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Remarks by Dr. Timothy P. White – March 25, 2015

​Chancellor, California State University
State of the California State University
Long Beach, CA
March 25, 2015

Thank you Chair Monville. And congratulations trustees Farar, Day and Kimbell for your confirmations… welcome to trustees Abrego and Taylor.

I also add my deep and enduring thanks to Trustee Achtenberg upon completion of 16 years of service and offer her all the best in what is next in her life.

I’m excited to work with the incoming president for Sacramento State, and thank Alex for his decades of service to the CSU.

Additionally, I welcome President Rollin Richmond back to active service with the CSU… Rollin will temporarily act as president of Chico State as President Paul Zingg recovers from a medical procedure. Paul is expected to make a full recovery, and we all wish him well for a speedy recuperation.

I’m pleased to congratulate six presidents who will be recognized next month for blazing the trail and inspiring a new generation of higher education leaders:

  • Soraya Coley of Pomona
  • Jane Close Conoley of Long Beach
  • Millie García of Fullerton
  • Dianne Harrison of Northridge
  • Karen Haynes of San Marcos
  • Lisa Rossbacher of Humboldt State

These six presidents will receive the Trailblazer award from Leadership California. The award recognizes their efforts as exemplary role models and mentors for women leaders in higher education and beyond.

To Soraya, Jane, Millie, Dianne, Karen and Lisa … I know I speak for the trustees, your fellow presidents and the entire CSU community in expressing my appreciation for your dedication to creating opportunities for students, to strengthening the university community and to building pipelines for emerging leaders.

This Trailblazer award underscores the broad leadership of the CSU in California, and indeed in the nation.

Chair Monville spoke a bit about student athletes and athletics a minute ago. Now let’s turn to a different sport preformed at a different elevation. Actually its performed at sea level.

[Note: Chancellor White congratulated teams of California Maritime Academy and Cal State Long Beach for their performance in the Port of Los Angeles Harbor Cup – presenting a slideshow of images from the regatta and highlighting the first place finish of Cal Maritime, its fourth consecutive victory]

Chair Monville previously mentioned Hill Day in Washington, D.C. The CSU was well represented on February 26th by the trustees and presidents – along with faculty, staff and students. We advocated together on issues that matter to the CSU and California.
As this board endorsed previously, these priorities included:

  • improving college access through financial aid,
  • preparing students for college,
  • fostering degree completion,
  • educating tomorrow’s workforce,
  • solving societal problems through directed research and creative activity,
  • enhancing campus infrastructure to address health and safety,
  • and promoting state and private support for public universities.

Our message was well received, and we have a great opportunity to help shape and influence these policy discussions… despite the difficult political terrain at the national level.

Hill Day was immediately followed by a regional alumni gathering in New York. Kristin will share more on that event during her report. However, I just wanted to observe that the power of 3 million alumni is apparent at these gatherings – as we recognize the ripples that come from alumni success on the other side of the country.

The budget hearings in Sacramento that Karen discussed earlier closely followed the CSU’s East Coast advocacy effort.

My sense is that the CSU is striking the right tone with lawmakers – underscoring that the trustees’ budget request is in the best interest of California’s society and economy. This is a positive case for reinvestment, based on optimism for the future

We will continue to make this positive case by reenergizing the “Stand with CSU” campaign, underscoring our efforts in Graduation Initiative 2025 and emphasizing our wise stewardship of limited resources.

It helps that numerous external publications and studies recognize the efficiency of the CSU – you learned earlier about Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cal Poly Pomona and Cal State Long Beach in the top five for U.S. News & World Report in this regard.

While the CSU prides itself on being cost-effective, we must also be cognizant of the increased stress placed on the system as we contend with the steep decline in state funding per student over an extended period of time.

I’m hopeful that in the next few months our champions in Sacramento will take several important steps to address the need for public funding of higher education, particularly on issues involving student access, student success and critical infrastructure.

We must continue to make the positive case for the CSU to support these steps… and give our champions as much leverage as possible as they go into final budget negotiations.

Chair Monville, that concludes my report.