CDU Stories

Students, faculty, staff, patients, friends, community and supporters all have a unique story to share about their time at CDU or how the University has impacted them. We want to showcase these stories and highlight individuals who seek social justice, promote wellness, and provide care with excellence and compassion. Nominate yourself or another individual and tell us how you believe that person embodies the mission of CDU. Select stories will be updated throughout the year.

Former Senator Dianne E. Watson

The first African American woman elected to the California State Senate, Former Senator Dianne E. Watson shined a spotlight on the needs of underserved communities, including those living in her district in South Los Angeles.

Lillian A. Mobley

A tireless community activist with a drive to stand up for the rights of others, Lillian A. Mobley, also known as “Mother Mobley”, was on the frontlines after the Watts Revolt to establish CDU and the Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital.

Dr. Henry S. Williams

A man known for both his generosity and determination, Dr. Henry S. Williams was one of the CDU founders dedicated to bringing medical training and care to the underserved communities.

Dr. Robert Tranquada

A leading founder of the Watts Health Clinic, Dr. Robert Tranquada has a decades long track record of supporting the University and quality health care in South Los Angeles.

Tim Watkins

Continuing the legacy of his father at the helm of the Watts Labor Community Action Committee, Tim Watkins has grown a local institution that actively ensures a better future for Watts.

Former Senator Teresa Hughes

An advocate for equal educational opportunity and better health care, California State Senator Teresa Hughes was a monumental supporter of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science.

Representative Maxine Waters

An advocate for women, children, people of color, and the poor, Representative Maxine Waters has shone a spotlight on the needs of South Los Angeles and successfully appealed for resources.

Dr. M. Alfred Haynes

An architect of social justice for black professionals in the health sciences, Dr. M. Alfred Haynes served as president emeritus at CDU and worked tirelessly to reduce cancer mortality in the African American community.

Dr. Gus Gill

A legend of CDU, Dr. Gus Gill served the University in innumerable capacities and was a mentor to many.

Nola Carter

Nola Carter is a leading advocate for CDU and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital.

Charles R. Drew Medical Society

The Charles R. Drew Medical Society was the force that created of the University after the Watts Revolt and is now instrumental in providing scholarship support to CDU students.

Dr. David Satcher

From University leadership to the top health care post of the United States, Dr. David Satcher is committed to improving public health policy and eliminating health disparities for underserved communities.

Dr. Leroy Weekes

A trailblazer for African Americans in the medical field, Dr. Leroy Weekes was a leader in the movement to open Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science.

Dr. A. Paul Kelly

When many doctors didn’t know how to treat skin of color, Dr. A. Paul Kelley set out to be a pioneer in the field.

Dr. Sherman Mellinkoff

Over the years, hundreds of medical students have graduated from the CDU/UCLA Medical Education program ready to provide quality and compassionate care to the community, and we have Dr. Sherman Mellinkoff to thank for initiating the partnership that makes it possible.

Mary B. Henry

A matriarch of South Los Angeles, Mary B. Henry advocated tirelessly for the underserved and shaped programs, policies, and institutions that improved lives in the community.

Arturo Ybarra

A cultural leader of South Los Angeles, Arturo Ybarra is committed to building relationships between the Latino and African-American communities. He serves as a member of Dr. Carlisle’s President’s Community Advisory Council.

Dr. Mitchell Spellman

One of CDU’s founding fathers, Dr. Mitchell Spellman was a leader in advocating for civil rights and promoting the connection between patient care, medical education, and research.

Ted Watkins

A chief community organizer after the Watts Revolt, Ted Watkins created an organization that produced sustainable change.

Sweet Alice Harris

A community organizer through and through, Sweet Alice Harris is an icon in Watts. Her work has improved the wellbeing of the neighborhood and inspired many young people to pursue higher education.

Dr. Mervyn M. Dymally

An ambassador, friend, and colleague to the University, Dr. Mervyn M. Dymally had an unwavering commitment to increasing health care and galvanizing the community.