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CSUSB Palm Desert Campus Land Transfer Celebration

Remarks by Dr. Timothy P. White
Chancellor, California State University
CSUSB Palm Desert Campus Land Transfer Celebration
Palm Desert, CA
April 16, 2015

Thank you Tomás and Sharon for the invitation, and to the students, faculty and staff of the Palm Desert campus for your hospitality.

I’d also like to recognize and thank Councilwoman Jan Harnik, Mayor Weber, the City Council, City manager John Wohlmuth and the people of the City of Palm Desert and the entire Coachella Valley for their continued generosity and commitment to this university.

It’s truly an honor to participate today in a pivotal point in the history of higher education in the Coachella Valley and California.

Three decades ago, you - the people of the Coachella Valley - issued a challenge to the CSU: develop a university that could provide opportunities for student success, spur innovation, and be a cultural hub for the region.

You were prepared to back that challenge with resources, guidance, and unwavering dedication. You had the foresight to see the long-term benefits that a four-year public university could bring to this community.

Look around… After nearly 30 years, look what that foresight and dedication to meeting that challenge has delivered:

  • An environmentally-responsible campus with four gorgeous, modern buildings funded through nearly $45 million in gifts from foundations, municipalities and private donors;
  • An enrollment of over 1,100 students, many who will complete their entire baccalaureate degree here, without needing to commute elsewhere;
  • Innovative academic programs that meet the current and future needs of the region; And terrific community event spaces like the Indian Wells Theater that encourage creativity and culture.

The Palm Desert campus - and its stakeholders - stand as a model around the country on how community engagement and robust partnerships can build and support a university from, in this case, the sand up.

It was wholly conceived and sustained on this idea of partnership… cultivating active stakeholders in private philanthropies, industry, and tribal and local governments, all with the focused mindset of growing and strengthening this university for the public good.

Every inch of these buildings and grounds came to be through shared partnership... and this university will continue to thrive because of these connections, ensuring opportunity and empowering student success through a quality education.

These principles - opportunity, quality and success - are deeply embedded in the mission of this university… principles shared by the people of Palm Desert and the Coachella Valley.

This land transfer of 114 acres is more than a gift. It is an investment in the future by the people, for the people.

It is blessed land, as we pause and reflected on earlier with Tribal Elder Joseph Benitez of the Cabazon Band of Mission Indians.

But it is also blessed in another way, because it is a gift of hope, it is an antidote to the hopelessness that occurs when quality education is not accessible and affordable.

It is an investment in the future of this university to continue to provide to its students the necessary knowledge and skills to be active, productive citizens.

It is an investment in innovation and finding solutions to complex issues like poverty and the drought…

And it’s an investment in the future economic and social success of California and the nation.

I’m deeply appreciative of this investment - and this new challenge - and I look forward to seeing what’s in store for this campus in the next 30 years.

Thank you again and congratulations.