Three Finalists Named for the California State University, Sacramento Presidency

(February 26, 2003) –The California State University today named three candidates as finalists for the presidency of California State University, Sacramento. Current president Don Gerth is retiring in July after 45 years with the CSU system.

The candidates, and the dates they will visit the campus, are:

  • Alexander Gonzalez, president, California State University, San Marcos: Wednesday, March 5.
  • Karen S. Haynes, president, University of Houston-Victoria: Friday, March 7.
  • J. Clark Kelso, director, Governmental Affairs Programs and Capital Center for Government Law and Policy, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, and Chief Information Officer, state of California: Tuesday, March 4.
Each of the three will spend a day on the campus, meeting faculty, staff, students and the community. An open forum will be held daily for the campus community from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the University Union. An open reception will be held at 5:45 p.m. each day. (There will be daily media access at 11:15 a.m. in the Sierra Room, Sacramento Hall.)

"These are three outstanding candidates whose varied backgrounds and areas of expertise will provide the campus and the trustees with excellent choices," said search committee chair and Trustee Bill Hauck. "Any of the candidates has the experience to lead California State University, Sacramento through the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in higher education, especially dealing with the budget crisis we are confronting."

The CSU Board of Trustees will meet March 11-12. The new president is expected to be named sometime during that week. The new leader would assume the presidency in July after the retirement of current President Gerth, who has led the campus the past 19 years, and has spent 45 years with the CSU, including eight years as president of CSU Dominguez Hills.

Gonzalez has been president of Cal State San Marcos since 1998, serving the previous year as the university's interim president. Prior to San Marcos, Gonzalez, a professor of psychology, spent 18 years at California State University, Fresno, beginning as an assistant professor. He served as the provost and vice president for academic affairs for six years at Fresno.

He received his Ph.D. and master's degree in psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and his bachelor's degree in history from Pomona College. Gonzalez was a postdoctoral fellow at the Ford Foundation National Research Council; did post-graduate work at Stanford University; and also attended Harvard University Law School.

Haynes has been president of the University of Houston-Victoria since 1995. A professor of social work, she previously was the University of Houston's dean of the Graduate School of Social Work. Prior to Houston, she was a faculty member in social work at Indiana University; the managing director, international resource development, International Business Associates in Cairo, Egypt, where she also served as a consultant; a faculty member at Southwest Texas State University; and the director of the social work division, sociology department, Mary Hardin-Baylor College.

Her degrees are all in social work: Her Ph.D. is from the University of Texas, Austin; her master's degree is from McGill University in Montreal, Canada; and her bachelor's degree is from Goucher College.

Kelso has been the director of Governmental Affairs Programs and the Capital Center for Government Law and Policy, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, since 1994. He also has been California's chief information officer since May 2002, when he was appointed by Gov. Davis. A scholar-in-residence with the California Administrative Office of the Courts, he previously was California's acting Insurance Commissioner; a consultant to the California Judicial Council; an associate at a New York City law firm; and a law clerk to the Honorable Anthony M. Kennedy, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

He holds a law degree from Columbia University School of Law, and has a bachelor's degree in philosophy and mathematics from the University of Illinois.

The search for a new Sacramento president began in October 2002. The search committee is composed of three trustees plus the board chair, CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed, a CSU president, Sacramento faculty, staff and student representatives and a community person. California State University, Sacramento is the sixth largest university in the 23-campus CSU system, enrolling a multicultural student body of nearly 29,000 while keeping a commitment to small classes. It is California's Capital University. Students enjoy extensive research and internship opportunities in Sacramento, the heart of California government.

The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, nearly 407,000 students and 45,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded about 2 million degrees. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. See www.calstate.edu.

For more information on the candidates, go here.

Contact: Colleen Bentley-Adler, (562) 951-4801, cbentley-adler@calstate.edu

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Last Updated: 27 February 2003

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