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2/27/2024 9:10 AMBeall, Alex2/27/20242/27/2024 2:40 PMUniversity leaders shared the benefits of a CSU degree with communities at more than 60 places of worship across California.Student SuccessStory

​On Sunday, February 25, the CSU partnered with African American faith-based organizations throughout California for the 19th annual CSU Super Sunday event. CSU system leaders, campus presidents, administrators and students visited places of worship—both in person and virtually—to share personal stories and important college-related information for Black and African American students. More than 60 faith-based organizations participated in the event, with additional activities taking place in the next three weeks.

CSU Chancellor Mildred García spoke during the services at Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood.

“We want to build lifelong relationships with our Black students and their families and ensure that every Black student attains the life-changing benefits of a CSU degree," García told the congregation. “I hope you'll let nothing hold you back. Whether you're the first in your family to attend, looking to transfer from a community college or an adult who wants more for yourself through a certificate or degree, the CSU offers the programs and support you need to reach your dreams."

After the Super Sunday services, outreach directors and staff provided information on the CSU application and admission process, as well as scholarships and financial aid available to Cal State students.

CSU Super Sunday is a key element of the CSU's year-round efforts to engage with local faith-based communities to share a message of access and opportunity, and to provide prospective students and their families with important information about college preparation and admission.

Since its launch in 2005, more than a million people have participated in this signature awareness event for the CSU's African American communities. The CSU remains committed to closing equity gaps and ensuring that all Californians have the access and support needed to achieve a high-quality college degree as part of its Graduation Initiative 2025.

See how our universities participated in CSU Super Sunday 2024.

​CSU Chancellor Mildred García speaks at Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood
CSU Reaches Out on Super Sunday 2024
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2/26/2024 4:08 PMKelly, Hazel2/26/20242/26/2024 2:45 PMPhilanthropic support underscores value of CSU to create long-lasting success for students, their families and communities.PhilanthropyStory

In 2022-23, the California State University secured more than $557 million in new gift commitments and almost $466 million in gift receipts. The CSU's cumulative endowment market value reached an all-time high, at over $2.5 billion.

Philanthropic support has a significant impact on the CSU and its 23 universities, enriching campus communities and providing support for the CSU's work in creating social mobility for graduates, their families and communities across California and the nation.  ​

“I offer my deepest gratitude and appreciation to our donors for their extraordinary commitment to the California State University," said Chancellor Mildred García. “Their generosity reverberates through all areas of the CSU and its extended community, from bolstering affinity centers to providing degree programs for incarcerated individuals to supporting scholarships that benefit underserved populations. Philanthropic gifts help to advance the CSU's mission of empowering our students from all backgrounds—America's new majority—to pursue their dreams and gain social and economic independence."


​Donors designated $328 million for current CSU programs across the system, including: 

  • $93.7 million for faculty support and academic enrichment
  • $44.8 million for student scholarships
  • $29.7 million for athletics 
  • $17.3 million for academic research
  • $5.5 million for student affairs and student life, supporting a wide range of co-curricular programming that promotes community service, student leadership and career development, among other areas
  • $137 million for additional university priorities

Highlights from the 2022-23 Donor Support report include:

  • CSUN received more than $7 million from Autodesk Inc. to fund the new Autodesk Technology Engagement Center, where students will learn, create and innovate.
  • A $20,000 grant to CSU Monterey Bay will help student parents cover housing expenses.
  • Thanks to a monumental gift from the Ballmer Group, CSU Dominguez Hills will launch two programs that will prepare more than 1,000 new preschool and early elementary school teachers to serve the Golden State.
  • One donor-funded initiative that creates a powerful and lasting impact for students at all 23 universities is the Guardian Scholars program, which supports current foster youth and those exiting the foster care system. Founded at Cal State Fullerton, the Guardian Scholars program is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
  • ​These gifts and thousands more continue to propel students forward, as the CSU remains the nation's largest and most ethnically and economically diverse public four-year university system—and its most powerful driver of social mobility.

View the full report of philanthropic giving on the CSU Donor Support website. Learn more about how to make charitable donations to the university on the Support the CSU website.  

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​What is Social Mobility? 

​Upward social mobility is the improvement of an individual's socioeconomic status—​and obtaining a college degree is one of its primary drivers. A CSU education allows students to move into a better socioeconomic position. In turn, their success allows their families and communities to thrive. Philanthropic gifts to the university and its 23 campuses are critical in supporting the CSU's mission of providing transformational opportunities for students from all backgrounds to earn a high-quality college degree. Read more about the CSU's role in social mobility for its students and communities across California.​

 

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CSU Receives $557 Million in Charitable Giving for 2022-23
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2/27/2024 1:35 PMBeall, Alex2/26/20242/26/2024 8:20 AMThe Technology Infrastructure for Data Exploration (TIDE) project at SDSU will give CSU researchers access to new high-performance data processing capabilities.TechnologyStory

​Funded by a $991,749 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Technology Infrastructure for Data Exploration (TIDE) project will establish a new computing core facility at San Diego State that will allow researchers throughout the CSU to conduct high-performance computing processes, expanding their ability to perform high-level research.

“This is the first computational core in the CSU, a shared service where SDSU is hosting hardware that will benefit faculty across our system​," says Jerry Sheehan, TIDE's principal investigator, as well as an SDSU adjunct professor and former chief information officer. “Increasingly as you have more data-intensive courses, you have more students who are interested in being able to use the same sort of tools that someone in the UC system is going to get access to."

The computing center will first be available for partners at Cal Poly Humboldt, Cal State San Bernardino, San Diego State and Stanislaus State, who are conducting research that requires advanced computational infrastructure—such as identifying antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis strains, programming robots with more human reactions, digitally reconstructing archeological artifacts and developing models of water circulation. The center will eventually be available to all 23 campuses.

CSU researchers will be able to connect remotely to the center to process their research data. By running on graphics processing units—rather than central processing units like many computers and networks—TIDE will allow researchers to process massive amounts of data in a much shorter amount of time. This is because graphics processing units utilize a unique technological architecture that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to process data more quickly.

Such a resource will bolster students' academic and professional success by giving them more opportunities to engage in high-level research and use high-performance computing technology. It will also help attract and retain quality faculty who will now be able to conduct research at the same level as those at research-focused institutions. In fact, data has shown that faculty working at campuses with high-performance computing resources like TIDE tend to have more academic publications.

“Our proposal is based on putting the resource in the CSU to serve our faculty—as well as to increase awareness around and opportunities for our workforce of students to use these tools to make them competitive, not only academically, but also as they enter their professional careers or go on to more advanced degrees," Sheehan says.

Ed Clark, Chief Information Officer at the CSU Office of the Chancellor, says: "I’m excited about what the TIDE initiative means for the CSU. Certainly, it will benefit our current faculty members and attract new scholars working on computing-intensive research projects. But just as importantly, these resources will be used to teach our students critically needed skills that are in high demand across the country. This student aspect sets the project apart from other high-end research computing initiatives."

Significantly, TIDE is also addressing equity challenges. Through its Campus Cyberinfrastructure (CC*) program, the NSF has sought ways to expand access to campus-based resources and technology that will allow faculty and students to conduct high-level research. This has included investments in high-speed networks and data storage, but more recently NSF efforts have focused on computing capabilities and the creation of regional computing centers like TIDE that could be accessed by a collection of institutions. NSF has also targeted these efforts toward institutions serving historically underserved populations, such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions. The goal is to diversify the research field.

TIDE will help achieve this goal as it will make such technological resources available to the nation's largest system of public higher education, which is home to the most ethnically, economically and academically diverse student body in the United States. In addition, 21 CSUs are des​ignat​ed Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and the CSU provides more than half of all undergraduate degrees earned by California's Latinx, African American and Native American students combined—many of whom are first-generation and Pell-eligible.

“In order for science to be democratized, everyone has to have access—and the easiest way for that access to occur is for there to be resources that are broadly distributed with the right support infrastructure," Sheehan says. “Investing in the CSU is foundational to creating a level playing field for everyone to compute."

A separate $6.7 million NSF grant awarded in 2022 will allow SDSU and CSUSB, along with the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UC San Diego, to train cyberinfrastructure professionals—both staff and graduate assistants—on this new technology. These professionals will then facilitate the CSU community's use of the resource.

“The learning curve on the engagement with TIDE is going to be high," Sheehan says. “But I think the most important thing for everyone inside the CSU to know is this is their resource, and our goal is to make it useful to them."

In addition,​ Dell Technologies is powering the project with Dell PowerEdge servers​, while the CSU Chancellor's Office has committed itself to sustaining this resource, should it prove successful.

Finally, TIDE will connect the CSU to the National Research Platform (NRP) led by the SDSC. This partnership of more than 50 institutions provides access to thousands of graphics processing units and central processing units that partners can use for data processing. Through this network, CSU researchers who have a data processing need larger than what TIDE can manage are able to leverage NRP's more extensive technological infrastructure.

“If you have a big job that is beyond the resource at San Diego State University, you could go out to this much larger national infrastructure [to process the research data]," Sheehan says. “One of the reasons that we refer to TIDE as infrastructure for data exploration is because we want to be an on-ramp to much larger resources."

 

Read the SDSU article for more information about the TIDE project.

rendered image of servers with TIDE logo
New Computing Center Expands CSU Research Capabilities
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2/23/2024 1:02 PMThropay, Janessa2/23/20242/23/2024 1:00 PM​California State University students who work on-campus jobs under the student assistant classification have voted to join the California State University Employees Union.Collective BargainingPress Release

California State University (CSU) students who work on-campus jobs under the student assistant classification have voted to join the California State University Employees Union (CSUEU). With nearly 20,000 student assistants employed by the CSU, the new unit will be one of the nation's largest represented groups of predominantly undergraduate student workers. 

The CSU will begin bargaining with CSUEU’s student assistant unit in the near future. Until a final agreement is reached, the student assistant classification will maintain current standards and requirements.


