Cal State trustees appoint new Cal State L.A president, others


William A. Covino, a veteran Florida and California administrator, was named Wednesday as the new president of Cal State L.A., becoming the first new leader of the El Sereno campus in 33 years.

Covino’s selection was among a slate of appointments announced by the California State University Board of Trustees, who were meeting in Long Beach. Joseph I. Castro, who has held a number of positions at University of California campuses, was appointed to lead Fresno State.

Trustees also appointed three interim presidents as permanent heads of the Dominguez Hills, Monterey Bay and Stanislaus campuses.


Covino will succeed James M. Rosser, who is retiring after serving as Cal State L.A. president since 1979. Since 2009, Covino has served as provost and vice president of academic affairs at Fresno State, where he won praise for a fundraising campaign that raised more than $214 million.

At Cal State LA, he will assume leadership of a campus with a student body that is one of the most diverse in the nation.

“I am honored to join a university as outstanding as Cal State L.A. and look forward to engaging with students, faculty, alumni and the community to build on its strengths and create opportunities for the future,” Covino said in a statement. “The university is uniquely positioned in a global center for the arts, technology and the economy and it boasts a student population as diverse as the city it serves. Cal State L.A. truly reflects the changing face of California in the 21st century.”

Covino, 61, previously served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Cal State Stanislaus, was dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Florida Atlantic University and held faculty posts at the University of Illinois at Chicago and San Diego State — credentials cited by trustees.

“Dr. Covino’s leadership at the CSU and his knowledge and experience in public higher education make him a tremendous asset to Cal State L.A. and the community,” Trustee Lou Monville, chairman of the presidential search committee, said in a statement. “His academic credentials and his commitment to diversity complement the university’s mission to prepare students for our changing global society.”

Covino earned a bachelor’s in English from UCLA, master’s degrees from Cal State Northridge and USC and received a doctorate in English from USC in 1981. He is expected to begin his new position Sept. 1.


Castro will succeed John D. Welty, who is retiring after serving as president of Fresno State since 1991. Since 2010, Castro has been vice chancellor for student academic affairs at UC San Francisco. He is also an adjunct professor in the department of family and community medicine in UC San Francisco’s School of Medicine.

He previously served as vice provost, associate vice chancellor and interim graduate dean at the UC San Francisco campus and served in leadership positions at the Berkeley, Davis, Merced and Santa Barbara campuses.

“It is incredibly humbling that the CSU trustees have appointed me as the next president of Fresno State, and I truly appreciate this honor,” Castro said in a statement. “Dr. Welty has been successful in leading Fresno State over the last 22 years. I look forward to working alongside the faculty, staff and students at the university and with alumni and friends throughout the Central Valley and beyond to build on this strong foundation and to guide Fresno State to new heights of success.”

A native of Hanford, Castro, 46, received a bachelor’s in political science and a master’s in public policy from UC Berkeley, as well as a doctorate in higher education policy and leadership from Stanford University.

He is expected to assume his new position by Aug. 1.

In the other appointments, Willie J. Hagan, 62, interim president of Cal State Dominguez Hills since June 2012, was named to the permanent position. He was previously interim president of Cal State Fullerton.

Eduardo M. Ochoa, interim president of Cal State Monterey Bay since July 2012, was named to the permanent post. In 2010, President Barack Obama named Ochoa assistant secretary for postsecondary education in the U.S. Department of Education.


He previously served as provost and vice president of academic affairs at Sonoma State and held academic posts at Cal Poly Pomona, Fresno State and Cal State LA. A native of Buenos Aires, Ochoa, 62, earned degrees in physics, nuclear science and economics from Reed Colllege, Columbia University and the New School for Social Research, respectively.

Joseph F. Sheley, 65, interim head at the Stanislaus campus since June 2012, was named permanent president by trustees. A graduate of Sacramento State, Sheley returned to his alma mater to serve as executive vice president, director of alumni relations and dean of the College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies. He was also a faculty member at Tulane University.

He earned a doctorate in sociology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

“President Sheley is truly ‘Made in the CSU’ — an example to our students of the faith we have in a bright future for each of them,” Cal State Board of Trustees Chairman Bob Linscheid said in a statement. “His remarkable capacity for collaboration with faculty, students, staff and the community is advancing the excellent work of CSU Stanislaus with clear dividends for the entire Central Valley.”

Salaries for all of the appointees will be set at the board’s July meeting.


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