Lauren Cruz, ’08 B.S. Business & Kevin Cruz, ’08 B.S. Business

Lauren and Kevin CruzAlumni Lauren and Kevin Cruz graduated from CSUCI in 2008 and have been giving back ever since.

By Michele Willer-Allred

While alumni couple Lauren Cruz and Kevin Cruz have both had successful careers since they both graduated from CSUCI, they often reflect back on their time at the University and how it has been influential to their and others’ success. 

That is one of the reasons why they make a recurring gift to the University as members of the President’s Circle, which helps support future students to pursue their academic aspirations. 

“We’ve been donating at the President’s Circle level ever since we graduated. We also donate whenever there’s a unique fundraising opportunity,” Kevin explained. 

The couple first met in 2006 while taking a Business class together at CSUCI, and in their last semester at the University, they started dating. 

They both graduated from CSUCI in 2008, with Kevin earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Business with a minor in Economics, and Lauren earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Business with an emphasis in entrepreneurship. 

They also continued their education in law school, with Kevin at the University of Maryland School of Law, and Lauren at New York University School of Law. They both graduated from their respective graduate schools in 2014.  

Throughout school, Kevin worked in the banking industry, where he used his business school knowledge. After graduating law school, he continued in the financial sector, this time as general counsel in charge of the legal department for a company that has banks and a credit union as its clients. 

Lauren works for a law firm that prosecutes class actions on behalf of investors for public companies.

Lauren said she still uses skills she learned from her Business undergraduate degree in various ways. 

“In my mind it’s all been very cohesive as far as education that helps me thrive in my career today,” Lauren said. 

“We really enjoyed watching the school expand and grow over the years just
before we even went there and now,” —Lauren Cruz

Both Lauren and Kevin have local ties to the community. She grew up in Thousand Oaks, and he grew up in Simi Valley, so it seemed a natural choice when they originally decided to attend CSUCI.   

They completed their degrees while the University was still in its four-year probationary period before becoming fully accredited through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in 2007. Kevin noted that it was exciting to graduate the first year after the University was fully accredited.

“We took sort of a gamble on making that work for us. I think it paid off well, and we’re really thankful for what the school set us up to be able to do that even though we started at the small-town underdog, just-getting-started school,” Kevin said. 

“It gave us a lot of flexibility when we were there, since it was a pretty small community at the time, and the administration was wonderful. They made sure we got the classes we needed,” Lauren added. 

With their careers now in full gear and a growing family (the couple has two young children), they reflected on what the school has given them and others. 

“We really enjoyed watching the school expand and grow over the years just before we even went there and now. It’s just been blossoming, and we really enjoy supporting that process, just as graduates of the school and people who live in the community that it really supports and helps develop,” Lauren said. 

Kevin said he believes CSUCI provides a lot of great advantages to students who live in the area, and the University also helps the community thrive. 

“It’s also important because we met there, we graduated from there, so it’s very near and dear to us, and we like to support it,” he said. 

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© Spring 2022 / Volume 27 / Number 1 / Biannual

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