Among displays of flowing jelly fish, seahorses, and other exotic marine life at the San Pedro Cabrillo Marine Aquarium more than 100 alumni, faculty, staff and friends mingled at a California State University, Dominguez Hills Alumni and Friends Reception on March 22.
Welcoming guests to the Cabrillo Aquarium event, University President Mildred García said, “We want our alumni to be connected to [CSU] Dominguez Hills. We are coming to you, in your neighborhood, in your area, to make sure you get to know us and come back to the campus, to see how beautiful the campus is, to see how many students we have.”
Alumna Paula Moore (Class of 1980, B.A., psychology), executive director of the FRIENDS of Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, and chair of the CSU Dominguez Hills Foundation Board, who hosted the reception, acknowledged attending alumni who are now business owners, entrepreneurs, substitute teachers, psychologists, nurses and professionals in other fields.
“As I talked with people it was interesting to learn what people have done with their lives and careers since [CSU] Dominguez Hills,” said Moore.
Alumnus Jeffery Haywood (Class of ’03, B.A., political science), who acted as the Multicultural Center liaison for Associated Students, Incorporated while at CSU Dominguez Hills, said he was inspired to pursue a career in law by professor of political science Wayne Martin, who was the director of the Model United Nations program in 2003. After graduating from CSU Dominguez Hills, Haywood went on to attend University of Nevada, Las Vegas and earned a law degree in 2010. He’s currently preparing to take the California Bar Examination and hopes to practice corporate or immigration law in this area.
Sandra Eberhardt (Class of ’00, B.A., human services; ’03, M.A., clinical psychology) attended the reception with her daughter, Beverly, who is Miss San Pedro Latina 2012 and hopes to attend the university this fall to play soccer and study theatre arts.
“I want to focus on helping my community. I feel if I go to a university close, I’ll be able to serve the Los Angeles community,” the university hopeful said.
Alumna Eberhardt, who is currently preparing for the California Psychology Supplemental Examination in psychology and is soon to open a private practice in San Pedro, credits professor Beverly Palmer, who was then the director of the clinical psychology program, with planting the notion that Eberhardt could go onto to achieve a post-graduate degree.
“She saw something in me and asked me to be an aid in an undergraduate class. One day as we were grading papers, she asked me, ‘Are you going on to your doctorate?’ It was the first time anyone asked me that question. Because she believed I could accomplish that, then I did, as well. It changed my life,” Eberhardt said.
Eberhardt said another professor, of Chicano studies, asked his class, “Why aren’t you Latinos in this class going for your doctorate?” She said she had previously only considered that an option for heady academics, thinking it was out of her reach.
“What they did is they instilled the confidence in me, made me believe in myself; therefore, I went on to do what I’ve done,” said the entrepreneur psychologist, further noting about the interest and motivation professors provide, “It matters.”
Cora Taylor (Class of ’79, B.A., sociology) a transfer student from a community college, recalled taking 12 to 16 units each quarter (the university had once been on the quarter system), devoting her life to school and work, studying during her work lunch break and typing her homework in the evenings until 1:30 a.m. or so. Taylor, now a retired analyst for the State Department of Mental Health, where she worked from 1960 to 1997, had decided on her major because she was already working for doctors and nurses.
Apprehensive about attending university as a mature adult, Taylor credited the late Herman Loether, emeritus professor and founding faculty member of the sociology department, with reassuring her that she could accomplish her academic goals. He also helped her get into Alpha Kappa Delta, a campus chapter of the International Sociology Honor Society.
Visiting with alumni were several campus administrators with whom vice president of university advancement, Greg Saks, invited alumni to connect, including Ramón Torrecilha, provost and vice president for academic affairs; Sue Borrego, vice president for enrollment management and student affairs; Mary Ann Rodriquez, vice president of administration and finance; Ann Camp, executive assistant to the president; Anupama Joshi, dean, College of Professional Studies; Laura Robles, dean, College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences; Carol A. Tubbs, acting dean, College of Arts and Humanities; Margaret Gordon, dean, College of Extended and International Education; Sandra Parham, dean, the University Library; Kaye Bragg, acting dean, College of Business Administration and Public Policy; and Jim Hill, chair of Academic Senate, and professor of physics.
Gayle Ball-Parker (Class of ’78, B.A., psychology), the new director of alumni and family programs at CSU Dominguez Hills, said she was pleased to connect with alumni she hadn’t seen in a while, and to meet new alums all in one place.
“People who had not seen each other in a while were able to connect, and the reception proved to be a good networking opportunity. I was pleased to hear what great places our alums have gone on to. I was able to connect some people who work in various fields,” said Ball-Parker. “It was great to have deans at the reception, because I got questions about programs. Some alums maybe wanted to return, or they have a relative who wants to attend the university, and some wanted to come back to speak or participate in panels. I was able to introduce them to the appropriate dean.”
More than 65 percent of the 80,000 alumni live within 25 miles of the campus. García said that amounts to 52,000 people who live and work in, and contribute to the South Bay. The reception at the Cabrillo Aquarium is one of several alumni events that have been planned in recent years to reconnect with those individuals and get them engaged with the university. García encouraged those in attendance to “come back to help us bring [CSU] Dominguez Hills to the next level.”
To view more photos from the event, click HERE.
For more information about joining the Alumni Association or for a campus tour, contact Gayle Ball-Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 243-2237.