Dr. Mildred García began her tenure as the California State University’s 11th chancellor on October 1, 2023. She is the first-ever Latina to lead the nation’s largest and most diverse four-year public university system.
The appointment marks a return to the CSU for Dr. García, who served as president of Cal State Fullerton from 2012 to 2018, during which time she led the university to record improvements in graduation rates and nearly tripled new philanthropic gift commitments. She also served as president of CSU Dominguez Hills from 2007 to 2012, where she held the distinction of being the CSU’s first Latina president. At CSU Dominguez Hills, she dramatically increased retention rates for freshman and transfer students and eliminated a structural deficit of $2.8 million.
Prior to her appointment as chancellor, Dr. García served as president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) since 2018, where she was a strong and internationally renowned advocate for public higher education, working to influence federal policy and regulations on behalf of 350 member colleges and universities. She is the first Latina to lead one of the six presidentially based higher education associations in Washington, D.C. During her tenure at AASCU, she directed a strategic agenda that focused on public college and university leadership for the 21st century and provided professional development opportunities for presidents, chancellors and other public higher education leaders.
Dr. García previously served as the CEO of Berkeley College, where she was the first systemwide president for all six campuses in New York and New Jersey. She has held both academic and senior-level positions at Arizona State University; Montclair State University; Pennsylvania State University; Teachers College, Columbia University; and the Hostos, LaGuardia and City Colleges of the City University of New York.
A recipient of myriad awards and honors, Dr. García was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on several advisory boards, including the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, and by the U.S. Secretary of Education to serve on the Committee on Measures of Student Success.
Dr. García was raised in New York City by her parents, who moved to New York from Puerto Rico. A first-generation college student and the first in her family to earn a degree, she received her associate degree from New York City Community College, a bachelor’s in business education from Bernard M. Baruch College and a master’s in business education from New York University. At Teachers College, Columbia University, she earned a master’s and a doctorate in higher education administration.