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Story Alumni

Where are They Now?

Alisia Ruble

Join us as we check in with two alumni whose connection to the CSU is intrinsic to their success.

a man sitting behind a desk

With more than four million California State University alumni scattered around the globe, it's not easy to keep up with all the amazing things they are doing! So, we launched a series in which we check in with a couple of our alumni periodically to hear about their journey from campus to career. In this installment, meet two alumni who pay it forward for future college students by serving on the CSU Alumni Council.

As the voice of the CSU's alumni, the council is active in helping shape CSU policy and participates in strategic decision making. It is comprised of alumni directors and representatives from all 23 universities and uses its combined resources to promote and engage the CSU and its alumni and advocate for the university.

Meet two councilmembers: José Luis Solache and Jeremy Addis-Mills.

José Luis Solache



B.A., Liberal Studies | Chair, California State Student Association 2003-04 | President, Associated Students, Inc. 2001-03

A typical day in José Luis Solache's life as chair of the California State Student Association (CSSA) was often hectic: Catch an early flight from Los Angeles to Sacramento, testify in front of a legislative committee, go to a networking lunch and fly ba​​ck home for a 7 p.m. class at CSU Dominguez Hills. Fun fact: José Luis Solache has visited all 23 California State Universities.

“Being engaged with students, CSU presidents, trustees, legislators and other higher education stakeholders gave me the full array of leadership experiences," Solache says. “I had on-the-spot training on how to serve all these different constituents, and I attribute my current success to my time at the CSU."

Solache also served as CSU Dominguez Hills Associated Students, Inc. president for two years, representing the needs of 13,000 diverse students and preparing him to wear the myriad hats he wears today as a public servant.

Proudest Moment:

While serving as Associated Students, Inc. president in 2001, Solache and his fellow student body representatives led a “Go Toros" campaign to foster school spirit and campus pride, and to demonstrate CSU Dominguez Hills' impact in the community. They coined the bull horns hand sign and established “Toro Tuesdays," offering raffle prizes that included a full semester's tuition paid to students who wore school colors—a tradition the university continues to this day.

“Before, few people knew what a Toro was, but this campaign helped CSUDH become widely recognized," Solache says. “Now it's on bus stops, at commencement, at sports games and on promotional items… You see the 'Go Toros' sign everywhere! This is my legacy."


President and CEO, Greater Lakewood Chamber of Commerce | Treasurer, California State University Alumni Council | President, CSU Dominguez Hills Alumni Council

A product of California's public school system, Solache made history in 2003 when he was elected to the Lynwood Board of Education, becoming the youngest Latinx board member ever. He has also been a mayor, mayor pro tempore and councilmember for the city of Lynwood since he was elected to the council in 2013.

In his current role on the Greater Lakewood Chamber of Commerce, Solache works to promote economic growth by providing networking and advertising opportunities to businesses and representing their interests in politics. He also volunteers on the Lakewood YMCA board of directors and continues to serve as a City of Lynwood councilmember. And he never misses an opportunity to connect this work back to his CSU roots.

“I will always be a CSU cheerleader, whether that's through my day job, my work on the Alumni Council, on the state legislature or, hopefully, one day on the CSU Board of Trustees," Solache says.

Advice to Future Students:

“The CSU is unique because it's one of the largest, but it's also so diverse as far as the experience goes," Solache says. “No matter what you want to study, there's a CSU that specializes in that field. And if you need to stay close to home, there's a CSU within driving distance. You get real-life training that prepares you for your career, and professors and staff who truly care for you."




B.A., Social Sciences and Women's Studies | Chair of Legislative Affairs, California State Student Association 2006-07

CSU San Marcos​ looked very different when Jeremy Addis-Mills began attending as a transfer student in 2005. Established in 1989, the campus didn't even have a student union, and enrollment was about half of what it is now. As a student​a man wearing a blue suitFun fact: Jeremy Addis-Mills' wife, Treasure, is also a graduate of CSU San Marcos. Photo Credit: CSUSM/Paul Brown. leader with CSUSM's Associated Students, Inc., Addis-Mills had an impactful role on the future of the young campus.​ ​

“I chose to attend CSUSM because of its proximity to where I was living, but it turned into a fantastic experience," Addis-Mills says. “Being involved in student leadership provided me an opportunity to get engaged and invest myself further in my education, strengthen my connection to the campus and hone the skills to be a better leader after graduation."

Addis-Mills discovered his passion for political communications through his work with the California State Student Association (CSSA), where he served as chair of legislative affairs. In this role he analyzed, tracked and developed position briefs related to public education policy and legislation, conducted media relations and built coalitions with higher education segments.

Proudest Moment:

“While at CSUSM,​ I was on the committee to establish what is now the Women and Gender Equity Center and what is now the LGBTQA Pride Center," Addis-Mills says. “I'm proud to see the way they've grown and especially glad to have started those conversations when we did."


President and Founder, Digital Impact & | Immediate Past President, California State University Alumni Council

Since graduation, Addis-Mills has served as a communications director for the City of San Diego and the Center on Policy Initiatives, a federal field associate for Environment America and a digital campaign director for the Australian Labor Party. He founded his own communications agency in 2017, Digital Impact &, that works with nonprofits and candidates for office who advocate on behalf of issues related to social good, including Ass​emblymember Akilah Weber, Assemblymember David Alvarez and Congressman Mike Levin.

“The professionals that helped guide me through student government shaped me and my ability to run my business and run my team," Addis-Mills says. “They showed me how teams can function, how they dissolve and how to put them back together, as well as how to deal with different personalities and ideologies. Those lessons have led me to where I'm at now."

He began volunteering with the CSUSM Alumni Council shortly after graduation but desired to play a more active role in statewide politics and engage with state and federal governments to advocate on behalf of the university's needs. Addis-Mills took on the role of CSU Alumni Council president in 2019 where he served two years as incoming president, two years as president and will serve two additional years as immediate past president.

Advice to Future Students:

“My CSU experience had such a profound impact on me, and as an employer I think higher education is critical to moving up in the world," Addis-Mills says. “I'd say to focus on what is interesting to you because, in the end, the value of any degree is going to better than no degree at all."

Meet more CSU alumni, and check in with a former student trustee and a recipient of the CSU Trustees' Award for Outstanding Achievement in Parts One and Two of this series.

Made in the CSU