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Alumni Honors

Cal State LA honors alumni in the Television, Film and Media Studies department.

TVFM+Honorees+Dave+Lopez+%28left%29%2C+Professor+Blake+Jackson+%28center%29%2C+and+Deji+Laray+%28right%29.
TVFM Honorees Dave Lopez (left), Professor Blake Jackson (center), and Deji Laray (right).

TVFM Honorees Dave Lopez (left), Professor Blake Jackson (center), and Deji Laray (right).

Erron Franklin

Erron Franklin

TVFM Honorees Dave Lopez (left), Professor Blake Jackson (center), and Deji Laray (right).

Erron Franklin, Editor-in-Chief

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The Department of Television, Film and Media Studies (TVFM) at Cal State LA held its annual Alumni Awards on Saturday, Nov. 4 at its state of the art sound stage in University Hills.

The evening began with a reception where guests mingled and old friends reminisced about their time as students on campus. Music for the evening was provided by Cal State LA’s Golden Eagle Radio, a club within the department.

Dr. John Ramirez, Chair of the TVFM Department, welcomed everyone before handing off the mic to Professor Alan Bloom, who presented the first award of the evening.

This year’s Television and Film Alumni Award was presented to Deji Laray, a 2004 graduate of Cal State LA. Since graduation, Leray has gone on to become an actor, editor, producer and director.

He’s edited videos for Janet Jackson, Katy Perry, Kendrick Lamar, Missy Elliot and Omarion – Just to name a few. He has recurring roles on the Amazon series “Bosch” and “Greenleaf” on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Upon accepting his award, Laray insisted on beginning with a group selfie. He then went on to talk about the impact of a college education.

“…I enrolled and I got in and I met some of the most amazing people, a lot of the people I’m seeing tonight and some professors that I hold very dear to my heart,” said Laray. “Professor Bloom, Professor Jackson you guys inspired me and taught me and I’ll never forget. I’ll always be indebted for everything you’ve done for me.”

The TVFM Alumni Award for Journalism was presented to a veteran reporter for KCBS 2 and KCAL 9 in Southern California. As journalism professor Tony Cox put it, “If you have been anywhere near a television newscast in the past 40 years, you’ve seen Dave Lopez.”

“I have had a marvelous career. I’m a very, very fortunate man,” said Lopez. “Every major story that has happened since 1972 in this town, I have been there, front and center. You name it, I’ve covered it.” “Sports, entertainment stories, earthquakes, fires, floods, OJ Simpson, you name it. I’ve had a marvelous, marvelous time. In fact, there are times when I pinch myself.”

The last award of the night was a first of its kind. The Inaugural Distinguished Faculty Award was presented to the award-winning cinematographer and professor, Blake Jackson. For twelve years Jackson has dealt with personal challenges while preparing the next generation of cinematographers and filmmakers.

“Blake was tenured at the end of the school in year 2005. Two days later he gets told that he has Multiple Sclerosis (MS). That was 12 years ago,” said Professor Bloom. “He’s still teaching, he’s been teaching for twelve years, while putting up a heroic fight against this really cruel and horrible disease. He’s an inspiration to me and he’s an inspiration to a lot of people.”

Anyone in the room could feel the love and appreciation that reverberated throughout the space following the presentations of awards.

Professor Jane McKeever gave the closing remarks and invited all guests to enjoy the rest of the evening. All honorees took a number of photos before the night was over.

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Alumni Honors