As President of the Herb Alpert Foundation, Rona Sebastian, CSUN Class of 1972, oversees a wide range of programs that support the arts, arts education, youth development and compassion and well-being. She defines, plans and administers the Foundation’s areas of funding and program development. Rona sees her role as the conduit through which to actualize the Alperts’ desire to give back and help make the world a more vital and compassionate place to live.
Rona started on her career path when she was 17 years old. Trained as a classical pianist, she graduated from high school a semester early and ran two Yamaha music schools for pre-schoolers. In addition to her extensive work commitments, Rona attended Cal State Northridge, earning her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, summa cum laude. Rona then taught classical music to adult students for several years. Rona returned to school, earning her MBA from UCLA with a focus on arts programs.
Rona spent 15 years at the J. Paul Getty Trust in Los Angeles in a succession of senior leadership positions. While there, she pioneered several institutional initiatives and developed the Office of Strategic Partnerships. She led the Getty Conservation Institute through a period of rapid growth and expansion and developed the GCI’s first strategic plan. Rona then departed for Pennsylvania, grand piano in tow, to become Vice President of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where she was responsible for university-wide strategic planning, public affairs and publications, development, alumni relations and community outreach. While at the University of the Arts, Rona attended the Harvard University Graduate School of Education’s Institute for Educational Management.
Rona is appreciative of both the quality of education she received at CSUN as well as the flexibility offered to her as a working student.