the company’s toys. MGA Entertainment is a global toy company with headquarters in Van Nuys, CA and offices in Canada, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Poland, Hong Kong, and China. Brands under the MGA Entertainment portfolio include: Little Tikes, L.O.L. Surprise, Lalaloopsy, Project Mc2, Num Noms, Bratz, and Gel-a-Peel.

Reflecting Isaac’s success and innovation in the industry, he was named the United States winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for 2007, after winning nationally in his category, Retail & Consumer Products, for 2007, and locally in 2004. Isaac is very active in several charitable foundations that focus on helping children.

Prior to founding MGA Entertainment, Isaac imported textiles and brassware through his own mail-order company. He holds a degree in Civil Engineering from California State University, Los Angeles, and was awarded their Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2005.

Laurie Lopez Tixier, '87 DISTINGUISHED ALUMNA

College of Arts and Letters
Laurie Lopez Tixier, '87
Senior Vice President, Unscripted & Alternative TV
Warner Bros. Television

photo of Laurie Tixier

Laurie Lopez Tixier is Senior Vice President of Warner Bros. Unscripted and Alternative Television. She joined Warner Bros in 2013 and is part of the creative and development team headed by Reality TV trailblazer, Mike Darnell.  The team oversees three companies under the Unscripted and Alternative Television Group banner: Warner Horizon Unscripted TV, Telepictures, and Shed Media. The division is the #1 provider of primetime unscripted programming and is responsible for over 35 series on broadcast, cable, and syndication including Little Big Shots with Steve Harvey, Ellen’s Game of Games, The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, and The Voice. The division is also responsible for a large slate of cable and syndicated programming including Who Do You Think You Are?, Long Lost Family, Basketball Wives, The Real Housewives of New York City, as well as TMZ, Extra, The Real, and Crime Watch Daily, among others.

Prior to joining Warner Bros., Laurie was Vice President of Alternative Entertainment for the Fox Broadcasting Network where she was part of the creative and development team that oversaw such Fox programming as American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef, MasterChef Jr., Kitchen Nightmares, and X Factor. 

During her career, Laurie spent countless hours on productions as a producer, director, associate producer, associate director, coordinator, and production assistant. She is a three-time Emmy nominee and one-time winner for producing Midday Sunday with legendary longtime newsman and mentor, Tony Valdez. She began her career in 1987 as an assistant at Fox-owned KTTV in Los Angeles.

Laurie has returned to her Alma Mater many times, giving advice and encouragement to a generation of Cal State LA undergrads.  She loves sharing her story and her trajectory from student to TV Executive. “Maybe I was naïve, but I had no doubt that I was going to get a job, and have a career in television.  I didn’t know anyone or have any connections, I just felt, why not me? That naïveté and no fear of hard work, along with keeping loyal friends and co-workers along the way served me well.”

Laurie was born in Los Angeles and spent her youth in neighboring El Sereno.  She graduated in 1987 with a degree in Radio and Television Broadcasting. Laurie is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, tv fanatic, college sports fan, and cancer survivor.  She resides in Altadena, CA with her husband, Jim and their three rescue pups.  Her two grown children, Matt and Ryan, watched many hours of TV growing up—and they’re still both college graduates.


College of Business and Economics
Gerald Freeny, '83
President, Tournament of Roses

photo of Gerald Freeny

Tournament of Roses® President Gerald Freeny provides leadership for the 130th Rose Parade® presented by Honda and the 105th Rose Bowl Game® presented by Northwestern Mutual on Tuesday, January 1, 2019.

Freeny has been a volunteer member of the Tournament of Roses Association since 1988. In addition to his many years of service in the Tournament of Roses, his community involvement has included; president of the San Gabriel chapter of NOBLE (National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives), the Pasadena Police Foundation Board, Pasadena Police Citizens Academy, Pasadena Rose Bowl Aquatics Board, University Club, Pasadena YMCA Board, Black Support Group at Cal State LA, Urban League Board of Governors, United Way Fundraising Committee, Toast Masters and the Pasadena NAACP. Freeny has been on the Advisory Board of the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation since 2016, and is also a member of Legacy’s Museum Committee.

He attended Pasadena Christian School and John Muir High School in Pasadena, and received a bachelor’s degree in business administration and finance from California State University, Los Angeles. Freeny is a member of both the Kappa Alpha Psi and Gamma Zeta Boulé of Sigma Pi Phi fraternities and First Historic Lutheran Church. Gerald resides in Altadena with his wife, Trina, and their daughter, Erica.

