Remarks by Dr. Timothy P. White – May 22, 2019

Remarks by Dr. Timothy P. White
Chancellor, California State University
CSU Board of Trustees Meeting – Chancellor’s Report
Long Beach, CA
May 22, 2019

Thank you, Chairman Day.

Before I begin my report today, it is my duty under the Education Code to report to you approved changes in admission practices before those changes can be enacted.

All campuses have complied with the provisions of the Education Code that require a series of public hearings and public disclosures in advance of submitting their final program impaction requests, and have been approved to implement these changes in admission practices for the 2020-21 academic year.

The following campuses provided justification and received permission to impact additional academic programs beginning with the fall 2020 term:

Los Angeles: All programs and majors.

San Marcos: Biotechnology, software engineering and electrical engineering.

The following campuses provided justification and received permission to update their supplemental admission criteria for academic programs beginning with the fall 2020 term:

Channel Islands: Nursing programs.

East Bay: Nursing programs.

Fullerton: Nursing programs.

San Jose: Animation/illustration, business administration, engineering programs, kinesiology. psychology, public health and social work.

Through the annual impaction review process, two campuses have discontinued impaction for levels and academic programs for the 2020-21 academic year. The following academic programs will no longer be impacted beginning with the fall 2020 term:

San Francisco: Biology, biochemistry, chemistry, criminal justice studies and sociology.

Sonoma: Upper-division transfer.

It’s never easy to report the impaction of additional programs anywhere within the CSU…and I am pleased that San Francisco and Sonoma have been able to discontinue impaction for certain levels and programs.

As we all know, impaction occurs when the demand for our learning environment outpaces our capacity…it is a resource-based constraint we deal with the best we can.

That’s why Governor Newsom’s May revision and the Legislature’s proposal are so significant…and a source of optimism.

As we heard reported here yesterday, the Governor has affirmed his January commitment to boldly invest in higher education and the California State University – and has approved additional recurring funds to help meet emergency student housing and to support Project Rebound.

And with the Senate and the Assembly proposals announced just in the last few days, it is becoming increasingly likely that additional investments in Graduation Initiative 2025 and student access will be included in the final budget agreement.

Indeed, this is reason for optimism. With additional resources, we can serve thousands more Californians who just want a chance at the opportunities higher education brings. And as our students powerfully demonstrate – again and again – when given that chance … and with the support of our remarkable faculty and staff … they will overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to succeed.

Each commencement season gives us countless examples of this. And this year is no different. Let me share briefly just three stories with you now.

Mary Gibaldi was enrolled in Chico State’s master’s program in English studies. Last fall, in addition to her own coursework, Mary was teaching two high-level English courses, serving as president of the English Graduate Student Council and working as the assistant director of the ESL Resource Center.

Then, on November 8th, the Camp Fire broke out. That morning, Mary and her husband fled the Paradise, California, home where they were living, still dressed in their pajamas. They saved their dogs…but nothing else. Everything was lost.

Somehow, despite this devastating loss, Mary moved forward to earn her degree. She credits the sense of home and family she found in Chico State’s English Department.

A quote from her: “They rallied around me and made sure I made it through and accomplished what I needed to accomplish,” she says. “I’m convinced I couldn’t have done it anywhere but Chico State.”

Last week, Mary delivered the student address at Chico State’s College of Humanities and Fine Arts Commencement Ceremony – and she looks forward to starting her Ph.D. program at Ohio State in the fall.

A college degree was not in the cards for Oshae Rodgers. He had grown up in poverty. His senior year in high school, troubles at home had him living in a sleeping bag in the store room of a local business. The school guidance counselor told him he had too many strikes against him to succeed in college.

Oshae’s uncle eventually took him in with the condition that continue his education. Oshae ultimately enrolled at Cal State Northridge and was instantly inspired by the academic setting and intellectual exchanges with faculty and peers – turned out, he just needed a chance. He was named a University Scholar. In 2016, he became a CSU Trustee Award recipient. Two days ago, he graduated with a baccalaureate in history.

He starts graduate school this fall at UCLA, and wants to become a teacher. A quote from him: “If I can just touch one life, I know that person will touch other lives – and I’ll have done my job.”  

Tammy Linn was in the Sacramento County Jail, 28 years old, the mother of three young children, illiterate and facing 10 years in prison for dozens of crimes she had committed since starting to sell drugs to support herself at 14. She had spent most of her life running away from group homes and psychiatric hospitals. She had never set foot in a high school.

She asked for a Bible. She was given an easy-to-read version. She pored over that Bible, carefully sounding out the words, slowly teaching herself how to read. A love for learning was kindled.

Tammy earned her high school equivalency in prison, enrolled in community college upon her release and transferred to Sacramento State in 2015, where President Nelsen is one of her greatest advocates. In fact, his letter to then-Governor Jerry Brown played a significant role in Tammy being granted a full pardon for her crimes in December 2018.

“Tammy is a champion for others, and being a part of our Project Rebound and Guardian Scholars Program shows that,” he says. “A lot of people are trying to turn their lives around. She’s trying to move forward and that makes her exceptional.”

Tammy graduated last week with a bachelor’s in psychology. She says she never wants to leave Sacramento State. She hopes to enroll in graduate school at her alma mater, and would love to work on campus – in any role where she can help students achieve their dreams.

As these three stories so powerfully demonstrate, if just given a chance, Cal State students will succeed – sometimes against the longest of oddsand embark upon lives rich with promise…for themselves, their families, their communities and for the future prosperity of California and our nation.

You know, sometimes, it’s also the generosity of Cal State’s friends and supporters that give our students that chance. I want to take just a moment to recognize two extraordinary friends of the CSU and of San Francisco State, George and Judy Marcus.

The Marcus’s transformative gift of $25 million will establish the George and Judy Marcus Funds for Excellence in the Liberal Arts at San Francisco State, endowing four faculty chairs and supporting research and renewed facilities.

This is just the most recent of example of the Marcus’s generosity – they are the campus’s largest donors ever. And they have contributed to the CSU in so many ways beyond their philanthropy…George as a former CSU trustee and member of the Foundation Board of Governors, and Judy as a member of San Francisco State’s Foundation Board of Directors and a long-time volunteer… their contributions are far too many to list in this limited time, so I simply say to George and Judy, thank you for your generosity and for your decades of dedicated service to the California State University.

In closing, I would be remiss if I did not once again recognize four others here today for their dedicated service. We said goodbye thank you already to these four valued members. To Trustee Hinton … to President Haynes, to President Wong and to President Rossbacher…I am grateful for you and your skilled, insightful and inspired leadership, and all you’ve taught us as we have worked together on things that mattered. The California State University – and campuses for the presidents – are stronger because of your service. I thank you and wish you all the best.

Chairman Day, that concludes my report.