Cal State LA President William A. Covino was recognized by the Hollenbeck Youth Center for leading the university’s efforts to uplift and transform communities in Los Angeles.
“We just treasure our relationship to the Hollenbeck Youth Center and to the surrounding communities and the privilege we have to serve those communities and watch those families and kids aspire to greater and greater and better and better lives,” Covino said to a crowd gathered at the Dodger Stadium Club.
The recognition reaffirms Cal State LA’s role as an institution rooted in Los Angeles and dedicated to serving surrounding communities through programs for youth, partnerships with businesses and civic engagement initiatives. Cal State LA is one of only 30 universities in the nation designated as an anchor institution by the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities.
The Hollenbeck Youth Center and Inner-City Games’ 37th Annual Salute to the Dodgers fundraising luncheon was held July 19 amid the backdrop of the ballpark and historic Chavez Ravine.
Covino was recognized alongside award recipients including Dodger legend Tommy Lasorda, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award; alumnus and Cal State LA President’s Council member Gilbert R. Vasquez, who received the Amigos De Los Niños Award for community leadership; and Dylan Laiken, the top youth horseback rider in North America who was recognized as a youth ambassador. Other honorees included several youth center participants and law enforcement officials.
Covino was introduced by KTLA’s Sports Final anchor Derrin Horton, who served as emcee for the event, which supports the center’s programs. The president was presented a plaque with the inscription, “Welcome to the Hollenbeck family.” It was presented by Noemi Peñalosa, who is involved with the center’s youth programs, and the organization’s president and Inner-City Games founder Daniel L. Hernandez.
Earlier in the event, Hernandez recalled his days as a student at Cal State LA. The center has provided recreational, educational and entrepreneurial programs for underserved youth on Los Angeles’ Eastside and across the city since it was formed by the Hollenbeck Police Business Council in 1972.
Hands raised throughout the club when Covino asked who had attended Cal State LA. Among them were Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo, whose 51st District includes Dodger Stadium and Cal State LA, and David Sandoval, who serves on the university’s President’s Council.
“I am an alumnus of Cal State LA, ranked number one in the nation for the upward mobility of its students—that’s a big accomplishment,” Sandoval said to people gathered at the club. “Since (President Covino’s) arrival, he has sent thousands of volunteers from our students, faculty and staff to engage and serve in Downtown L.A. and all over East L.A. and South L.A.”
Photo: President William A. Covino (left) receives a plaque from youth center participant Noemi Peñalosa and Hollenbeck Youth Center president and Inner-City Games founder Daniel L. Hernandez. (Credit: J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA)