The California Lutheran University Board of Regents added six new members this winter, including two alumni. Five members were re-elected to serve on the board as well.
George “Corky” Ullman, class of 1976, was elected to his fourth term as a regent after waiting the one year required before taking office. The Ullman family has supported Cal Lutheran scholarships and facilities for over three decades, including Ullman Stadium and the Ullman Dining Commons.
“Both he and his brother are alums, and he cares deeply for this place and has given back in so many ways,” said Rian Curley, executive assistant to the president and secretary to the Board of Regents. “He’s an ideal person to have on the board because he cares.”
Rev. Jim Bessey, class of 1966, is a new regent by virtue of becoming the new Chair of the Convocation, taking the place of Rev. Frank Nausin. In addition to serving as interim pastor for nearby Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Bessey has served Christ Lutheran Church in Long Beach for 16 years.
“We’re really excited to have Jim on board,” Curley said. “He has a good local perspective.”
Judy Larsen, now retired from Dataquest, served on the Board of Directors at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley which merged with Cal Lutheran last year.
“She brings that perspective of the northern California population around PLTS and the issues at PLTS,” Curley said.
The Board of Regents is the university’s main governing body.
“The regents are involved in long-term plans for the university as far as building, construction, programs and support,” said faculty chair on the Board of Regents and multimedia professor Tim Hengst. “That’s ongoing whether you see it visibly or not.”
Regents come from many different backgrounds.
“They might be in the financial world, they might be in the business world, they might be in the educational field,” Hengst said.
Curley added the diversity of the board is a key element.
“We don’t want one type of person to serve on the board, but a variety of people,” Curley said.
Curley said regents steward the financials of the university, seek to serve student needs and draw alumni back to the university as speakers in events. They’re also interested in the continued growth of the institution.
“I think that the university has grown exponentially over the last ten years,” Curley said, adding that Cal Lutheran has done well despite the recent recession. “[The regents] want to keep moving in that direction.”
“The regents are very interested in the day-to-day activities of the students too,” Hengst said. According to Hengst there was a recent research symposium on campus where regents visited and heard from student presenters.
Curley mentioned a similar upcoming event.
“We’re in the process of lining up some science majors to demonstrate the research that they’re doing, projects that they’re working on, so regents can get direct access and see what our students are doing, and be, I’m sure, incredibly impressed,” Curley said.
Curley said the event is an opportunity for the regents to act to know the students on a first-name basis, and become acquainted with the work they’re doing, and also to learn about the science department’s needs.
Associated Students of California Lutheran University Government President and senior Ally Ruggles interacts with the regents as the student representative. She said she loves working with them.
“They are so in touch with students and they just want to talk to the students,” Ruggles said. “They are so invested.”
Published February 4th, 2015