Remarks by Dr. Timothy P. White - October 17, 2017

Remarks by Timothy P. White
Chancellor, California State University
Consejo Latinoamericano de Escuelas de Administracíon (CLADEA) 52nd Assembly
Riverside, CA
October 17, 2017

Good evening…
I’m pleased to welcome all of our colleagues, partners and friends to Riverside, California for the 52nd Annual CLADEA Assembly.

Before I begin, I want to express my deepest thanks and gratitude to Cal State San Bernardino President Tomás Morales, UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox and Dean Larry Rose for their continued leadership and dedication to higher education in the Inland Empire.

Thank you all.

Since we have so many folks from outside of California here tonight, I thought it best to give a quick primer on what the California State University is and who we are proud to serve.

The CSU is the largest and most diverse public university system in the country, with 23 campuses, 480,000 students, 50,000 faculty and staff, and 3.4 million alumni… most of whom live, work and thrive right here
in California.

Our student body also reflects California’s diversity. Some two-thirds of bachelor’s degrees earned by Latinos or Latinas in this state are earned at the CSU… with 21 of our 23 campuses designated by the federal government as Hispanic Serving Institutions.

Many of our students and alumni – including me – are the first in their family to go to college. As an immigrant from Argentina who came to California as a young child, I was provided an opportunity to attend and graduate from all three public higher education institutions in the state… the CSU, UC and community college.

I am forever grateful for the opportunities that the people of California provided to me. There are only a few places where stories like mine would be even remotely possible.

So when I say that the CSU is a vehicle of social ascent… a vehicle of equity and social justice… I speak with personal connection and conviction.

Coupled with our commitment to social ascent and justice, our university, like California writ large, has always held a global perspective.

We Californians are often reminded of our global perspective and diverse history when we get on our infamous freeways… usually driving very slowly, mind you… from the Spanish-named Los Angeles to the German-named Anaheim to the incredibly diverse San Bernardino and Riverside.

In fact, I’d suggest that while there are so many richly diverse and unique cultures, languages, beliefs and cuisines throughout our state, we are all held together by two truly Californian things:

First, we love In-N-Out Burger… and if you haven’t tried it yet, just walk up to the counter and say: Double-Double, animal style, chopped chilies… you’ll thank me later.

Second, and most importantly, we all believe in the shared truth that we – as Californians – are better and stronger today and in the future because of our commitment to diversity and inclusivity... both of people and ideas.

This innate belief is at the core of the Californian Spirit – and it is what drives our technology innovations in Silicon Valley… powers our world-class agriculture and winemaking…and fosters incredible discoveries each day in the areas of biomedicine, aerospace, teaching, business and public administration.

I mention administration for good reason. More than half of all bachelor’s degrees in business and public administration are earned in the CSU.

More than half… in a state as large, dynamic and consequential as California… that’s impressive!

Indeed, this Californian Spirit is what drives the California State University and Cal State San Bernardino, a leader in business, entrepreneurship and public administration education throughout the state and country… each and every day.

The California State University was founded with the belief that every student willing to do the work – regardless of background, circumstance or status – should have an opportunity to go to college, earn a degree and set a course for lifelong success.

This belief still defines our values, vision and mission today.

It’s why we all – the CSU, UC, community colleges and many others throughout the Golden State and across this country – voiced our unwavering support for students, employees and alumni affected by the White House’s rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program a few months ago.

And we’ve shown… and I’m sure Larry, Tomás and Kim will agree… that partnerships are really the key to sustaining our shared public mission and ensuring that we all live up to our Californian Spirit ethos.

That’s what I want to close with today… building partnerships that span siloes, departments, campuses, national borders… and the non-existent fences and walls on those borders.

We must all work to build partnerships that break the mold.

When we build partnerships with primary schools, community colleges and municipalities, we expand opportunity for historically underserved communities while building clear academic pathways that students can navigate from high school to community college to the CSU.

When we build partnerships with colleges, governments and organizations beyond our borders, we foster more opportunities for our students to study abroad and experience new cultures while faculty and staff share ideas and develop cutting-edge research.

And when we build partnerships with the private sector and industry groups, we can gain valuable insight on our curriculum and create more internship and employment opportunities for our students and alumni.

There’s no doubt that partnerships like these – and many, many others – are absolutely vital to our success today, tomorrow and in the future.

So, before you leave this week’s conference and return home… I ask that you do the following:

I ask that you add at least one new partner… one that will help expand meaningful and unique opportunities for your respective students, faculty, staff and alumni…

I ask that you deliberately seek out new ideas… even ones that maybe you disagree with… and think deeply on how they could benefit your students. If they do, take them home and implement them.

And lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I ask that you actively work to share your knowledge, best practices, insight and wisdom with your colleagues – those attending this year’s assembly and those back home.

Let’s all follow up next year to see what progress we’ve made, together, as partners.

I wish you the best for the week ahead and again, welcome to California.

Thank you.