Campus: CSU Hayward -- October 8, 2004

CSUH President Proposes Name Change to Cal State East Bay, Changing Designation to a 'Regional University'

California State University, Hayward President Norma Rees announced Wednesday she will recommend to Chancellor Charles Reed that the CSU Board of Trustees give the university a new regional name: California State University, East Bay. President Rees said the new name would signify the university's expanded vision and its role as a regional institution.

Should Chancellor Reed choose to put the issue before the trustees, which have authority to change the name, they would take up the matter at a meeting in the near future. If adopted, the name change would become effective immediately.

"Over the past four decades this university has been undergoing a transformation," said President Rees. "Basically, I have asked that the CSU change our designation to that of a regional university. Changing our name is a step toward better defining what we do and identifying the region we serve. This will help position us for a broader role in meeting the higher education needs of the East Bay, especially in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

"It sends the message that we want to expand partnerships and services among the communities we serve."

The university has campuses in Hayward and Concord, and a center in downtown Oakland. Its 13,500 students are primarily from the San Francisco Bay Area and include visiting scholars from 80 countries. Nearly 90,000 alumni live in the Bay Area.

Most students and alumni live in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, which cover 1,471 square miles, have a combined population of 2,374,656 and include 33 cities. The city of Hayward has 144,633 residents.

Hayward has been the home of the university's main campus since the first classes were held in a local high school beginning Sept. 25, 1959.

"As the city's motto says, Hayward is the 'heart of the bay,'" President Rees said. "The Hayward hills campus will continue to be the heart of our endeavors at Cal State East Bay, but changing our name will send a signal that we acknowledge our role of serving the entire region."

"Changing the name will emphasize and focus attention upon the fact that this is now a regional university with a mission that extends far beyond a single city," said Peter Wilson, dean of the Contra Costa Campus. "I'm particularly pleased because this symbolic step can only help speed the development of our campus in Concord, which the president has highlighted as a major priority."

"Cal State Hayward has had a presence in Oakland for years, but its name did not adequately describe just how much we've been part of daily life here," said Ronn Patton, director of the university's Oakland Professional Development and Conference Center, located in the heart of the city on Broadway. "We've been making education, training, and conferencing convenient for Oakland's working professionals and residents of the surrounding area.

"A name change would send a message that the university has a commitment to its mission of serving the entire East Bay."

The university also operates the East Bay Small Business Development Center in Oakland with the U.S. Small Business Administration, and director Raj George said a name change would "show how the university recognizes its responsibility to serve the entire East Bay through centers such as ours."

President Rees said she based her decision to make the name change proposal on a yearlong investigative process involving more than 600 persons in nearly 20 focus groups, discussions and forums including students, employees, alumni, community leaders, and state legislators. She discussed her decision with the university's Academic Senate on Oct. 5.

"What we consistently found in our interviews was that there was tremendous interest about a name change when the groups began discussing how it might affect the image of the university," said Jay Colombatto, the university's director of marketing communications. "The discussions often turned to issues such as how a name change would reflect the reach, commitment and mission of the university, presenting a more accurate first impression.

"It became readily apparent to many that a name that more accurately identified the university could have great benefits in explaining our role in the region's economic development as well as its social and cultural vibrancy."

That economic development includes continued growth at the university's Hayward campus, where so far this fall there have been groundbreaking ceremonies for two of three major projects as part of the most ambitious series of structural improvements in 30 years. They include: the 67,000 square-foot Wayne and Gladys Valley Business and Technology Center; a $10 million expansion of the University Union student services complex; and expansion of the Pioneer Heights student residential facility.

Other developments emphasizing the university's role in the region include the designation of the Hayward campus as the site of a regional biotechnology center, its cosponsorship of the new East Bay Small Business Development Center in Oakland, recent accreditation of the Department of Engineering in its first year of eligibility, and its selection by the Princeton Review as one of the "Best in the West" picks among American public colleges.

Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that the university had won its Green Power Award, one of the nation's top environmental honors, for installing the largest photovoltaic system for any college in the world.

"We are a university that is growing and redefining itself," said President Rees. "A new name and identity is essential to communicate that we have a new direction and vision. Because our vision is to serve as the public university of choice for East Bay students of all backgrounds, we are changing as well.

"Our new name will communicate to our constituents that 'this is your university,' and 'this university is for you.'"

President Rees said if the name change were approved, implementation would be phased in, taking perhaps up to two years. For example, letterhead stock with the old name would be used up before supplies with the new name are ordered. Expenses for new signs, marketing and other one-time related costs will be paid for from the private gifts of donors who have supported and encouraged the name change.

President Rees also said if the name change were approved it would not affect the university's connections with the city of Hayward.

"We value our relationship with Hayward, and the same is true of our ties to the cities of Concord, Oakland and all the communities we serve in the East Bay," she said. "A new name would not mean we are leaving or disconnecting with Hayward. It would mean that we recognize our essential connection and involvement in the life of the entire East Bay."

It is expected that if the name change is approved, the two principal campuses and the Oakland Professional Development and Conference Center would have designations in their titles indicating their location, such as "California State University, East Bay, Hayward Hills Campus."

If the CSU Board of Trustees votes to change the name of Cal State Hayward, it will be the fifth in the history of the university.

The previous names:

1957 - State College for Alameda County
1961 - Alameda County State College
1963 - California State College at Hayward
1972 - California State University, Hayward
An initial list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the proposed name change has been developed and is posted on the university's news Web site at

Media Contact: Kim Huggett, Director of Public Affairs, (510) 885-2032

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