Remarks by Dr. Timothy P. WhiteChancellor, California State UniversityDr. Richard Rush Retirement GalaSimi Valley, CAApril 9, 2016
Thank you, Jeff, for your continued dedication to Cal State Channel Islands, the California State University, and the people of California.
It is indeed an honor to be here tonight at the Reagan Library… to celebrate the career, leadership and legacy of President Rush.
But, Dick, we both know it to be the case your success came in a partnership with Jane, your wonderful wife and First Lady of Cal State Channel Islands… Thank you, Jane, for your work and sacrifices.
In higher education, it is a rarity for a president to have the opportunities to shape the very core of an institution… to build a foundation of quality, innovation, diversity and success for generations to come… to develop real and consequential bonds with the community… and to cultivate a tone of inclusivity and excellence for its students, faculty, staff and alumni.
As we drove in tonight, we passed banners along the road – U.S. presidents in sequential order… So by George, Dick took this opportunity in Camarillo – and the responsibility – head on… and nailed it.
As the founding president of Cal State Channel Islands, President Rush wove this university into the rich social fabric of Camarillo and the Ventura County region.
And over the past 15 years, he led a fantastic team of staff, faculty, students and administrators in transforming the campus into a beacon of innovation… of enlightenment… and of discovery and of hope and aspiration for generations yet to be.
Dick was given a vestige of California’s past… the footprint of the former Camarillo State Hospital… and with the support of the community and the people of this state, set forth on a nearly two-decade long path to help redefine this region’s future.
Together, this university built classrooms and research labs.
Sports fields and residence halls. Art studios and a world-class library.
And most importantly, together, you built momentum… momentum that will carry this university to points and places in the next decades and centuries that we can only dream of today.
Dick, that’s the stuff that legacies are made of.
That’s a bronze statue in front of Broome Library kind of legacy… where future generations of Channel Islands students will gaze up at that statue and ask, Hey, who’s that old guy?
That kind of legacy.
And indeed, your legacy of service to the students, faculty, staff and alumni of the CSU began decades before your arrival at Channel Islands.
From your early faculty days at San Diego State… you taught that first class in 1897, right? …to your transformative leadership at California State San Marcos, your contributions to our core principle of inclusive excellence continue to ripple throughout the state.
For that, I know that the entire California State University system, and indeed, the people of California, are better off because of it.
And on a personal note, Dick, I know I can speak for your fellow presidents and vice chancellors when I say that we will dearly miss your wit, optimism and sound counsel.
We are grateful to have served with you.
Certainly, it is a rare person who can combine expert knowledge of English renaissance literature with keen insights into the needs of future generations… perhaps the only other person with that combination of skills and foresight being Shakespeare himself… although a case was made earlier tonight for Socrates…
But in all seriousness, I know that the entire California State University system, and indeed, the people of California, are better off because of your work and leadership.
On behalf of the trustees, presidents and vice chancellors, my wife Karen joins me in wishing you and Jane the best in your next chapter… or, in the theme of Shakespeare… your next sonnet.
Thank you, Dick, and congratulations.