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Mark Woodland  

​From the Editor's Desk

From its ear​liest iteration, the California State University has focused its attention and energy on providing extraordinary educational opportunities to California students. In fact, t​hat concentration is embedded in CSU's mission – “to provide opportunities for individuals to develop intellectually, personally and professionally" – and it is consistently illuminated by actions large and small across all 23 campuses.

In this inaugural issue of CSUniverse, we look at three stories of CSU students and alumni whose lives were impacted and transformed by the opportunities they found on a Cal State campus. In their own way, each story speaks for countless similar narratives; together, they illustrate the importance of this extraordinary facet of the CSU story.

Future issues of CSUniverse will look at other aspirational attributes of the CSU: our drive “to prepare…educated, responsible people to contribute to California's schools, economy, culture and future…and [an] international, multi-cultural society"; our commitment to “advance and extend knowledge, learning and culture [by providing] access to an excellent education;" and our leadership in providing “public services that enrich the university and its communities."

The result of such a visionary mission brings an equally remarkable result: 3.7 million alumni who help power California's economy (the fifth largest in the world!) and bring vitality and creativity to the state's culture and society. Many of these alumni – and the 481,000 Cal State students currently enrolled – represent the first in their family to attend college, and they value attending a university so determined to affect social mobility. They also share a compelling theme about the importance of the Cal State University to the future of California, and, indeed, the future of all Californians.

Mark Woodland
Assistant Vice Chancellor, Communications

For students

Zero Excuses

Opportunities exist no matter where you are, who you are or when you start. Case in point: Sylvia Hamilton completed her degree in sociology at 83 years old. And she did it online. The first in her generation to earn a degree in her family, Sylvia walked the 2018 commencement stage at Chico State the same day her granddaughter received her nursing degree at Sacramento State. Find out how she made opportunities blossom in her life.

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For the community

Back to Life

Fresno State alumni – artists, developers, investors, nonprofit activists and entrepreneurs – are working together to revitalize downtown Fresno. These visionaries see the renewal of the city’s core as the key to a vibrant, profitable and sustainable new urban community, and they’re working with FSU to make it happen. “The more stories like this that people see and hear, the more we can start changing the narrative about our city’s self-esteem,” says Fresno State alumnus and downtown business owner Edgar Blunt.

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For students


Attending Cal State Dominquez Hills opened Alma Lopez to a culture almost unknown to her, and helped her realize “both sides of me are beautiful.” Together with a friend also of mixed heritage, Lopez co-founded the CSUDH Women of Color club. Her goal was to provide opportunities for women of color to discover similarities and embrace differences. “I’m teaching them to love themselves so we can love each other,” Lopez explains in this profile.

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23 Opportunities background

23 Opportunities

CSU students on each campus share the opportunities they’ve seized in pursuit of their degrees.

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By the Book

From billionaire power-brokers to California’s native plants, faculty-published literature digs into fascinating topics.


CSU students and alumni overcome personal and societal barriers and put their degrees to work.


Need to Know: A survey of the most significant news across the CSU campuses


With academic, social and philanthropic activities, the CSU network hosts important upcoming events.