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Remarks by Dr. Timothy P. White – November 8, 2017

​Remarks by Timothy P. White
Chancellor, California State University
CSU Board of Trustees Meeting
Long Beach, CA
November 8, 2017




Thank you, Chair Eisen…

I’d like to build on your thoughtful comments about civic mindedness and compassion… and offer perhaps another quality that we seek to instill in our students and alumni… that of community.

Over the past few months, the CSU Community has suffered devastating losses… both of lives and property. 

We heard from President Sakaki yesterday about the incredible devastation and loss resulting from the wildfires in Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties.

The incredible response by the CSU Community to the wildfires in Northern California was indeed moving.

And since we last met… we also lost Cal State San Bernardino student Jordyn Rivera in a horrific act of violence in Las Vegas, along with many CSU alumni.

In times of tragedy that affects a campus, faculty, staff, students or alumni, communities like ours come together to offer a shoulder, heal the wounds and provide a lit path forward from grief.

A few weeks ago, President Morales joined the CSUSB community for the second annual Run Like a Mother 5K… dedicated in memory of Jordyn Rivera, who helped organize the charitable fun run before her passing. 

Communities, like the CSU Community, build, empower and do great things. 

And communities like ours come together also to reach our shared priorities… such as student success.

Last month, during our Graduation Initiative 2025 Symposium, CSU faculty, staff, presidents, provosts, trustees, students and national experts came together to share ideas, identify areas of improvement, develop best practices and think deeply on how we best achieve our ambitious goals.

We also took time to reflect on the past year and highlight our achievements so far… like the announcement that through the Graduation Initiative, the CSU added an additional 7,000 graduates last year, bringing our undergraduate class of 2017 to nearly 100,000 students.

These additional 7,000 graduates are California’s next generation of leaders in education, engineering, science, social work, nursing and agriculture… and are now part of the CSU alumni community.

We continue to make the case to all Californians that the CSU is vital to the current and future success of the Golden State.

Chair Eisen mentioned the findings of last week’s PPIC report… and the nine percentage point improvement in public perception of the CSU over the last six years.

This nine-point improvement in public perception… reflecting an opinion shift of approximately 3.5 million Californians… is a direct result of the incredible work of our faculty, staff, trustees and presidents… as well as the millions of CSU students, alumni and their families who reflect your communal efforts.

The PPIC study also indicated that 80 percent of Californians say higher education is very important to the future quality of life and economic vitality of the state, and 62 percent – 2 out of 3 Californians – expressed concern that state funding to the CSU was insufficient to meet our goals and plans for the future.

Californians don’t favor raising student fees and 57 percent are supportive of a bond measure for construction projects.

This is important, as our elected leaders – current and future – are tasked with enacting the will of the people.

I know that we all agree that the CSU needs a commitment from the state that matches our ambitious plans… and that the way to move California forward on its plans is through robust investment in the CSU. 

That is the foundation of our operating budget plan that was approved by committee yesterday and is in front of you later this morning in plenary.

Our success in advocating for the CSU’s operating budget plan will yet again be a direct result of the work of our advocacy and state relations team in Sacramento… and I want to acknowledge the successful advocacy year that just concluded. 

Through our collective advocacy efforts, at every point, state leaders chose the CSU.

As you know, our sponsored bills were all signed and we are now authorized to offer Doctor of Nursing Practice degree programs… as well as permanent authority to adopt our own regulations.

I want congratulate Kathleen Chavira and her team for their work, especially in marshaling the collective CSU voice in the state capitol… thus I acknowledge and thank our presidents, key staff and faculty, and campus advocates for being instrumental in our budgetary and legislative accomplishments, especially for successfully engaging community partners to support our case.

Well done, everyone!

So indeed, there’s reason for me to be stubbornly optimistic that we will be successful in our advocacy efforts in 2018… and when we are successful, the California State University will continue to serve the people of California with distinction.

In closing, I wish to congratulate Cal State Fullerton president Millie Garcia on her appointment as president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities… and thank her for her many years of consequential leadership to Dominguez Hills, Fullerton and the CSU.

In the coming weeks, I will visit Cal State Fullerton to listen and learn from the campus community as we begin the process to appoint an interim president and conduct a national search for a permanent successor.

Millie, you have been an outstanding leader… and indeed, an exemplar of the California State University’s mission, vision and values. 

While the times and titles may change, I speak for all of us in saying that we look forward to continue to work with you in your new role. 

We wish you nothing but the very best!

Chair Eisen, that concludes my report.