Remarks by Dr. Timothy P. White - October 11, 2017

Remarks by Timothy P. White
Chancellor, California State University
Graduation Initiative 2025 Symposium
Opening Remarks

Long Beach, CA
October 11, 2017

Thank you, James, for that introduction…

I’d like to take a moment to thank and congratulate three of the chief architects of our Graduation Initiative 2025 efforts, Loren Blanchard, James Minor and Jeff Gold…

Loren, Jeff and James have been absolutely integral in getting this massive, transformative and life-changing initiative off the ground.

And because of you, now we’re soaring.

So let’s all give Loren, Jeff and James… indeed, the entire Academic and Student Affairs division… a round of well-earned applause.

I also want to thank all of our campus folks for being here this week... and thank you for all of the work that you and your faculty and staff colleagues do each and every day to put this initiative into action.

We all know that you – our world-class faculty and staff colleagues – are the ones doing the heavy lifting required to get our proverbial Spruce Goose in the air – we are in Long Beach, after all.

Let’s give all of our incredible faculty and staff a round of applause.

Thank you as well to our trustees for all of their support, guidance and leadership... and to keep our Spruce Goose metaphor going… our incredible trustees are the ones making sure that our rivets are flush, our engines are primed, the skies are clear and the winds are in our favor.

To our trustees here today, thank you.

Lastly, I want to thank all of the students and CSSA leaders who took time from their busy class and work schedules to join us in Long Beach… and I hope we can invite even more students for next year’s symposium.

A round of applause for all of our student leaders here today…

Thank you all for being here.

You know, we’re one of a few around the country blazing a trail forward for others in higher education … on how we rethink… reengage… reenergize and refocus student success.

Of course, we know that our many of our K-12, community college and university partners are helping us along the trail… as are our municipal, state, non-profit and business stakeholders.

Indeed, we’re leading the way, but we’re certainly not alone.

Even a giant health institution like Kaiser Permanente is rethinking higher education as they build their new med school up the road in Pasadena…

They’re asking the question that we’re all asking… if you were starting from scratch, what would you do differently?

Let’s pause for a moment and think deeply about that question… as we all know, but perhaps don’t often put into words, this question is really at the core of what Graduation Initiative 2025 is all about…

What can we do if we take stock of our history, past success and best practices… but also take a second look at the self-placed restrictions and the we-always-do-it-this-way-isms that hold our faculty back, hold our advisors and support staff back, hold our administrators and deans back, and most importantly, hold our students and alumni back?

In a recent interview, Kaiser’s founding dean talked about what his school is going to do differently.

They’re focusing on the whole student… their background, circumstance and experience… what they’ve overcome and what they’ve done in and out of school…

They’re focusing on lifelong learning… teaching students how to acquire, assess and deploy new information as technologies, techniques and our own understanding of the world evolves…

They’re focusing on overcoming disparities in the community… wellness and health gaps…

And they’re using data analysis to identify these persistent gaps so that they can then develop the best ways to reverse these historic inequities…

That’s Kaiser… a national leader in healthcare. And it sure does sound a lot like what we’re working on in the CSU and across our 23 campuses, right?

Kaiser’s cohort will be around 300 students when fully enrolled… and without a doubt, those 300 additional physicians… many who will choose to live and work here in California… will be transformative for them as a system and for the public good.

So let’s compare those numbers with what James just announced…

Because of the incredible work of you and your colleagues… coupled with the determination of our students and alumni… an additional 7,000 baccalaureate students earned their degrees from the CSU last year… and that we’re rapidly approaching 100,000 baccalaureate degrees earned per year.

7,000 additional baccalaureate degrees.

7,000 additional CSU alumni.

That’s 7,000 additional families in California with now even greater earning potential… and that’s 7,000 families where a college degree is now part of a tradition… either new or carried forward.

Now, I’ll leave the hard math up to the experts here today, but I think it’s important to put in context all that we have and will accomplish through Graduation Initiative 2025.

Not only that, but we know from our data that first-time freshmen will earn their degree an average of one term earlier, resulting in an immediate gain of over $13,000… and a long term gain of over $31,000… just for graduating one term earlier.

The short and long-term gain for transfer students is also impressive.

And, if we go a step farther and think about earnings over time for those 7,000 additional graduates, we know that the average early-career median salary for newly-minted CSU alumni is around $47,000… above the national average, mind you.

Those 7,000 additional graduates will earn $328.3 million in their first year in the workforce alone. A third of a billion dollars in earnings… just from those 7,000 additional CSU graduates.

We also have data that shows that at Year 10 of their careers, CSU graduates on average earn just over $83,000 per year.

In 2028… only three years after our celebratory party for Graduation Initiative 2025… those 7,000 additional graduates will earn nearly $583 million that year alone… and paying more than $58 million into California’s tax coffers.

That should also help us advocate for more state funding!

So, an additional half billion in earnings because of the Graduation Initiative… because of the work done by you and your colleagues across the CSU.

Now that’s transformative. That’s consequential.

And it’s proof that our impact as a university… the people’s university… goes far beyond the classroom, lecture hall, laboratory and studio.

The CSU was founded six decades ago – and driven today – by the still-revolutionary idea that all Californians – regardless of background, circumstance, race, ethnicity, gender, orientation, location or status – should have the opportunity to attend college, work hard, learn new things, make positive change and set a course forward toward lifelong success.

It’s the idea that drives our work today, tomorrow and in the months and years to come.

I wish you the best over the next two days… as you come together to learn, share ideas and develop best practices.

Thank you again for all that you do for the students of the California State University… and welcome to Long Beach.