New CSUN Alumni Association President Carlos Fuentes ’82 (Political Science) has clear objectives for the future of the organization.
Fuentes, a former student government leader and student-athlete at CSUN who for nearly three decades has been successful in the financial industry, sees a need for different voices in the organization who could influence more pride from CSUN Alumni.
“First and foremost (the goal) is to get some new blood involved,” Fuentes said. “I think we’ve hit an area where he have the same people doing more work. We need to get new people involved. We’ve had many graduates (recently) and people who have grown into leadership positions. I want to identify where our graduates are.”
Fuentes wants to grow CSUN’s profile in Southern California. He said he sees too many CSUN graduates who wear their alma mater’s T-shirt under their shirt and tie and another Southern California university’s sweater over that professional attire. Fuentes said he wants to reach out and find employers who are hiring CSUN grads and celebrate them.
He also wants to better educate the community about CSUN’s accomplishments.
“For us to be an effective fundraising school to compete with the big boys in Westwood and L.A., I’m trying to overcome the know ‘K-N-O-W,’ so I can really overcome the ‘N-O,’ Fuentes said.
Fuentes is the 30th president in Alumni Association history. He succeeds Francine Oschin, who has been a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors since 1997 and served as president from 2013 until July of this year, when her two-year term ended.
“I can tell you I was very pleased to pass the torch to him,” Oschin said. “As a former AS president, he understands so many things about the balance between faculty, staff and students. He’ll be a real asset to all of us.”
Funetes was active in campus politics while a student in the late 1970s, early ’80s.
From 1978–79, Fuentes served as Associated Students president at CSUN. He recalled one standout accomplishment during his tenure: As student-body president, Fuentes reacted to news stories about campus assaults rising at other Los Angeles-area colleges. The reports inspired him to establish an escort program for students in CSUN parking lots — a campus program that persists today through Matador Patrol. He also helped produce a concert on campus with jazz guitarist George Benson at the height of the Grammy winner’s career. Stevie Wonder, Fuentes recalled, joined Benson on stage during part of the performance after actually paying for his ticket.
Prior to his involvement with student government, he was an outfielder on the Matador Baseball team. Fuentes has another important CSUN Athletics link.
He is married to 2001 CSUN Athletics Hall of Fame inductee Dr. Patricia De La Riva ’84 (Health Science). The former basketball star is the Assistant Area Medical Director at Kaiser Permanente in Woodland Hills and a lifetime member of the CSUN Alumni Association. They have two sons, Christian (23) and Alex (20).
“Carlos’ passion and commitment is consistent. He has shared his enthusiasm with past university presidents, marketing leaders, coaches, alumni, friends and family members,” De La Riva said.
Since 1998, Fuentes has been an active member of the Alumni Association and has served the past five years on its executive council.
After graduation, Fuentes spent 20 years as a stockbroker and five in retail banking. Then, he established his own investment consulting company Solrac, where he raises private-equity capital to invest mostly in start-up companies. He also has coached high school sports for two of the premier prep programs in Southern California — Harvard-Westlake and now, Oaks Christian.