Bernardo, Antonio — UCLA Anderson School of Management

THE LATEST: Bernardo in July became the ninth dean of UCLA’s business school, Anderson School of Management, after a 16-month search following the departure of longtime dean Judy Olian. In March, the school’s Anderson Forecast took the unprecedented step of issuing an interim economic forecast, becoming one of the first forecasts to announce that both the U.S. and California had already entered a recession due to the impact of the coronavirus. Also that month, U.S. News & World Report ranked Anderson No. 16 on its list of top business schools.

BACKGROUND: A 25-year faculty member of the Anderson School, Bernardo holds the Joel Fried Chair in Applied Finance and previously held the Robert D. Beyer Term Chair in Management. He also served as department chair and senior associate dean for academic affairs from 2006 to 2009 and finance area chair from 2013 to 2015 and again in 2019. His research in corporate finance includes a recent paper on U.S. government bailouts of distressed firms.

YEARS ON THE LA500: 1

Beutner, Austin — Los Angeles Unified School District

THE LATEST: On March 13, Beutner announced the closure of all LAUSD schools due to the spread of novel coronavirus; at the time, it was the largest school district in the nation to shut down. Courses shifted to online learning and through Public Broadcasting System affiliate KCET/KOCE. Last October, Beutner launched a joint program with city of Los Angeles to connect 10 LAUSD high schools with foreign consulates in Los Angeles to introduce students to diplomacy and global affairs.

BACKGROUND: A former investment banker, Beutner was chosen in May 2018 to lead the nation’s second-largest school district, with 587,000 enrolled students, 25,000 teachers and 66,000 total employees. Beutner previously served as co-chairman of the Los Angeles Unified School District Advisory Task Force. He was first deputy mayor of Los Angeles under Antonio Villaraigosa and publisher of The Los Angeles Times. Beutner was Blackstone Group’s youngest partner and founded investment banking advisory firm Evercore Partners.

YEARS ON THE LA500: 5

Block, Gene — UCLA

THE LATEST: In February, Block announced that the Centennial Campaign for UCLA, one of the most ambitious fundraising campaigns ever by a public university, had raised $5.49 billion through more than 554,000 donations over five years. Last year, Block announced that Henry and Susan Samueli had donated $100 million to expand the engineering school, named in their honor. UCLA was also named as the No. 1 public university in the nation for the third consecutive year by U.S. News & World Report.

BACKGROUND: UCLA’s chancellor since 2007, Block is also a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences in the university’s David Geffen School of Medicine. Block previously served as the University of Virginia’s vice president and provost. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

YEARS ON THE LA500: 5

Buchman, Lorne — Art Center College of Design

THE LATEST: Last summer, Pasadena’s ArtCenter College of Design surpassed its ambitious $100 million fundraising campaign goal, with more than 7,000 donors raising a total of $124 million. In September, ArtCenter College expanded its exhibitions in gallery spaces at multiple school locations, including downtown Los Angeles.

BACKGROUND: Buchman took over in 2009 as the fifth president of ArtCenter College. During his tenure, the college has increased its endowment and its footprint, expanding its south campus in central Pasadena and opening the Hyundai and Kia Innovation Lab for transportation design education. Under a recently approved master plan, the university is adding new academic facilities and its first-ever student housing. The school also hosts podcasts featuring interviews with leading artists and innovators. A trained theater director and scholar, Buchman wrote “Still in Movement: Shakespeare on Screen” and expects to soon publish his latest book on the creative process.

YEARS ON THE LA500: 3

Coley, Soraya — Cal Poly Pomona

THE LATEST: Cal Poly Pomona was reaccredited in February for the maximum 10 years by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. In January, the university opened two new residence halls that house 980 students as well as a new central dining facility. The buildings are the latest piece of a strategic plan to re-envision academic offerings and upgrade the physical campus. The Cal Poly Pomona Philanthropic Board was launched in November to expand the university’s fundraising capabilities and capacity.

BACKGROUND: Coley is the first woman to lead Cal Poly Pomona. Before her appointment in 2014, she served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Cal State Bakersfield. In September, Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Coley to the Future of Work Commission, whose mission is to make recommendations about harnessing technology, innovation and lifelong learning. Also in September, she became the presidential sponsor of the American Council on Education Women’s Network of Southern California.

