Alumni Connect at Historic Rancho Dominguez Adobe

More than 120 California State University, Dominguez Hills alumni, parents and friends attended the 2013 Spring Alumni Reception held in the open-air courtyard at the historic Rancho Dominguez Adobe in Compton on April 11.

Interim Vice President for University Advancement Jeff Poltorak, Director of Alumni and Family Programs Gayle Ball-Parker, with students Shoaib Madar and Amanda Silverstein.

Interim Vice President for University Advancement Jeff Poltorak, Director of Alumni and Family Programs Gayle Ball-Parker, with students Shoaib Madar and Amanda Silverstein.

In his welcome remarks, Interim Vice President for University Advancement Jeff Poltorak thanked alumni for their support of the university and its students, saying “As the achievements and academic success of Cal State Dominguez Hills’ current students go up, so does the value of the alumni’s degrees.”

He went on to say that the financial contributions alumni make are “the catalyst for much of this success,” as they provide funds for textbooks, updated lab equipment, or the ability for students to focus on their studies rather than working.

Director of Alumni and Family Programs Gayle Ball-Parker, echoing the sentiment said, “Sometimes even $100 can make the difference whether or not a student succeeds in college.”

One such student is senior health science major Shoaib Madar, who chose to attend CSU Dominguez Hills because of its affiliation with Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, where he hopes to study radiology technology after earning his undergraduate degree. He said the Jamina O. Barnes Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded by the Alumni Association to a full-time undergraduate or graduate student, has been beneficial even for helping to cover the cost of his 20-mile commute between campus and his home in Garden Grove.

“The scholarship has helped me a lot, paying for my textbooks, and as [Ball-Parker] mentioned earlier, even paying for lunch [makes a difference],” the aspiring radiologist and health care manager said. “Above and beyond that, I feel good that someone has actually acknowledged that I need this help.”

Past Jamina O. Barnes Memorial Scholarship recipient Elijah Sims.

Past Jamina O. Barnes Memorial Scholarship recipient Elijah Sims.

Providing the opportunity to showcase some of the university’s best and brightest, the event, which raised $745 in on-the-spot alumni donations, was also a time to welcome back graduates who were standout students.

Past scholarship recipient Elijah Sims (Class of ’11, M.A., education, counseling option) told of coming from three generations of domestic servants and acknowledged the “community of nurturing people” at CSU Dominguez Hills who helped him succeed once he got to college.

“I had an unparalleled experience [at CSU Dominguez Hills] through mentors who found opportunities for me to intern and that made all the difference in the world. I was so fortunate to receive both the Jamina O. Barnes and the Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Student Award scholarships,” he recalled. “I want to thank everyone who made this journey possible.”

Alumnus Mardel Baldwin (Class of ’12, B.S., business administration) said he misses attending many of the events he used to attend while serving as the president of the university’s Associated Students, Inc.

“I miss the people,” Baldwin said. “But I’ll always be around. I’ll never forget my roots. I’ll always be a Toro.”

Alumnus from the IDS undergraduate program Rhonda Hunter and Barbara Kuechel.

Alumnus from the IDS undergraduate program Rhonda Hunter and Barbara Kuechel.

Many alumni are still connected with the university on a daily basis. Linda Brown (Class of ’88, B.A., business administration), who began working at the university as a clerical assistant upon graduation and is currently the office manager for the Loker Student Union, said she likes reuniting with former classmates and knowing that she is supporting the university by attending alumni events.

Wintress Arline-Barnes (Class of ’87, B.A., interdisciplinary studies) who attended with her husband Don, said she reconnected with the university at event in the early ’90s that featured alumnus and television actor Clarence Gilyard (Class of ’89, B.A., theatre).

“Whenever I think of Dominguez Hills, I have fond memories, especially of graduation, the exemplary guidance I received from counselors, the diversity, the camaraderie. It’s family, yet there’s excellence in education,” the Long Beach resident said. “When you go out into the community, you never hear a sour thing said about the university.”

Alumni Tamika and Francisco Reynoso.

Alumni Tamika and Francisco Reynoso.

Others who attended the reception are just now forming their roots at the university. Freshman accounting major Teresa Jackson was at the Rancho Dominguez event with her parents Harvey and Debra, who came from Hesperia to meet university supporters. Jackson’s father said CSU Dominguez Hills was his daughter’s first choice for college.

“I like that it’s accessible and close enough to visit. There’s a food court and bank on campus so she doesn’t have to go [off campus] for things she needs,” he said of Jackson, who attended University Preparatory School in Victorville. “Most of all, she’s been challenged in her classes.”

Alumna Sandra Eberhardt (Class of ’00, B.A., human services; ’03, M.A., clinical psychology) a fixture at recent events, attended with her daughter Beverly, who plans to attend CSU Dominguez Hills in the fall.

“I’m just over-the-moon thrilled and excited. She is the only of my kids that is coming to my alma mater,” Eberhardt said.

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 gball@csudh.edu or (310) 243-2237.

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