The following statement can be attributed to CSU Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Leora Freedman:​

“The CSU has a long history of providing on-campus jobs to students through student assistant positions, which give our students the opportunity to gain valuable work experience while they pursue their degrees. The CSU respects the decision of student assistants to form a union and looks forward to bargaining in good faith with the newly formed CSUEU student assistant unit."​



About the California State University 

The California State University is the nation's largest four-year public university system, providing transformational opportunities for upward mobility to more than 450,000 students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. More than half of CSU students are people of color, and nearly one-third of them are first-generation college students. Because the CSU's 23 universities provide a high-quality education at an incredible value, they are rated among the best in the nation for promoting social mobility in national college rankings from U.S. News & World Report, the Wall Street Journal and Washington Monthly. The CSU powers California and the nation, sending nearly 127,000 career-ready graduates into the workforce each year. In fact, one in every 20 Americans holding a college degree earned it at the CSU. Connect with and learn more about the CSU in the CSU newsroom. 

Student walking on campus with the copy "News Update" across the middle.
CSU Statement on Student Assistants Vote to Join Employees Union
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2/23/2024 4:20 PMRawls, Aaron2/21/20242/21/2024 8:00 AMIn celebration of Black History Month, the CSU's African American university leaders reflect on their journey and inspiration.LeadershipStory

The California State University strives to create a welcoming environment for all members of its campus communities, and this commitment to inclusive excellence is manifested in students who make up one of the most ethnically, economically and academically diverse student populations in the nation. In fact, 52% of CSU students are from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds and the CSU provides more than half of all undergraduate degrees earned by California's Latinx, African American and Native American students combined.

The CSU’s leaders are as diverse as the students they serve, and their lived experiences inform their leadership styles and offer them a unique perspective on how to foster student success and lift up historically disadvantaged communities. 

"As the nation's largest and most diverse four-year university system in the nation, the California State University is at the forefront of recruiting and cultivating outstanding university leaders who reflect and connect with our student body," says CSU Chancellor Mildred García. 

"While we are inspired by their exemplary contributions every day, the CSU is proud to take the opportunity of Black History Month to honor our Black presidents for providing invaluable guidance and wisdom from lived experiences and exemplifying all that is possible through the transformative power of higher education. We also want to recognize and extend our deep appreciation to our Black trustees, who contribute their time and talents by serving on the board and helping us lead the CSU to even greater heights."

To mark the occasion of Black History Month, we asked some of the CSU's African American leaders to share their journey, what inspires their work and how they use their platforms to effect change in their communities. Read their thoughts below.


VERNON B. HARPER JR

VERNON B. HARPER JR
CSU BAKERSFIELD INTERIM PRESIDENT

Who or what inspired you to continue pursuing new and higher leadership roles, and how were you influenced by the presence or absence of people of color in these positions?  

Though I didn’t know it at the time, the seeds of my desire to serve as a leader in higher education were planted when I was a doctoral student at Howard University. For the first time in my life, I was surrounded by students, professors and university leaders who looked like me. My most powerful memory of my time at Howard was this feeling of being affirmed without a word, without ever knowing that I was seeking affirmation. You are affirmed by your existence. We travel through life as people of color in the United States and we don’t know the void we carry until it is filled. That’s what happened to me at Howard, and it is the same experience I want to provide to students in Bakersfield. 

I also owe an incredible debt of gratitude to my parents—neither of whom graduated from college—for investing their hopes in me and always believing that the America of my future would be a more just and equitable place than the one they knew in the Jim Crow South of their youth. Their refusal to surrender to despair and the internal fortitude and grace they demonstrated in the face of racism has had a profound impact on my life.

In my career in education, I have been fortunate to serve with a number of principled leaders who have seen in me a spark that they took the time to nurture and develop. One of the most influential was Dr. Horace Mitchell, the first African American president of CSUB, who invited me to become part of the team in Bakersfield. It was the best professional decision of my life when I accepted that invitation.

The CSU places high importance on diversity, equity and inclusion. Why are these values important in higher education and how do you ensure your campus is an inclusive environment for students of color?

It is an incredible point of pride that all campuses in the CSU—including Bakersfield—are centered around the core principles of diversity, equity and inclusion. Yet as an educator and leader, I am most inspired by the virtues that are born of our DEI efforts: empathy, compassion and, most important, the dawning recognition in our students that the understanding that comes when we connect with people who are different from us expands our own hearts and souls.

But a commitment to fostering a DEI culture also has other benefits that follow our students for the rest of their lives. Exposure to diverse populations makes us more competitive economically, socially and politically in a global landscape that rewards leaders with the ability to bridge differences, bring people together and find common ground in a chaotic marketplace of disparate voices, views and interests.

The breadth and depth of CSUB’s efforts span the entire university, and every member of our team contributes to this priority. But we are especially proud of a new initiative called the Black Students Success Council that consists of administrators, faculty, staff and students. The council will take our support of Black students to another level and help guide efforts to establish a Black Student Center, which would aim to increase recruitment and enrollment efforts for Black students.

How do you use your platform as a university president to effect change in the African American community?

As the new interim president of CSUB, I’m just getting started in the role. But I have had the honor of serving in Bakersfield since 2016, and in that time, I have championed many initiatives at CSUB aimed at closing equity gaps, increasing graduation rates and retaining students of color, particularly young Black men in that critical period between their freshman and sophomore years. The support systems that we have developed in recent years, particularly as an outgrowth of Graduation Initiative 2025, have provided critical research and data that form the foundation for outreach to students who are struggling to continue their studies. And we are seeing the results of those action plans.

Here in the heart of the Central Valley, friendship and engagement matter. Bakersfield’s small-town values and well-deserved reputation for warmth and hospitality belie our growth into a major California city. CSUB’s most recent presidents—Dr. Horace Mitchell and Dr. Lynnette Zelezny—made tremendous strides in forging a bond between the university and the communities we serve, and there is potential to build even stronger connections and expand our footprint into neighborhoods throughout the region. At a recent NAACP banquet, several community members thanked me for showing up in support, and I was moved and disarmed by their sincerity. The lesson I took away is one that I will carry with me in every interaction with our community, including our Super Sunday outreach, when several CSUB leaders fan out across the city to address African American congregations: Never underestimate the power of showing up.


Thomas Parham

THOMAS PARHAM
CSU DOMINGUEZ HILLS PRESIDENT

Who or what inspired you to continue pursuing new and higher leadership roles, and how were you influenced by the presence or absence of people of color in these positions?  

I come to my role as the chief executive of a campus with a posture as a reluctant leader who, if truth be told, never aspired to be a university president or even a senior executive. On the contrary, I was content being a psychologist of African descent, and an African-centered one at that, whose roles and duties as academician, clinician, scholar and researcher, administrator and consultant were enough for me to manage.

And yet, the invitations to serve in higher levels of the organization hierarchy that I received in my career echoed the voice of my first mentor and mzee [respected elder], the great psychologist and contemporary father of the Black psychology movement Dr. Joseph L. White. He reminded me to consistently produce excellence, and that excellence would bring me opportunities. He was also clear that in the context of one’s trajectory toward career success, the key to mental health, particularly for a young Black man or woman in the field of psychology in America, was to develop and create a broad range of choices and options in one’s endeavors. It also helped to see other people of color and of African descent in these roles. CSU Bakersfield President Emeritus Horace Mitchell, Ph.D., and former University of California, Irvine Chancellor and current UC President Michael Drake, Ph.D., are two examples I can point to who were not only role models but symbols of possibility and potential for me.

The CSU places high importance on diversity, equity and inclusion. Why are these values important in higher education and how do you ensure your campus is an inclusive environment for students of color?

Higher education is about the cultivation of the human spirit and human potential. And yet, that cultivation must consider the cultural mores, values, customs and traditions diverse people bring with them on their journey through life. Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are essential elements in higher education and impact everything from faculty and staff composition, curriculum offerings, the instructional methodology and system of pedagogy an instructor employs, the student experience on campus and the relationship of a campus to the community in which it is located. Equally important, students should be able to see themselves reflected within the fabrics of the university community and attention to DEI helps that.

Regarding insuring that my campus is a diverse and inclusive environment, I tend to engage in a multi-pronged approach. One strand of that approach puts great intentionality of ensuring that we have a competent and capable, yet diverse, student body, staff, faculty and senior executive leadership team. Increasing the pipeline of applicants and providing opportunities to review credentials of students, staff, faculty and senior administrators in the admissions, human resources and academic department domains where each segment apply is also important. However, making real and authentic DEI progress demands that we move beyond simplistic yardsticks of diversity progress like counting demographics. That’s where the second strand emerges. For me, diversity is not just percentages of race, gender, etc. Diversity is a question that asks if policies and practices of our institutions and agencies change as a function of our demographics, or whether they are contaminated with the racism, sexism and biases that are too pervasive in the human condition. It is that level of review and interrogation that helps us be a truly diverse and inclusive environment.

How do you use your platform as a university president to effect change in the African American community? 

Throughout my professional life as a psychologist, academician, clinician and senior administrator, I have been blessed with a platform to use my voice, my writing and my behavioral activities to effect change. That posture has been enhanced since becoming a university president. As a president, I speak to my university community with an uncompromising clarity about our campus's ability to transform and move from where we are to where we might be, if only we can close that attitudinal and behavioral gap between aspiration and actualization. Externally, I stay involved in and engaged with the larger African American community, participate in national and community-based organizations and write articles and commentaries on issues that impact various segments of our nation's citizenry for various local and national periodicals like Inside Higher Ed and the Los Angeles Sentinel


Tom Jackson, Jr.

TOM JACKSON JR.
CAL POLY HUMBOLDT PRESIDENT

Who or what inspired you to continue pursuing new and higher leadership roles, and how were you influenced by the presence or absence of people of color in these positions?

