Remarks by Dr. Joseph I. Castro – April 23, 2021

Cal State DC Scholars Master Class Series
Welcome Remarks (as prepared)
Chancellor Joseph I. Castro
April 23, 2021

Thank you very much for that kind introduction, Eliza. And thanks to all of you for inviting me to your inaugural master class series on leadership. I’m certainly flattered to be considered a master, and I hope to live up to that billing.

My deep appreciation also goes to DC Scholars Director Stephen Stambough and the entire DC Scholars advisory board for building, sustaining and expanding this remarkable program and for opening doors to a world of opportunity for our passionate, diverse and talented young scholars.

I often remind our California State University faculty and staff that we are charged with educating a new generation of bold leaders who will guide our state and nation to new levels of innovation, understanding, security and prosperity.

DC Scholars, you are those leaders. And talk about bold! Leaving the comforts of home, your families, sunny California and In-N-Out Burger to fly across the country on the adventure of a lifetime.

Cal State DC Scholars have made their mark in every corner of our capital: supporting legislative leaders, aiding scientific discoveries, serving top arts and media organizations, delving into economics and analyzing dozens of business sectors, fighting climate change and homelessness –even advancing the mission of the United Nations.

And this is just the start of what I’m sure will be fulfilling, successful and impactful careers in leadership.

Before we begin our discussion (which I’m very much looking forward to) I’d like to frame our talk with an idea that has served me well throughout my career.

One of my favorite books is The Road to Character by New York Times writer David Brooks. Brooks describes two types of virtues. The first he calls “resume virtues.” These include the substantive knowledge you have honed during your college journey, your communication skills, critical thinking, the ability to effectively collaborate with others and various technical skills that are so important in today’s workforce. Given your many successes and accomplishments, I am guessing that you all have resume virtues in abundance.

The other set of attributes can sometimes be overlooked. Brooks calls these “eulogy virtues”: characteristics like honesty, integrity, loyalty, respect for others and humility. He calls them eulogy virtues because – ultimately – they are what truly establish your legacy as a leader. A worthy eulogy requires that we conduct ourselves honorably and think about what is best for the greater good of our community and our society. 

There will be times when this is easier said than done. But when you are inevitably faced with the temptation to focus on self-interests or the interests of a few influential voices that may not align with the greater good, perhaps take a moment to reflect on the eulogy virtues: what you want your legacy to be and your impact and influence on those who follow in your footsteps. How will they act? What will their contributions be?

Leave a legacy – a living legacy – by helping to create a new generation of capable, ethical and compassionate leaders.

Now I’d like to do my part toward that goal by answering your questions. Eliza, would you please moderate our discussion?