Honorary Host Committee for the 40th Year
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar '69
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is considered by many fans and sportswriters to be the greatest basketball player of all time. The 7-foot-2 Hall of Fame center dominated the NBA for 20 years, but as Abdul-Jabbar himself says, “I can do more than shoot a ball through a hoop.” A lifelong passion for history led to his authoring six best-selling books on various historical subjects. His knowledge and love of jazz birthed an audio book based on one of his NY Times best-selling hardcovers, On the Shoulders of Giants. Kareem is also executive producer of an exciting feature film in development based on the greatest basketball team you’ve never heard of. Beyond that, Abdul-Jabbar is very involved in “giving back” through the Skyhook Foundation, whose mission is to promote and support literacy and sports programs as a vehicle to improve the lives of disadvantaged youth and communities around the globe.
Sefa Aina '97
Sefa Aina is the Director of the Asian American Resource Center at Pomona College. Prior to Pomona, Aina worked as the Assistant Coordinator in the Student/Community Projects unit in the Asian American Studies Center at UCLA. While at UCLA, Aina helped to establish PIER (Pacific Islander Education + Retention): a program that tutors and mentors Pacific Islander youth. He was also the Instructor for APALDP (Asian Pacific American Leadership Development Project), the Center’s primary community engagement course on student leadership. In 2002, Aina was given the LEAP (Leadership for Asian Pacifics) Community Leader Award. In 2004, he was given the Pilipino Workers Center’s Leadership Award, as well as the UCLA Cultural and Recreational Affairs Alumni Service Award. Aina is a founding member of NPIEN (National Pacific Islanders Educators Network) and is currently working with a group of young Pacific Islander leaders to form EPIC (Empowering Pacific Islander Communities). Aina graduated from UCLA in 1997 with a B.A. in History.
Paul Apodaca '99
Paul Apodaca (Navajo) is an Associate Professor of American Studies at Chapman University, former Adjunct Professor in American Indian Studies at UCLA, past Editor of the Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology, and former Curator of American Indian Art, Folklore, and California History for the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art. Apodaca scored the Academy Award-winning documentary, Broken Rainbow and is a consultant for Disney Imagineering, Universal Pictures, Knott's Berry Farm, and the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian. He has been a grants reader for the Sundance Film Institute, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Administration for Native Americans Languages Program, California Arts Council, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Rockefeller Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, Arizona Commission for the Arts, and the Fulbright Commission. Dr. Apodaca holds the “Daughters of the American Revolution Mary Smith Lockwood National Medal” for Education and is an inductee of the Southern California American Indian Hall of Fame. Apodaca earned an M.A. in American Indian Studies and a Ph.D. in Folklore and Mythology from UCLA.
The Honorable Karen Bass
The Honorable Karen Bass was elected to the California State Assembly in 2004 to represent the 47th Assembly District. In May 2008, Bass became the first African American and the first female Democrat to serve as Speaker of the California Assembly. As Speaker, Bass is dedicated to helping California weather the tough economic times - brought about by the national recession and global economic turmoil. Before Speaker Bass began her political career, she was a community organizer who founded and ran the Community Coalition. As the organization’s executive director, Bass built a community-based social justice organization in South Los Angeles to empower residents to get involved in bringing about change. Today, the organization is considered a model for energizing communities. She is a true Los Angelino - graduating from Hamilton High School; California State University-Dominguez Hills, and the University of Southern California, School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program.
The Honorable Yvonne B. Burke '53
The Honorable Yvonne B. Burke is an attorney and mediator. She earned a B.A. in political science from UCLA in 1953, and her J.D. from the University of Southern California School of Law. She is a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, California Assembly, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and Board of Regents of the University of California. Burke was the vice chair of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics Organizing Committee.
Jimi Castillo (Tongva / Acjachemen) is a Native American spiritual leader and mentor for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation at the Hemen G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility. Castillo plays a pivotal role in enabling the young men to change their lives. To him, they are not a “throw-away generation.” Born and raised in Whittier, California, Castillo is a pipe keeper and sundancer for the Tongva and Acjachmen tribes. He is also a member of the statewide Bear Clan Society and a Marine Corps and Vietnam veteran. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Southeast Area Counseling Center and is active in UCLA’s annual spring pow-wow and youth leadership conference.
