65th Commencement | Cal State L.A. | Spotlight

Distinguished leaders in higher education and California healthcare to address Cal State L.A.’s Class of 2012

Prominent figures in higher education and healthcare—Eduardo M. Ochoa, U.S. assistant secretary for postsecondary education, and Richard D. Cordova, president and CEO of Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles (CHLA)—will address Cal State L.A.’s Class of 2012 during its two-day, 65th annual Commencement.

Cordova, CSULA’s 2010 Alumnus of the Year, will be the keynote speaker, Friday, June 15, at 5 p.m., during the first of two graduation ceremonies. Ochoa, a former CSULA professor, will speak Saturday, June 16, at 8 a.m. More than 5,000 bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate students will graduate during the ceremonies.

Eduardo M. Ochoa

Portrait of Eduardo Ochoa.
 Ochoa has been serving in the Obama Administration since 2010 as the secretary’s chief adviser on higher education issues, administering more than 60 programs, and overseeing financial aid policy and accreditation.

“Cal State L.A. is where I came of age as a professor and higher education administrator. During my 13 years there, I developed a deep appreciation for the life-changing transformations in the students’ lives that are made possible by the University. The University’s graduates represent the future of California and our nation, and I am honored to join them in the celebration,” said Ochoa.

He is no stranger to the 23-campus California State University (CSU) system. While working on his Ph.D., Ochoa began lecturing on economics at Cal State Fresno.

After earning his doctorate, he began teaching at CSULA where he achieved full-professor status in 1997. While at the University, he also served as acting dean of the School of Business and Economics, chair of the Department of Economics and Statistics, and led the University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research. He left CSULA to become dean of Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Business Administration in 1997.

Just prior to his current position in the Obama Administration, Ochoa spent seven years as the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Sonoma State University. He will return to the CSU July 16 as interim president of Cal State Monterey Bay.

Ochoa earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from Reed College, a master’s degree in nuclear science and engineering from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in economics from the New School for Social Research.

Richard D. Cordova

Portrait of Richard Cordova.
 Cordova has more than 35 years of healthcare experience. He began his current position at CHLA in 2006. He also serves as a member of the hospital’s Board of Trustees.

Before his arrival at CHLA, Cordova worked with Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals, a nonprofit health care system that included 30 hospitals in eight states. He served as president of the Southern California Region of the Kaiser Permanente Health Plan and Hospitals with responsibilities for 11 hospitals, and led the organization’s regional efforts in marketing, strategic planning, finance, quality and patient safety.

Prior to his appointment as president at Kaiser, he served the hospital as chief operations officer for Southern California, after being senior vice president and service area manager, with responsibilities for four hospitals in the Northern California East Bay Service Area.

Cordova began his career in healthcare after graduating from CSULA with a degree in business administration in 1972. A year later, he began working for the Department of Health Services for the County of Los Angeles. Through 1991, he held various roles as a leader for Los Angeles County, serving as administrator of General Hospital of Los Angeles County (LAC/USC Medical Center) and associate hospital administrator of operations at Olive View Medical Center.

Cordova received his master’s degree from the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University in 1984.