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Report of the Chair

Remarks by Lou Monville
Chair, CSU Board of Trustees
Report to the Board of Trustees
July 21, 2015​

I would first like to extend my appreciation to President Qayoumi for his more than two decades of service to the CSU. Mo announced last week that he would be leaving us in August to take on a critical role as a chief advisor to President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan.  As many of you know, Mo is a native of Afghanistan and has done much over the years to help the government of that country identify critical infrastructure issues.

Mo, I appreciate your passion for public service. You have long been a leader for the CSU on issues of technology and infrastructure – and I have every confidence that your expertise will be of great help to the people of Afghanistan.

Next… I am happy to welcome a fellow Cal State San Bernardino coyote, Dia Poole, as our new Alumni Council President. Dia has long served as an alumni leader and volunteer for Cal State San Bernardino, and has also been extremely active on the systemwide Alumni Council and as an advocate for the system in Sacramento.  Dia’s distinguished career of public service spans nearly 34 years in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. Immediately prior to her retirement, she was a legislative advocate in the Judicial Council of California’s Sacramento Office of Governmental Affairs.

Dia, I am so grateful that you’ve decided to take on the volunteer – yet full-time – work of being the ambassador for CSU’s alumni so soon after your retirement.

Welcome, as well, to the newly elected executive officers of the California State Student Association, especially those joining us today:

  • President Taylor Herren , who attends Chico State
  • VP of University Affairs Alfredo Barcenas, another coyote, who attends Cal State San Bernardino
  • And VP of Finance Agatha Gucyski, who attends Cal State Long Beach

Thank you for dedicating your time and energy towards advocating and working for the students of the CSU. I look forward to working with all of you.

Students truly are our greatest ambassadors. On this board, we have two tremendous student leaders – trustees Kelsey Brewer and Maggie White.

In the capital, as you heard earlier, CSSA played a vital role in Sacramento to ensure a fully-funded budget. On the field, the student athletes of our Cal State Fullerton men’s baseball team had a fantastic season. The Titans won their twentieth Big West Conference championship, twenty-first NCAA Regional Title, and reached the NCAA Division I College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. On the world’s seas and oceans, the cadets of the California Maritime Academy live the CSU mission as they learn and explore aboard the Training Ship Golden Bear.

As many of you know, one of the unique aspects of Cal Maritime’s rigorous academic offering is a two-month long, intense international training expedition – they call it a cruise – where students have the opportunity for hands-on, real-world training.

On June 11, as the Golden Bear was in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Spain, a small boat with nine Algerian refugees approached the ship, waving their hands and empty gas cans in the air.  After the crew of the Golden Bear took the immediate and necessary security precautions to ensure that the boat was not a threat, a Cal Maritime cadet fluent in Arabic made contact with the refugees… who were stranded in the Mediterranean on their perilous journey to reach European soil. The Golden Bear contacted the Spanish Coast Guard and stayed with the stranded vessel until help could arrive. Cal Maritime’s cadets passed much-needed food and water and took up a collection among themselves – donating about 100 Euros to the refugees. Eventually, the Spanish Coast Guard arrived and the Golden Bear resumed its voyage. An amazing story for sure – and yet more evidence of the amazing skill, resolve and generosity of our students, faculty and staff.  I know that those nine Algerian refugees will always remember the kindness shown by the men and women aboard the Golden Bear – who likely saved their lives.

Admiral Cropper, please pass along our thanks and gratitude to your cadets, faculty and staff for their fantastic service to the CSU, our state, nation, and world.

We had another piece of good news come in from Cal Maritime just last week. An alumna, Kate McCue, will become the first female American captain of a cruise ship. This first was a longtime coming, and a goal that Kate McCue dedicated 15 years to achieving. The California State University touches so many lives – often in unexpected ways. Who possibly would imagine that our students would be called on to rescue stranded refugees in the middle of the Mediterranean? Yet, there they were.

In fact, every day our students, faculty, staff and three million alumni spread coast to coast – and ocean to ocean – are influencing people’s lives for the better.

These reports to the board serve as a reminder about the extraordinary accomplishment that is in fact an ordinary occurrence for the CSU. Together, we change people’s lives in permanent, positive ways on a daily basis.

Our retreat yesterday demonstrated that we have much to be proud of, but also much work ahead.  This work will need a full board that is deeply committed to moving this organization into the future.

I am beginning my second year as alumni trustee – and tenth year on the board. It is a tremendous privilege to serve the CSU and also a tremendous responsibility. Dia, I wasn’t kidding when I welcomed you to full-time volunteer work. Many of you know that I have a young family, and lately I’ve felt pulled in two directions. As a result, I’ve decided that it is important that I finish my term as alumni trustee, but I will not be seeking reappointment for the term that starts June 2016. I’m making this clear now so that my alumni colleagues have a chance to conduct the search for my replacement – and also to be completely open with my fellow trustees. In the meantime, I look forward to continuing our work to empower student success… and to implementing the good ideas and strategies we discussed yesterday.

With that, I conclude my report. And now we’ll hear from the chancellor.