CSUSB Palm Desert Campus offers students the opportunity to be taught by 11 preeminent leaders in one class


PALM DESERT – Imagine an academic course that brings together preeminent business and cultural leaders, all focused on sharing their stories of success, and sometimes failure. These personal, intimate presentations are designed to inspire students at the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus to persevere, take chances and reach for goals they may never have thought possible.

This year’s speakers in the university’s Lessons from Leaders series include:

  • Bruce Shepard, president emeritus, Western Washington University;
  • Sal D. Rinella, president emeritus, Austin Peay State University;
  • John “Jack” F. Grundhofer, chairman emeritus, U.S. Bancorp;
  • Rick Mueller, president, AEG Live North America;
  • Rolf Hoehn, director of Business Development, Desert Champions, LLC (Indian Wells Tennis Garden);
  • Russ Bendel, CEO, Habit Burger Grill;
  • Tristan Milanovich, fashion industry insider and tribal member, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians;
  • Andrew Cherng, co-founder, co-chair, co-CEO, Panda Express;
  • Felice L. Loverso, president and CEO, Casa Colina, Inc.;
  • Dick Shalhoub, owner/operator, McDonald’s; and
  • Janet Collins, director at the Centers for Disease Control, retired 

Lessons from Leaders is a for-credit class that focuses on a different business, non-profit or government leader each week to highlight their professional experience and personal advice for success.

The class format begins with an introduction by instructor Michael J. Ortiz, president emeritus, Cal Poly Pomona; followed by the visiting speaker providing 30-40 minutes of content, and then an open conversation with the enrolled students. The class concludes with a reception where students can interact with the speaker and gain critical networking skills.

The experience and insight of the speakers can be a life-changing experience for students. The CSUSB Palm Desert Campus is comprised of predominantly first-generation college students, but they all have one great thing in common – a drive to succeed and be a force for change in their families and communities. The class looks for speakers who can inspire.

The class, which began on April 3, meets Mondays from 4-5:50 p.m. through June 12.

Located in beautiful Palm Desert, the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees, a doctorate in educational leadership, and teacher credentials and certificates. With more than 1,400 students, it is the Coachella Valley’s four-year public university and plays a vital role in educating and training the region’s growing population.

For more information about the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus, contact Mike Singer in the campus’s Office of Public Affairs at msinger@csusb.edu or (760) 341-2883, ext. 78107, or visit the campus website at www.pdc.csusb.edu.