Cal State LA’s new President’s Council meets to collaborate on advancing the University’s priorities and goals

April 3, 2015

Prominent business and civic leaders, many of them Cal State LA alumni, will offer input on academic, research and branding initiatives

Cal State LA convened its first meeting Thursday of the President’s Council, which is comprised of accomplished business and civic leaders who will help strengthen the University’s role as a premier public comprehensive university.

The 42 council members will work closely with Cal State LA President William A. Covino, offering input and advice as the University solidifies community and corporate partnerships, launches innovative academic and research initiatives and pushes forward with an ambitious branding campaign.

Many of the council members are Cal State LA alumni and include former elected officials, philanthropists, and government and corporate executives.

“This is a pivotal time as we both celebrate our extraordinary achievements of the past and position ourselves for even greater accomplishments in the future,” Covino told the panel during the meeting at the University’s Luckman Fine Arts Complex. “You will play a vital role as we embark on this journey to build a legacy with a renewed mission and strong sense of purpose.”

The meeting featured a video highlighting Cal State LA’s role as a leading public university focused on becoming an engine of social mobility. The video was followed by a presentation on Cal State LA’s mission of engagement, service, and the public good, as well as the University’s commitment to student success.

“I am looking forward to our partnership,” Covino said. “Together we will make an immeasurable difference in the lives of our students and everyone they touch.”

Members of the President’s Council are:

  • Gilbert Barajas, founder and director of the Periodontal Health Group, Montebello
  • Andrew Bicos, chief engineer for aeromechanics technology and director of enterprise, technology strategy for flight sciences and systems engineering at the Boeing Company; executive focal for Cal State LA
  • Bill Bogaard, mayor of Pasadena; chair of the Pasadena Bioscience Collaborative
  • Scott Budnick, founder and president of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition
  • Elise Buik, president and chief executive officer of United Way of Greater Los Angeles
  • Elisa Crystal Callow, founding director of the Armory Center for the Arts
  • Steve Cooley, retired, Los Angeles County’s 41st district attorney
  • Richard D. Cordova, president/chief executive officer and member of Board of Trustees for the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • Charon D’Aiello Sandoval, retired staff, Office of Affirmative Action at Cal State LA
  • Frank J. De Santis, entrepreneur, founding president of the Harbor UCLA Medical Research Institute for 35 years
  • Arturo Delgado, Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools
  • Victor Dominguez, executive vice president and chief mission advancement officer for the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles
  • María Elena Durazo, general vice president for immigration, diversity and civil rights for UNITE HERE labor union
  • Sandra Figueroa-Villa, executive director of El Centro del Pueblo in Los Angeles and Los Angeles Police Commissioner
  • Marshal Geller, co-founder and managing partner of St. Cloud Capital, LLC
  • Mark Steven Greenfield, artist and former arts administrator with the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs
  • Ana Guerrero, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s chief of staff
  • Helen Hernandez, president and founder of The Imagen Foundation and executive producer of the Imagen Awards
  • John Huerta, appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Advisory Committee for the Arts
  • Carlos Illingworth, director of public affairs and government relations for the Vons Division of Safeway
  • Jesse Juarros, chief information officer for the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works
  • Billie Jean King, legendary tennis player and founder of the Women’s Sports Foundation and the Women’s Tennis Association
  • Arthur T. Leahy, chief executive officer of Metrolink
  • Kate Lear, writer, theater producer and philanthropist
  • David C. Lizárraga, chairman and founder of the TELACU Education Foundation
  • Michael A. Lucki, certified public accountant and general partner for Lucki Advisors, LLC
  • Capri Maddox, special assistant city attorney and senior advisor to Los Angeles City Attorney Michael N. Feuer
  • Gary J. Matus, managing director of RSR Partners
  • Omel Nieves, chief operating officer and partner of Hunt, Ortmann, Palffy, Nieves, Darling & Mah, Inc. law firm
  • Tam O’Shaughnessy, president and chief executive officer of Sally Ride Science
  • George L. Pla, president, CEO and founder of Cordoba Corporation
  • Terrence J. Roberts, chief executive officer of Terrence Roberts Consulting and member of the “Little Rock Nine” who desegregated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957
  • David Sandoval, retired, director of the Educational Opportunity Program at Cal State LA
  • Eva Stern, clinical social worker and philanthropist
  • Ralph M. Terrazas, chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department
  • John J. Tracy, chief technology officer of The Boeing Company
  • Nat Trives, former mayor of Santa Monica and professor emeritus of criminal justice at Cal State LA
  • Gilbert R. Vasquez, managing partner of Vasquez & Company LLP certified public accounting firm
  • Linda Wah, elected trustee on the Board of Pasadena City College
  • Mark E. Whitlock, Jr., pastor of Christ Our Redeemer A.M.E. Church in Orange County
  • Kevin Xu, CEO of MEBO International
  • Willie Zuñiga, president of Grifols Biologicals Inc.

Photo: Cal State LA President William A. Covino convenes his President's Council at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex. (Photo credit: Cal State LA)


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Cal State LA is a university dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good. Founded in 1947, the University serves over 24,000 active students, and 235,000 distinguished alumni, who are as diverse as the city we serve. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, Cal State LA has long been recognized as an engine of economic and social mobility. 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, TV, Film and Media Center and the Center for Engagement, Service, and the Public Good. For more information, visit, or like us at