Cal State LA hires another ex-LA Timesman

peter-hong-release.jpgCal State University Los Angeles has set about to ramp up its community and public affairs presence under new president William A. Covino and Jose Gomez, the longtime Sacramento hand who is chief operating officer and senior vice president at the campus. They already had the often-quoted Raphe Sonenshein and his Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, which has a respected voice on local politics and policy. Earlier this year the campus hired longtime public affairs and ex-City Hall rep Elena Stern as Associate Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs. And last week reporter Robert J. Lopez announced he is leaving the Los Angeles Times after 22 years to become the Director of Communications at CSULA.

Today's news is the hiring of Peter Hong, a former Times reporter who is currently a senior deputy to Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, as Director of Strategic Initiatives and Deputy Chief of Staff in the president's office. Hong started a couple of weeks ago. Hong and Lopez, incidentally, both came into the LA Times through the old City Times section, which sought to cover the core of Los Angeles in the way that the paper's suburban staffs tried. Hong has written about higher education at times for the paper. Stern's release notes that Hong has served on the Board of Trustees of Occidental College and the national board of directors of the Asian American Journalists Association.

Veteran political aide and journalist joins Cal State L.A.

Peter Hong comes on board as Director of Strategic Initiatives and Deputy Chief of Staff

Los Angeles, CA – Veteran Los Angeles political aide and journalist Peter Hong has joined California State University, Los Angeles as Director of Strategic Initiatives and Deputy Chief of Staff in the University President’s office.

He will work on efforts to strengthen existing relationships and create new networks to engage the city and the region with the University, to strengthen and create opportunities for our students and faculty. These include deepening the university’s presence in Los Angeles through joint academic ventures with industry and government.

“Cal State L.A. walks the walk in providing educational advancement and upward mobility to all who deserve the opportunity. Ensuring access to excellent education has been a cause for me since my days as a student activist in high school and college, as well as in my work as a journalist, political staffer, college trustee and parent. Cal State L.A. is where I want to be more than anywhere else,” Hong said.

Hong comes to the University from the Office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, where he was Senior Deputy since 2009. As a key advisor to Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, Hong played a leading role in initiatives including:

· Development and construction of the Crenshaw/LAX rail line and the Expo rail line.
· Creation of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection.
· The dissolution and re-structuring of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission and adoption of an innovative lease agreement for the Coliseum with the University of Southern California.
· Probation Department, Department of Children and Family Services and Sheriff’s Department/jails reforms.
· Repeal of the Board of Supervisors World War II support of Japanese American internment.

Prior to advising Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, Hong was a reporter at the Los Angeles Times for fifteen years. He wrote news, feature and investigative stories on higher education, economics, politics and Southern California culture. He also covered the war in Iraq. Prior to the Times, he worked for the Washington Post, BusinessWeek Magazine and the ABC News Washington bureau.

Hong has served on the Board of Trustees of Occidental College and the national board of directors of the Asian American Journalists Association. He holds a bachelor’s degree in politics from Occidental College. Following his 1987 graduation from Occidental, he was a Thomas J. Watson Fellow in Korea and Poland.

Hong on Twitter.

A story this week in the LA Times covered the desire by Cal State LA and other Cal State campuses to differentiate themselves and raise their brand identity.

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