New UCLA Government and Community Relations Senior Executive Director Richard Benbow III talks at the recent Project SPELL graduation. (photo by Jonathan Van Dyke)
This is not to say that Richard Benbow III did not enjoy the cable television business — as an avid sports fan, he more than relished his roles with DirecTV and Time Warner Cable. However, it’s been hard for him not to notice the change in tenor of the conversations he has out in the public when he mentions his advocacy for UCLA.
“Higher education was something instilled in me early on and it’s something I can get behind,” he said. “When you say UCLA, people light up.”
Still, Benbow, who started his new position in UCLA Government and Community Relations as Senior Executive Director earlier this year, hasn’t minded leaving behind those questions of why someone’s cable box isn’t working right.
Bonnie Faherty and Edward Feldman have been UCLA advocates since the inception of the program. (photo by Jonathan Van Dyke)
Bonnie Faherty and Edward Feldman were a match made in advocacy heaven well before they embarked on a marriage of 30 years.
They have given all they can back to the people, places and institutions that have shaped them —for many years prioritizing UCLA.
So at a political dinner in East Los Angeles during the late 1970s, there was a serendipitous moment that would put two civically passionate people together, and little did they know, for the rest of their lives.
A champion for the environment and higher education, California Sen. Fran Pavley will be finishing up her legislative career this year. (photo by Jonathan Van Dyke)
“Right time, right place,” is a mantra California Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) mentions often when reflecting on her multitude of years in public service, but there is no doubting that a strong conviction and equal passion is what ultimately resulted in a storybook political career.
Years ago, 1982 precisely, Pavley found herself as the first ever Mayor of Agoura Hills. Her passion, especially about the environment and smart urban planning, had guided her to the top of her town.
“Education, participation, government — making a difference was just sort of a natural fit,” she said, reflecting on a political career that is coming to a close this year.
Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson examines an event badge that brings back memories about his California Assembly District Inauguration ceremony that took place at UCLA’s Royce Hall. (photo by Jonathan Van Dyke)
Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson was once that kid in the audience — antsy and uninterested.
Sure, his upbringing included plenty of civic engagement. His father coached youth sports and stayed active in the community. Wesson remembers passing out flyers as a kid in Cleveland, Ohio in support of Charles Stokes, the first African American mayor of a major city.
“My family, historically, we were engaged,” Wesson said. “It was at a time when we had a lot of civic courses and social studies. It was a way to connect with local governments and what have you.”
And yet, it wasn’t until he went to college, and still then, Wesson often found himself in the crowd, looking for an exit strategy. Then one day, his fraternity was hosting special speaker: Northern California’s first black Congress member, Ron Dellums.
U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu holds up a packet relating the UCLA Sustainable LA Grand Challenge.
U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) won’t stop giving back to a country that gave his family so much.
“In my mind, my parents achieved the American Dream,” he said. “They went from being poor to owning a home, and gave my brother and me and amazing education. There are few places in the world where that can happen.”
The congressman earned the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during his career in the Air Force and remains a member of the JAG Corps. He has held office in the Torrance City Council, California State Assembly and Senate, and most recently won an election to replace longtime and beloved Rep. Henry Waxman.
California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León takes a call at his Silverlake district office from former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León doesn’t want his personal story of success to be an outlier. He doesn’t want the story of the youngest child to an immigrant mother who was the first and only child in his family to graduate high school and go to college, to be an inspirational calling card. Instead, de León dreams of a future full of people from his community accomplishing what he has — making it the norm.
De León recognizes that in order to make his story obsolete, it will take the hard work of the people of California and the legislation that represents them — a legislation that needs to support the higher education institutions of California.