My leadership experience in higher education is rooted in student affairs. Having worked closely with students, I have seen firsthand the power of opening doors to education. It has been—and still is—amazing to see what students are capable of when they have access to opportunities and resources that are often out of reach for many, including underrepresented young people. They flourish in an environment where their dreams are seen as concrete, achievable goals. Given the chance to shine, students can change the trajectory of their lives. I'm inspired by their dedication and their commitment to bettering themselves through education.

My own life trajectory has been influenced by many factors and people. My parents instilled perseverance to withstand the naysayers I would encounter. Early supervisor Joe Poell inspired me to pursue graduate school. Mentor Dr. Charlie Fey, who is still one of my closest friends, opened the door to doctoral programs for me and befriended me through a more than 35-year career, so far. There are others who are diverse in their own ways. A few were of color; most were not. But they valued our relationship, they valued me and they valued the work of helping students. Their passion for helping others comes out every single day in the work that I do as a university president.

The CSU places high importance on diversity, equity and inclusion. Why are these values important in higher education and how do you ensure your campus is an inclusive environment for students of color?

There is no question that diversity continues to be the source of strength for all campuses in the CSU system. That's why amplifying the voices of students who may not otherwise be heard is critical to providing a positive, meaningful educational experience at Cal Poly Humboldt. Our students—45 percent of which are people of color—bring with them their unique perspectives and life histories which ultimately make us stronger as a university and as a campus community. Cal Poly Humboldt also plays a major role in diversifying the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce. As of the 2022-23 academic year, 41 percent are Pell Grant recipients and 37 percent of STEM majors are people of color. Fifty-one percent of STEM majors are women while 41 percent of STEM faculty are women. And 48 percent of recent Cal Poly Humboldt graduates were the first in their families to earn a college degree.

I look at these figures and I'm in awe of the resilient spirit of students who have overcome personal and financial hurdles to graduate from Cal Poly Humboldt. That's all the more reason campus resources are dedicated in support of these students and continue to play an important role in their success. In the spirit of staff and faculty helping others, we have programs like the Cultural Centers for Academic Excellence. The centers support academics and create a sense of belonging for students of color. They are also homes away from home where students can receive peer mentoring, be involved in cultural programs and build a community.

As a campus, we are not just trying to help students of color succeed while they are in college. We have an obligationa dutyto help students succeed beyond college and in society. To help them find their voice and their life's passion is a service to a greater good. The person who will discover the cure for Alzheimer's disease, cancer and other diseases will be a college graduate. That graduate may also be a person of color. We cannot afford to lose any students who are in the pipeline for a degree. The one we do lose might have been the one to make a history-making discovery later in life.

How do you use your platform as a university president to effect change in the African American community?

This is a very personal question to me. My grandmother lived during a time when African Americans weren't allowed to pursue an education beyond the eighth grade. Still, she believed in the power of books and of education. She passed those values on to her children including my father who passed them on to me. Two generations later, I am proud to say that, like so many students across the CSU system, I am the first in my family to earn a college degree and the only one to earn a doctorate.

I am also a university president who is African American and also Filipino, Native American and Irish, and I am honored to be an educator who makes tangible changes by supporting opportunities for people of color. Those opportunities include the continuing push to hire diverse administrators and faculty. Additionally, we have a new position that supports outreach and partnerships with local Tribal nations. Being a person of color in a leadership role carries with it incredible opportunity and responsibility. Through my story and the stories of other leaders in the CSU, we can show students what is possible after graduation. Despite the obstacles that may come their way, students can serve their communities and help to solve the many challenges our world faces today.


Soraya Coley

BERENECEA JOHNSON EANES
CAL STATE LA PRESIDENT

Who or what inspired you to continue pursuing new and higher leadership roles, and how were you influenced by the presence or absence of people of color in these positions?

When I began my graduate program at Boston University, I realized that none of the faculty looked like me. They didn’t share my background, experiences or culture. Because of that absence, I felt like there was a gap somewhere that I had to figure out for myself. I pursued leadership roles to help fill the void and offer other students what I felt was missing in my experience.

I was also inspired to pursue leadership roles because I wanted to be a part of shaping the conversation about learning and teaching. I wanted to be a faculty member of color, a faculty member who represents students and who is in conversation with students.

The CSU places high importance on diversity, equity and inclusion. Why are these values important in higher education and how do you ensure your campus is an inclusive environment for students of color?

We live in a time where this conversation is complex and exciting. Some people see it as negative and feel pressure to see diversity as an obligation rather than an opportunity to work with their community. We have to push ourselves and see this conversation as an opportunity to serve our young people and an opportunity to look at belonging, and the benefits of an active, diverse community.

Diversity, equity and inclusion are values that keep us moving forward toward a more equitable society. There was a time when African Americans had to fight for the right to eat in certain places, vote in local and federal elections or swim in city pools. Today, when we focus on diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education, we are working to ensure that all students have an affirming space in which to learn, explore and grow. We are developing a generation who will expect and work for the same values in our society.

I am invested in knowing the history of what my students have been and are currently fighting for or fighting against.

How do you use your platform as a university president to effect change in the African American community?

I am a social activist by showing up every day being a president. Nobody intended for me to be a university president. There are not very many African American women presidents. I am already breaking barriers by being here and showing up. My social justice platform is this position and doing my best to be here for the Cal State LA community in this role.

We all have an opportunity to define and grow our impact in all the spaces we occupy. I am grateful to have the experience of this presidency to effect change.


Soraya Coley

SORAYA COLEY
CAL POLY POMONA PRESIDENT

Who or what inspired you to continue pursuing new and higher leadership roles, and how were you influenced by the presence or absence of people of color in these positions?

I grew up in North Carolina at a time when segregation was the law of the landa time when the color of my skin determined where I could live and go to school. Significant portions of society said to me, "You are not and you cannot." The attitudes and prejudices of others could have defined or deterred me. But it was the sense of self-worth instilled by my mother and my grandmother that gave me the resilience to succeed.

I owe an incalculable debt to my grandmother, who was very active in registering Black Americans, especially the elderly, to vote for the first time after the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Her courage still burns within me today.

I owe a gratitude to my mentors and supporters, especially those who saw potential in me that I never imagined. I vividly remember a time earlier in my career when I had just settled into my role as a department chair at Cal State Fullerton. The university president at that time, Dr. Jewel Plummer Cobban African American woman and trailblazer in the sciencessaid very emphatically that, someday, I was going to be a university president. I summarily dismissed that idea, but her confidence in me and her mentorship proved critical in getting to where I am now.

The CSU places high importance on diversity, equity and inclusion. Why are these values important in higher education and how do you ensure your campus is an inclusive environment for students of color?

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), as core values, are not only crucial to higher education but to humanity. Our human diversity, along with our diversity of thought, experiences and contributions are among our greatest strengths and greatest benefit to our communities, our state and our nation. Only by fostering inclusion and mutual respect can we create an environment where each of us is empowered to reach our full potential and greatest contributions.

Higher education remains the greatest engine for social mobility. This is especially the case for low-income students and for students of color. Unfortunately, the converse is also true. When low-income students and students of color start college but don't complete their degree, they end up worse off than if they had not gone to college at all because they do not have a degree but, too often, end up in debt without means to pay. So, we have to create the conditions in which all students—including those who the system is not set up to serve—can thrive.

Cal Poly Pomona is one of the most diverse polytechnics in the nation. But the benefits of diversity and inclusion don't just happen. It takes deliberate effort and an institution-wide approach. Academic Affairs, Advancement, Student Affairs, Administrative Affairs, Information Technology, Athletics...everyone needs to be engaged. I'm fortunate to serve at a campus where those efforts are valued and actively promoted. And yet, I know that there is so much more that we need to do.

How do you use your platform as a university president to effect change in the African American community?

I appreciate being part of a public university and system in which we welcome and proactively engage in extending access to achieving the social mobility that is derived from higher education. I work with local and national groups in promoting access, opportunities and education advancement. We are hosting the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education (AABHE) Leadership and Mentoring Institute summer program. I also served on the faculty of the New Presidents Academy sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) that engages attendees in discussions regarding DEI in higher education. As a campus, we also collaborate with local professional and community-based groups as well as national organizations that provide early education and information about college to young people.

Cal Poly Pomona is the first CSU to launch a Black Thriving Initiative. Through town hall meetings, surveys and listening sessions, we found that we have more to do to fulfill our value of inclusion, particularly for Black students, faculty and staff, and we have welcomed and encouraged our entire campus to participate. The initiative recognizes that our university's future is connected to the success of Black communities both on and off campus.


LUKE WOOD

LUKE WOOD
SACRAMENTO STATE PRESIDENT

Who or what inspired you to continue pursuing new and higher leadership roles, and how were you influenced by the presence or absence of people of color in these positions?

My mother had me and my twin brother while she was in jail—immediately making us wards of the court. I grew up in a diverse foster care home, but that was the only place I saw people who looked like me while growing up in the rural community of McCloud, California. The color of my skin made me a target for teachers and my peers. I was suspended more than 40 times in elementary school, and it wasn’t until the right teacher showed up that I finally experienced the joys of being in an educational environment and the positive impact an educator could have on my life. 

During my undergraduate years at Sacramento State, Dr. Cecil Canton became one of the many mentors who supported me during my college journey. As I navigated the uncertainties in my life, I decided to join student government. It was then I realized I wanted to become president of Sacramento State—not for the title, but for what I could do in the role.

When I became a professor, then vice president for Student Affairs, then chief diversity officer, it showed me more than ever how instrumental it was for Black and African American students to have educators and leaders across their campus who looked like them. It’s a privilege and an honor to return to my alma mater as president to ensure students know they too can achieve any goal they dream of. 

The CSU places high importance on diversity, equity and inclusion. Why are these values important in higher education and how do you ensure your campus is an inclusive environment for students of color?

