Ellen and Howard Press, both CSUN alumni, have been involved with CSUN and their respective colleges for many years. Ellen graduated from the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media and Communication in 1984 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Communications. Howard received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics in 1982. He earned his Certified Public Accountant certification in 1984.
Ellen and Howard met while students at the University. Howard was the first member of his family to attend college. His grandparents were Eastern European immigrants with limited financial means, who instilled the importance of education as a path to economic success. Despite the family’s financial circumstances, he was able to attend CSUN, thereby receiving the tools to change his economic future.
Together, Ellen and Howard recognized the opportunity to have received the high quality, low cost education provided by CSUN and that it was instrumental in their success. As a result, they were inspired to create the Ellen and Howard Press Family Endowed Scholarship, which will provide financial support to Nazarian College and Mike Curb College students who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and are motivated to change their circumstances.
“CSUN gave us the tools to think for ourselves and help springboard our careers,” Ellen said.
“Supporting current and future students of CSUN is our way to express gratitude,” Howard added. “Paying it forward.”
Howard currently serves as President of Watt Residential LLC, where he originally joined as an analyst in 1987. In his current role, he performs management and oversight responsibility for all of Watt's residential activities. This includes for-sale and multi-family operations in Southern and Northern California, Phoenix, and Washington D.C. His career in the homebuilding industry has spanned over 30 years and he has managed the development of more than 70 communities.
Additionally, Howard has served on the Board of Directors of the Greater Los Angeles and Ventura Building Industry Association in a variety of positions, including President and 2010 Builder of the Year.
Ellen Mercer Press has over 20 years of experience as a professional storyteller, author and educator—bringing stories to life for young audiences. A Founding Board Member for The Discovery Center for Science and Technology, located in Thousand Oaks, California. During her tenure, held the position of Director and co-writer of an Award-winning science and storytelling program called, RAYS (Reading Awakens Young Scientists). Ellen speaks to groups for young parents on making the most when reading to their child. On occasion, she has been asked to review and critique children’s literature.
Recently, Ellen has decided to pursue a new direction in her career as a voice over actor. Her experience and love of storytelling has made this a natural progression for her.