Fullerton Chamber of Commerce CEO becomes president of Alumni Association

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CSUF alumna played bassoon with symphony orchestra in late 1970s Deanna Trombley / Daily Titan
CSUF alumna played bassoon with symphony orchestra in late 1970s
Deanna Trombley / Daily Titan

A Cal State Fullerton alumna, president and CEO of the Fullerton Chamber of Commerce has assumed the role of president of the CSUF Alumni Association.

Theresa Harvey graduated from CSUF in 1981 with a degree in music education and communications with an emphasis in public relations. She has worked in nonprofit management and fund development for many years.

Harvey’s primary responsibility as president of the Alumni Association is to be a community spokesperson for the organization.

Harvey has served as CEO of the Fullerton Chamber of Commerce since 2005.

She was an active member of the campus community during her time as a student at Cal State Fullerton. While playing the bassoon in the University Symphony Orchestra, she toured Europe in the late 1970s.

This is her second time serving as Alumni Association president. From 1987 to 1989, she served as president of the association under University President Jewel Plummer Cobb.

This time around, she hopes to leave a strong organization by building up the leadership among the board of directors.

“We’re working on diversifying the depth of the board of directors and making sure that there’s leadership not only today but in the future,” Harvey said.

Harvey emphasizes the importance of strong leadership among her colleagues as head of the association.

“An organization is only as successful as its leadership and the leadership has to be encouraged and directed by staff, but it has to come from within the organization,” Harvey said. “And the board of directors, I think, can shape that leadership.”

Harvey also said she understands the importance of scholarships in the success of students who will later become alumni. As president, she plans to promote the role of the alumni in continuing to encourage community philanthropic support of the university.

“The state will continue to support education in our community, and higher education is important, but in order to really keep the level of the university that’s competitive we need to have that private support for individual programs,” Harvey said.

She prides the Alumni Association on the personal contributions by the board of directors to student scholarships as well and plans to maintain this tradition.

“I will continue to encourage the board to contribute individually to our scholarships. We have a strong history of having 100 percent of our board of directors contribute to student scholarships,” Harvey said.

Additionally, Harvey acknowledges the importance of honoring and recognizing outstanding alumni, such as astronaut Tracy Caldwell and their contributions.

“We have some great alumni out there who have done wonderful things and I think part of the university’s current status among universities in the country is because of the alumni and the awareness of the success of those alums,” Harvey said.

As with all leadership roles, Harvey’s position as president poses its own set of challenges.

“We have a great history to live up to and I’d say one of the challenges is making sure that we continue the traditions while balancing the directions that we’re being pulled in,” Harvey said.

However, she sees this as both a “challenge and yet an opportunity.”

In the upcoming year, Harvey hopes to ensure that students at CSUF are successful graduates and student graduation rates increase. The Alumni Association as a whole wants to make sure that students receive the training to “go out and be successful members of the workforce,” Harvey said.

Harvey wants students to remember that the CSUF alumni are a resource for them “now and in the future” and hopes to promote this ideal through her work as president.

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