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Cal State LA honors 12 distinguished women for dedication and service

March 9, 2017

California State University, Los Angeles honored 12 women whose dedication and tireless efforts have helped elevate the University and its students.

The 19th annual Distinguished Women Awards coincided with International Women's Day and was a celebration of the 12 honorees and generations of women who have helped Cal State LA provide a transformative experience for its students. The March 8 event, coordinated by the Cross Cultural Centers, was held before a packed house at the Golden Eagle Ballroom. Among the guests were President Emeritus James M. Rosser and former longtime Vice President for Information Technology Services Peter Quan.

Since the award’s inception, Cal State LA has honored more than 170 women. This year's honorees are:

  • Ana Caudillo, Office of the President
  • Martha Contreras, Educational Opportunity Program
  • Marianne James, Accounting
  • Ashley Joseph, Associated Students, Incorporated
  • Jennifer McCormick, Curriculum and Instruction
  • Suzanne McEvoy, Academic Affairs
  • Charity Perry, Sociology
  • Cheryl Pugh, Undergraduate Studies
  • Lourdes “Lulu” Quiñones, Upward Bound
  • Lizette Rivera, Liberal Studies
  • Thea Winkler, Counseling and Psychological Services
  • Hengchun Ye, Geosciences and Environment

Cal State LA President William A. Covino noted that the women who were being recognized, as well as countless others, played a significant role in the recent national recognition that the University received regarding the upward mobility of its students. A groundbreaking study published in The New York Times found that Cal State LA propelled a higher percentage of students from the bottom fifth of income into the top fifth of U.S. earners than any other institution.

“It’s important to acknowledge the link between the women we honor today and our students’ upward mobility," the president told the crowd. “Our students’ success is driven by the teaching, mentoring, counseling, advising and support of women like those we recognize today.”

President Covino closed his remarks by recognizing Frederick Smith, director of the Cross Cultural Centers, and members of the selection committee for their efforts in reviewing dozens of applications and selecting the 12 honorees.

“Thank you, Fred, thank you to this year’s selection committee for their work, and thank you to all of you for joining with us as we honor Cal State LA’s distinguished women,” Covino said.


Photo: Standing, from left to right, Ana Caudillo, Jennifer McCormick, Suzanne McEvoy, President William A. Covino, Lourdes "Lulu" Quin̄ones, Martha Contreras, and Lizette Rivera. Seated, from left to right, Cheryl Pugh, Hengchun Ye, Marianne James, Thea Winkler, Ashley Joseph, and Charity Perry. (Credit: Ty Washington/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