CSU Alumni Reception

Remarks by Dr. Timothy P. White
Chancellor, California State University
CSU Alumni Reception
New York, NY
February 26, 2015

Thank you for the introduction, Millie – and for generously hosting us at the beautiful University Club of New York tonight.

I love the energy of New York and its people, even in a deep freeze. We are having a classic Southern California winter in the 70s. So, maybe we could convince Millie to host a barbeque for New York alumni at Cal State Fullerton. That’s a 40 degree change, 7 degrees per hour of flying.

I am grateful to all those who took that flight from California to be here tonight – and earlier this week as we advocated for higher education in Washington D.C.

In particular, my appreciation to Trustee Becky Eisen and student trustees Talar Alexanian and Kelsey Brewer. Kelsey attends Cal State Fullerton, so she should help get that barbeque idea moving. And if not, Talar can work on it with her president Dianne Harrison. Heck, I’ll host it at my place in Long Beach.

It is also my pleasure to acknowledge CSU Foundation board members Ron Barhorst – here with his wife Mitzi – and Michael Lizárraga – here with his wife Oneida.

Thank you as well to all of the campuses represented by the alumni and staff who are here tonight, and to the presidents of those campuses here with us.

The reach of the CSU is apparent as graduates pull me aside to talk about their university experience. Thousands of CSU alumni live and work here in the tri-state area. I know that you are all ambassadors of the CSU in your roles in education, government, media, technology, non-profit management, business, financial services and many other industries.

You are using your education to make a difference in the world. And you are shaping your communities.

Community. You know, we spend a lot of time thinking about the university community… a community that extends well beyond our campuses.

With Commencement 2015, the CSU community will reach a major milestone – exceeding more than 3 million living alumni.

That means 1 out of every 20 Americans with a college degree earned it at the CSU.

Consider that for a moment… the community of CSU alumni is larger than the population of 20 U.S. states… and we reach every corner of this country, influencing every major industry. That is the power of 3 million.

No other public university system has the same national impact on society as the CSU. I doubt any other institution comes close… though our friends from the State University of New York might try to dispute that claim.

To recognize our important milestone, the CSU has launched a celebration through June 2015. The centerpiece of the public celebration is the Class of 3 Million online yearbook (classof3million.calstate.edu).

This site is a place where you can claim your spot in the celebration by creating a profile and further engaging with your campus. You can also find former classmates and make new professional connections through the networking features on the site. I encourage you to create your profile – and explore the other profiles on the site, including mine if you’re really bored.

Creating a profile on the yearbook is one of many ways to become more connected with your CSU community.

You can also join and become an active member of your campus alumni association; support the excellence of the CSU through a donation, or by assisting in our national advocacy efforts; and let us know of internship, mentoring and career opportunities for our current students.

That last point is particularly important. The CSU is currently engaged in a massive effort to help more students enjoy the success you’ve had in your lives.

Alumni play a critical role in making the connections between what students learn in the classroom and how that knowledge applies to their lives after graduation.

We are fortunate to have Bill Griffeth here with us as an exemplar of an involved alumnus. Bill will be introduced in a moment, but I just wanted to thank and recognize him as a tremendous ambassador of the CSU.

The California State University is truly one national… make that global… community, and I am thankful that all of you are forever part of our community.

Thank you all for gathering here tonight. I look forward to meeting many of you throughout the evening.
It is now my pleasure to hand things over to President Harrison to formally introduce this evening’s guest speaker.