I like to add justice to equity, diversity and inclusion—making it JEDI. For decades, systemwide policies across our country have hindered our Black and African American students from achieving in high numbers, and it starts as early as pre-kindergarten. If our students see JEDI on their campuses, retention will be higher, meaning students are coming back to finish their degrees because they're in a welcoming environment.

I believe it takes investments and new pathways to demonstrate to our students that we hear them and see them. Currently, I've initiated cluster hiring across our campus—bringing in educators who have a demonstrated record of success serving our most minoritized student populations.

How do you use your platform as a university president to effect change in the African American community?

As a new president, it is critical that I learn from the campus and the community. During my first semester on the job, I held 92 listening sessions attended by more than 1,500 students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members. I asked them to share not only what makes Sacramento State distinctive and what we are already doing well, but also where we need to improve and how we can do so without compromising our JEDI values.

Right before I became president, I worked with colleagues across the CSU system on the 2023 CSU Black Student Success Report (BSSR). The findings of that report were clear: Our Black and African American students need more support to get them to graduation and foster a more welcoming environment.

When I arrived at Sacramento State, I learned we serve the largest number of students who identify as Black and African American across all 23 CSUs, and all the UCs, except for one. I take pride in that and decided to take the recommendations from the BSSR and launch the first-ever Black Honors College in the nation. We're creating a model on how to best showcase Black Excellence, create a clear career pathway to graduation and cultivate the leaders of tomorrow.


JACK B. CLARKE JR.

JACK B. CLARKE JR.
VICE CHAIR, CSU BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Who or what inspired you to continue pursuing new and higher leadership roles, and how were you influenced by the presence or absence of people of color in these positions?

My mother and father, Rose Elizabeth Clarke and Jack Clarke Sr., impressed upon me the importance of being involved in the community and they were unbending in their belief that higher education is a ladder that must be climbed. Both were college graduates and both had successful careers. My father, in particular, emphasized that it is important to be a part of systems and to try to be of service, rather than simply a critic of what was happening in the world.

The CSU places high importance on diversity, equity and inclusion. Why are these values important in higher education and how do you ensure the CSU is an inclusive environment for students of color?

DEI should be a critical element of higher education and our society at large. While we aspire to be a color blind society, I do not belive that we have gotten there yet. Too many markers from the days of intentional, invidious discrimination remain in our society. Our systems of higher education can hopefully serve as a catalyst to move our global community towards a place where the residual effects of discrimination and irrational intolerance are no longer obvious.

How do you use your platform as a CSU trustee to effect change in the African American community?

All I, or anyone, can do—in my opinion—is to live according to the values that we would like to see in the world. If we want a system that is fair, open and just, then each of us should try to apply those values in our day-to-day dealings. As I make decisions that affect the CSU, I will try to act according to the values I was taught by my family and by the many mentors I have been fortunate to learn from during my lifetime.


Lateefah Simon

Lateefah Simon
MEMBER, CSU BOARD OF TRUSTEES​

Lateefah Simon is a 25-year veteran organizer for racial justice in Oakland and the Bay Area. She has been the president of the Akonadi Foundation since 2016. That same year—driven by the death of Oscar Grant—she ran for and was elected to the Bay Area Rapid Transit Board of Directors—of which she now serves as president. Simon received the MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Award in 2003—making her the youngest woman ever to receive the award—in recognition of her work as executive director of the Young Women's Freedom Center.

Previously, Simon served as program director at the Rosenberg Foundation, where she launched the Leading ​Edge Fund to seed, incubate and accelerate bold ideas from the next generation of progressive movement leaders in California. She also held the position of executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, where she launched successful community-based initiatives, including the Second Chance Legal Services Clinic. Simon also spearheaded San Francisco's first reentry program, a highly effective anti-recidivism youth services division under the leadership of then-District Attorney Kamala Harris. Previous to serving in this role, Simon became—at the age of 19—the executive director of the Center for Young Women's Development (now named the Young Women's Freedom Center), a position she held for 11 years.

Simon’s other numerous awards include the California State Assembly's "Woman of the Year;" The Chronicle of Philanthropy's "40 Under 40: Young Leaders Who Are Solving the Problems of Today and Tomorrow;" the Jefferson Awards for Extraordinary Public Service; and Inside Philanthropy's "Most Promising New Foundation President." She has also been honored by the Ford Foundation, the National Organization for Women, Lifetime Television and O Magazine.


The CSU partners with African American communities to increase the college preparation, enrollment and graduation rates of students across the state of California. Learn more about these efforts.

Cultivating Potential
CSU-Statement-on-CFA-Vote-to-Ratify-Union-Contract.aspx
  
2/19/2024 12:54 PMThropay, Janessa2/19/20242/19/2024 12:45 PMOn February 19, the CFA announced that its members had voted in favor of the tentative agreement reached with the CSU in January. Collective BargainingPress Release

Today, the CFA announced that its members had voted in favor of the ​tentative agreement reached with the CSU in January.


The following statement can be attributed to the California State University Office of the Chancellor:​

“The California State University (CSU) is pleased with the results of the California Faculty Association's (CFA) ratification vote. This agreement provides for a 10 percent general salary increase to all faculty by July, with a raise in salary minimums for the lowest-paid faculty that will result in increases—some as high as 21 percent—for many of them. It also addresses issues that the CFA identified as extremely important to its members, such as increased paid family leave from 6 to 10 weeks and a process for making gender-inclusive restrooms and lactation spaces more easily accessible. We look forward to the CSU Board of Trustees Committee on Collective Bargaining ratification of the agreement in March and to continue working in partnership with the CFA and its members to carry out our mission in service to our students and the university."


A link to the tentative agreement can be found on the CSU Labor and Employee Relations website under Tentative Agreements. ​



​About the California State University 

The California State University is the nation's largest four-year public university system, providing transformational opportunities for upward mobility to more than 450,000 students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. More than half of CSU students are people of color, and nearly one-third of them are first-generation college students. Because the CSU's 23 universities provide a high-quality education at an incredible value, they are rated among the best in the nation for promoting social mobility in national college rankings from U.S. News & World Report, the Wall Street Journal and Washington Monthly. The CSU powers California and the nation, sending nearly 127,000 career-ready graduates into the workforce each year. In fact, one in every 20 Americans holding a college degree earned it at the CSU. Connect with and learn more about the CSU in the CSU newsroom. 

Dumke Auditorium with the copy "News Update" across it.
CSU Statement on California Faculty Association Vote to Ratify Union Contract
CSU-Engages-Faith-Based-Partners-for-Super-Sunday-Outreach-in-February-and-Beyond.aspx
  
2/19/2024 10:17 AMThropay, Janessa2/19/20242/19/2024 8:25 AMAnnual statewide events seek to inspire a college-going culture among African American youth.Student SuccessPress Release

The California State University (CSU) has partnered with a number of predominantly African American churches throughout California to present the 19th annual CSU Super Sunday on February 25, 2024. CSU system leaders, campus presidents, administrators and students will visit places of worship—both in person and virtually—to share personal stories and important college-related information with congregants to advance access, opportunity and success for Black and African American students.

“CSU Super Sunday remains a key element in our year-round efforts to engage with local faith-based communities to share a message of access and opportunity, and to provide prospective students and their families with important information about college preparation and admission," said Dilcie Perez, deputy vice chancellor of CSU Academic and Student Affairs and Chief Student Affairs Officer. “As we collectively work to advance Black student success across our university system, we want to build lifelong relationships and make sure every one of our Black students attains the life-changing benefits of a CSU degree."

After Super Sunday services, outreach directors and staff will provide information on the CSU application and admission process, as well as scholarships and financial aid available to Cal State students.

Since its launch in 2005, more than a million people have participated in this signature awareness event for CSU's African American communities. The CSU remains committed to closing equity gaps and ensuring all Californians have access and support in achieving a high-quality college degree as part of Graduation Initiative 2025. In 2022-23, more than 3,800 African American students earned CSU bachelor's degrees and more than 750 earned CSU graduate degrees.

The CSU's Black and African American community engagement extends beyond Super Sunday. The university plans to hold additional faith-based outreach events in the spring and fall to continue to build upon the message of Super Sunday. In addition, the CSU is creating a systemwide steering committee with faith-based leaders to provide support and share best practices to promote Black student success. The CSU has made elevating Black excellence on its universities an urgent priority and has developed a 13-point action plan as part of its June 2023 report on Black student success. In addition, the university has committed $10 million over three years to advance these priorities. 

With 23 universities across California, the CSU offers more access to diverse higher education pathways than any public university system in the United States. Nearly one-third of CSU students are the first in their family to earn a degree, more than half are from traditionally underrepresented communities and nearly half of undergraduates receive the Pell Grant. And, more than half of CSU bachelor's recipients in 2022-23 graduated with zero student debt.

To find a CSU Super Sunday church location near you, visit the CSU Super Sunday website. Learn more about the CSU's ongoing work to elevate Black excellence at the Black Student Success website.



About the California State University 

The California State University is the nation's largest four-year public university system, providing transformational opportunities for upward mobility to more than 450,000 students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. More than half of CSU students are people of color, and nearly one-third of them are first-generation college students. Because the CSU's 23 universities provide a high-quality education at an incredible value, they are rated among the best in the nation for promoting social mobility in national college rankings from U.S. News & World Report, the Wall Street Journal and Washington Monthly. The CSU powers California and the nation, sending nearly 127,000 career-ready graduates into the workforce each year. In fact, one in every 20 Americans holding a college degree earned it at the CSU. Connect with and learn more about the CSU in the CSU newsroom. 

Three Black students side-by-side for a picture at graduation.
CSU Engages Faith-Based Partners for Super Sunday Outreach in February and Beyond
CSULB-Alumna-Caitlin-Dickerson-Pulitzer.aspx
  
2/19/2024 8:19 PMRuble, Alisia2/19/20242/19/2024 8:00 AMAward-winning journalist Caitlin Dickerson shares how her CSU education inspired her career.AlumniStory

​Curious. Driven. Trailblazing.

