The California State University Announces Three Finalists for the
Presidency of California State University, San Marcos

(October 15, 2003) – The California State University today named three candidates as finalists for the presidency of California State University, San Marcos.

The candidates, and the dates they will visit the campus, are:

  • Karen S. Haynes, president, University of Houston-Victoria, Wednesday, November 5.
  • Dennis L. Hefner, president, State University of New York at Fredonia, Thursday, November 6.
  • Ephraim P. Smith, vice president for academic affairs, California State University, Fullerton, Friday, November 7.

Each of the three will spend a day on the campus, meeting faculty, staff, students, alumni and the community. An open forum will be held daily for the campus community in Clarke Field House from 1:45-2:30 p.m. An open reception will be held daily at 5:30 p.m. in the Dome Terrace. (There will be daily media access from 2:40-3 p.m.).

“These three candidates represent the very best of an extremely strong pool of contenders,” said CSU Trustee Robert Foster, chair of the presidential search committee. “Each has the solid experience and know-how to lead the San Marcos campus forward through a second decade that will see increasing student growth and fiscal challenges.”

The new president will succeed former President Alex Gonzalez, who assumed the presidency of California State University, Sacramento this past July. Roy McTarnaghan, president emeritus of Florida Gulf Coast University, has been serving as interim president. He was not a candidate for the permanent position.

The CSU Board of Trustees will name the new San Marcos president the week of November 17 after the trustees interview the finalists. The new leader would assume the presidency on a date to be determined.

Haynes, a professor of social work, has been president of the University of Houston-Victoria since 1995. She previously was the dean of the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Houston (Houston). Prior to Houston, she was a faculty member in social work at Indiana University; the managing director, international resource development, International Business Associates in Cairo, Egypt, where she also served as a consultant; a faculty member at Southwest Texas State University; and the director of the social work division, sociology department, Mary Hardin-Baylor College in Texas.

Her degrees are all in social work: her Ph.D. is from the University of Texas at Austin; her master's degree is from McGill University in Montreal, Canada; and her bachelor's degree is from Goucher College in Maryland.

Hefner, a professor of economics, has been the president at SUNY Fredonia since 1996. Previously, he served as the senior vice chancellor for academic affairs at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. He also was an administrator at CSU Monterey Bay; vice president for academic affairs at Cal State San Bernardino; and a faculty member, department chair and administrator at CSU Chico.

His degrees are all in economics: his Ph.D. and master’s degree are from Washington State University, and his bachelor’s degree is from California State University, Chico.

Smith, a professor of accounting, has been the vice president for academic affairs at Cal State Fullerton since 1998, where he also served as dean of the School of Business Administration and Economics. Previously, he was dean, Nance College of Business Administration, Cleveland State University; dean, School of Business, Shippensburg State College; and a faculty member and chair of the accounting department at the University of Rhode Island.

His degrees are all in accounting: his Ph.D. is from the University of Illinois; his master’s degree is from the University of Massachusetts; and his bachelor’s degree is from Providence College.

The search for a new San Marcos president began in May 2003. The search committee is composed of three trustees plus the board chair, the CSU chancellor, a CSU president, San Marcos faculty, staff, student and alumni representatives and a community person.

For more information on the candidates and the campus, go to http://executivesearch.calstate.edu.

California State University San Marcos is the higher education leader in the northern San Diego region. Founded in 1989, the campus enrolls more than 7,700 students who enjoy small classes and personal attention in a suburban environment. Cal State San Marcos emphasizes a rigorous writing requirement across the curriculum, as well as computer and second language competencies that give students an advantage when they compete in the job market or for graduate school admission. Compared to similar universities, students rank Cal State San Marcos significantly higher in the level of academic challenge, the opportunities for active and collaborative learning, and for other enriching educational experiences. See www.csusm.edu.

The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, nearly 408,000 students and 45,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded about 2 million degrees. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. See www.calstate.edu.


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Last Updated: October 15, 2003

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