CSU Alumni

May 22, 2013 Board of Trustees Report

President Guy Heston reports on behalf of the Alumni Council and alumnus Cedric L. Hicks, Sr. shares how his education at CSU Dominguez Hills and CSU Fullerton prepared him for his career as Superintendent of Recreation and Human Services for the City of Carson.


Chair Monville:
Now for the report of the CSU Alumni Council, President Guy Heston. Guy...

Guy Heston:
Thank you, Chair Monville.

Yesterday the Board had the opportunity to receive the results of the Alumni Attitude Study and some of the broad scope findings from that study. We were once again heartened to hear that our alumni highly value the information from our campuses about the accomplishments of today’s students and faculty. This is an area that we will begin focusing on more in our communications as we have much to be proud of and showcase from our campuses. We look forward to continuing to tell the stories of how the CSU impacts individual lives, our communities, our state and the world.

The Alumni Attitude Study also gives us a starting point for a fresh look at the Alumni Council’s Strategic Plan and how we provide services to our campus alumni associations and CSU alumni systemwide. After much discussion relating to the future of alumni relations at our last meeting at the Monterey Bay campus, the Alumni Council Executive Committee has committed to revisiting our strategic plan this summer and updating it to reflect what we have learned and guide us through the next 5-7 years.

We feel strongly that we must be prepared for the change in the way our current and future alumni will want to interact with us and stay connected to their campuses and the university. Our alumni population continues to grow rapidly and we need to be able to connect alumni expertise and resources with today’s students. We currently have 2.8 million alumni, however to give you an indication of the trajectory of growth we are experiencing, by fall of 2020 the CSU’s alumni population will have grown by an additional 800,000.

While our numbers may be large, we must never forget that the CSU is really about making meaningful differences in individual lives. This type of individual impact is well known to our many alumni who work in public service. They too focus each day on improving the lives of their constituents. We are honored today to be joined by one such alumnus who has dedicated his career to public service. Cedric Hicks, Sr., earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice administration at CSU Fullerton and his master’s in negotiation and conflict management at CSU Dominguez Hills. He serves the City of Carson as the Superintendent of Recreation and Human Services where he oversees a staff of 480 that provide vital services to residents ranging from infants to seniors in the city’s numerous recreation and civic facilities. Cedric also gives back to his alma mater as a member of the alumni advisory council at CSU Dominguez Hills and has joined us today to share his CSU story. Cedric…

Cedric Hicks:
Thank you, Guy. Chancellor White and Board of Trustees, it’s an honor to come before you to speak and just to give you some information in regard to my experience attending the CSU system. I want to give thanks to Dr. Gayle Ball for allowing me to speak and identifying me as an alum to come and speak before this body.

It’s really ironic that I come before you to speak at this time. My early recollections of actually being at Cal State Fullerton was when I was there as a student and at the time I think the first woman president of Cal State Fullerton was Dr. Jewell Plummer Cobb and I actually was a student worker and worked in her office. She inspired me to continue my education and look forward to make sure that I did something positive in my life.

Going back to 1976, my father graduated from Cal State University Dominguez Hills in public administration. At that graduation I was 14 years old, understanding my father came from Arkansas with very little education when he came to the State of California. He actually put himself through school making sure that he provided a very valuable lifestyle for my family and it really sparked my idea of going back to school and creating what I am today.

Many of the professors, many of the students and staff that assisted me really actually molded me into who I am today and assisted me through the process. Because understanding where I came from and knowing the intricate parts of the system it’s always a daunting task at times not really knowing what classes should I take, should I not take classes at this time, just really understanding the process and I want to commend them for helping me through that process.

I did graduate from Cal State Fullerton in 1985 in criminal justice administration. I wanted to go into law enforcement at that time. At Fullerton, I was actually recruited by the CIA to be an actual agent with them because I am an only child and that’s one of the key components they look for when looking for an agent. They don’t want to have anyone who is connected to anyone else at the time. So it was real funny and I was kind of taken aback from that because they had done their homework. They knew everything about my family and even knew who I was dating at the time. So it was kind of funny that they had all done their homework to try to find out who I was.

I met and married the love of my life and met her through the CSU system. I met her at Harbor College and then she went on to Cal State Fullerton and then graduated at Cal State Dominguez Hills. When I graduated back in 1985 with my degree, it inspired my mother to actually go back to school. So my mother is actually an alum of Cal State Dominguez Hills as well. So it goes from my father to my mother to my wife and to me.

And at this point my son attended the university and I’m still working on him to finish that degree. I was at the State Department last week when we were going before legislators to try to get them more involved and understand what the governor has proposed for the budget process and I heard that it was a six year process to getting a degree. Well, he’s working on like the seventh year and I’m trying to really get him out of that process. It’s a task and understanding that many people have to be pushed and I think that once we understand the processes and work with our children we can make them a better individual.

Again, by attending Fullerton and by attending Cal State Dominguez Hills, I am very, very fortunate to now work in the city that the university sits in. I provide valuable services and I’m always talking about not just Dominguez but I talk about Fullerton and just going to school in general and being an ambassador for the entire board.

The decisions that I’m thinking of that are made by this body are very crucial to the many lives that you guys touch. Not understanding that what you do is very important, you are always working toward bettering the community. The lives that you touch are many first time college students, first time even stepping on a campus at some point and just understanding that what you guys do here is very important and I commend you for all the efforts that you guys put forth in making sure that we have a valuable system and I thank you.

Guy Heston:
Cedric, thank you very much for sharing your experience with us and for your vital work in your community and on behalf of the California State University.

I mentioned earlier about the CSU’s projected alumni growth and that our current alumni family is 2.8 million strong. Over the next year, we’ll be sharing our plans of how the CSU is going to celebrate its 3 millionth alum. And I don't have any details for you but we just want to make sure that the people of California understand what the CSU brings to the State of California and have a big celebration honoring all 3 million of our graduates.

On a final note, this is my last meeting as President of the Alumni Council. It has been a very interesting and educational experience for me and I appreciate the opportunity to volunteer in this role. As of your next meeting, our president-elect sitting third from my right, Kristin Crellin from CSU Fullerton, will be taking over. In closing, I just say I salute the work that you do and I look forward to supporting the CSU in any way that I possibly can.

Thank you, Chair, this concludes my report.

Chair Monville:
Guy, we appreciate your service and everything you've done leading the Alumni Council. We know you will continue to be a loyal and active alum and thank you for your service. Cedric, thank you for sharing your story with us and Kristin, we look forward to working with you in the future, so welcome.