The Honorable Judy Chu '74
The Honorable Judy Chu was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Representative of California's 32nd District in July 2009. In January 2009, Dr. Chu was unanimously elected Vice Chair of the Board of Equalization (BOE). She serves as Chair of the BOE Legislative Committee. Before joining the State Board of Equalization, Dr. Chu served three terms as a State Assembly Member for the 49th District in the West San Gabriel Valley from 2001 to 2006. Likewise, Dr. Chu functioned as Chair of the California Asian and Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, Assembly Select Committee on Hate Crimes, and Assembly Subcommittee on Health and Human Services. In 2004, Dr. Chu authored a landmark tax amnesty bill, which was estimated to bring in $300 million, but excelled to $4.8 billion in revenue for the state budget - without raising taxes. Several states offered tax amnesty that year, and California's was the most successful tax amnesty program in the nation. Prior to the State Assembly, Dr. Chu served on the Monterey Park City Council for thirteen years from 1988 to 2001, and served as mayor three times. She began her career in public service as a Board Member of the Garvey School District from 1985 to 1988. Dr. Chu was a community college professor of Psychology for 20 years. She holds a B.A. in Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Psychology.
Morgan Chu '71, M.A.'72, Ph.D. '73
Morgan Chu is a partner with the law firm, Irell & Manella, LLP. He was the firm's Co-Managing Partner from 1997 to 2003. Named "One of the Top Ten Trial Lawyers" and "100 Most Influential Lawyers" in the nation by the National Law Journal, Chu was also awarded “The Outstanding Intellectual Property Lawyer in the United States” and the first Chambers Award for Excellence in 2006. Chambers has described Chu as "beyond doubt, the most gifted trial lawyer in the USA," who "delivers staggering results for clients." Chu earned a B.A. in 1971, a M.A. in 1972, and a Ph.D. in 1973 from UCLA. In 1974, he earned an M.S.L. from Yale University, and in 1976, earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Chu was a recipient of the UCLA Medal in 2007.
Enrique Delacruz Ph.D. '74
Enrique de la Cruz is currently Professor of Asian American Studies at California State University, Northridge, and Chairs the UCLA Filipino American Legacy Fund - a campaign to establish an endowment for Filipino Studies at UCLA. He served as the Assistant Director of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center from 1989 to 2000. In 2007, he received an appointment as a Fulbright Senior Scholar at Leyte Normal University in the Philippines. Dr. de la Cruz’s most recent publication, The Forbidden Book: The Philippine American War in Political Cartoons, is a collection of political cartoons from 1898-1907, which he co-authored with Abe Ignacio, Jorge Emmanuel, and Helen Toribio. The book was recognized with a Book of the Year award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights. He is active in community affairs, having served on the boards of the Filipino Civil Rights Advocates, the Liberty Hill Foundation, Search to Involve Pilipino Americans, and Filipino American Service Group, Inc.
Prosy Abarquez-Delacruz is currently an editorial columnist and features writer for Asian Journal; a nationally circulated Filipino American newspaper. She explores questions on art, spirituality, life strategies, health, nutrition and politics. She has two blogs: one that explores food stories and another on politics. In 2003, she retired as the Regional Administrator for Southern California’s Department of Public Health after 26 years. As a public health professional, she co-created a Food Safety Training Institute in Southern California with FIBR (Food Industry Business Roundtable). She also operated as a senior member of the American Society for Quality and served as its National Chair for the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FDC) Division in 2000-2001. She worked five years as part of the expert panel on Dietary Supplements for the United States Pharmacopeia. Abarquez-Delacruz was later appointed Commissioner to the LA City's Civil Service Commission and LA Convention Center by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a position she held from 2005 to 2008.
