Bidding Farewell to 2023​

In 2023, the CSU recommitted itself to being a welcoming, transformative place for all. It took steps to celebrate its students, faculty, staff and community members and to strengthen its policies that protect and support them in their endeavors—all while preparing for a change in leadership. Take a look back at some of the year’s stories highlighting the efforts and accomplishments of these individuals.​




Making Herstory: To begin the year, we recognized the return of Captain Samar Bannister to her alma mater Cal Maritime where she is serving as the first woman captain of the Training Ship Golden Bear.



Honoring the Voices of our Ancestors: For Black History Month in February, we acknowledged the milestones and exceptional people who have helped to make the California State University what it is today: a place of academic rigor, exceptional achievement and pioneering inclusiveness.

Ahead of the 18th annual Super Sunday event, Cal Poly Pomona's President Soraya Coley reflected on the message of CSU Super Sunday and its impact on the lives of students and families.



A ‘Deep Pool of Experienced Women Leaders’: This year marked a significant moment in CSU history when all of the university's top leadership positions were held by women for possibly the first time. To mark the moment, we asked Interim Chancellor Jolene Koester, Chair of the Board of Trustees Wenda Fong and EVC for Academic and Student Affairs Sylvia A. Alva about their journeys to leadership.

In addition, we explored CSU programs and organizations that empower women in STEM through recruiting strategies, support programs and career development.



Internship Power: While the CSU offers a high-quality education accompanied by hands-on learning experiences, it understands that real-world work experience is integral for preparing job-ready graduates. To this end, the CSU not only encourages students to seek experiences outside the classroom but builds partnerships with local employers to help students access relevant internships. We dove into some of the ways the university is providing pathways to internship opportunities.

Also in April, we learned about the Los Angeles Innocence Project, a nonprofit based at Cal State LA and formally launched in August 2022, which conducts investigations into wrongful conviction cases.



Cultural Connections: During Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Heritage Month, we recognized the grand opening of the APIDA Student Center at Sacramento State in February 2023. It joined a collection of other campuses that also host centers to serve and support their APIDA students. That month, we also spotlighted Wenda Fong, the first Asian American woman to serve as chair of the CSU Board of Trustees.



Educated and Graduated: Hearts filled with pride, tears of joy flowed and tassels were turned as the 23 universities honored graduates from the class of 2023, welcoming them into an alumni network more than 4 million strong. We acquired a special all-access pass as we went behind the scenes with the CSU Dominguez Hills staff who spend hours and walk miles to put on commencement.

We also released a plan designed to both elevate Black excellence and address the continuing decline in Black student enrollment, retention and graduation rates across the 23 CSU universities, which includes 13 recommendations ranging from a comprehensive enrollment strategy for Black students to the creation of a Central Office for the Advancement of Black Excellence.



A New Beginning: In July, the Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Mildred García to serve as the next chancellor of the California State University.

“I am honored, humbled and excited for this opportunity to serve the nation's largest four-year university system and work alongside its dedicated leaders, faculty and staff, and its talented and diverse students to further student achievement, close equity gaps and continue to drive California's economic prosperity,”​ Chancellor-select García said.



Developing an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: The CSU's 23 universities offer activities and programs outside the classroom that enable students from all disciplines to launch their idea or company before they even cross the commencement stage. Read about this work and how it benefits California's business economy.



Celebrating Latinx Culture and Academic Excellence: We acknowledged National Hispanic Heritage Month with a look at how the CSU elevates the education and lives of students within the Latinx community.

At the September meeting, the CSU Board of Trustees announced the winners of the 2023 Photo of the Year contest, which highlighted memorable moments from the 2022-23 academic year. Meet the winning photographers.



Welcoming Chancellor Mildred García: Dr. Mildred García began her tenure as the new California State University chancellor in October, making history as the first Latina in the nation to lead a four-year public university system. As our new chancellor stepped into her role, we took the opportunity to look back on Interim Chancellor Dr. Jolene Koester's 40-year legacy of serving the CSU.

In other good news, three CSU programs received recognition from Excelencia in Education's 2023 Examples of Excelencia award for empowering Latinx students and improving their outcomes through culturally relevant and data-driven efforts.



Celebrating First-Generation Students: Being the first in a family to pursue higher education can be daunting. Without experienced family members to look to for guidance, students can feel as though they have to forge a path alone. For National First-Generation College Celebration Day on November 8, we highlighted just a few of the outstanding graduates of the CSU who accepted the challenge and transformed from first-generation students to remarkable leaders who pay it forward.

We also celebrated talented young filmmakers who took home first place in their category at the 2023 CSU Media Arts Festival.



Eye on Diversity: INSIGHT Into Diversity recognized Cal State LA, Fresno State, San Diego State and CSU San Marcos with its Higher Education in Diversity (HEED) awar​d for demonstrating an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. Explore some of the ways these universities are creating welcoming environments​ where students and employees from all backgrounds can thrive. 


With Chancellor García now at the helm, we are ready to navigate the challenges and triumphs of the coming year, ensuring our students have the guidance, encouragement and resources needed to achieve success in school and beyond. Together, we look forward to 2024!