YEARS ON THE LA500: 3

Close Conoley, Jane — Cal State Long Beach

THE LATEST: Cal State Long Beach recently announced that it had increased its four-year graduation rate to 34% in 2019 from 16% in 2015, the largest increase in the 23-campus CSU system. In December, Conoley received an award from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators for her advancement in the quality of student life on campus due to her support of student affairs staff and initiatives.

BACKGROUND: Founded in 1949, CSULB has 37,000 enrolled students and 2,100 faculty in eight colleges. Conoley became the university’s seventh president — and its first woman leader — in 2014 after holding leadership positions at UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, Texas A&M University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is the author or editor of 21 books and more than 100 chapters, journal articles and technical reports. Her area of primary interest is interventions with children with disabilities. She also chairs Everyone Home Long Beach, a city initiative to address California’s homelessness crisis and its impact on Long Beach.

YEARS ON THE LA500: 3

Covino, William — Cal State Los Angeles

THE LATEST: Construction is scheduled to wrap up in June on Cal State L.A.’s new bioscience laboratory building. The facility will function as a business incubator and job creator, combining the efforts of startup entrepreneurs and established industries. Cal State L.A. ranked 31st among all private and public universities in the Western U.S. in the most recent U.S. News & World Report ranking, jumping 21 spots from the previous year. This academic year, the university launched the College of Ethnic Studies, only the second such college in the nation.

BACKGROUND: Covino joined Cal State L.A. in 2013 after stints at Fresno State, Stanislaus State, Florida Atlantic University, the University of Illinois at Chicago and San Diego State. He established the university’s Center for Engagement, Service and the Public Good, which encourages community service and service-learning opportunities. A graduate of Cal State Northridge, Covino is the author of five books, including “The Elements of Persuasion” and “The Art of Wondering.”

YEARS ON THE LA500: 3

Daley, Elizabeth — USC

THE LATEST:  In November, a $25 million gift from the widow of former Columbia Pictures Television studio head John H. Mitchell was used to establish an endowment at the school supporting classes in entertainment business and providing financial support to students training for jobs in the industry’s executive suites.

BACKGROUND: The longest-serving dean at USC, Daley has guided the School of Cinematic Arts for 29 years. Previously, she served as chair of the Film & Television Production program. She was founding executive director of the university’s Annenberg Center for Communication and serves as executive director of the USC Institute for Multimedia Literacy. Daley oversaw creation of the Entertainment Technology Center, a think tank that studies the impact of new technologies, and construction of the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts. Prior to joining USC, Daley worked for the film and TV division of the Mark Taper Forum and was a producer for MGM/Television before joining academia.

YEARS ON THE LA500: 5

Folt, Carol — USC

THE LATEST: Folt became USC’s 12th president — and first female leader — on July 1. She succeeded interim president Wanda Austin, who took over after C.L. Max Nikias stepped down in the summer of 2018. Folt’s mission has been to restore order at a school that has been hit by scandals, including a federal college-admissions investigation and misconduct allegations against a former campus gynecologist. In February, Folt launched an initiative to make USC tuition-free for undergraduates from low- and middle-income families earning $80,000 or less. In November, the Lord Foundation of California, a nonprofit foundation that supports USC, announced it had received $260 million from the recent sale of North Carolina-based Lord Corp. to fund research and teaching.

BACKGROUND: Folt served as chancellor for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 2013 until early 2019. She was previously an acting president of Dartmouth College, where she spent 12 years in administrative roles.

YEARS ON THE LA500: 2

Gash, Jim — Pepperdine University

THE LATEST: Gash became Pepperdine’s eighth president in August, succeeding Andrew Benton, who held the post for 19 years. In October, mall magnate, civic leader and philanthropist Rick Caruso and his wife, Tina, donated $50 million to the Pepperdine School of Law, where Caruso received his law degree in 1983; the school has been renamed in Caruso’s honor. The gift will be used to expand educational access to underserved student populations.

