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University Fêtes City Managers, Council Leaders

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Cal State Fullerton President Fram Virjee met with Orange County city managers and city council members January 30 in El Dorado Ranch to emphasize the university’s commitment to the region and its role in preparing the next generation of leaders in city administration. 

Business leaders in Orange County, he explained, always bring up how well-prepared the Titan workforce is.

“Our goal is to create an atmosphere where students get a rigorous academic education but also learn to collaborate,” he said. “They learn to work cross-culturally. … When I talk to people in industry, they say that’s one of the things they love the most about Titans.

“We are the tip of the iceberg for what is happening socioeconomically and culturally in our society.”

Shelly Arsneault, professor of political science, shared just one of the ways in which Cal State Fullerton develops a pipeline for local government staff and public servants: the City Management Fellowship Program. Now in its seventh year, it pairs a select group of students who demonstrates a commitment to public service with local city managers for a yearlong, one-on-one mentoring experience. 

The program, added Arsenault, offers master of public administration students behind-the-scenes immersion in local government. 

“We’ve worked with over 20 cities in the county,” said Arsneault, who directs the program. “The students that have gone through the program speak very highly of it.” 

City Management Fellows also are awarded a $1,000 scholarship, participate in government management workshops, and receive a one-year membership in the Municipal Management Association of Southern California. 

This year’s partner cities are Brea, La Habra, La Palma and Laguna Beach. C.J. Segerstrom and Sons is supporting the program during 2018-19. Since its founding, the program has enjoyed financial support from a variety of organizations and individuals. 

Virjee encouraged city leaders to become involved in this and other community-building programs and activities on campus. Among the city representatives in attendance:

Jennifer Fitzgerald, Fullerton mayor pro tem
Jesus Silva ‘03, Fullerton mayor, district 3
Ahmad Zahra, Fullerton councilmember, district 5
Farrah N. Khan, Irvine councilmember
Mark Tettemer, Lake Forest mayor
Ward Smith, Placentia mayor pro tem
Tara Campbell, Yorba Linda mayor
Gene Hernandez, Yorba Linda councilmember
Carlos Rodriguez ‘88, Yorba Linda councilmember
Mark Pulone, Yorba Linda city manager