Raul J. Cardoza, Ed.D., '67, '73 DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS

Charter College of Education
Raul J. Cardoza, Ed.D., '67, '73
Past President, Chabot Community College 

photo of Raul Cardoza

Dr. Raul J. Cardoza is a retired senior administrator for the Los Angeles Community College District.  He is a first generation student from Boyle Heights who attended Our Lady of Talpa Elementary and Cantwell High School before matriculating at Cal State LA in 1962.  After earning his math degree and teaching credential, he taught at Montebello High School before accepting a position at Occidental College as Assistant Dean of Admissions where, in addition to his regular admission duties, he coordinated Latino admissions from 1970-73.

Upon completing his Master’s degree in Counseling at Cal State LA, he was hired as counselor at Rio Hondo College and then East LA College.  At ELAC, he began his first management position as Coordinator in the Office of Instruction and subsequently moved up the administrative ladder to become Vice President of Academic Affairs at LA Mission and then at East LA College.

After earning his doctorate at UCLA, he served as president of Chabot Community College in Hayward, California. He then became Provost of the National Hispanic University a small, private four year college in San Jose. There, he led the school to receive accreditation. Next, he served as Western Regional Director of The College Board before serving in the LA Community College District where he retired from LA Trade Tech. Before retiring, he began teaching part time at the University of Sothern California doctoral program in Educational Leadership.

Dr. Cardoza, enjoys teaching courses that allows him to share personal and professional experiences to future leaders.  He subsequently moved to Cal State Northridge where he taught part time in their Educational Leadership program with emphases in community college administration.  He returned to Cal State LA in 2016 as Adjunct Professor, for the Charter College of Education to teach part time in a similar educational leadership program which identifies and trains future leaders.  

Dr. Cardoza currently serves on the Cal State LA Alumni Association Board of Directors.  He remains passionate about social justice in Los Angeles and, when he is not traveling with his wife, he enjoys the company of his friends and family, particularly his five grandchildren.

Souzane H. Tacawy, Ed.D., '82 DISTINGUISHED ALUMNA

College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology
Souzane H. Tacawy, Ed.D., '82
Senior Manager, Boeing Test & Evaluation
The Boeing Company

photo of Souzane Tacawy

As a member of the Boeing Test & Evaluation organization, Souzane is currently the Senior Manager/Test Program Manager for the Long Beach site responsible for C-17 and Commercial laboratories for research, evaluation, development, integration, qualification testing of Avionics and Flight Control Systems hardware and software.

Souzane has 34 years at the McDonnell Douglas/Boeing Company in Southern California in engineering and leadership positions on Military, Space and Commercial aerospace programs.  She has broad experience in: Program/project leadership, Line Management, Organizational/Employee Development, Facilitation/instruction, Technical & Industry liaison, FAA & aircraft Certification, Systems Engineering, Test & Evaluation, Avionics, Propulsion & Environmental engineering disciplines. Her ample background includes leadership positions as the Southwest region lab test Technical Integration Leader in support of implementing strategies across the region including Cost Reduction initiatives. As the Test & Evaluation Engineering Function People Strategic Objective Leader. She also held Project Management responsibilities on the Boeing 717, Space Shuttle Major Modifications, BC-17X and C-17 programs.

Souzane holds a doctorate degree in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine, MS in Engineering Management from West Coast University, a BSME from Cal State LA, and UCLA/Douglas Aircraft Company (DAC) Quality Certificate.  She is also a graduate of several Boeing leadership development programs.

In 2013 Souzane decided that she would like to teach so she became a part time instructor teaching doctoral students level Leadership and Quality Management Systems, serving as a dissertation chair, and as oral defense committee member at the National Graduate School/New England College of Business. In 2016 she joined Cal State LA College of Business & Economics teaching Leadership/Management and Social Entrepreneurship courses.

Throughout her career, Souzane has earned numerous awards and recognition for her achievements and success. In 2016, she was recognized by The Engineers’ Council Engineering Distinguished Engineer Achievement Award for her engineering accomplishments and leadership qualities. Other awards included the Boeing HR Service Excellence Award for the development of Accelerated Leadership Development Program, UAHuntsville Employee Development Award for developing a certificate program in partnership with university, Global Diversity Change Agent Award for advocacy and actions in support of career development planning and achieving diversity in engineering, and 26th YWCA Leadership Achievement Award.

Souzane is active in her church and Cal State LA. Currently she serves as the Chair of the Cal State LA Mechanical Engineering Industry Advisory Board.  She is passionate about mentoring, and coaching others by sharing her own experiences and her passion for promoting diversity and positive cultural change to improve organizational effectiveness.  Recently she presented a session on Leadership at the Los Angeles County Women’s Leadership Conference. Other presentations she made were on “Achieving & Leveraging Diversity” at Boeing’s Global Diversity & EOO Compliance Summit, “Upward Mobility of Females in Aerospace” Paper, at Society of Women Engineers (SWE) National Conference, and co-presented at the Performance Plus Workshop, WESTEC Professional Development Conference, Los Angeles. She is also passionate about making a difference and working with people to develop their skills and help them advance their careers.  She has been invited by several Cal State LA and CSUF clubs to speak on “Landing the First Job and Helping Your Career” and also on Leadership from a female’s perspective.

