Carson Community Welcomes University Interim President

Councilmembers Mike Gibson and Elito Santarina, City of Carson Mayor Jim Dear, and Julie Ruiz-Raber present Hagan with a welcoming proclamation.

Carson Mayor Jim Dear officially welcomed California State University, Dominguez Hills Interim President Willie Hagan to the community during a festive event at the City of Carson Community Center on Oct. 30 that included performances by the university’s jazz ensemble, a media arts student who sang the national anthem, and dance and cheerleader teams.

“We’re welcoming to our community an outstanding gentleman with great qualifications to lead a great university in a great city,” Dear said before he and City Councilmembers Mike Gibson, Elito Santarina, and Julie Ruiz-Raber presented Hagan with a welcoming proclamation.

“Thank you for honoring me. … I’m really humbled that an event was even held for me,” Hagan said to a crowd that included community members, and university leadership, faculty, staff and students, as well as Congresswoman Janice Hahn (D-36), former Carson City Councilmembers Gil Smith and Mary Anne O’Neal, and several City of Carson commissioners and board members.

Pointing out a parallel, Dear said that the City of Carson is the most ethnically diverse city of its size in California, and is home to one of the most ethnically diverse campus in the CSU system.

“It really works well together. I believe it is very important that we work continuously to bring the campus community together with the City of Carson and the Carson community,” Dear said. “Both the campus community and the residents will win by that.”

Toro pride shines at Carson Community Center.

Hagan pointed out that with more than 13,000 employees, CSU Dominguez Hills is one of the largest employers in the City of Carson—if not the largest—and more than 3,000 of its alumni live in Carson, including a number of City of Carson officials, such as Councilman Santarina (Class of ’80, M.A. , special education), Councilwoman Lula Davis-Holmes (Class of ’83, B.A., sociology; ’92 M.A. , public administration), and Parks and Recreation Superintendent Cedric Hicks, Sr. (Class of ’99, M.A., behavioral science), who serves on the CSU Dominguez Hills Alumni Advisory Council.

Hagan went on to say that his two top priorities are to increase student success and to continue to develop a strong relationship with the community.

“Everyone I have talked to has talked about the centerpiece that Dominguez Hills is in terms of helping this community. My job is to expand that role. My goal is to work with the community and to do a number of things for expanding our programs and involvement with [the community],” he said.

Hagan will be introduced to the broader community during the city council meeting that will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 7—postponed from Nov. 6 due to the California general election—at the Carson City Hall located at 701 E. Carson St.

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