Welcoming a New Academic Year
Sept. 22, 2011
By Elizabeth Chapin
CSU presidents welcome the beginning of a new academic year by addressing campus faculty, staff and students—outlining goals, celebrating accomplishments, and focusing on the future.
This year’s convocation addresses were both optimistic and realistic. Despite the challenges imposed by an unprecedented cut in state funding, and the threat of an additional $100 million trigger cut to the CSU system this fiscal year, the themes remained positive. After all, the CSU’s faculty, staff and employees are engaged in creating California's future.
In addition, CSU Fullerton president Milton Gordon, San Francisco State president Robert Corrigan and CSU San Bernardino president Albert Karnig announced their respective retirements to their university communities.
Below are some highlights of CSU presidents' fall 2011 addresses:
“As we enter our next decade Sonoma State continues to be a work in progress; that is what education means: a process of continued learning, discovery, growth, and transformation. We should keep honing our particular identity, the combination of the characteristics of a comprehensive university with the emphasis in the liberal arts and sciences education. The challenges are significant but the prospects for a distinguished future based on the excellence of education are even greater.”
— Sonoma State President Ruben Armiñana
“Our students cannot be truly successful in an increasingly diverse society and in an increasingly complex, global economy unless they experience, as students, what it takes to function in the real world. That means students need to be exposed to multiple academic disciplines in their Learn by Doing projects, and they need to be exposed to multiple cultures and be made more globally aware.”
— Cal Poly San Luis Obispo President Jeffrey Armstrong
“It was 54 years ago this month that I began my academic career… with an uninterrupted 14-year stint as a full-time faculty member before moving into what I had expected to be a brief career in higher education administration. Fourteen years to a young faculty member can seem like a long time, but 39 years as an academic administrator—that's a lifetime. A rewarding lifetime that I will never regret or forget—with 33 of those years spent leading public urban universities."
— San Francisco State President Robert Corrigan
"The budget has been challenging but in tough times people often come together over shared values in ways they may not in times of plenty. Our faculty, students, staff, alumni and friends have done so over this year... This is not an institution whose members tend to sit on their laurels and coast. So I ask that while we need to be aware and concerned about the state budget situation, we should not let that concern dim our hopes and aspirations for this wonderful institution."
“I know that most of you have heard how much I love this first day of school. It is one of my favorite days and I still get excited at the prospect of starting 'school' again. I have so many memories of my own first days of school (I will not tell you how many!)—I begin every new academic year with the same thought—'to make this the best year yet'—and this year is no exception.”
— CSU Dominguez Hills President Mildred García
“In the current budget climate, we literally cannot afford to hide our successes. We must tell everyone who wants to listen that we are making a difference in our region and state, in the academic community, and across the globe. And for those who don’t want to listen, or who want to cut our funding, or shut off access—we need them to hear us most of all.”
— CSU Sacramento President Alexander Gonzalez
"It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as your president, and I wish to thank all of you— faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors and friends in the larger community—for your ongoing support, help and advice, which has helped to build Cal State Fullerton into the extraordinary university that it is today. I am grateful that I'm able to call higher education my life's work. I will hand over the reins with confidence and pride.”
— CSU Fullerton President Milton Gordon
"Across the country, as tuition increases accelerate and the national economy stagnates, we hear talk of a higher education 'bubble'—a concern that the cost of a college degree may be outpacing its benefits. I do not believe that is the situation at CSU Monterey Bay, or across the CSU as a whole. We are delivering tremendous value to our students, and I mean that in a sense far beyond any dollar-and-cents calculation of return on investment."
— CSU Monterey Bay President Dianne Harrison
“We’ve come a long way in our 21 years, doing the ‘heavy lifting’ of building a university literally from the ground up—developing curriculum, creating service infrastructure, and constructing facilities. Now it’s time to focus on what we want our institutional ‘adulthood’ to look like as we focus on 2015 and our 25th anniversary.”
— CSU San Marcos President Karen Haynes
“Public universities must have public support to succeed and we have to stop future reductions to keep tuition low. The time for advocacy is when the legislature considers its actions. Any discussion that occurs after the legislator makes the cut is really about how we share the pain amongst ourselves.”
— San Diego State President Elliot Hirshman
“I fell in love with CSUSB’s mission, the region’s incredibly warm reception for Marilyn and me, the staggering diversity and needs of the student body, the vital role of this campus in the communities we serve, and you all, as well.”
— CSU San Bernardino President Albert Karnig
“As I considered the presidency of Cal State Northridge, I sought information about the university from folks across the CSU. They responded with consistency, almost uniformly. 'Yes,' they would say, 'it’s a university with excellent faculty… and despite being very good, the campus just goes about its work without a lot of fanfare.'... We are quiet no longer.
Rather, we have become 'loud' and in the future will need to become 'louder.'”
— CSU Northridge President Jolene Koester
“Without the opportunity to attend college, I would not be standing before you today. The profound changes that the college experience provided for me and my family, personally and professionally, are similar for many of you. And that is what all of us have seen with the thousands of students we have helped during their educational journeys."
— CSU East Bay Interim President Leroy Morishita
"Now more than ever, we have to ask ourselves what will higher education look like in the coming decades and are we ready for that challenge. We are a learning-centered university, but are we prepared to teach and offer student services built around the expectations of children who are currently in junior high school or elementary school? Do you know what they expect?"
— Cal Poly Pomona President J. Michael Ortiz
“Despite the challenges presented by the current economic crisis, now is the time for us to dream big when we imagine our future. In fact, if we review our nation's history, we'll find that important decisions have been made during times of challenge and adversity. From Abraham Lincoln's work on the Morrill Land Grant Act and the Transcontinental Railroad to John F. Kennedy's drive to reach the moon, many of these developments have arisen as the direct result of intersecting need, innovation, creative thought, and multi-faceted collaboration.”
— San José State President Mohammad Qayoumi
“My long-term priority for our university is to ensure that Humboldt State will be an important part of the future of the North Coast. This will not happen unless we ensure that our students are successful. Thus student success has been identified as our top priority… you’ll agree that this is why we are all here.”
— Humboldt State President Rollin Richmond
“Ten years ago a small group of us struggled to open the doors to a quality innovative experience for students… What we had then is what we had in the succeeding years and what we have today: good people and their imaginations! This has become our characteristic; all of us have imagined what a university could be. That is what has motivated us all for the past ten years…Today, what was imagined is now in place.”
— CSU Channel Islands President Richard Rush
“Now, I am not going to stand here today and repeat the all too familiar mantra that “we have to find ways to do more with less. We are already doing that now! What I prefer to suggest is that we have to find ways to do more with more—more programs generating new revenue sources, more grants, more partnerships and process improvements that reduce costs and generate savings, more endowments—all of which will enable us to support the essential components of a sound educational experience.”
— CSU Stanislaus President Hamid Shirvani
“Looking now to the start of our university’s second century, we recognize there has been a dramatic shift by the state of California in its commitment to funding of higher education. Sadly, the state has disinvested in higher education and its commitment to access…
As I have said before, it’s ironic and disheartening that California citizens and legislators who themselves benefitted from a free or low-cost public higher education in years past are unwilling to sacrifice and support today’s students who will lead this state in the future.”
— Fresno State President John Welty
“A focus on issues of character and values, on habits of the heart and mind—social justice, altruism, civic engagement, service, leadership, creativity, critical thinking, respect, civility—is as much a curricular matter, especially for General Education, as the engagement of students with the subject emphases of their majors… We need to appreciate the fact, and accept the responsibility, that American higher education, that California, needs places like us.”
— CSU Chico President Paul Zingg