She attributes her success to the on-going encouragement and support of her family and friends.  She proudly celebrated her 42th wedding anniversary. She has three adult children, and four beautiful grandchildren. Souzane loves to spend time with her family and still enjoys reading when time permits.

Sumanta Kumar Pal, M.D., '99 DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS

College of Natural and Social Sciences
Sumanta Kumar Pal, M.D., '99
Assistant Clinical Professor, Genitourinary Malignancies
City of Hope National Medical Center

photo of Sumanta Kumar Pal

Sumanta (Monty) Kumar Pal, M.D., is an internationally recognized leader in the area of genitourinary cancers, including kidney, bladder, and prostate cancer. He is the Co-director of City of Hope's Kidney Cancer Program and is the head of the kidney and bladder cancer disease team at the institution.

Dr. Pal entered college at the age of 13 at California State University Los Angeles (CSULA). Dr. Pal was a member of the Early Entrance Program and a board member of the General Education Honors Program (now the Honors College). At Cal State LA, he worked in the Department of Chemistry in the laboratory of Dr. Paulson, a formative experience in his training. He began medical school at the University of California, Los Angeles at the age of 17.  After completing his residency training at the University of California, Los Angeles, Dr. Pal completed a fellowship program in medical oncology at City of Hope's comprehensive cancer center where he remains on faculty since 2009.

Over that span of time, he has published more than 250 peer-reviewed articles that have been featured in prominent journals including The Journal of Clinical Oncology, Lancet Oncology, Cancer Cell, and European Urology.

Dr. Pal holds patents for new drugs currently under development in prostate cancer and also maintains one of the largest portfolios of clinical trials for kidney and bladder cancer research on the west coast. He developed an integrated program that focuses heavily on collaborations with basic science researchers at Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope and urologists in the Department of Surgery. Ultimately, Dr. Pal’s goal is to stimulate collaborative research across multiple departments in order to discover novel therapeutic approaches for our currently incurable diseases. He has also worked to push the boundaries of personalized medicine in genitourinary cancers, with several seminal publications in rare genitourinary cancers that describe unique therapeutic targets.

Dr. Pal sits on the Editorial Board for Clinical Genitourinary Cancer and Kidney Cancer and is a reviewer for multiple journals including The Journal of Clinical Oncology, The Journal of Urology, European Urology, and many others. Dr. Pal has received grants from the National Institute of Health, the Comprehensive Cancer Network, the Southwest Oncology Group, and multiple other leading entities in support of his formidable research.

Patricia A. Chin, R.N., D.N.S., '80, '84 DISTINGUISHED ALUMNA

Rongxiang Xu College of Health and Human Services
Patricia A. Chin, R.N., D.N.S., '80, '84
Board President, Chin Family Institute for Nursing
California State University, Los Angeles

photo of Patricia Chin

Patricia A. Chin R.N., D.N.S. is Professor Emeritus and Board President of the Chin Family Institute for Nursing at California State University, Los Angeles.

Dr. Chin earned a Diploma in Nursing from Capital City School of Nursing, D.C. General Hospital, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing from California State University, Los Angeles, and a Doctor of Nursing Science from the University of San Diego. She is a member of the Cal State LA NuMu Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.

Dr. Chin's five decade professional nursing career includes medical-surgical nursing, cardiac intensive care nursing, psychiatric/mental health nursing and consultation, legal consultation on nursing negligence, Registered Clinical Nurse Specialist, and nurse educator. As a member of the Cal State LA faculty she taught at both the undergraduate and graduate, levels, served in positions of the Nurse Counselor, the Associate Director, the Acting Director, and the Director of the School of Nursing. Dr. Chin was a member of the Nursing Faculty at Azusa Pacific University School of Nursing for five years.

Dr. Chin's scholarly publications, presentations and activities have been in the areas: of vulnerable and underserved populations, domestic violence, powerlessness, change theory, coping with mental and behavioral issues during changes in health and rehabilitation, and nursing case management.

Active in her community she has served as a board member of the East San Gabriel Chapter of the American Red Cross, Monterey Park Boys and Girls Club, Garfield Medical Center Board of Governors, Soroptimist International, and the Soroptimist Village Foundation Board a subsidized Senior Housing Facility. She chaired a "Commission on the State of the City of Monterey Park" Ad Hoc committee for the City of Monterey Park and served two terms on the City's Planning Commission.

