The inauguration of Thomas A. Parham as California State University, Dominguez Hills’ (CSUDH) 11th president provided the perfect opportunity to welcome alumni back to campus to celebrate a new era for the university. In a series of Inauguration Week activities that took place Feb. 5-9 and culminated in a formal ceremony installing Parham as president, the CSUDH Alumni Association invited five alumni to serve as featured speakers and share their experiences as students, impart the knowledge they have gained in their professions, and express their enthusiasm for CSUDH’s future.
Raymund Diaz (’02, B.A., political science/English literature), deputy district attorney of Orange County, spoke to close to 300 students and guests during the Student Semi Formal Dinner on Feb. 6. Diaz brought his wife and father—both CSUDH alumni—to the spirited dinner and dance.
During the Investiture ceremony on Feb. 8, Maria Villa (’82, B.S., business administration), partner in the Law Offices of Lathrop and Villa, offered remarks on behalf of the alumni and the university’s Philanthropic Foundation Board. She joined a diverse gathering of the Parham’s friends, colleagues, and spiritual leaders speaking at the ceremony. Among her many achievements, Villa was elected the first Hispanic attorney to serve on the California State Bar Board of Governors.
Keshia Sexton (’08, B.A., Africana studies), director of organizing for the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, joined Fred Tapia (’01, B.S./’03, MPA, public administration), senior business analyst for Crystal Stairs, Inc., during a panel discussion where they shared why they chose to attend CSUDH and the pride they have experienced as Toros. The panel spoke to thousands of prospective students and their families on Feb. 9 during the first Preview Day for freshman and transfers who had been accepted to the university for fall 2019. Following the panel, the future Toros attended Discover Dominguez Hills, a festive community-focused day of interactive multidisciplinary learning experiences that included tours, a college-based academic showcase, hands-on games, and demonstrations, as well as dance, theatre, and music performances.
Capping off Inauguration Week was the Inauguration Gala and Benefit for the Presidential Scholars Program, which was held at Ritz-Carlton in Marina Del Rey on Feb. 9. The gala raised more than $300,000 for the program. Former Presidential Scholar Theresa Ramirez (’04, B.S, biology), program manager in the Office of Public Affairs at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, spoke at the black-tie event providing an exceptional example of what presidential scholars can achieve. Ramirez also strives to empower future Latina leaders as chair of the Mujeres de HACE (Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement) DC/McLean Alumnae Board, and as a board member of Latinas Leading Tomorrow.