Branden del Rio
Editor in Chief
Rob Fukuzaki, sports anchor for ABC 7 and University of La Verne alumnus, returned to deliver the keynote speech for Communications Day.
Last week the communications department held its 20th annual event, which invited high school students from around Southern California to the campus to explore the various courses and majors the department has to offer.
The keynote address was given in the Campus Center Ballroom.
Professor of Journalism George Keeler introduced Fukuzaki.
“(Rob) won the job in a very competitive field of 300 applicants and became the first Japanese-American TV anchor in Los Angeles news,” Keeler said.
“Rob has interviewed the kings and queens of the sports world. He has exchanged golf tips with Tiger Woods, tennis serve strategy with Serena Williams and jump shots with Michael Jordan,” Keeler said.
“I was hoping to start my career in my hometown … my first priority was to become a TV sportscaster, but there were no jobs open in Hawaii,” Fukuzaki said.
Eventually he found a job and his moment came to shine when the two sportscasters for the local station were out of town.
However, he described his first live cast as the perfect storm.
He kept the audience on its toes as people chuckled at his light jokes from their seats.
He shared anecdotes about his time announcing baseball games at the University and finding his own voice as an announcer.
“The TV industry has changed tremendously over the years in so many ways,” Fukuzaki said. “Believe it or not, when I started in the business we didn’t have computers.”
“Embrace every opportunity you are given and make the most of it and always remember to never take anything for granted,” he advised the audience.
In addition to Fukuzaki, other successful alumni turned out for the event including Andrea Gardner Bernstein, a contributor for “Marketplace” on American Public Radio; Alejandra Molina, a reporter at the Orange County Register; Leslie Porras, public relations director for state sponsored business at Wellpoint, Inc.; Julie Sanchez-Alvarez, senior marketing coordinator and graphic designer for Klatch Coffee; Katie Hillier, analyst for Kelton Research and creative director of Urbansalt.com; Mark Vidal, public relations assistant at the Office of University Advancement; and Gabby de la Cruz, community information specialist for the Pomona Unified School District.
The day began with the students registering at 8 a.m. in front of the Arts and Communications Building.
Students and advisers selected two sessions run by communications faculty, which showcased the alumni’s careers.
The workshops took place in the Arts and Communications Building and various locations around campus including the Jane Dibbel Cabaret Theatre and the photography labs in Miller Hall.
Elizabeth Zwerling, associate professor of journalism, led the workshop “From Journalism Degree to a Successful Career” which featured Molina and Hiller. The alumni explained how their journalism degrees landed them positions in their respective careers.
Maia Kinsinger, associate professor of communications, led a workshop that showed the effectiveness of the department’s media classes. Sanchez-Alvarez, de la Cruz and Vidal linked their classroom experience to the issues they faced in their job field.
Vidal showed the audience his personal website, which he created in one of Kinsinger’s classes when he was a student.
The day ended with a lunch in Sneaky Park, screening of the videos from the “Producing Television News” workshop and tours the Arts and Communications Building.
Branden del Rio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.