Campus: CSU Hayward -- October 18, 2002

President Norma Rees Recognized for Excellence


Norma Rees, Cal State Hayward president, has been recognized by the writers and editors of the East Bay Business Times for “General Excellence” as one of eight “Women of Distinction” in a recent special section focusing on Women In Business. With the permission of the East Bay Business Times, we are proud to show what the publication said about President Rees.
Women of Distinction.

Please join us in congratulating this year’s women of Distinction award winners. Our second annual award winners boast an impressive array of accomplishments in their fields and contributions to their communities. They come from a variety of backgrounds and professions, but they share at least one common trait: success. That includes the success of those around them as well as their own. In a tumultuous year, they have stuck to their goals, creating greater opportunity for their successors and continuing to push for change. This year’s roster of eight winners, naturally, only hints at the talent and energy of the East Bay’s businesswomen. We look forward to where their ideas and efforts will lead us in the year ahead.

-Michael Hytha, editor

General Excellence
Norma S. Rees
President, Cal State Hayward
Education: B.A., speech pathology and audiology, Queens College;
M.A., speech pathology and audiology, Brooklyn College;
Ph.D.,speech, New York University
Residence: Hayward
Age:72

Even after 12 years as president of Cal State Hayward and an academic career that spans nearly five decades, Norma S. Rees is still on a steep learning curve.

“What I most enjoy about being in university administration is that it requires me to understand and deal with larger issues,” said Rees, who’s also a professor of communicative sciences and disorders and has a background in speech pathology and audiology. “I’m constantly learning about issues that, as a faculty member, I might have never been involved with. Because I believe so strongly that our university is an integral part of the community, I’ve had to become familiar with issues like land use, transportation and housing.

“Whether it’s external or internal issues, I find it fascinating.”

Rees said it’s been a priority for her to “bring the university down from the hill,” including operating satellite campuses in Concord and the new professional development center in downtown Oakland.

“We’ve become more of a regional university during the past 12 years,” she said.
It’s become global, actually having established executive MBA programs through partnerships with academic and business organizations in Moscow, Vienna, Hong Kong, Singapore and Beijing. Among the local students who study in the programs, Rees said she’s gratified that 40 percent of them are women.

“For each one of these programs, we’ve had a faculty member who’s had connections in those places, who is familiar with the language and culture of that place,” Rees said of the overseas program, which are completely self-supporting. “And our faculty members who teach there come back with incredible knowledge of what’s happening with the business and cultural environment in those countries.”

During her tenure, Rees has been involved with dozens of business and government committees and organizations on the local, state and national level. She serves on the board of directors of the Economic Development Alliance for Business and the Bay Area World Trade Center.
Rees is one of only three female presidents in the 23-campus California State University system. Although conditions today for female administrators in higher education are better than a decade or two ago, the glass ceiling has not been shattered, only cracked she said.
“I’d say our progress to date is similar to what women face in corporate situations,” she said.
“There’s certainly been progress, but we’ve got a long way to go.

“It’s still a man’s world out there. As a woman, you do your best to cope.”

-David Goll
East Bay Business Times
August 30, 2002


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