An intimate gathering of California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) alumni recently enjoyed food and drink as they shared stories and got to know one another at the 2016 Spring Alumni Reception.
Hosted on March 30 at the elegant Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach by CSUDH’s Division of University Advancement (UA), and attended by university President Willie J. Hagan and other administrative and academic leaders on campus, the gathering was another example of the CSUDH’s successful efforts to reach out and connect with alumni.
A short program took place after the alumni spent some time mingling. It included remarks and a presentation from President Hagan, who provided recent updates about the university’s resources, accolades, programs and projects.
“These are fun events. People often ask me what I do in my job. I tell them my job is to tell the Cal State Dominguez Hills story,” said Hagan. “We’re a great university, and not a lot of people know about all the wonderful things going on at campus today, much of which is a result of outcomes that are connected to alumni like you.… As time goes by, and our alumni become even more successful in their careers, the university also advances and grows along with them, as does its reputation.”
Irvine resident Nicholas Angelos, (’70, B.S., economics) was among the attendees at the reception. Along with economics, he studied urban studies and environmental design at CSUDH before earning a master’s degree in civil engineering and construction management from USC. He has done a lot in his life since college. Early on, he was a builder/developer, and today he appears in court to testify as an expert regarding defective construction.
Angelos also invests money and time in start-up companies, and he is currently operating a business in Columbia that distributes filters that improve the environment by helping curb particulates in diesel engines. He is also chairman of the board of directors of 2nd Wind Driving & Traffic School in Santa Ana, which helps military veterans, high school student, parolees and others get driver licenses so they may find employment.
“I like what I heard today from President Hagan about the progression of the university, that’s why I asked a question during his presentation about the university’s vacant land and how the process for using it was working out,” said Angelos. “There can be some real headaches and problems depending on how it’s done, and some pitfalls to be aware of. I’m sure if I were to sit down with President Hagan I could help the university out.”
Juliet Gipson (’82, B.A., political science), who has lived in Newport Beach for more than 20 years, loves “everything” about the city.
“What I love about Orange County is that there are cultures from all over the world here,” said Gipson, a broker associate at Cal Mutual who grew up in Lynwood. “Due in part to my experiences at Cal State Dominguez Hills, I’ve become very involved in the community, and in a children literacy program. I’m also teaching in the Lynwood Unified School District through the THINK Together program, and I have been a guest teacher.”
Gipson’s political science degree from CSUDH was a “big help” early in her career. What she learned enabled her to land an appointment to the National Senatorial Congressional Committee in Washington D.C., where she served for over four years.
Daniel Wong (’71, M.S, clinical laboratory), who attended the reception with his wife, Jerssie Wong, boasted that his home city of San Clemente is known for having “the best weather in the world.” He also had a few interesting CSUDH stories to share at the reception, including how there were as many bungalows as buildings when first enrolled at the university, and his experience as a student of James L. Welch, founder of the Occupational Therapy program at CSUDH, and founding member of the Clinical Science Department. Welch Hall, which opened in 2002, was named after him.
“I started working in medical technology in 1967, but it wasn’t until 1978 that I first enrolled at Cal State Dominguez Hills, which was in a class that was developed and launched by Dr. Welch. It was a master’s program, and I was in its first graduating class,” said Wong, who worked in microbiology for a group of hospitals in downtown Los Angeles before he retired. “Dr. Welch may have been short in stature, but he was good at having his own way. We had a lot of interesting conversations. He encouraged us to talk freely, so we had some disagreements, but they were all very productive for me.”
Huntington Beach alumna Dorothy White (’83, B.S., Health Science) enjoyed the more personal attention she received as a CSUDH student.
“I really loved the student-professor ratio at Cal State Dominguez Hills. That’s one of the main reasons why I went there,” said White, who is an administrator at the for-profit American Career College and has worked at Corinthian Colleges. “Because of my field, healthcare administration, I was the youngest out of all of my classmates [at CSUDH]. They were mostly doctors and nurses already in the administration field and already using medical jargon. Being able to have breakout sessions in my classes and talk to those doctors and other professionals was great. I learned as much from them as I did my professors.”
Laura Perdew (’09, B.A., communications/public affairs) recently landed a communications position for the Irvine Chamber of Commerce, a city she has lived in for more than 25 years. Immediately prior to that position she worked as director of communications and events at North Orange County Chamber of Commerce performing such tasks as writing, photography, and graphic design. Before that she worked as a writer in University Communications and Public Affairs at CSUDH.
“I loved working in higher education, and I loved working for Cal State Dominguez Hills. I got my first bachelor’s degree in theater with an emphasis in dance from Cal State Fullerton years ago, and then I wanted to go back to school to get a communications degree in public relations,” said Perdew. “I talked to an adviser at CSU Fullerton about enrolling in a master’s program there. She asked me, “Do you want to learn theory or do you want to learn practical? I said I wanted to learn practical skills. So I decided to go for a second bachelor’s degree at Dominguez Hills instead because I found out they had a good program. That’s when I absolutely fell in love with Cal State Dominguez Hills.”