Cal State Long Beach alumna Caitlin Dickerson ('11) is a fierce defender of democracy who uses investigative journalism as a check against inequality. Through deep research and powerful storytelling, Dickerson reports on urgent issues impacting American life and brings light to injustices hiding in dusty files and dim detention centers. She also travels the country to deliver a powerful message to the next generation of reporters about the essential role journalism plays in upholding the democratic values of transparency and accountability.

Over the course of more than a decade in journalism, she has earned numerous awards for her writing and reporting, including an Edward R. Murrow Award and a George Foster Peabody Award for a series on secret World War II mustard gas testing that grouped subjects by race. That reporting prompted the first official government acknowledgement of the experiments and a law that was passed providing better access to disability benefits for the remaining living veterans who were exposed to mustard gas.

A Merced, California native, Dickerson has reported on immigration, history, politics and race across four continents and dozens of American cities. She served as a producer and investigative reporter for NPR and as a reporter for the New York Times before becoming a staff writer for The Atlantic in 2021.

In 2023, Dickerson earned a Pulitzer Prize—arguably the top honor for a journalist—in the explanatory reporting category for​​​​ her “deeply reported and compelling accounting of the Trump administration policy that forcefully separated migrant children from their parents, resulting in abuses that have persisted under the current administration."​​

​​

​​​​Caitlin Dickerson (right) accepts her 2023 Pulitzer Prize for​ Explanatory Writing. Photo courtesy of Diane Bondareff/The Pulitzer Prizes.

Dickerson credits much of her success to her CSU education. She says she struggled academically before arriving at CSULB, but passion for her coursework and the supportive campus communities she joined helped her harness her potential. She ultimately graduated Magna Cum Laude and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest academic honor society in the United States. 

“I had a fantastic experience at Cal State Long Beach," Dickerson says. “Honestly, I chose CSULB because I needed to attend an affordable college and I loved the Southern California weather. I had no idea how much I would ​relish my educational experience until I arrived at CSULB and dug into my coursework, but once that happened, I knew I had made an excellent decision."

We sat down with Dickerson to learn more about her work and discover how her time at “The Beach" influenced her career.​


How did it fee​l to win a Pulitzer Prize, and what do you accredit your success to?

Winning a Pulitzer Prize was surreal. By the time I started working on the article for which I won the prize, which was in 2021, many people had encouraged me to move on from its subject matter because the family separation policy that I investigated was several years old by that time.

But my gut told me that a full accounting of how that policy had come to be and who was responsible for it was essential from an accountability perspective. That the Pulitzer Board ultimately agreed with me was extremely gratifying—it felt like a powerful gust of wind at my back telling me to trust my instincts and keep going, which I have. 

It's hard to attribute [my success] to any one thing. My parents were both extremely hardworking people—often to a fault—and I definitely inherited that trait. But I think more than anything else, my passion for journalism and the mission-driven approach that I take to my work comes through in the final product.

Tell me about your role as a staff writer for The Atlantic.

My job is to discover and write about urgent issues that are impacting American life. These stories take many forms—some are investigations that I conduct relying on large troves of public records and confidential sources, others are feature stories that chronicle moments in a single person's life in granular detail. My work typically centers on immigration and immigration policy, which has become my area of expertise during the last half decade of historic changes in global migration.

I travel a lot, both domestically and internationally, to research and report these stories. After they're published, I often appear on television and radio programs to expand on them even more. And, I will occasionally participate in documentaries and other video projects.​​

​​

​​​​Caitlin Dickerson (left) and U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro at the Atlantic Festival 2023. Photo courtesy of Jason Crowley/BFA.com.

What inspired you to pursue a career in journalism?

My CSULB degree in international studies played a major role. When I was a student, we were required to read a lot of news in order to apply to the present day the academic concepts and theories that we were learning about. (Hopefully this is still the case—I loved it!) While working toward that degree, I started to realize how much I enjoyed consuming journalism. I became fascinated with how my favorite journalists synthesized complicated stories using vivid and accessible language, and at their ability to make readers care about important issues.

At the same time, I was also coming to understand the importance of a robust free press in any functioning democracy—journalism is essential, in my view, to the democratic values of transparency and accountability. From there, journalism became a kind of mission for me. I knew that I wanted to help inform the public through deep research and powerful storytelling.​​​​

​What milestones have defined or altered your career path?

I've covered so many stories that have taught me powerful lessons, which I then apply to future work. My first big investigation looked at secret experiments with mustard gas that the U.S. military conducted on thousands of American troops during World War II. Initially, I was reporting on how the Department of Veterans Affairs was systemically denying those veterans disability payments to help pay for chronic health issues they had developed as a result of their exposure to mustard gas—a worthy story in its own right. But while reporting it, I discovered records in the National Archives in Maryland showing that the military had also conducted a set of race-based experiments on U.S. troops that had never previously been reported on by news outlets. Those records led me to conduct a separate investigation into the race-based tests.

In the end, the investigative series that I published prompted the first official government acknowledgement of the race-based experiments and a law that was passed providing better access to disability benefits for all of the remaining living veterans who were exposed to mustard gas. The experience taught me to keep an open mind until the very end of the reporting process because if not, you might miss important revelations. 

Less glamorous but still very impactful was my first real journalism job as an intern on the Washington Desk for NPR during the 2012 election cycle. I spent most of that internship doing two things: Transcribing interviews for the reporters on the desk and analyzing campaign finance disclosures. To some people, this work might have been viewed as tedious, but I loved it, and it laid the groundwork for everything I've achieved since.

Listening to hours and hours of interviews conducted by my journalistic heroes taught me how to conduct my own interviews, and analyzing campaign finance records from small races that few people were paying attention to taught me how to work with complex datasets. I use these skills constantly in my current work. It's important that students and aspiring journalists remember that those early jobs that sometimes feel menial can really pay off in the future, so they should draw as much from them as possible.​​

​​

​​​​Caitlin Dickerson delivers the commencement address at a University of North Texas at Dallas 2023 commencement ceremony​. Photo courtesy of UNT Dallas.

 ​Tell me about your time at CSULB. What are some of your favorite memories?

I had a fantastic experience at CSULB. I loved the international studies program, then led by Dr. Richard Marcus. Another one of my favorite professors was Julie Weise, a historian of immigration, whom I still contact a couple of times each year to talk about immigration stories that I'm working on and to find out what she's up to. I was active in the International Studies Student Association and joined the Learning Alliance as an incoming freshman, which was massively helpful. The program taught students how to navigate college life, and as an added bonus, it helped me make friends in school as soon as I arrived. Many of those in my cohort remained close through graduation, and I benefited a lot from the mutual support in the group.

What advice do you have for current and future college students and/or aspiring journalists?

I would encourage future college students and aspiring journalists to be proactive when they get to college, and to make adjustments to their internships and courses based on what they grow a passion for, rather than passively accepting what is put in front of them. Though it may sound like I was always on a path to journalism, the reality is that while I was in college, I explored the possibility of pursuing a number of different careers. That period of exploration helped me determine what steps to take after graduation. 

My second piece of advice is to keep in mind that there is no one correct answer to the questions you may have about your future. As a student, I often felt like my job was to solve an impossibly difficult riddle about what career path I should ultimately take. Though I am deeply grateful for my career as a journalist, I now recognize that I could have also been happy and fulfilled as a teacher or university professor, or as a lawyer, which I thought for many years I would become. Hopefully bearing in mind that most people can find fulfillment in a number of different professions lessens the pressure to make the “right" choice.

 

The more than 4 million alumni of the CSU are making an impact across the globe and are leaders in every industry. Meet more CSU alumni like Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Caitlin Dickerson.​

caitlin dickerson
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Alumna Brings News Stories to Life
CSU-statement-teamsters-vote-ratify-2024.aspx
  
2/16/2024 6:48 PMKelly, Hazel2/16/20242/16/2024 5:15 PMThe following statement can be attributed to the California State University Office of the ChancellorCollective BargainingPress Release
The following statement can be attributed to the California State University Office of the Chancellor:  

“The California State University (CSU) welcomes the outcome of the Teamsters vote and looks forward to the CSU Board of Trustees Committee on Collective Bargaining's ratification of the agreement in March. CSU's skilled trades employees are critical to meeting our educational mission and this agreement will bring much-deserved salary increases to our Teamsters and movement toward a salary steps program."  
 
For more information about Teamsters Local 2010's vote results, visit Teamsters2010.org

A link to the tentative agreement can also be found on the CSU Labor and Employee Relations website under Tentative Agreements.  

 

About the California State University 

The California State University is the nation's largest four-year public university system, providing transformational opportunities for upward mobility to more than 450,000 students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. More than half of CSU students are people of color, and nearly one-third of them are first-generation college students. Because the CSU's 23 universities provide a high-quality education at an incredible value, they are rated among the best in the nation for promoting social mobility in national college rankings from U.S. News & World Report, the Wall Street Journal and Washington Monthly. The CSU powers California and the nation, sending nearly 127,000 career-ready graduates into the workforce each year. In fact, one in every 20 Americans holding a college degree earned it at the CSU. Connect with and learn more about the CSU in the CSU newsroom​​. 


CSU Statement on Teamsters Local 2010 Vote to Ratify Union Contract
CSU-Extends-Intent-to-Register-Deadline-Due-to-Federal-Aid-Processing-Delays.aspx
  
2/7/2024 3:04 PMThropay, Janessa2/7/20242/7/2024 8:40 AMThe California State University has extended the intent to register deadline for fall 2024 for new first-time, first-year admitted students in response to the further delays in FAFSA.ApplyPress Release

The California State University (CSU) has extended the intent to register deadline for fall 2024 for new first-time, first-year admitted students to no earlier than May 15, 2024, in response to the further delays in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) processing announced by the U.S. Department of Education. This extension applies to each of the 23 universities in the CSU system.

