President Covino advises aspiring professor for program that promotes adoption

Cal State L.A. hosts many young visitors to campus with big dreams of going to college. But last week, President William A. Covino met one-on-one to give some academic advice and encouragement to a special young man named Luis who yearns for a Ph.D. in English Literature as well as a permanent home.

The meeting was coordinated for “Wednesday’s Child,” a segment produced for the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services by FOX 11 KTTV with the help of Christine Devine and Social Work Professor William Wong, which aims to match young-adult foster youths, like Luis, with adoptive families.

After learning of the 13-year-old’s collegiate aspirations, Covino, a former English professor, offered to team up with “Wednesday’s Child” to help promote Luis’ story in hopes of finding him a forever home.

The two discussed their shared interest in literature and the president gave the teen a copy of Walt Whitman: Poetry and Prose, with personal notes written in the margins.

“An English professor told me I should major in English because reading literature is key to learning about everything. It’s the one subject through which we can study all others,” explained Covino. “I got so engaged in the subject, I wanted to become a professor so that I could share that experience with others.”

During the conversation, the duo discovered another bond through music—Covino plays the accordion while Luis has learned the trumpet.

Wearing bright red tennis shoes and a gray backpack, and carrying a book brimmed with scribbles on sticky notes, the honors student fit right in on campus as he got a quick tour and even attended his first university-level English class when he sat in on Professor Michael Calabrese’ English 200A course on “Classical and Medieval Tradition in English Literature.”

“I plan on doing this every day when I’m in college,” Luis told Devine. “Meeting the president was interesting. He gave me a lot of good advice.”

The “Wednesday’s Child” segment will be broadcast this week on Wednesday, Apr. 16, and Sunday, Apr. 20, during the FOX 11 10 p.m. news.

To learn more about Luis and adoption, call the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services “Wednesday’s Child” Hotline at 866-921-ADOPT (2367) or log on the “Wednesday’s Child” page at

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Working for California 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 a NASA-funded center for space research and a forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center.