BACKGROUND: Gash finished top of his class at the Pepperdine Law School and was editor-in-chief of its Law Review. He joined the law school faculty in 1999, becoming law professor and then associate dean. Previously, Gash worked for the small litigation firm of DeSimone & Tropio, clerked for Judge Edith Jones on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and worked for Kirkland & Ellis, first in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office and then in its Los Angeles office.

YEARS ON THE LA500: 2

Harrison, Dianne — Cal State Northridge

THE LATEST: Harrison postponed her June retirement to deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic; the search for her successor was also placed on hold. In January, she was appointed by the American Council on Education to a national task force focused on improving how academic credits for students are transferred between educational institutions. CSUN was one of 119 U.S. colleges and universities selected by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching to receive a six-year designation for its commitment to community engagement.

BACKGROUND: Prior to taking her current post in 2012, Harrison was president of Cal State Monterey Bay. Before that, she spent 30 years on the faculty and in administrative leadership at Florida State University. She chairs the Steering Committee of the Presidents’ Climate Leadership Network, serves as a commissioner on the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission and is the 2019-20 board chair of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

YEARS ON THE LA500: 3

Jessup, Len — Claremont Graduate University

THE LATEST: Claremont Graduate University saw 22% growth in incoming new students in the fall of 2019 over 2018, bringing the total student body to 2,200. In October, CGU opened a fully wired technology lab in the campus academic computing building, with funds from a partnership with Brea-based computer monitor manufacturer ViewSonic Corp. and Taiwan computer hardware manufacturer Acer. CGU also received a $3.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support students in its teacher education program, with a focus on training teachers to help underserved students in Los Angeles-area communities.  In September, Jessup launched a strategic health research initiative, bringing together faculty from several academic departments.

BACKGROUND: Jessup became GCU’s 12th president in 2018 after serving as president of the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Prior to that, he was dean of the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona, president of the Washington State University Foundation and dean of Washington State University’s Carson College of Business. Jessup received the 2018 CEO Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education for the West Coast/Pacific region.

YEARS ON THE LA500: 1

Rajan, Ravi — California Institute of the Arts

THE LATEST: As part its 50th anniversary commemoration, Santa Clarita-based CalArts announced in January that it has commissioned 50 alumni to create artworks over the next five years as part of a new fundraising initiative. The works will be sold by CalArts to establish an artist-led scholarship endowment to benefit future students. In recent years, CalArts alumni have racked up several awards and nominations for animation, and in 2020, five members of the school’s alumni and faculty were awarded Guggenheim Fellowships.

BACKGROUND: Before joining CalArts as its fourth president in 2016, Rajan served as dean of the School of the Arts at the State University of New York at Purchase. Initially trained as a musician, Rajan recently collaborated on multimedia presentations for major art institutions as well as theatrical and music venues; he is also part of the Tony Awards Nominating Committee, the Royal Society of Arts in London and the Asian American Arts Alliance.

YEARS ON THE LA500: 3

Rosenbaum, Thomas — CalTech

THE LATEST: In September, Caltech received a $750 million pledge from philanthropists and agribusiness magnates Stewart and Lynda Resnick to support cutting-edge environmental sustainability research. It’s the second-largest donation ever to an American university, after Michael Bloomberg’s $1.8 billion donation to Johns Hopkins University. Among the programs Rosenbaum’s administration oversees is a $15 billion, five-year contract from NASA to manage its Jet Propulsion Laboratory near the school’s Pasadena campus; JPL is currently building Perseverance, the latest Mars Rover spacecraft, which is set to launch this fall.

BACKGROUND: Rosenbaum joined Caltech in 2014 as its ninth president. He is also a physics professor at the university and an expert in quantum mechanics. Previously, Rosenbaum conducted research at Bell Laboratories, IBM Watson Research Center, the University of Chicago and the Argonne National Laboratory. Rosenbaum is an elected fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

YEARS ON THE LA500: 5

Smith, Dayle — Loyola Marymount University

THE LATEST: LMU’s business college ranked No. 17 on the 2020 list of undergraduate schools for entrepreneurship studies by Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine. The college signed on to the United Nations’ Principles for Responsible Management Education initiative, committing to making an impact on the U.N.’s 17 sustainable development goals. In January, Smith was appointed to the International Association of Jesuit Business Schools Board of Directors The association’s mission is to produce global partnerships and an international exchange of ideas and resources. 

