University Faculty and Staff Celebrate their Alma Mater Ties

Many students who have passed through the doors of California State University, Dominguez Hills understand what makes it special. For more than 300 alumni, it’s also a special place to work.

CSU Dominguez Hills alumnae and staff members Tomanika Taylor, Violeta Hernandez, Amparo Rivera, and Neisha Rhodes. Photo by Nathan Brown.

To celebrate their common ties, 80 members from the university’s faculty and staff gathered for a luncheon held in their honor in the Loker Student Union Ballroom on Nov. 29.

Iris Baxter (Class of ’90, B.S., health science) said CSU Dominguez Hills was the only place she ever considered working. She began as an adjunct professor in public administration in 1996, was hired as a full-time professor in 2001 and has taught public management, health services administration management, health policy, organizational behavior and public personnel administration.

“It’s good to know who else is an alum who is [working] on campus,” Baxter said about visiting with fellow university employees at the luncheon.

Iris Baxter, Charles Hunt, Susan Huniu, and Violeta Hernandez are raffle prize winners at the university faculty and staff alumni luncheon. Photo by Nathan Brown.

Assistant to the associate vice president of Human Resources Management Gilbert Hernandez (Class of ’09, B.A., digital media arts, audio recording), began working as a student assistant in the university president’s office in 2004 prior to being hired as a full-time employee and enjoys the connection he has with fellow employees.

“We’re a pretty small campus so everybody knows everybody here. I recognize a lot of individuals on campus, just by face. …Working in HR, I [also] know everybody by name,” Hernandez said. “Everyone is really personable.”

Thirty-one-year veteran university staff member Juana Henry-Turner (Class of ’80, B.S., business administration; ’90, M.P.A.) started working in faculty affairs after she graduated with a bachelor’s degree. She enjoys her current job as an information technology consultant, because she still deals with people.

“I’ve loved this campus ever since I was student here,” Henry-Turner said. “It’s a wonderful place to work. I wouldn’t leave it until I retire.”

CSU Dominguez Hills alumni and staff members Brian Cruz and Susan Lopez. Photo by Nathan Brown.

At the luncheon, lecturer of math Susan Huniu (Class of ’87, B.A., math), who has taught at the university since 1987, sat with two of her former CSU Dominguez Hills students and current fellow employees Brian Cruz (Class of ’08, sociology) and Education Opportunity Program academic advisor Susan Lopez (Class of ’08, B.A., sociology).

Lopez, who started working in EOP as a student assistant in 2002, said, “I love giving back to the students the same way [the university] gave me an opportunity. I was a special admit through EOP.”

As host to the event, which was put on by the Office of Alumni Programs, Gayle Ball-Parker (Class of ’78, B.A., psychology), director of Alumni and Family Programs, recognized the contributions that faculty and staff alumni have made to the university.

“You not only got your degree or degrees here, but you are also employed here. …You have a unique perspective. I know that all of us in here have touched students in some way or another, which is really the reason we are all here,” Ball-Parker said. “Thank you for your service being a Dominguez Hills alum and representing this great university in all that you do, whether it is here on campus or out in the community.”

CSU Dominguez Hills alumni and staff members Salvador Valdez, Juan Mejia, Michelle Matthews, and Adrienne Jones. Photo by Nathan Brown.


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