“For prospective students who have applied for the fall 2024 term and received admission to one or more CSU campuses, this deadline extension allows them and their families additional time to review financial aid offers before making their decision to commit to a particular CSU," said April Grommo, assistant vice chancellor of CSU Strategic Enrollment Management.

Typically, CSU campuses would determine aid offers by March and ask admitted students to declare their intent to register to a CSU campus by May 1. However, the​ Department of Education announced on January 30 that it would begin sending student FAFSA information to universities starting in mid-March—approximately two months later than initially planned. This means that universities across the country, including the CSU, won't receive the federal data within the typical timeline needed to deliver financial aid offer letters to prospective students.

“We understand the frustration that students and families may be feeling. The CSU is committed to ensuring students receive a comprehensive financial aid package," said Grommo. “Financial aid offices across the CSU's 23 institutions are working diligently to be prepared so they can award students as soon as possible after the receipt of the student FAFSA information (ISIRs)."

For information on each CSU's intent to register deadline, visit the university's admissions or registrar website.

Students who have not applied for financial aid are encouraged to do so, as more than 80% of CSU students receive some form of financial aid and more than 60% of undergraduates have their tuition fully covered by non-load aid.​ The priority FAFSA deadline for academic year 2024-25 is April 2. For information on eligibility or how to apply, visit the FAFSA website or the California Student Aid Commission website.​



About the California State University 

The California State University is the nation's largest four-year public university system, providing transformational opportunities for upward mobility to more than 450,000 students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. More than half of CSU students are people of color, and nearly one-third of them are first-generation college students. Because the CSU's 23 universities provide a high-quality education at an incredible value, they are rated among the best in the nation for promoting social mobility in national college rankings from U.S. News & World Report, the Wall Street Journal and Washington Monthly. The CSU powers California and the nation, sending nearly 127,000 career-ready graduates into the workforce each year. In fact, one in every 20 Americans holding a college degree earned it at the CSU. Connect with and learn more about the CSU in the CSU newsroom. 

CSU student walking on campus with the copy "News Update" across the center.
CSU Extends Intent to Register Deadline Due to Federal Aid Processing Delays
Black-History-Month-2024-at-the-CSU.aspx
  
2/26/2024 1:06 PMRuble, Alisia2/6/20242/6/2024 12:20 PMSee how CSUs are celebrating Black History Month this year.DiversityStory

Each year in February, Black History Month provides the CSU an opportunity to recognize the legacy of​ Black and African American individuals—including leadership, faculty, staff, students and alumni—who have made lasting contributions to both the CSU and their communities.​

"The California State University celebrates Black History Month—and the students, faculty, staff, presidents and trustees whose work exemplifies and elevates Black success and excellence every day across the CSU’s 23 universities," CSU Chancellor Mildred García says. "We are proud to showcase just a few of the many ways our Cal State family is observing Black History Month, paying tribute to Black heritage and culture, and honoring the rich legacy of Black achievement."​​


See how universities across the CSU are marking the occasion.

Follow along on social media for more news and updates​ around Black History Month 2024.​​​

Black History Month at the CSU
What-is-Social-Mobility-Anyway.aspx
  
2/6/2024 10:39 AMThropay, Janessa2/6/20242/6/2024 8:00 AMLearn how higher education is a primary driver of improved socioeconomic status.Social MobilityStory

The California State University educates some of the most ethnically, economically and academically diverse student populations in the nation, and nearly one-third of CSU students are the first in their families to attend college. ​The CSU frequently highlights its ability to provide “social mobility" for its students, particularly those who are first-generation college students​. The question is: What exactly is social mobility and how does it relate to obtaining a college degree?

Social Mobility and Higher Education

First coined in 1927 by Pitirim Sorokin, a sociologist and political activist, social mobility refers to the movement of a person from one social status to another. In countries like the United States, individuals are freer to improve their social standing and experience upward social mobility.

Upward social mobility, the type of social mobility referenced in college rankings, describes the improvement of an individual's socioeconomic status. Although there are various means for attaining upward social mobility, obtaining a college degree is one of the most common and proven methods. Furthermore, “social mobility" is not simply limited to an increase in annual income. It can also include greater opportunities in society that would otherwise be unattainable, such as more prestigious jobs, wider professional networks and better access to health care.

Data from the 2012 Pew Economic Mobility Project shows that earning a four-year college degree promotes upward mobility from the bottom of the family income and wealth ladders and prevents downward mobility from the middle and top rungs. A 2021 study from Georgetown University demonstrated that the lifetime value of a college degree is $2.8 million. This analysis also discovered that bachelor's degree holders earned 75% more money than those who only had high school diplomas.

However, college graduates don't only have a higher rate of upward economic mobility. R​esearch collected in 2015 by the Lumina Foundation ​demonstrates that degree holders report higher levels of happiness and better overall health outcomes due to higher quality living conditions and health care, as well as less stress. Additionally, College Board's 2023 report, Education Pay​s, shares that college graduates​ face lower rates of unemployment and are more likely to enjoy the stability that comes from retirement plans and health insurance.

Social Mobility and the CSU

The personal benefits of higher education are many, yet not everyone has an equal opportunity to attend college. First-generation, low-income students are less likely to attend college and, when they do, are less likely to complete their degree. This fact has caused organizations measuring colleges' impact on social mobility to adjust their methodologies to paint a clearer picture of which universities provide students, especially those who are historically underserved, with the chance of a better life and a brighter future.

The Wall Street Journal, CollegeNet and U.S. News & World Report are a few of the most noteworthy college social mobility rankings in the nation. Each ranking system follows a slightly different methodology, but at their core, they share the same guiding principle: How well colleges and universities attract, retain, and help students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds complete their degrees and graduate into good-paying jobs.

My parents always shared with me that, 'The only inheritance a poor family can leave its children is a good education.'​ ​- CSU Chancellor Garcí​a

In 2023, the CSU dominated national social mobility rankings. Cal State LA topped the Wall Street Journal and College Pulse 2024 Social Mobility Rankings, followed by eight other CSUs in the top 20. CSU Dominguez Hills claimed the number one spot in CollegeNet's “Social Mobility Index," with eight more CSUs ranked in the top 20. Finally, in the U.S. News & World Report 2024 Best Colleges Rankings, Cal State Long Beach took the top spot among national universities promoting social mobility—with four other CSUs placing in the top 10. This recognition demonstrates the CSU's focus on educating, graduating and elevating all its students regardless of their economic or family situations.

No other CSU effort has helped the university's students achieve upward mobility more than Graduation Initiative 2025 (GI2025). Since GI2025's launch in 2015, the CSU's four-year graduation rates for first-time students have nearly doubled. In recent years, the initiative has focused on closing equity gaps between historically underserved students and their peers by reengaging and reenrolling students, implementing digital degree planners, expanding credit opportunities, removing administrative barriers to graduation and promoting equitable learning practices.

Along with providing a high-quality and equitable education, prioritizing affordability has been central to the CSU's mission, ensuring access to higher education for a greater number of individuals. The university has worked to maintain a competitively low annual tuition, while also securing access to financial assistance for students in need. In June 2023, former CSU Chancellor Jolene Koester appointed a workgroup charged with maximizing financial aid and ensuring affordability for CSU's current and future students. In September 2023, the CSU Board of Trustees approved a multi-year tuition proposal that included a commitment of an additional $280 million for student financial aid over five years in the form of the State University Grant​. This would designate at least a third of tuition revenue for student financial aid.

It is the belief of the CSU that any individual interested in pursuing their higher education should have the opportunity and proper support to do so. By continuing to adjust to the current financial and social reality of its students, the CSU provides them with an avenue to obtain upward social mobility for themselves and their families.

“My parents always shared with me that, 'The only inheritance a poor family can leave its children is a good education,'" said CSU Chancellor Mildred García during her welcome address at the 2023 Social Mobility Symposium. “And I have lived their dream. Social mobility is not only my personal story; it's my professional story. It's been my highest honor to play a role in elevating the lives of thousands of students through the transformative power of higher education."

Generational Impact

The life-changing impact of a college degree is not limited to a singular person, but has the ability to impact generations. A study of first-generation college students ​published by the U.S. Education Department's National Center for Education Statistics showed that children of college-educated parents are more likely to pursue and complete an undergraduate degree than young people whose parents did not attend college.

For this reason, the socioeconomic trajectories of many families have been elevated because of CSU graduates' decisions to pursue higher education. The Tisnado family is a prime example as Janet Tisnado's ('99) decision  to pursue her degree in electrical engineering at San Diego State inspired her two sons to follow in her footsteps. Similarly, Joseph Fraga couldn't have imagined his earning a degree from Fresno State in the 1950s would result in the next two generations doing the same. Their determination to create a better future for themselves became the storyline for their families' futures.

By empowering students and their families through access to social mobility, the CSU is dismantling systemic barriers that students from under-resourced communities often face. And in doing so, the CSU enriches the state's economy by graduating students who represent diverse perspectives and lived experiences that reflect our new majority. ​​

Janet Tisnado pictured with her two sons. Janet Tisnado (left) with her sons Danny (center) and Miguel (right). Photo courtesy of Melinda Sevilla/​SDSU 
Craig Collins pictured beside his family, three generations of Fresno State Bulldogs
 Joseph Fra​ga (center) surrounded by his wife Maybelle ​and two generations of Fresno State Bulldogs. Photo courtesy of Fresno State

​Ex​p​lore the CSU's most recent rankings and accolades, and discover 10 benefits of a college degree.​

Cal Poly Humboldt student at graduation holding her daughter.
What is Social Mobility Anyway?
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2/1/2024 7:16 PMRuble, Alisia1/31/20241/31/2024 9:05 AMDiscover how Guardian Scholars and similar programs empower foster youth to achieve their dreams of earning a college degree.Foster YouthStory

​​For a quarter century, the CSU-led Guardian Scholars program has created a powerful and lasting impact for foster youth, benefiting thousands of students. Founded at Cal State Fullerton in 1998, the initiative made history as the first of its kind in the nation and laid the foundation for similar foster youth programs at each of the CSU's 23 universities and across the country.

