Michael Woo

Michael Woo, Trustee of the Board of the Lingnan Foundation since 2007 and Chair of the Nominating Committee, brings a unique background in public service, urban planning and place-making to his role as Dean of the College of Environmental Design at Cal Poly Pamona.  He was the first trained urban planner and the first Asian American elected to the Los Angeles City Council.  Representing a diverse constituency of 235,000 people in Hollywood and surrounding neighborhoods, Woo spearheaded the Hollywood Redevelopment Plan, which laid the groundwork for Hollywood's current revitalization; played a key role in choosing the route and station locations of the Metro Red Line subway; and made decisions on numerous development proposals and neighborhood controversies.  In the aftermath of the notorious 1991 beating of Rodney King, Woo was the first official in Los Angeles City Hall to demand a change of leadership in the Los Angeles Police Department, and was one of the city’s leaders seeking to calm race relations after urban violence broke out in 1992.  He gave up his Council seat after eight years to become one of 24 candidates for Mayor of Los Angeles in 1993, ultimately receiving 46 percent of the citywide vote and a second-place finish in the citywide run-off election.

Dean Woo’s leadership roles include chairing the boards of Smart Growth America, Sustainable Economic Enterprises of Los Angeles (SEE-LA), and Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center.  He was invited to join the California Parks Forward Commission to help develop new directions for the California State Parks system, and secured funding from the Resources Legacy Fund to involve Cal Poly Pomona Architecture students in developing new designs for cabins to appeal to millennials and urban residents.  Dean Woo was a member of the Los Angeles City Planning Commission for six years, during which he was the earliest advocate for the historic overturning of city skyline policy requiring flat roofs on tall buildings.  A native of Los Angeles, Woo received his B.A. in Politics and Urban Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and earned his Master of City Planning degree from University of California at Berkeley.  He was a Fellow of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.