Story Chancellor

Chancellor Koester Honored by AAUA for Contributions to Higher Education


American Association of University Administrators bestows CSU chancellor with prestigious Tosney Award for Career Service.


California State University Chancellor Jolene Koester has received the 2023 Tosney Award for Career Service in Higher Education Leadership from the American Association of University Administrators (AAUA) in recognition for her outstanding, long-term experience as an administrator.

Named for one of AAUA's pioneer members, Elieen Tosney, this award is considered to be AAUA's highest individual recognition.

Koester's long and distinguished career at the university has spanned decades—from her 17 years at Sacramento State University to her 11 years as president of California State University, Northridge, and more.

Throughout her career, Koester has developed a well-earned reputation as an ethical and purpose-driven leader, a champion of student success and inclusive excellence, and an unwavering supporter of innovation in teaching and learning.

Known nationally for her leadership in the area of higher education, Koester has served as a member and past chair of the Board of Directors for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and on a variety of other higher education organizations.

Koester began her role as CSU interim chancellor on May 1, 2022. Prior to this, she served as president of CSUN from 2000 to 2011 and as provost of Sacramento State from 1993 to 2000. Before her service as provost, she held other executive positions in the academic affairs division at Sacramento State, and was a faculty member there, beginning in 1980. After her retirement from CSUN in 2011, Koester served as senior consultant for AASCU Consulting, where she worked with university presidents and chancellors to enhance student success.

During her March 2023 report to the CSU Board of Trustees, Koester reflected on her role, and the role of women in leadership at the university today:

“As a 75-year-old woman who joined the California State University system at what was then California State University, Sacramento, I never thought I would come to see and participate in a day and a time in which there would be this overwhelming number of women serving in leadership. And similarly, the diversity of culture, race and ethnicity that is represented in leadership. Nor did I ever imagine that I would have the opportunity to serve, as a female, as the interim chancellor with a board chair who also represents gender and racial diversity. This is for me, a pretty momentous day."

Koester will continue her tenure until the CSU's next regularly appointed chancellor begins their role, expected in 2023.

Founded in 1970, the AAUA promotes leadership in college and university administration and recognizes excellence in practice.

Learn more about Chancellor Jolene Koester's priorities as she leads the CSU during this transformational time.