According to the National Foster Youth Institute, only 3% to 4% of former foster youth obtain a four-year college degree because it is uncommon for students to have the financial resources, mentorship, support, stability and guidance they need to complete postsecondary education.

The Guardian Scholars program breaks these barriers by providing a nurturing support system with wraparound services and a community that enhances belonging and success for students. It provides financial aid and basic needs support, as well as academic and professional resources including mentorship, network connections, advising and opportunities for leadership and career development. 

CSUF's Guardian Scholars program was recognized by the CSU Board of Trustees at its January meeting for 25 years of supporting former foster youth on their path to educational and career success. 

“Founded in 1998 with just three students, the Guardian Scholars program has now helped hundreds of CSUF scholars achieve their dreams of earning an undergraduate degree, [and] many alumni have also gone on to earn master's degrees," CSUF Interim President Sylvia Alva said at the meeting. “The graduation rate for transfer scholars is nearly 80%, essentially eliminating the gap between them and the general student population at Cal State Fullerton."

This year marks CSUF's largest cohort of Guardian Scholars with 27 current students expected to graduate in May. And the program recently expanded its services to graduate students, and nine are currently participating.

“Through hard work and a dedicated commitment to these remarkable students, Cal State Fullerton has become a trailblazer," Alva said. “Our Guardian Scholars program inspired others to develop similar projects that assist current and former foster youth, which have expanded to 90 colleges and universities, including all 23 CSUs."

A co-founder and major partner of the Guardian Scholars program at CSUF is the Orangewood Foundation, a leading service provider to youth in Orange County. The Orangewood Foundation has given $1.3 million over the years to the university to support the program.

“The incredible graduation rates for [Cal State Fullerton's] Guardian Scholars students are not a fluke," Orangewood Foundation CEO Chris Simonsen said. “They are due to a vision 25 years ago that is still well-executed and a continued investment of resources by university leadership. Cal State Fullerton created the 'gold standard' for the Guardian Scholars program, and that model has been replicated across California and the entire United States."

CSUF alumna Becky Wells ('00), who was among the first cohort of Guardian Scholars, shared with trustees how the program impacted her life.

“As a single mom and former foster youth, the financial burden of college was obvious," Wells said. “Less obvious, and something I underestimated, was the emotional support needed to make it through my last couple years of​ college. The people of Guardian Scholars helped pour the foundation of my success post college."

Wells continues to advocate for the program, saying, “A university's greatest resource is people. Put the right people in the right place and you can change lives forever." 

A ​​'Magnet' For Foster Youth

Sacramento State President Luke Wood recently shared his perspective​ on the Guardian Scholars program with a national audience on “Good Morning America." Wood himself is a former foster youth who was supported by programs like Guardian Scholars when he attended Sacramento State as an undergraduate student. As a university president, he strives to make Sacramento State an even more welcoming place for foster youth.

“Our goal is to have the largest enrollment of former foster youth in the country and to be known for serving them," Wood says. “And by that, I mean increasing their graduation rates and labor market outcomes in terms of employment and median earnings after graduation."

In addition to supporting former foster youth through the Guardian Scholars program, the university offers a free college readiness program for high school students in the foster care system, the First Star Sacramento State Academy, in partnership with Sacramento County Child, Family, and Adult Services Department, and the nonprofit organization First Star Academy.

First Star is one of only about a dozen programs nationwide, though many other areas across CSU outreach and admissions teams do programming and collaboration with nonprofit, community based organizations and governmental agencies to support foster youth.​ 

Through the program, students spend one Saturday a month at Sacramento State participating in a variety of learning opportunities including academics, social and cultural activities, field trips, guest speakers, and recreational and service-learning activities. They also receive individual support through mentors, homework assistance and education advocacy.

Every summer, they spend two weeks living in the residence halls, learning about college life as well as developing skills to help them succeed in high school and prepare for college.

“The whole idea is to recruit them in the ninth grade and have them stay with us for four years," says Linda Howe-Ram, Guardian Scholars' director of Foster and Community Youth Initiatives at Sacramento State. “Then we make sure they have all their college requirements so they're able to go to a four-year university, preferably Sac State."

The first class graduated from high school last year. According to Howe-Ram, of the eight students who completed the program, five are attending Sacramento State and three are going to community colleges.

Wood says he wants to establish a national movement where select colleges and universities across the country serve as "magnets" for students who have been part of the foster system, because “they'll know when they come to a place like Sacramento State, they're not just coming to a school, but they're coming home." 

Tough Titan​

CSUF alumna ('19) Junely Merwin says learning about the Guardian Scholars program was a “turning point" in her story. She entered the foster care system in Los Angeles when she was 15 years old. As a young parent and student, she navigated the complexities of foster care while raising her son, moving between three homes and attending several high schools and a community college.

“The realization that someone from my background could receive such a life-changing opportunity brought a profound sense of hope," Merwin says. “I understood that this scholarship was my ticket to ensuring a brighter future for both myself and my son." 

Empowered by the program, Merwin discovered her passion for advocacy, built a professional network and learned invaluable leadership skills through her involvement in campus organizations. In 2019, her dedication to service and uplifting others earned her the Outstanding Student Leader Award

“Being a Guardian Scholar means hope and opportunity," Merwin says. “It signifies the opportunity to break the cycles of adversity and create a future where I can be the best scholar, parent and leader in my community." 

Merwin has since returned to CSUF to pursue her master's degree in higher education with plans to graduate in 2024. After commencement, she hopes to pursue a career as a national speaker and advocate that inspires change in the foster care system. 

Hear from current and former Guardian Scholars at Cal State Long Beach and discover how the program has impacted their lives. 

 

 Learn more about CSU resources for​ current and former foster youth​.

junely merwin at her commencement ceremony
Celebrating 25 Years of Guardian Scholars at the CSU
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1/31/2024 9:56 AMRuble, Alisia1/30/20241/30/2024 2:00 PMWang Family Excellence Awards honor exceptional contributions in teaching, scholarship and service to CSU students.FacultyPress Release

The California State University (CSU) will present four faculty and one staff member with the esteemed Wang Family Excellence Award for their unwavering commitment to student achievement and advancing the CSU mission through excellence in teaching, scholarship and service. Each honoree will receive an award provided by CSU Trustee Emeritus Stanley T. Wang and administered through the CSU Foundation.

Honorees will be recognized publicly today​, January 30, during the CSU Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach, California.

“It is my great honor to confer the 2024 Wang Family Excellence Award to five extraordinary individuals who have made it their life's work to elevate the CSU learning experience and create limitless opportunities for our students," said CSU Chancellor Mildred García. “Their skill, innovation and unwavering commitment to fulfilling the CSU's mission wonderfully represent the highest ideals of the university."

Introduced in 1998, the Wang Family Excellence Awards recognize CSU faculty members who have distinguished themselves through high-quality teaching and excellence in their area of expertise. The awards also acknowledge a staff member whose contributions go above and beyond expectations.

The five honorees are:

John Crockett, Ph.D., San Diego State (AVP for Research Advancement, Adjunct Professor of Geosciences) | Outstanding Staff Performance

Dr. John Crockett has been credited for invigorating the university's research enterprise by determining what objectively measurable, functional contributions he and his team can make that leverage SDSU scholars' intrinsic excellence. As a result, SDSU has been able to grow its research activity by more than 40% in just five years, now exceeding $192 million in external research activity in 2023.

With his team, Crockett has supported the training of more than 300 new faculty members on the San Diego State campus and many more graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. One of his group's signature programs is the Grants Research and Enterprise Writing fellowship, which coaches early-career faculty members on communicating effectively with grant officers, developing successful proposals and sharing their research with media and other stakeholders.​

For the past decade, Crockett has also worked to foster the expertise of early‐career faculty at SDSU. With an emphasis on equity, he and his team received NSF funding for and designed an intervention focused on preparing early‐career scholars to contribute equitably within science teams and be credited for their contributions.

 

Kelly Ansley Young, Ph.D., Cal State Long Beach (Professor of Biological Sciences) | Outstanding Faculty Innovator in Student Success

For the 20 years she has been at Cal State Long Beach, Dr. Kelly Ansley Young has utilized her exemplary teaching skills, knowledge, focused scholarship and student-centered inclusive approach to create pedagogical and mentoring programs for faculty that promote student achievement.

As part of the National Institute of Health (NIH) Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) program at Cal State Long Beach, Young created two programs to train mentors of research students, her most recent program focusing on mentoring through an equity and inclusivity lens. Since summer 2022, over 600 mentors have completed the Advanced Inclusive Mentoring (AIM) program and Young has trained AIM leaders at 11 CSU campuses, with nine of these universities adopting AIM. All told, AIM mentors are projected to reach an estimated 42,000 to 140,000 students during their careers.

Young's reproductive biology research laboratory is revered as a place where her students are not merely observers; they do their own research, present it at conferences and publish it in scholarly journals. Young successfully funded student research through three NIH grants. Overall, Young's practices and programs have multiplied exponentially the success of CSU students.

 

Daniel Crocker, Ph.D., Sonoma State (Professor and Chair of Biology) | Outstanding Faculty Scholarship

Dr. Daniel Crocker is a world-renowned researcher and expert on how human-created stressors such as noise and contaminants affect the survival and reproduction of thousands of species that live in the oceans.

He holds a nearly unparalleled record on campus for successful research funding, bringing in nearly $8 million in capacity building and transforming the university's biology program. His vertebrate endocrinology lab has received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NIH to better understand the strategies that seals use to survive extended fasting and breath-holds. These studies not only inform scientists' knowledge of how these animals develop these capabilities but also hold important implications for human health issues such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome. 

