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April 23 , 2007
DH 07 JH53
Contact: Joanie Harmon-Whetmore
Cal State Dominguez Hills Loses a Tireless Supporter: Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald
Carson, CA - Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, a seven-term congresswoman from southern California, died early Sunday of cancer. She was 68.
Millender-McDonald died at her home in Carson, according to her chief of staff, Bandele McQueen. The congresswoman had asked for a leave of absence from the House last week to deal with her illness.
Congresswoman Millender-McDonald was a champion of Cal State Dominguez Hills, and had worked tirelessly to assist the university in its mission of making higher education available to the underrepresented and of training the region’s work force. In 2006, she secured a $444,000 appropriation to help establish the Institute of Entrepreneurship, Small Business Development and Global Logistics in the university’s College of Business Administration and Public Policy. The institute has been created to focus on developing entrepreneurs, with a special emphasis on minority and female entrepreneurs, small business development in economically disadvantaged areas and in the logistics, transportation and supply chain management industry.
Working with a bipartisan coalition of members in both the U.S. House and Senate, Congresswoman Millender-McDonald helped secure $575,000 in 2004 for the expansion of CSUDH’s Orthotics and Prosthetics Program, allowing the university to expand the number of trained professionals in order to satisfy the needs of the nation’s disabled.
Millender-McDonald, along with the African-American Women Health and Education Foundation, founded and sponsored the Southern California Regional 5K AIDS Walk that is held annually on the campus of Cal State Dominguez Hills. The AIDS Walk raises funds to benefit Los Angeles County clinics and programs that provide HIV prevention and care services to minorities, specifically women. The eleventh annual AIDS Walk is scheduled for Saturday, April 28.
Congresswoman Millender-McDonald represented the 37th Congressional District, which includes the cities of Carson, Long Beach, Signal Hill, Compton, and Watts-Willowbrook. She was the first African American woman to serve on the Carson City Council, and the first to serve as chairwoman for the Insurance and Revenue & Taxation committees in her first term as a California state assembly member.
The congresswoman earned her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Redlands, a master's degree in educational administration from California State University, Los Angeles, and teaching and administration credentials from the California State University system. She is survived by her husband, James McDonald, Jr., five children, and seven grandchildren.
The congresswoman was scheduled to receive the Katherine B. Loker Friend of Education Award at the upcoming President’s Scholarship Benefit taking place on April 27th. The award named for Loker, a longtime friend and supporter of the university, is bestowed at the event each year on an individual who has exemplified a steadfast support of the mission of CSU Dominguez Hills.
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