The Honorable Michael Eng '74
The Honorable Mike Eng represents the cities of Alhambra, El Monte, Monterey Park, Rosemead, San Gabriel, San Marino, and South El Monte. He was elected to the State Assembly in 2006 after serving as mayor and councilman of the City of Monterey Park. Eng currently serves as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Transportation. He previously chaired the Assembly Business & Professions Committee. Eng was named "2008 Legislator of the Year" by the Community College Association, “2008 Assembly Legislator of the Year” by the Consumer Attorneys of California, and given the 2008 Government Service Award by the Alhambra Education Foundation. Recently, Eng was awarded the 2009 Distinguished Leadership Award from the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association. Among his many accomplishments, he was recently honored with the 2009 Outstanding Public Service Award by the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA). He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the West San Gabriel Boys and Girls Club and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center. Eng earned his law degree at UCLA and received his M.A. and B.A. from the University of Hawaii.
The Honorable Warren T. Furutani
The Honorable Warren Furutani was first elected in a special election to the 55th Assembly District in February 2008, and re-elected in the same year to a full two-year term. He represents the city of Carson, parts of the cities of Lakewood and Long Beach, and the Los Angeles communities of Wilmington, Harbor City, and the Harbor Gateway. Furutani has 40 years of experience and involvement in education and public service - both as an elected official and a community leader. He is the only person to have been elected and re-elected to the boards of the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Los Angeles Community College District. Furutani founded and chairs the Assembly Select Committee on Career Technical Education and Workforce Development. Appointed as Chair to the Committee on Elections and Redistricting, Furutani also holds a membership on Assembly Standing Committees for Transportation, Utilities and Commerce, Labor and Employment, and Public Safety. Furutani’s work is published in education journals, university academic journals, newspapers and books. He is featured in a permanent exhibit in the Japanese American National Museum entitled "Common Ground." Furutani earned his B.A. from Antioch University.
Linda Griego '75
Linda Griego served as President and CEO of Griego Enterprises, Inc; a business management company that oversees the operations of Engine Co. No. 28 (a prominent downtown restaurant) and Zapgo Entertainment (a television production company). From 1990 to 2000, Griego held government-related appointments, which included Deputy Mayor of Los Angeles and CEO of the Los Angeles Community Development Bank. She currently serves on the Board of Directors at CBS Corporation, AECOM Technology, Inc., and is a trustee of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Griego received her B.A. from UCLA in 1975, and was a recipient of the UCLA Medal in 2008.
Rafer Johnson '59
By conducting a competition at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for 900 individuals with mental retardation, Rafer Johnson - along with a small group of volunteers - founded California Special Olympics (CSO) in 1969. After the first California games in 1969, Rafer became one of the original members of the CSO Board of Directors, which collaborated to raise funds and offer a modest program of swimming and track and field. In 1983, Johnson was elected President of the Board and served until July 1992, when he was named Chairman of the Board of Governors. In addition to his work with Special Olympics Southern California, Johnson worked as the National Head Coach. Currently, Johnson is Vice President of the Board of Directors and serves on the Executive Committee for Special Olympics International. He is also an author and spokesperson. Johnson has received numerous honors and awards, and is one of the most active members in the Southern California community.
Primarily known as an actor, director, and performer, Cheech Marin has developed the finest private collection of Chicano art in this country. Much of his collection formed the core of his traveling exhibition, Chicano Visions: American Painters on the Verge. Attendance records exploded during its groundbreaking 15-city tour during 2001-2007 to major art museums. A third-generation Mexican American, Marin has received numerous awards for his work on behalf of Latinos - including the 2000 Creative Achievement Award from the Imagen Foundation, the 1999 ALMA Community Service Award from the National Council of La Raza and Kraft Foods. In 2007, Marin received an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts for his contributions to the creative arts from Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles, and received the inaugural Legacy Award for Arts Advocacy from the Smithsonian Latino Center. Marin serves on the board of the Smithsonian Latino Center and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund.
