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Annual CSUDH Founders’ Dinner honors Mark Ridley-Thomas, others, Thursday

Honorees have contributed to building strength and vibrancy within local communities dedicated to civic engagement

Compton Herald | Founders’ Dinner honoree Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. Courtesy lacounty.gov

L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas receives Community Leadership Award at California State University, Dominguez Hills 2017 Founders’ Dinner, Oct. 26

CARSON – Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas will be among the honorees at California State University, Dominguez Hills 2017 Founders’ Dinner, Oct. 26.

The dinner awards will occur from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the Porsche Experience Center Los Angeles, located at 19800 S. Main St., in Carson, Calif.

Honorees have contributed to building strength and vibrancy within local communities dedicated to civic engagement, and have helped CSUDH provide education, scholarship, and services that are accessible and transformative.

The list of the 2917 honorees and distinctions include:

President’s Award: Toyota USA. One of the university’s highest honors, the award is given for extraordinary philanthropy that has had a transformative impact on CSUDH’s mission. The inaugural award recognizes innovators for long-term, cumulative contributions to the university who have supported talented students, have helped academic programs grow and prosper, and have inspired others to contribute to the greater good.

“The Founders’ Dinner showcases the best of California State University, Dominguez Hills — our history, our impact, and the accomplished people who make the university what it is today,” said CSUDH President Willie J. Hagan. “Toyota’s extraordinary commitment to Dominguez Hills is unparalleled, and their most recent support of our new Mobile Fabrication Labs and the future Science and Innovation building make them one of our most transformative partners.”

Community Leadership Award: Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, chairman and supervisor of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. The award recognizes a visionary and dedicated community leader who has gone above and beyond in committing time and energy to addressing critical issues and improving local communities. Overwhelmingly elected in 2008, and re-elected in 2012 and 2016, Ridley-Thomas is the longest-serving member on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. He represents the Second District, and will complete his final term as supervisor in 2020.

Founders’ Award: Hansonia Caldwell Harriford, emeritus professor of music at CSUDH. The Founders’ Awards is presented to an organization or individual who has worked to build the university into a thriving center for higher education, or who rendered extraordinary contributions to CSUDH’s growth and development, and the success of the community at large.

During her 45-year tenure at CSUDH, Caldwell Harriford has made significant and enduring contributions to music education, and in the communities the university serves. For 11 years, she coordinated the Living Legends Festival Concert, celebrating the musical masters of African Diaspora Sacred Music with performances that brought distinguished conductors and composers to the university. She also served for 12 years as a member of the board of directors of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and currently is on the board of the Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers, and the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles.

Distinguished Alumni Award: John Tracy, (retired) chief technology officer (CTO) and senior vice president for The Boeing Company. The award is presented in recognition of a CSUDH alumni who have achieved a high level of success in his or her profession, while gaining distinction for their service to the university and their communities. Tracy retired in 2016 after a 35-year career at Boeing. During his last 10 years as CTO he led more than 100,000 employees at the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems.

Student Civic Engagement Award: Ramneek Kaur, a cellular and molecular biology major at CSUDH. The award is presented to a CSUDH student who has made a positive impact on the lives of others through civic engagement and public service. Kaur is president and a founding member of the on-campus student organization Homeless Outreach Promoting Empathy (H.O.P.E.), which was established in spring 2013 to bring more awareness to the social consequences of homelessness, and provide an avenue for students to interface with homeless individuals.

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