News Release| University Convocation; Cal State L.A.

September 25, 2013

Mayor Garcetti, Congresswoman Chu help welcome Cal State L.A. President William A. Covino during University Convocation

 Los Angeles, CA – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu addressed the campus community during California State University, Los Angeles’ (CSULA) University Convocation Sept. 23 to help welcome the campus’s seventh president, William A. Covino, who discussed his vision and direction for the university.

During the introduction of his address to the packed house in CSULA’s Luckman Theatre, Covino shared family history, his time in a “music-for-all-occasions band,” and introduced his wife, Dr. Debbie Covino, and their son Danny, a communications major who will transfer to CSULA this fall quarter. He also discussed his career in higher education.

He then shifted to discussion focused in large part on the crucial role of engagement: on campus among faculty, staff and students, off campus with civic, business and other leaders, and with key industries.  He also emphasized the primary importance of student success.

“Our paramount emphasis here at Cal State L.A. will continue to be instruction that leads to success, in the context of the university’s well-recognized commitment to intellectual and cultural diversity and inclusion, without which true learning cannot take place,” said Covino. “Strong faculty research and scholarship here at Cal State L.A. are essential to exemplary instruction, provide for the engagement of students in knowledge-making, and ensure that they are learning from the best and the brightest.”  

Covino also discussed the need to provide “the classes that move students toward graduation,” and to offer a schedule of classes that meets the needs of degree-seeking students, as well as the funding needed to provide cost-effective, high quality instruction that reduces students’ time to graduation.

“Cal State L.A. does an incredible job attracting driven and bright students and preparing them for success,” said Mayor Garcetti. “Our city is stronger because of Cal State L.A.’s 230,000 alumni, and it’s my job to make sure L.A. is where they want to stay.”

President Covino also emphasized the need for strong partnerships with Los Angeles and the region, and developing the visibility that showcases CSULA’s dedication and accomplishments to expand the university’s engagement with and service to the workforce, business and government, which in turn will help bolster student success. 

“We know that active learning environments—permeated with curricular, pedagogical, and technological innovation—develop more accomplished and enthusiastic students,” he said. “We know that local communities can thrive when the university is a hub for applied research, scholarship, and artistry that create new solutions and visions, and move students into fulfilling and accomplished lives.  And we know that these accomplishments are not possible without reaching out to business, industry, education, and government, and involving and inspiring the best and brightest of the university’s faculty and staff.” 

To lead the charge, President Covino announced the creation of a new position: Vice President for Engagement and Economic Development, naming CSULA’s Associate Vice President for Administration and Finance José Gomez for the job.  Among his duties, Gomez, who will also serve as the president’s chief of staff, will strengthen existing networks and partnerships and create new ones that engage the university throughout Southern California.

“I see Cal State L.A., in particular, as a great university in a great city.  I embrace the opportunity to work with all of you to make even better the university and the city whose students we serve,” said Covino. “When we tie learning and scholarship to a sense of place, to grappling with a unique set of opportunities, challenges, and circumstances that define the quality of life, we become the engine for urban and regional transformation.”

# # #

Working for Californiaa since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 230,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to the Honors College for high-achieving students. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center. Visit