Alex Nogales '73
Regarded as one of the entertainment industry’s leading spokespersons for media advocacy, Alex Nogales dedicated his career to creating employment opportunities for American Latinos in front and behind the camera in film, television, and radio. Widely credited for pioneering the charge for opening the doors for Latino writers, producers, directors and actors, Nogales is continuously quoted by dozens of magazines and print publications, including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Variety and electronic media. His career in media began during college when he graduated magna cum laude from UCLA in Film and Television. Nogales became a full-time producer at KCBS-TV in 1978, and during his 13-year tenure, he broadened his television production skills and became involved in public affairs programming, children’s shows, and entertainment specials. He garnered at least 40 commendations for excellence in broadcasting. Nogales left television in 1989 and segued into the marketing, advertising and public relations industries. He served as the CEO for Nogales Psychological Counseling, a firm he cultivated from a five-person office into a mental health facility of 50 employees. In 1998, he served as President and CEO of the National Hispanic Media Coalition. Previously, he served three years as President of the Hispanic Academy of Media Arts and Sciences (HAMAS) and President of the Hispanic Film Project.
Gina Prince-Bythewood '91
Gina Prince-Bythewood is a writer, producer, and director. She wrote and directed the widely acclaimed feature film, Love & Basketball, which premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. Prince-Bythewood won an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay and a Humanitas Prize for her work on the film. She followed that success with the HBO film, Disappearing Acts. This past year, Prince-Bythewood witnessed the release of her celebrated adaptation of the best-selling novel, The Secret Life of Bees. She studied at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television where she received the Gene Reynolds Scholarship for Directing and the Ray Stark Memorial Scholarship for Outstanding Undergraduate. Upon her graduation, she was hired as a writer on the television series “A Different World.” She continued to write and produce for network television on shows such as “Felicity,” “South Central,” and “Sweet Justice” before making the transition to directing. Her television directorial debut was the CBS School Break Special “What About Your Friends,” which garnered her an NACCP Image Award for Best Children’s Special, and two Emmy nominations for writing and directing. She was also given a Community Service Emmy for her work with the Rap-it-Up campaign. Prince-Bythewood currently resides in Southern California with her husband Reggie and their sons, Cassius and Toussaint.
The Honorable Lucille Roybal-Allard
The Honorable Lucille Roybal-Allard became the first Mexican American woman elected to Congress in 1992 and is the current Representative of California’s 34th Congressional District, which includes downtown Los Angeles, East Los Angeles, and nine southeast cities of Los Angeles County. In 1999, she became the first Latina in U.S. history appointed to the House Appropriations Committee, one of the most powerful committees in Congress. She serves on three Appropriations Subcommittees: Labor, Health, Human Services, and Education Subcommittee; Homeland Security Subcommittee; and the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Subcommittee. Throughout her tenure in public service, Congresswoman Roybal-Allard has remained committed to expanding opportunities for residents of her district and working families throughout the country. She champions efforts to increase access to health care, create affordable housing, modernize and upgrade public schools, improve school safety, increase the federal minimum wage, reduce the high Hispanic drop-out rates, preserve Social Security and Medicare, and stimulate economic growth to create new jobs. Born and raised in Boyle Heights, Roybal-Allard graduated from California State University, Los Angeles in 1965 with a B.A. in Speech Therapy.
N. Bird Runningwater
N. Bird Runningwater was born of the Cheyenne and Mescalero Apache peoples, and was reared on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico. He is currently based in Los Angeles, California with the Sundance Institute where he serves as the Director of the Institute’s Native American and Indigenous Program. A recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation’s National Fellowship in Public Policy and International Affairs, Runningwater is also an alumnus of Americans for Indian Opportunity’s Ambassadors Program and the Kellogg Fellows Program. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with degrees in Journalism and Native American Studies. He received his Master of Public Affairs degree from the University of Texas at Austin’s Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.
Casimiro U. Tolentino '72, J.D. '75
Casimiro U. Tolentino is an Administrative Law Judge with the State of California and the Vice-President of the Los Angeles City Fire Commission. He was an active member of the UCLA student government as Director of the UCLA Tutorial Project and helped co-found UCLA Samahang Pilipino with his wife, Jennifer M. Tolentino. He taught the first class on the Pilipino American Experience at UCLA and co-edited Letters in Exile, a Pilipino American Anthology, published by the UCLA Asian American Studies Center. Tolentino received both his B.A in Zoology in 1972 and a J.D. in 1975 from UCLA.
