March 25, 2016  

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science to Host 4th Annual Legacy Leaders Spring Gala on April 14, 2016

Gala Will Recognize Lifelong South Los Angeles Activist Nola Carter and
CDU Trustee Emeritus Robert Tranquada, MD

One in Series of 2016 Events Commemorating CDU’s 50th Anniversary


LOS ANGELES, CA —Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU) will host its 4th Annual Legacy Leaders Spring Gala—Honoring Legends, Championing Our Mission— on Thursday, April 14, 2016 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel, 9876 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, California 90210. The reception starts at 6 p.m.

The Annual Gala pays tribute to individuals who have helped CDU fulfill its mission to train healthcare leaders to provide care with excellence and compassion. This year, the Gala will honor lifelong South Los Angeles Activist Nola Carter and CDU Trustee Emeritus Robert Tranquada, MD, a leading founder of the Watts Health Center.

Dr. David M. Carlisle, President and CEO of CDU said of the honorees: "Both Dr. Robert Tranquada and Nola Carter have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to expanding healthcare access in South Los Angeles. CDU would not be where it is today without their tireless support. The Gala is one way we hope to show our appreciation.”

The evening will include the Jazz Marlonius Quartetfollowed by performances by legendary recording artist Eloise Laws and R&B singer Jesse Campbell, best known for serving as a contestant on Season 2 of “The Voice” on NBC.  Returning as mistress of ceremonies is NBC4 veteran general assignment reporter Toni Guinyard.

Proceeds from the event will benefit CDU in its mission to train diverse healthcare professionals through Saturday Science Academy II, an impactful pipeline program that encourages K-12 South Los Angeles students to excel in math, science and technology as well as provide support for Student Services which enhances Students’ experience here at CDU.   
Make your online ticket purchase by April 4th at, or by phone by calling the Office of Strategic Advancement at 323.357.3669 or email For updates, follow #CDUat50 on social media.

So that no one is left out, CDU has launched the “#Give50”, a campaign which encourages everyone to contribute $50 or more toward the University’s 50th Anniversary celebration. More information will be available at the hashtag.

The gala is one in a series of events throughout the year that will honor CDU’s 50 years of training outstanding health professionals. On August 22, 1966, CDU was founded following the Watts Revolt, to address the inadequate access to healthcare in the community of Watts and greater South Los Angeles.

Honoree Nola Carter is a leading South Los Angeles advocate for CDU and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital. During every social movement since the 1950’s, she would mobilize to make her community in South Los Angeles a better place. A leader of her local block club in the 1980’s, she could be heard protesting “Don’t Move, Improve” to her neighbors leaving the community.  She worked with the Neighborhood Adult Participation Program (NAPP) providing social services for homeless youth and later became director of its Florence-Firestone Center until 1982. Shortly thereafter, she started working with the Lillian Mobley South Central Community Service Center as a volunteer providing needs for senior citizens, eventually becoming Assistant Director. In 2013, she received CDU’s President’s Medal for her extraordinary and unique service to the University.

A leading founder of the Watts Health Center, Dr. Robert Tranquada has a decades-long track record of supporting CDU and quality healthcare in South Los Angeles. As an associate dean of USC School of Medicine, and a CDU board member, he was influential in developing and strengthening student education. He also established and directed the Watts Health Center from 1965-68 (now the Watts Healthcare Corporation).  In 1976, he became Associate Dean of the UCLA Medical School. He then left UCLA in 1979 to become Chancellor and Dean of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and was there until 1986. When he came back to LA he served as Dean of the USC School of Medicine in 1986 and he served again on the CDU board until his retirement in 1995. In 1991, he was a member of the Christopher Commission (The Independent Commission on the Los Angeles Police Department) and he chaired the Los Angeles County Task Force on Health Care Access from 1992 to 1993. Currently, he is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Southern California and serves on several boards, including Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital, Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, Good Hope Medical Foundation, Huntington Medical Research Institutes and St. San Antonio Gardens. In addition, he is an emeritus board member at CDU, Pomona College, the Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Science, National Medical Fellowships, Inc. and the Local Initiative Health Authority for Los Angeles County. 

Sponsors for the CDU Spring Gala include:  Platinum Sponsor: Los Angeles County Supervisor, Mark Ridley-Thomas, Second District, Gold Sponsors: The California Wellness Foundation,  
Kaiser Permanente, the Stith Hope Fund, and UCLA Health/ UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and Silver Sponsors: Comerica Bank, and Daniel, Russell & Charles, Co., LLC.
For more information, visit, and follow CDU on Facebook, Twitter (@cdrewu), and Instagram (@charlesdrewu).




Isidra Person-Lynn,
Communications Specialist
323.563.5833 or 213.422.8707




About Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science
CDU is a private, nonprofit, nonsectarian, medical and health sciences institution. Located in the Watts-Willowbrook area of South Los Angeles, CDU has graduated more than 550 medical doctors, 2,700 post-graduate physicians, more than 1,200 physician assistants, 450 nurses and hundreds of other health professionals. CDU’s mission is to conduct education, research and clinical services in the context of community engagement to train health professionals who promote wellness, provide care with excellence and compassion, and transform the health of underserved communities. For more information, visit .


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