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Graduate School of Education and Psychology Celebrated 2007 Education Graduation
The Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) celebrated the 2007 education graduation on Saturday, June 23, at Alumni Park on the Malibu campus. Lawyer and civil rights activist Antonia Hernández, president and CEO of the California Community Foundation (CCF), received an honorary doctorate. Dr. Graciela Italiano-Thomas, president and CEO of Thrive by Five Washington, was honored as the Distinguished Alumnus.
About Graciela Italiano-Thomas
Graciela Italiano-Thomas is the president and CEO of Thrive by Five Washington, a public-private partnership located in Seattle, Washington. The company enhances parent education and support, prenatal services, child care, preschool, and other early learning environments throughout the state of Washington.
Prior to joining Thrive by Five in December of 2006, Italiano-Thomas served from 2004 to 2006 as CEO of Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP), a public benefit corporation dedicated to providing universal preschool access for all four-year-olds in Los Angeles County. Before joining LAUP she was appointed as CEO of Centro de la Familia de Utah, a nonprofit organization based in Salt Lake City, Utah, which works to strengthen the Hispanic family by promoting self-sufficiency. She has also served as senior consultant to the National Head Start Bureau.
Among the many honors Italiano-Thomas has received are the National Education Association’s George I. Sanchez Human and Civil Rights Award for contributions made to the education of Latinos in the United States (2000), and the YWCA of Salt Lake City’s Award for Community Activism and Leadership (2004).
Italiano-Thomas has served on numerous boards of community organizations and is a member of several professional associations, including the National Education Association and the National Head Start Association. She was named to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Council of Education Advisors, sits on the Advisory Board of Pre-K Now, and was recently named to the Pew Charitable Trust’s Partnership for America’s Economic Success Advisory Board.
Italiano-Thomas earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Albion College in Albion, Michigan, and completed her doctor of education from Pepperdine University in 1997. She has served with distinction on the faculties of California Polytechnic University, Pomona, and at Weber State University in Utah.
Italiano-Thomas resides in Seattle, Washington, with her husband Mr. McKinley Thomas.
About Antonia Hernández
Antonia Hernández, lawyer and civil rights activist, is the president and CEO of the California Community Foundation (CCF). Headquartered in Los Angeles, CCF is one of Southern California’s oldest, most active, and largest philanthropic organizations. CCF represents an endowment with more than 1,400 individual, family, and corporate partners, making grants to a broad spectrum of nonprofits as well as awarding scholarships to individuals. During her tenure as president, Hernández has bolstered the foundation’s $800 million endowment by $250 million in new donations.
Prior to her appointment at CCF, Hernández was the president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), a national litigation and advocacy organization whose mission is to protect the civil rights of the nation’s 35 million Latinos through the legal system, community education, and research and policy initiatives. Hernández began her legal career as a staff attorney with the Los Angeles Center and worked as counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary before joining MALDEF in 1981.
Hernández is a member of the State Bar of California and the District of Columbia Bar. She is also a member of the American Bar Association, the Mexican American Bar Association of Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles County Bar Association.
Ms. Hernández regularly dedicates herself to the broader community, serving as trustee to the Rockefeller Foundation and director on the boards of the Automobile Club of Southern California and Golden West Financial Corporation. She also holds leadership positions on several commissions, advisory boards, and committees, including the Pacific Council for International Policy.
Hernández earned her bachelor’s degree from UCLA in 1970 and her law degree from UCLA School of Law in 1974.
Hernández resides in Pasadena with her husband, the Honorable Michael L. Stern.