Chancellor, California State University
CSU Board of Trustees Meeting
May 14, 2008
Thank you for those kind remarks Madam Chair.
I also want to welcome and congratulate new Trustee Margaret Fortune. We look forward to your service on this board.
Legislative Day and CSU Alliance:
I want to thank the entire CSU family and the Alliance for the CSU – faculty, staff, students, and all our labor unions – for working together as a team to let our elected officials and the general public know how important the California State University is to this state. This was a very cooperative effort on everyone’s part.
We had a strong presence in Sacramento late last month. But we have to sustain that effort over the next couple of months and years. CSU, the UC and the community colleges all carried the same message about California needing to invest in higher education. California’s investment, economy and future is in these students.
In an unprecedented collaboration, we were joined by the UC President and the Community Colleges Chancellor as we all told legislators what will happen if the state cuts higher education. Funding for higher education has to be a priority if this state is to remain competitive in the global economy.
Our students are the future of this state, and if their access to college is limited, it will have a devastating impact on California for years to come.
The combined efforts of the CSU family and our partnership with UC and the community colleges has made a difference. We will continue to stand together to fight for our students and a fair share of the state budget. Students are our message. We have to repeat, repeat and repeat our numbers and the impact on students.
Again, thank you for all you have done the past several months in our public education campaign.
Sen. Scott and President Yudof:
I am very optimistic for the future of higher education with the naming of Mark Yudof as the new president of the University of California, and Sen. Jack Scott as the incoming Chancellor of the Community Colleges. I have known both of them for 10 years or more, and I know that the cooperation and collaboration will never be any better. I look forward to good working relationships with both of them.
SDSU Drug Bust:
I want to strongly commend San Diego President Steve Weber and the university for the handling of the drug bust last week. It was all over the national news, CNN all day, and elsewhere. Steve, you did an outstanding job.
I want to thank the Osher Foundation for the generous $16 million it will donate to the CSU to support endowed scholarships for community college students transferring to CSU campuses. These funds are part of the foundation’s $70 million donation to the state’s community college system. In the same vein, I want to thank the companies that are helping with foster children and their access to college.
This is my favorite time of year when students finish their studies and graduate from all our campuses. Nearly 90,000 graduated last year, and we expect to have even more this year who will enter the workforce prepared to contribute to our state’s economy.
I want to thank the trustees who are participating in the ceremonies and helping with the honorary degrees.
We are giving them this year to many important community people, including outgoing San José State President Don Kassing. This is Don’s last Trustees’ meeting, and later on in this meeting we will confer the title of President Emeritus on him.
At the SJSU commencement we will give him an honorary degree on the way out – he will finally get that doctorate! You have done a wonderful job, Don, and you have been a great colleague who we will miss. Thank you for everything you have done in your 11 years as vice president and four years as president.
Roberta (Achtenberg), it has been my privilege to work with you these past two years when you were chair. You were always there, all the time. All day and all night; you will just be a seat away from me, and I look forward to our continued work together.
The Association of Governing Boards uses this board as a model of governance of higher education across the country. You all are among the best in governance. Thank you.
Jennifer (Reimer): I wish you the best at UC Davis. Thank you for your service on the board as the student trustee.
Dina (Cervantes): Thank you for your service to the board and to students. I will work with you on transition to the new CSSA board.
Millie (Garcia): your inauguration was inspiring. I know that you and the Dominguez Hills campus will be having a wonderful relationship with the community.
In the interest of time, the rest of my report will be posted on the web. (See below).
Alternative Spring Breaks:
As part of the CSU’s commitment to community service, many of our campuses participated in alternative spring break activities, helping people and communities rather than partying. These Alternative Spring Breaks help increase student awareness of community needs and organizations, and increase their leadership and teamwork skills.
Helping with Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans were Northridge, San José, San Diego, Chico and Long Beach students. Even Long Beach State President King Alexander was in New Orleans pounding a hammer with his students.
Humboldt students helped out in an agricultural region northwest of Davis, learning about migrant workers and sustainable agricultural practices by working on two organic farms. San Marcos students cleaned up Surf Rider beach, worked at the Cancer Society office, at a soup kitchen, and at Habitat for Humanity.
Five Chico State Concrete Industry Management students traveled with a faculty member to Normandy, France, over spring break to assist in the evaluation of concrete bunkers at the historic World War II site to help repair and preserve the area.
CSU students really give back to their communities through their service to others, and I am very proud of them.
I want to congratulate San Bernardino President Al Karnig for receiving the “Amar es Entregarse” award from the Diocese of San Bernardino for his community outreach, especially to under-served families.
Tomorrow, Matthew Jenkins, who is on the CSU Foundation’s Board of Governors, and his wife Roberta, are being honored by the California Community for Equality and Justice (formerly NCCJ) at the 45th annual Humanitarian Awards Dinner in Long Beach. They are being honored for their commitment to human relations and a lifetime of work toward improving all of humankind.
Also, Trustee Craig Smith was named this month as one of Long Beach’s best Teachers by the Long Beach Post online news site. Readers of the site sent in hundreds of nominations and Craig was one of the best.
Congratulations also to the four Cal State Fullerton students who produced "So Cal Immigration: Law, Labor, Liberty," which won this year's FOX News Channel's "College Challenge," a national video news competition among university undergraduates across the country. The top prize is a $20,000 cash award — half goes to the team and the other half to the Communications Department for scholarships, grants or new equipment.
Chair Achtenberg that concludes my report. Thank you.