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Remarks by Dr. Timothy P. White – July 21, 2015

Chancellor, California State University
CSU Board of Trustees Meeting — Chancellor’s Report
Long Beach, CA
July 21, 2015

Thank you, Chair Monville.

I know I speak for all of us in appreciation for what you do for the CSU, and am glad that we will continue to learn from your wisdom during your next year of leadership – as we achieve our shared goals. Your focus on family is, of course, something that is part of our DNA as well.

I also join you in welcoming Dia and offering a heartfelt thank you to Mo. I particularly appreciate Mo’s work in creating opportunities for students across the university and, of late, a real focus on getting students from all walks of society into science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Mo, thanks again for all you have done for the people of California – and in anticipation of your continued work and impact in Afghanistan.

Earlier today, we had a chance to discuss and welcome Sue Martin as the interim president designee at San José State. At this time, I would also like to welcome Robert Nelsen, who officially became president of Sacramento State on July 1. I know that Robert has been eager to get started in an official capacity and has been on Sacramento’s campus for the past several weeks, prior to moving into the office, to help ensure a smooth transition. He’s already laid out an ambitious plan to raise graduation rates, realign the university as a tech hub and regional economic engine, and build on past successes from Sacramento State’s vibrant faculty, staff, student body and prior leadership. I wish Robert and his wife Jody the best in this new adventure… welcome to California and the CSU.

Also, we’re welcoming Loren Blanchard as our new executive vice chancellor for academic and student affairs – notice that title, academic and student affairs. Loren comes to the CSU from Xavier University of Louisiana, where he served as provost and senior vice president of academic affairs. Loren, welcome to the CSU and to Long Beach.

As Trustee Monville mentioned earlier, Maggie White joins this board as the newly appointed student trustee – she’s not my daughter, but after having a chance to meet and listen to her I wish she was, but no relation. Maggie, congratulations on your appointment and thank you for pledging your time and energy in advocating for California’s students. I look forward to working with you.

Even though summer is upon us across many CSU campuses, the work of our students, faculty and staff never ceases. Nearly all of our campuses are engaged in summer enrichment programs aimed at ensuring that the next generations of students – currently in middle school and high school – are better prepared for the rigors of college life. These efforts are critically important in order to reach underserved students in California – as proof positive of our mandate and goal to serve every community and region of this great state.

Our campuses have also been active in other areas of great importance. Nine of our campuses were recently awarded the 2015 California Higher Education Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Best Practices Award, which recognizes UC and CSU campuses for implementing innovative sustainability and resource conservation practices and projects. These following nine campuses will be recognized during the conference, hosted by San Francisco State this week: Chico, Dominguez Hills, Fullerton, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Northridge, San Diego, San José, and San Luis Obispo. Congratulations and thank you for your hard work and for pioneering best practices in sustainability.

And as we work to help protect the environment, CSU campuses are also working to protect, collect and digitize both an important and tragic piece of Californian and American history. The National Park Service recently awarded a two-year grant worth over $320,000 to Cal State Dominguez Hills to continue its principal investigative work on behalf of the CSU Japanese American Digitization Project. Fifteen other CSU campuses are collaborating with Dominguez Hills to collect testimonies, photographs, artwork, maps, artifacts and other media related to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. I encourage everyone to find the CSU Japanese American Digitization Project online and examine the incredible work that our researchers, librarians, technical staff, faculty and students have done in gathering this information – and making it available for future generations.

I would also like to commend the work of our alumni affairs and communications team here at the Chancellor’s Office and on each campus for their outstanding and creative efforts throughout the Class of 3 Million campaign. As you might have noticed during today’s meeting breaks, we’ve been displaying photos taken of our students – now CSU alumni – at recent graduation ceremonies throughout the CSU. The Class of 3 Million campaign has been incredibly successful in reconnecting with alumni, encouraging volunteerism on campus, increasing philanthropic giving, and inspiring others to keep working towards their degree. To all those who worked tirelessly on this campaign… I thank you.

We should also take a moment to again thank all of our champions who, over the past few months, have continued to successfully make the case in Sacramento – and to a degree Washington D.C. – that investment in the CSU is the right choice for California’s future economic and societal growth. Many of these champions are still on the road today. This fact was discussed earlier, but is definitely worth repeating: Your incredible efforts during the budget negotiations means that we have received a fully-funded trustee budget request for the first time since 2006. As a result, we can enroll an additional 12,000 Californians – increasing opportunity and opening new pathways to success for thousands of our neighbors, family members and friends.

This year’s budget is also an opportunity to turn the corner on an all-too-common trend throughout this country – the dwindling public investment in higher education. In fact, it is a strong next step in filling that deep hole left by a decade of cuts and underinvestment. And I applaud the leadership and work of both legislative houses, the Governor’s Office and Governor Brown himself. But, we still have work to do. We need to ensure that the CSU remains a positive, rewarding workplace. And we need to ensure that – with state investment – we can continue to provide access to a quality higher education for all Californians. So let us celebrate these successes as we continue to move forward.

Chair Monville, that concludes my report.