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November 13 , 2006
DH 06 JL02
Contact: Joanie Harmon-Whetmore
CSUDH President Announces Plans to Retire
Carson, CA- James E. Lyons, Sr., president of California State University, Dominguez Hills, has announced his
plans to retire from the University at the end of this academic year.
“It has been a privilege and a joy to be able to lead this university,” says Lyons. “Many campuses talk about being family; here at Dominguez Hills we simply are family, demanding the
best from our faculty, staff and students.”
Lyons has served as president of CSUDH since 1999, coming to the campus from Jackson State University,
where he had served as president from 1992 until 1999. Prior to that, he had been president of Bowie
State University for nine years.
Of his many accomplishments, Lyons is most proud of the tremendous increase in academic programs that
have been introduced during his presidency. This year, 23 new degrees, concentrations, options or emphases
have been approved by the Chancellor’s office including master’s programs in child development and in social
work. There is also a concentration in Sports, Entertainment and Hospitality that strongly benefits from the
special relationship developed with AEG and the Home Depot Center (HDC) allowing for student internships with
one of most significant sports and entertainment companies in the world.
The HDC, which opened on June 1, 2003, features facilities for track and field, soccer, tennis and cycling.
This multi-purpose sports venue sits on 85 acres leased from the University.
By coining the term, “communiversity,” Lyons has touted the concept of that connecting the CSUDH campus to
the communities served, through a commitment to principles of economic, civic and social responsibility. These
are important themes that run through both the Strategic Plan toward 2010, and the Academic Master Plan, which
were written and implemented under his direction.
Consistent with the campus’ Strategic Plan, Lyons worked to strengthen and create partnerships that helped
students and academic departments. Partnerships with the City of Carson, L.A. County Government, the South Bay
Workforce Investment Board, the South Bay Economic Partnership, L.A. Bio Med, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and
Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) are a few examples. The partnership with AEG is considered by many to be the
model public/private partnership between a university and a private corporation.
“At the end of the day,” says Lyons, “we will all be judged by the impact on others and whether we made a
difference in the lives of those with whom we worked. I hope that my wife Jocelyn's work with the African
American Catholic Center for Evangelization and my work here at CSUDH, have made a difference here in the L.A.
In 2003, along with the opening of the HDC, Lyons opened the first new state-funded academic building on the
campus in 25 years. Welch Hall houses administrative offices, student computer labs, technology-enhanced classrooms
and the 200-seat Claudia Hampton Lecture Hall. Other construction programs at CSUDH include California Academy
of Mathematics and Science (CAMS), a four-year comprehensive public high school located on the campus, the Extended
Education Complex, and the expanded Donald P. and Katherine B. Loker Student Union, which generated the largest
individual gift ever received by the campus. With the passing of Proposition 1D, the campus is poised for additional
improvements. The first building will be a new campus library and renovated resource center.
Along with improving the look of the campus, Lyons initiated a vigorous plan to increase the number of federal
earmarks to expand or bring new programs to the University. Since 2005, CSUDH been awarded more than $1.6 million
for Orthotics and Prosthetics through the Defense Appropriation Bill for Health Programs, Urban and Environmental
Research from the Environmental Protection Agency, Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management programs from
the Small Business Administration.
In 1998, just prior to Lyons arriving on campus, CSUDH had been placed on warning by the
Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Under Lyons’ leadership, not only was the campus removed from the warning but last year Cal State
Dominguez Hills was identified by WASC as having a model Capacity Preparatory Report.
Technologically, the campus has also improved under Lyons’ leadership. In the past four years, 45 “SMART” classrooms
with enhanced technology have been installed. This accounts for approximately 25% of the University’s total classrooms.
In addition, a campus-wide wireless network was installed, allowing students and faculty the ability to be connected
virtually anywhere on campus. Three years ago, campus telecommunications infrastructure was upgraded with fiber
connection between buildings and Category 5 cables for desktop computers. Providing reliable connections to the
Internet, the campus boasts two gigabit Internet connections.
An extremely popular president, Lyons is known as an educator who has close ties with both CSUDH students and alumni.
Considered a role model particularly for students of color, he has encouraged all students to commit themselves to
excellence. “California State University, Dominguez Hills,” he has written, “is the place to be to build a strong
foundation in character, skills, and experience needed to make dreams become realities.”
In honor of Lyons’ service to the campus, the 2007 President’s Scholarship Dinner will be dedicated to establishing
an endowed scholarship in the name of James E. and Jocelyn M. Lyons. “I would like one of my legacies to be that all
students, regardless of financial ability, have the opportunity to benefit themselves and their society through
education at Cal State University, Dominguez Hills,” says President Lyons.
California State University, Dominguez Hills
University Communications & Public Affairs
Welch Hall, B-363