Several young people walking in front of a building with a University Union sign on it.
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CSU Named ‘College of the Year’ by Higher Ed Dive

Alisia Ruble


Several young people walking in front of a building with a University Union sign on it.
The California State University has been named “College of the Year” by Higher Ed Dive for exceptional leadership during the current pandemic.

Since 2016, Higher Ed Dive has selected the most impactful achievements, people and organizations across higher education to receive a Dive Award. With the coronavirus pandemic, economic and workplace shifts, racial upheaval and a deep political divide in a presidential election year, the editorial team said they focused on recognizing leadership in a time of crisis.

"With its quick and thoughtful decision to hold classes mostly online, the California State University brought clarity to its community early,” said Jeremy Bauer-Wolf, a reporter for Higher Ed Dive. “The university was able to prioritize the health of its students, faculty and staff while building out its digital operations.” 

This spring, the CSU became one of the very first higher education institutions to announce plans to continue virtual instruction in the fall. That early decision gave faculty the time and opportunity to expand their skills and prepare for a productive virtual experience, armed with the latest technology and best practices for online teaching.

Thousands of CSU faculty members engaged in professional development over the summer and fall to provide vibrant and high-quality virtual learning experiences for students. The university also invested more than $18 million to provide students with digital equipment and services to ensure success in their courses and expanded basic needs outreach efforts to better support their well-being.

Despite the pandemic, the CSU welcomed its largest-ever student body this fall, bucking national downward trends, and reported record retention rates of first-time students. Student achievement continues to rise to all-times highs under Graduation Initiative 2025, and the CSU celebrated the largest graduating class in its 60-year history in the spring of 2020.

CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White, who postponed his retirement earlier this year to continue leading the 23-campus university, has been instrumental in making these bold decisions to safeguard the health, safety and well-being of those in the CSU community. Learn more about the enduring legacy of Dr. White. ​
Graduation Initiative