Jennifer M. Tolentino '75
Jennifer Masculino Tolentino is a Registered Nurse, Midwife and Case Manager for Kaiser Permanente. She teaches a community health education course in Historic Pilipino Town. While at UCLA she co-founded UCLA Samahang Pilipino, the Pilipino Youth Center, and participated in the Pilipino Research Project at the UCLA Asian American Studies Center. She is a member of the Filipino American Library Board. Jennifer received a B.A. in Sociology in 1975 from UCLA, a B.S. in Nursing from California State University, Los Angeles, and an RN from USC-County School of Nursing. The Tolentinos have a son, Casimiro M., who graduated from UCLA in 2008 with a degree in History and Cristina M. who will graduate in 2011from UC Davis with a degree in Anthropology.
Tritia Toyota M.A.'70, Ph.D.'04
Tricia Toyota is an Adjunct Assistant Professor with the Departments of Anthropology and Asian American Studies at UCLA. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from UCLA. Her research focuses on the social dynamics of post 1965 Asian immigrants to the U.S. - particularly among Chinese and Japanese immigrants. Her book, Envisioning America: New Chinese Americans and the Politics of Belonging is being published by Stanford University Press in 2009. Dr. Toyota is an award-winning broadcast journalist with more than 25 years in Southern California television news. At KNBC and KCBS, she became one of Los Angeles’ most recognized and respected news anchors.
The Honorable Antonio Villaraigosa '77
The Honorable Antonio R. Villaraigosa is the forty-first mayor of Los Angeles. Villaraigosa is known for his exceptional skill at building broad, bi-partisan coalitions and is considered one of the leading progressive voices in the country. His mayoral platform emphasizes finding solutions to the major issues facing Los Angeles, including education, transportation, public safety, economic development and ethics. At the age of 15, Villaraigosa began his lifelong involvement with the labor movement as a volunteer with the farm workers movement. Later, he served as a field representative/organizer with the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA). A former president of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, and the American Federation of Government Employees, Villaraigosa was elected to the California State Assembly in 1994. Four years later, he was appointed the first Assembly Speaker from Los Angeles in 25 years. While Speaker, Villaraigosa managed the passage of several landmark state legislations, which included the modernization of public schools, the toughest assault weapons ban in the country, the largest urban neighborhoods parks initiative in America, and the “Healthy Families” program that provides healthcare for more than half a million California children. In 2003, he won the 14th District Los Angeles City Council seat. During his tenure in the City Council, he championed many of the issues he is addressing today as mayor and is widely credited with resolving the MTA transit strike, creating the largest passive park on the Eastside and Los Angeles, and protecting funding for the arts. Villaraigosa graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School and attended UCLA, where he received a B.A. degree in History. He is a graduate of the People’s College of Law.
Shirley Wang '90
Shirley Wang, founder and CEO of Plastpro, Inc. (established in 1994 and headquartered in Los Angeles), is a UCLA graduate with an M.B.A. from Columbia University. Wang is duly committed to her community and serves on several boards, including Harvard Westlake School, and Facing History and Ourselves. Other organizations that she supports are China AIDS Initiative, Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, Habitat for Humanity, and Bel Air Presbyterian Church. Wang has aided funding for the Academy Award-winning documentary, The Blood of Yingzhou District, and an Emmy-nominated PBS documentary, Becoming American: the Chinese Experience. In 2003, Wang and her husband funded an endowed chair at the Los Angeles Cedar Sinai Medical Center for Pediatric Surgery.
Chancellor Emeritus Charles E. Young
'55, M.A.'57, Ph.D.'60
Charles E. Young served as Chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles from 1968 to 1997 where he led UCLA’s rise to prominence as one of the finest universities in the nation and the world. When Dr. Young became chancellor at age 36, he became the youngest person at the helm of any major American university. Former Chancellor Young’s inaugural pledge was to advance UCLA “from the second level of good universities, to the first rank of excellent universities.” Upon his retirement in 1997, he was the longest-serving chief executive of any university in the country. Dr. Young proceeded to serve as President of the University of Florida from 1999 to 2004, and currently serves as CEO of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. Dr. Young received his B.A. with honors in Political Science from the University of California, Riverside in 1955, and an M.A. (1957) and Ph.D. (1960) in Political Science from UCLA.