The Porto Family, '80, '84, '85 ALUMNI FAMILY AWARD


Margarita Navarro, '85
Vice President of Catering Operations
Porto's Bakery and Café

Raul Porto, Jr., '84

Porto's Bakery and Café

Beatriz Porto-Magadan, '80
Vice President of Community Relations
Porto's Bakery and Café

Porto family photo
(Left to right: Margarita Navarro, Raul Porto, Beatriz Porto-Magadan)

Porto’s Bakery & Café is a family-owned business that has been around for over 40 years. It is currently run by the Porto siblings—Beatriz ’80, Raul Jr. ’84 and Margarita ’85.

The Porto’s story began in Cuba where the family matriarch, Rosa established a thriving business selling cakes and pies in order to help support the family. In 1971, the family immigrated to the United States where Rosa resumed her homed-based bakery business. Within five years the business moved to a small location in Silver Lake, California.

By the early 80’s Porto’s Bakery had become so successful that Raul Sr. quit his job at Van de Kamp’s Bakery to work full time with Rosa. Beatriz, Raul Jr., and Margarita helped at the bakery after school and on weekends. After graduating from college, the siblings took on larger roles within the business.

In 1993, the Bakery outgrew its 2000 square foot facility and relocated to an expansive 20,000 square foot location in the 300 block of Brand Blvd in the city of Glendale where it remains to this day. In 2006, they expanded to a second location in Burbank and a third followed in November 2011 in the city of Downey. Most recently, a fourth location was opened in Buena Park in March 2017. A fifth location is set to open early 2019 in the city of West Covina.

Porto’s currently has over 1,000 employees and has received countless awards, including Modern Baking Magazine’s prestigious Retail Bakery of the Year and Yelp’s “Top 100 Places to Eat in the US”. Porto’s Bakery has become a destination for countless people every year.

In addition to a host of specialty pastries, cakes, pies, sandwiches and the like, Porto’s Bakery is known throughout the community for its generous support of non-profit organizations like The Los Angeles Union Mission, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Make a Wish Foundation as well as numerous community service projects throughout the cities in which they are located.

Ricson Chude, P.E., '08 GOLDEN EAGLE AWARD

Ricson Chude, P.E., '08
Project Manager
DSM Planning & Integration
Southern California Edison

photo of Ricson Chude

Ricson Chude is a project manager working for Southern California Edison (SCE) in the Customer Program & Services division where he’s primarily responsible for the development of strategic initiatives that support the integration of distributed energy resources such as solar PV and energy storage.

During his time at Cal State LA, Ricson was actively involved in a number of student organizations where he held leadership roles – Associated Student Inc., where he served as Representative for the College of Engineering, President of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Vice President of the Mech. Eng Honor Society – PiTauSigma as well as member of the TauBetaPi Engineering Honor Society and American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).  

Early in his career, while still a student he worked part time on campus in the Jefferson Lab under Dr. Margaziotis Professor of Physics, Emeritus, sequentially he moved on to apply his CAD Design skills to help local custom home builders, and in 2007 right before graduating worked for the Southern California Gas Company where he conducted industrial energy assessments.

After his graduation Ricson joined the Energy Efficiency Department at SoCal Edison where over the past 10 years he’s held a number of roles that led him to work on a variety of projects and initiatives aimed at improving energy efficiency of homes and buildings in Southern California.

In previous roles, he supervised the technical review of energy efficiency projects submitted to SCE for utility incentives, managed the identification and deployment of emerging technologies, oversaw energy simulation tool development, and authored several documents that supported SCE’s Residential and Commercial energy efficiency programs.

Ricson is committed to shaping the policies and standards impacting energy efficiency and the built environment. He currently serves as President of the Southern California Chapter of the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) – where he has been a board member since 2012. At the national level, he’s the Chair of the Energy Management subcommittee of ASHRAE’s Building Energy Performance technical committee.

Ricson has presented the benefits and challenges of deploying demand side management to small and large audiences, addressing the concerns of engineers, contractors, and building owners. Most recently, during the 2018 West Coast Energy Management Congress hosted by the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE) he was the chairperson of a session focused on High Performance Buildings.

In an effort to inspire and develop a pipeline of proficient students ready to drive innovation in the energy sector, on his spare time, Ricson speaks on the theme of "Leadership in Engineering" to students and teaches an introductory course in Energy Management at Citrus College.

Ricson Chude holds a Master of Science in Engineering Management from California State Polytechnic University of Pomona, and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the California State University, Los Angeles. He is a licensed Mechanical Engineer in the State of California and is recognized as a Certified Energy Manager (CEM), Certified Energy Auditor (CEA), and Certified Measurement and Verification Professional (CMVP) from the Association of Energy Engineers.


To confirm your attendance, please respond by Friday, October 5, 2018. Click here to purchase tickets or a sponsorship package.
For more information, contact the Cal State LA Alumni Association at [email protected] or call (323) 343-2586.
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