Additionally, Crocker is deeply committed to mentoring and training university students in research skills. He has been instrumental in developing the master's program in biology at Sonoma State, with his funding efforts supporting paid research for more than 40 graduate students in the university's lab. Crocker's research projects have also involved the recruitment of more than 100 undergraduates, many of whom are first-generation college graduates, including McNair, Sally Casanova, and Koret scholars from underserved communities.

 

Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales, Ph.D., San Francisco State (Professor of Asian American Studies) | Outstanding Faculty Teaching

Dr. Tintiangco-Cubales is known among her colleagues as a leader in creative and innovative curriculum and teaching methods. Her teaching strategies are widely regarded as models for engaging with students from elementary school to postgraduate studies and providing transformative experiences for students inside and outside of the classroom.​

Tintiangco-Cubales has developed and taught nine different undergraduate and graduate courses in Asian American studies and ethnic studies, teaches seminars in the educational doctoral program and supports the teaching of ethnic studies each semester to more than 150 students in the Step to College program. She has served as an advisor for the department's B.A. majors and minors, as well as the coordinator for the Asian American studies Master of Arts program. As an advisor, she has served as chair and/or committee member on more than 70 master's thesis committees and she has sat on and/or chaired 40 dissertations in the doctoral program in education both within and outside of San Francisco State​. She is frequently credited with helping to illuminate a pathway for working-class and first-generation students at SFSU.

Along with her students, Tintiangco-Cubales founded an award-winning and nationally recognized organization known as Pin@y Educational Partnerships, an ethnic studies educational community. Through the program, graduate and undergraduate students from SFSU and surrounding universities pursuing careers in education or community service receive a unique opportunity to teach critical Filipina/x/o American studies in K-12 schools and community colleges.

 

Charles Toombs, Ph.D., San Diego State (Professor of Africana Studies) | Outstanding Faculty Service

Dr. Charles Toombs is widely known and regarded for his scholarship, his service to the university and his deep commitment to creating just and equitable futures for Black communities. Over his nearly 30 years at San Diego State, he has chaired the department of Africana studies twice and served on and chaired committees relating to personnel, tenure and promotion, curriculum, scholarship and academic planning for both the department and college. His university-level engagement has included service on general education and student success committees and various task forces and initiatives dedicated to underrepresented faculty.

Toombs' career is equally distinguished by his many years of service to faculty in the California State University system and beyond. He currently serves as president of the California Faculty Association, the largest higher education faculty union in the United States, and as a vice president of SEIU California.

Toombs supports students' understanding of the world through a cultural and social justice lens, while engaging directly with underrepresented communities throughout California. He has earned praise for his ability to connect theoretical material to a practical understanding of the community and the issues that students and faculty face.

Exemplary teaching and a commitment to student success from faculty and staff as demonstrated by Wang Family Excellence awardees further supports the CSU's Graduation Initiative 2025. This flagship initiative is focused on increasing graduation rates for all CSU students while eliminating equity gaps and meeting California's workforce needs.

For more information on the awardees and their accomplishments, visit the Wang Family Excellence Award website.



​About the California State University

The California State University is the nation's largest four-year public university system, providing transformational opportunities for upward mobility to more than 450,000 students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. More than half of CSU students are people of color, and nearly one-third of them are first-generation college students. Because the CSU's 23 universities provide a high-quality education at an incredible value, they are rated among the best in the nation for promoting social mobility in national college rankings from U.S. News & World Report, the Wall Street Journal and Washington Monthly. The CSU powers California and the nation, sending nearly 127,000 career-ready graduates into the workforce each year. In fact, one in every 20 Americans holding a college degree earned it at the CSU. Connect with and learn more about the CSU in the CSU newsroom.​ 

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CSU Awards Faculty and Staff for Commitment to Student Success
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1/30/2024 1:37 PMKelly, Hazel1/30/20241/30/2024 1:35 PMCalifornia State University Chancellor Mildred García has appointed Greg Saks as vice chancellor to lead the CSU's Division of External Relations and Communications.LeadershipPress Release

California State University (CSU) Chancellor Mildred García has appointed Greg Saks as vice chancellor to lead the CSU's Division of External Relations and Communications. He will join the executive leadership of the CSU system in this new role on February 12, 2024, and will report directly to the chancellor.  

“Greg is an inclusive, strategic and principled leader, an innovator and a tireless and compelling communicator of the CSU mission," said Chancellor García. “As a champion of the transformational power of higher education and of California's diverse and talented students, Greg has a long and extraordinarily impressive track record of garnering support for the institutions he has represented. I have every confidence that, with his leadership, the CSU's commitment of access, success and inclusive excellence will reach and inspire countless students, families, friends and supporters."

In October 2023, Chancellor García announced that the former Division of University Relations and Advancement would be renamed the Division of External Relations and Communications to reflect her vision to strengthen the CSU's position as the nation's preeminent university system. The Division of External Relations and Communications will work to achieve this vision by leading the CSU's efforts in advocacy, communications and brand positioning, media relations, advancement, and alumni engagement.

As the vice chancellor of the division, Saks will serve as the key policy advisor to the chancellor and the CSU's 23 university presidents in navigating immediate and emerging issues as well as creating mid- and long-term strategies for communicating to key stakeholders and constituents the transformative impact the CSU has on students, families, communities, the state and nation.

“It is an honor to be expanding my opportunity for impact with the nation's largest and most diverse four-year university system as the vice chancellor for External Relations and Communications," said Saks. “Through its dedicated leaders, faculty and staff, the California State University is empowering the nation's future educated workforce and uplifting communities throughout California and beyond. I look forward to working alongside our invested stakeholders in telling our students' powerful stories and taking the CSU to even greater heights." 

Saks brings more than 30 years of leadership in higher education stakeholder engagement, philanthropic development, government advocacy and strategic communications. He currently serves as vice president for University Advancement at California State University, Fullerton, a position he has held since 2013, and is the executive director of the Cal State Fullerton Philanthropic Foundation. Under his leadership, CSUF has strategically elevated its marketing and brand position and developed an authentic outreach effort that has grown its presence and built advocates throughout the region and the diverse communities throughout the state and beyond. In addition, Saks significantly expanded all aspects of philanthropy, including the successful completion of the first comprehensive campaign for Cal State Fullerton that raised more than $270M toward a goal of $250M.

Prior to CSUF, Saks served as the vice president for University Advancement at California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH). During his tenure, CSUDH expanded its alumni engagement and government and community relations activities, and strengthened the case for investment in CSUDH that resulted in 80% more philanthropic commitments and grew the university's endowment by more than 68%.

Saks also served eight years at Pitzer College, a member of the Claremont Colleges, in leadership roles in alumni and parent relations as well as development. He also held positions in student affairs and advancement at Baylor University and Cal Poly Pomona.

Saks is a product of the CSU, having earned his bachelor's degree in history with a minor in communications from Cal State San Bernardino. He also holds a master's degree in higher education administration from Ohio's Miami University.​

 

About the California State University 

The California State University is the nation's largest four-year public university system, providing transformational opportunities for upward mobility to more than 450,000 students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. More than half of CSU students are people of color, and nearly one-third of them are first-generation college students. Because the CSU's 23 universities provide a high-quality education at an incredible value, they are rated among the best in the nation for promoting social mobility in national college rankings from U.S. News & World Report, the Wall Street Journal and Washington Monthly. The CSU powers California and the nation, sending nearly 127,000 career-ready graduates into the workforce each year. In fact, one in every 20 Americans holding a college degree earned it at the CSU. Connect with and learn more about the CSU in the CSU newsroom. 

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CSU Chancellor García Names Vice Chancellor of External Relations and Communications
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2/23/20242/23/2024 1:00 PM​California State University students who work on-campus jobs under the student assistant classification have voted to join the California State University Employees Union.
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1/30/20241/30/2024 1:35 PMCalifornia State University Chancellor Mildred García has appointed Greg Saks as vice chancellor to lead the CSU's Division of External Relations and Communications.
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1/22/20241/22/2024 10:35 AM​The California State University will be providing regular updates during the strike. All CSU campuses are open during the strike.
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a group of future college students on campus for a preview day
What You Need to Know About Applying to the CSU
Alumni-in-Advertising.aspx
  
1/16/20241/16/2024 9:25 AMMeet CSU alumni putting their creativity to work in advertising.AlumniStory
Alumni Journeys to​ Advertising
CSU-Remembers-the-Life-of-Bill-Stacy.aspx
  
1/9/20241/9/2024 5:55 PMFounding president of Cal State San Marcos passes away at age 85.LeadershipStory
Bill Stacy addressing a class at CSU San Marcos.
The CSU Remembers the Life of Bill W. Stacy
Corps-Strength.aspx
  
1/9/20241/9/2024 8:00 AMCSU students and alumni make a significant impact on California communities through the #CaliforniansForAll College Corps program.Service LearningStory
Juliana Garcia Josh Fryday and Kenia
Corps Strength
CSU-Scores-High-for-Social-Mobility-in-College-Rankings.aspx
  
1/3/20241/3/2024 9:25 AMThe California State University once again earned top marks for empowering students and promoting upward mobility.Social MobilityStory
CSU Scores High for Social Mobility in 2023 College Rankings
Puerto-Rican-heritage-award.aspx
  
12/18/202312/18/2023 3:45 PMThe Puerto Rican Heritage Award recognizes individuals who are advocating for higher education and leadership development of Puerto Rican and Latinx youth.ChancellorStory
chancellor garcia receiving award
CSU Chancellor Mildred García Honored by Comité Noviembre
Bidding-Farewell-to-2023.aspx
  
12/18/202312/18/2023 8:40 AMTake a look back at the efforts and accomplishments of the CSU's students, faculty, staff and community members in 2023.CommunityStory
Bidding Farewell to 2023
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