A reception for Long Beach-based alumni of California State University, Dominguez Hills was hosted by Alumni Programs and the law firm of Keesal, Young and Logan was held on Nov. 18 in the firm’s beautiful penthouse suite of offices in downtown Long Beach. The event was designed to strengthen connections between the university and the city that according to university estimates is home to 3,500 CSU Dominguez Hills alumni.
“The impact of the CSU Dominguez Hills family is very impressive in the city of Long Beach,” President Mildred García said. “Over 65 percent of our 75,000 alumni live within 25 miles of the campus. So our graduates are our customers, employees, business owners, community leaders, and taxpayers for our region. In Long Beach, we have over 3,500 alums. When you add our faculty, staff, students and administrators, we have over 8,000 CSU Dominguez Hills stakeholders living in and contributing to the city of Long Beach.”
Greg Saks, vice president of University Advancement and Steve Young of Keesal, Young and Logan welcomed more than 120 guests to the reception. Other distinguished guests included Bob Foster, mayor of Long Beach and city manager Patrick West (Class of ’86, MBA).
Mayor Foster, who served as a CSU Trustee from 1998 to 2006, expressed his pride in the Dominguez Hills representation in his city and in the CSU system. The San José State alum said that graduates of the CSU have a responsibility to support their alma maters.
“[The CSU system] does so much for state of California and does so much for our culture and our economy,” said Foster. “Don’t forget where you came from. The CSU system is dependent on fees… it needs philanthropy. Everyone in this room has benefited from their college education. However you can help, try and find a way to give back to the institution because it needs that, and the people coming after you need it desperately.”
Kimberly Belton-Brown (Class of ’03, B.A, liberal studies; ’07, M.A., multicultural education/language acquisition) teaches elementary school students in the Long Beach Unified School District’s (LBUSD) Gifted and Talented Education Program (GATE). She said that her education at CSU Dominguez Hills prepared her to leave a long career in retail management for the teaching profession and “the small campus, intimate environment in the liberal studies department, and hands-on interaction with professors” provided exceptional support.
“I felt like a [student], not like a number,” said Belton-Brown. “I had previously checked out some of the bigger campuses and felt lost. Because I was an older person going back to school, I needed somewhere I could feel connected.”
Belton-Brown said that her education was enhanced by the opportunity to do her student teaching in LBUSD, which she said is renowned for its accelerated programs for gifted students. She also said that the support of faculty was invaluable during her change to a new career.
“I had professors who were easily accessible for questions and problems that arose in the classroom during the student teaching process,” she said. “It really prepared me and made me feel comfortable about going into a field that was new to me.”
Belton-Brown, who has lived in Long Beach for 28 years, said that a stronger connection between her city and CSU Dominguez Hills would benefit residents in the university’s wide-reaching service area. She underscored the accessibility of an affordable college education for local students who might be discouraged from attending college by the cost of out-of-state institutions.
“In order to make improvements in your city, you [have to] make improvements in [its] exposure to higher learning,” said Belton-Brown. “A relationship between the city of Long Beach and CSU Dominguez Hills will remind kids of higher education that is affordable and localized. Also, they can influence the city and the communities they live in [by] not having to go [outside the city] for their education.”
In her remarks, García informed the audience of some of the university’s recent accomplishments, including achieving the highest enrollment in Dominguez Hills history with 15,000 students, the expansion of the University Library with the opening of a beautiful new South wing, the successes of University Advancement in raising $3.9 million last year in scholarships and faculty support from community and industry donors, and the recent opening of a state-of-the-art Nursing Skills Lab. She also discussed the redesign of the Alumni Association and introduced Porsche Gordon, director of Alumni Programs.
President García told the assembled alumni that the university is currently celebrating 50 years and noted that, “Our 50th anniversary has allowed us to not only think about where we come from but where we are going and to celebrate the many points of pride which includes every single one of our graduates.”
“You are all very special because you are part of the history of CSU Dominguez Hills,” García said. “Your success points back to your alma mater in what you are doing everyday. No matter what you’re doing professionally and in your community service, you are representing what I say is the best CSU in the system.”
For more information on Alumni Programs at CSU Dominguez Hills, click here.