Writer: Melissa Pinion

Voice Magazine / Melissa Pinion
Spring 2018

Leading Under Pressure

A mass shooting. A wildfire. A violent protest. a hurricane. In fall 2017, tragedies turned regions upside down, presenting four alumni in public leadership positions with some of the most challenging circumstances of their careers. They demonstrated strength and composure, drawing wisdom from their Leopard roots to pull through.

Raising Hope

Raising Hope

Gladys Namuyonga fled persecution in Uganda for the United States. The University of La Verne College of Law helped her win asylum.

John Raffoul DPA ’02

Life, Supported

When John Raffoul, DPA ’02, took over Adventist Health White Memorial medical center, it was struggling. Under his guidance, the hospital has emerged into a community and industry leader.

Tatiana Tatarinova

The Genome of Genius

Tatiana Tatarinova is a computational biology professor whose research could affect world hunger, cancer, and even understanding of Jewish ancestry. The trail-blazing spirit and curiosity that drive her cutting-edge work also keep her moving far beyond the classroom and laboratory.

Art Acevedo '05

A Flood of Pride

Bravery, strength, and determination helped residents of Houston, Texas, survive the floods and whipping winds of Hurricane Harvey in August 2017. Alumnus Art Acevedo ’05, chief of the city’s police department, relied on valuable lessons of trust to lead his department — and the city — through the disaster.

Allison Farole '07

Managing Chaos

Allison Farole ’07 traded in a dream of becoming a television reporter for a career in emergency management. Though she had faced plenty of stressful situations in her job, a white nationalist rally that arrived on her doorstep in Charlottesville put her leadership skills to the test.

Firas Arodaki '12

War and Peace

Firas Arodaki '12 lived through the Persian Gulf War and Iraq War while growing up in Kuwait. Those experiences now motivate the Master of Science in Leadership and Management student to assist others. He helps Syrian refugees settle in Southern California, raises money to support a Syrian orphanage, and stands up for the rights of Muslims.

Painting "Nevertheless... They Persisted"

The Colors of Culture

A woman with flowing blue tresses and Aztec earrings stands tall outside the Landis Academic Center, looking west. She is not a student, professor, or staff member. She is the University of La Verne’s new mural, titled “Nevertheless…They Persisted.”

Heshmat Mirsepassi

Fulfilling a Promise

Retired aerospace engineer Dr. Taghi Mirsepassi came to the University of La Verne in 2017 to fulfill the wishes of his late wife, Heshmat. Dr. Mirsepassi’s mission has yielded an endowed scholarship fund that will help students achieve their dreams.

Seann Nicols

The Business of Heavy Metal

Raw talent is not always enough to survive in rock and roll. That is why Seann Nicols ’16 is pursuing a Master of Business Administration while working as a touring musician, including a stint as Quiet Riot’s lead singer in early 2017. He is seeking an edge that will help his music career.

Beverly Foster

Foster’s Care

A family crisis turned into a life-changing opportunity for Beverly Foster ’04, ’06, who runs a training center for young adults with special needs in Kern County. It is a site that will give her students a chance at technology careers, a cause so noble it convinced the White House to provide financial support.

Paul Egly

A Judge’s Dream Realized

Paul Egly's memory of wanting to bring a fully-accredited law school to Inland Southern California has never faded. Then the American Bar Association granted the University of La Verne College of Law full accreditation.

Public Admin Faculty 1987

Paying Dividends

Professor of public administration Dr. Jack Meek reflects on the incredible growth of the College of Business and Public Management during his tenure.

Tony LaFetra

A Gift to Education

Anthony LaFetra comes full circle from a child learning from University of La Verne-trained teachers to a Board of Trustees member who gives back to the very institution that built his educational foundation.

Jonathan Reed

Balancing Trust And Action

Maintaining focus as a college provost is a challenge requiring a delicate balance of action and delegation, and the University of La Verne’s No. 2 administrator says that is a skill he is always trying to refine.

Heidy Contreras' Hands with Cockroaches

A Return to Roots

Her love of biology stemmed from the wildlife of Guatemala. Now Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Heidy Contreras hopes to one day share that inspiration with her students through summer programs in the Central American nation.

Emeline Garcia and Alba Melena

Standing Up for the Disabled

The Disability Rights Legal Center at La Verne is a place of victories – not just for the clients, but for the law students helping them.

In Pursuit of Science

His quest for scientific discovery led veteran chemistry professor Dr. Iraj Parchamazad from Iran, to France, Germany, and eventually, the United States.



From homeless to Hollywood producer, University of La Verne alumna Cori Shepherd Stern now strives to heal hearts around the world.