BACKGROUND: Smith became dean of LMU’s College of Business Administration in June 2018. She was previously dean and professor of consumer and organizational studies at Clarkson University’s David Reh School of Business. Before that, Smith was on the faculty at USC, Georgetown University and the University of San Francisco. Smith is a member of the international collaborative of deans and directors named to the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative, which focuses on developing sustainable leadership and business practices worldwide.

YEARS ON THE LA500: 1

Snyder, Timothy Law — Loyola Marymount University

THE LATEST: In December, Loyola Marymount University hosted the sixth debate among the seven candidates who at the time were seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. The university is an increasingly popular target for college applicants; the school received more than 18,500 applications for the class of 2023 and admitted a record-low 44% of them. LMU also placed among the top six private colleges in California on U.S. News & World Report’s list of top national universities.

BACKGROUND: Snyder was named president of Loyola Marymount in 2015 after serving as vice president for academic affairs at Loyola University Maryland. He also has served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University in Connecticut and as dean of science at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Snyder’s fields of academic research include computational mathematics, data structures, design and analysis of algorithms, geometric probability, digital signal processing, airline flight safety, and HIV diagnosis and prevention.

YEARS ON THE LA500: 5

Subramaniam, Chandra — Cal State Northridge

THE LATEST: In September, the Nazarian College received $150,000 from the KPMG Foundation to provide technology and tools for students via the KPMG Endowment for Workforce Development. Also last year, the CSUN Tax Clinic at the Nazarian College supported more than 8,700 low-income taxpayers in 22 sites with their taxes, making the program the largest of any four-year college in the country.

BACKGROUND: Subramaniam was named dean of the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics at CSUN in March 2018. The college has about 7,000 students, making it one of the 10 largest AACSB-accredited business schools in the country. Before joining CSUN, Subramaniam was at the University of Texas at Arlington, where he was interim dean and chair of the accounting department. Before joining academia, Subramaniam worked as an engineer for National Semiconductor in Malaysia and was director of the Northeast Minnesota Small Business Development Center and Small Business Institute.

YEARS ON THE LA500: 3

Van Rensburg, Deryck — Pepperdine University

THE LATEST: In September, Pepperdine’s business school announced a “significant seven-figure investment” from Frank Foster, chairman of the Hixon family business interests, to create the Legacy Center for Family Business Leadership, which is set to open next year. The Hixon family made its fortune investing in electrical firm AMP Inc. Earlier this year, the Graziadio School’s executive MBA program was ranked No. 27 in the nation and No. 2 in California by U.S. News & World Report. Last November, the online MBA program was ranked No. 12 in the nation by the Princeton Review.

BACKGROUND: Following a three-decade career in international business, van Rensburg joined Pepperdine in 2016 as Graziadio’s ninth dean. He previously held executive posts with Unilever as well as Coca Cola Co., where Van Rensburg served as president of global ventures and as president of venturing and emerging brands. He holds degrees from the University of Manchester, the University of Bath and Rhodes University.

YEARS ON THE LA500: 3

Yortsos, Yannis — Viterbi School of Engineering, USC

THE LATEST: Under Yortsos’ leadership, Viterbi last year completed its $500 million fundraising campaign. In January, the school announced construction of a 98,000-square-foot computer science building, named for major donors Allen and Charlotte Ginsburg and focusing on the disciplines of artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics. During the 2019-2020 academic year, Viterbi’s student enrollment reached gender parity, a first for the school, making it one of the few engineering programs in the nation to reach this milestone.

BACKGROUND: Yortsos became dean of the Viterbi School in 2005. He joined the university’s chemical engineering department in 1978 and served as its chair between 1991 and 1996. In the early 2000s, he was the school’s associate dean and then senior associate dean for academic affairs. Yortsos is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and has served on the American Society for Engineering Education’s Diversity Committee of the Engineering Deans Council.

YEARS ON THE LA500: 5

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