2018 State of the University Address – President Joseph I. Castro

2018 State of the University Address – President Joseph I. Castro

August 26, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


(upbeat music) (audience applauding) – Good morning everybody. – [Audience] Good morning. – And welcome. Thank you so much, Vinci, for the very kind introduction and for your wholehearted leadership of our dedicated Foundation
Board of Governors. And I want to thank you, Blake Zante, for your thoughtful leadership
as our ASI President. It has been a pleasure to
work with Blake as well. He and I, in fact, yesterday were on Facebook
Live taking questions and comments for a whole hour, and it was a lot of fun. Thank you, Blake. Thank you. (audience applauding) We are also joined today
by our Mayor of Fresno, Lee Brand, a Fresno State alumnus. Welcome, Lee. (audience applauding) Thank you, Lee. And we’re also joined
today by one of my bosses, California State University
Trustee, Hugo Morales. Trustee Morales, thank you for being here. (audience applauding) I want to welcome all of
our other elected officials and their staff and our K through 12 and community college educational leaders who are in the audience today. And if you are an
elected official or staff or a K through 12 or
community college leader, I invite you to stand
now and to be recognized. Thank you. So please stand, elected officials, staff, all the community college
and K-12 partners, thank you. (audience applauding) Thank you so much. I’d also like to recognize
our campus leadership and our deans who work daily to ensure that academics and athletics rise together for the
benefit of our students and our campus and greater community. And thank you to all of them as well. (audience applauding) And my deepest thanks to Mary, my wife, who is with me every step of the way. Mary, would you stand and be recognized? (audience applauding and cheering) We are also fortunate to have a number of sponsors of today’s event. And I want to thank our
University Level Sponsors, Fowler Packing, JD Food Services, Johanson Transportation Services, Fresno Housing Authority, Wells Fargo Bank, Harris Construction Company, Trinity Fruit Sales, the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation, and The Fresno Bee. Thanks to all the university sponsors. (audience applauding) And I’m grateful to all
of today’s sponsors. The proceeds from today’s event will provide necessary scholarships for our deserving Fresno State students. At this time, I’d like to ask my friend Fred
Ruiz to join me on the stage. Fred, could you come up for a moment? Come on up, Fred. (audience applauding) Fred, the Central Valley has historically produced trailblazers, and Fresno State has
capitalized on this heritage to create an environment
where distinction can thrive. And Fred, you are a
pioneer and a role model. You and your father
established Ruiz Foods in 1964 and today it is an internationally
successful business. You have embodied caring for our community through your investment
of volunteer leadership, advocacy, and giving. And at Fresno State, we are very grateful for the many ways that
you have helped advance our academic and our athletic programs, including founding the
Institute for Family Business through the Craig School of Business. I have a medal of distinction with me. This medal of distinction is
the highest non-degree award presented by our university. It is presented to citizens of the region, state, or nation whose achievements
are worthy of emulation. And as fellow members of our community, I’d like to invite you to join me and stand in honoring Fred Ruiz with the 2018 President’s
Medal of Distinction. (audience applauding) – [Fred] Wow. (speech muffled by applause) – [Joseph] A little
surprise for you, my friend. – [Fred] Yeah, tell me about it. Thank you so much. – [Joseph] Thank you. Would you like to say a few words? – [Fred] If you don’t mind. – [Joseph] Please, I would love it. – Well, first of all, this is an incredible surprise to me. (audience laughing) I was complaining this morning, why does anybody want to have a breakfast at seven o’clock in the morning? (audience laughing) So, but President Castro, I want to thank you so
much for your service, and Mary as well. In the food business, we call Mary and President Castro a BOGO. You buy on, you get one free. (audience laughing) So it’s an incredible partnership. I just want to thank Fresno State. I’ve been involved in higher education for a number of years, mostly through the UC, but what I have noticed, and I’m so pleased, is that Fresno State has risen to probably one of the highest levels within the CSU system, and that’s a credit to you. You are the foundation. When you support an
organization like Fresno State, what happens here is probably
the most important thing that can happen for the
children of the Valley, and that’s to have the opportunity to have a higher education. And we’re doing that here at Fresno State. I’m very pleased to be a part of Fresno State in a small way. I have my daughter, Kim Beck, who is my boss. (audience laughing) That’s part of the reason I’m here too. The boss said I had to come. (audience laughing) But anyway, thank you so
much for the recognition. It’s truly an honor, and I’m so proud to be
part of the Fresno State, what am I? (audience laughing) – Presidential Medal of– – Presidential Medal of Distinction. Thank you so much. – Thank you, my friend. Thank you, Fred.
– Appreciate it. – You bet. (audience applauding) Thank you so much, Fred. We are grateful for everything that you’ve done for our region. I’m also pleased today to share with you that two of our other medalists are here. I invited them to wear their medals. So I’d like to ask California
Supreme Court Judge Marvin Baxter to stand. Marvin’s here with us. Thank you, Justice. (audience applauding) And my first medal that I
surprised the awardee with a few years ago, former Fresno County
Supervisor Phil Larsen. Thank you, Phil. (audience applauding) As California State University nears the end of its 107th year, I can say with full confidence that the state of our university
is exceptionally strong, and we are getting stronger each day in upholding our mission
of boldly educating and empowering our students for success. It seems appropriate
that the Chinese New Year is approaching this month and that it will be the Year of the Dog. (audience laughing and cheering) How ’bout that? (laughing) But I’d like to say it’s
the Year of the Bulldogs. It’s gonna be the Year of the Bulldogs. Fresno State sits in the
heart of our Central Valley, and it plays a pivotal role in our region’s economic development. The Valley is a special place, as you know, with many unique assets, including talented students
from close-knit families who are committed to our region. And talent exists in every
household in our region. Our collective challenge and opportunity is to unleash that talent and to prepare a new
generation of leaders. Each and every one of us knows and understands the challenges
that face our region. Many of these challenges are
unique to the Central Valley, including poverty, unemployment, and some weave a common
thread across our state. The challenges that we
face, though, are very big, and we need to address
them with big solutions. And big solutions, in my view, especially those that do not
rely upon state funding only, can only be found through a collaboration. And the partnership between our university and our community has
deepened over the years. We are becoming more intentional about how we can effectively work together to benefit this place that we call home. This morning, I will share
Fresno State’s vision for how we can together
to continue the progress in elevating our region
to new heights of success. Shortly after my appointment as president almost five years ago, I called for Fresno State to be bolder in educating and empowering
our students for success. I took up this mantra because I wanted to help inspire new
and innovative thinking across our university
and across our region. And having a bold
attitude is about a campus and a community thinking in new ways and abandoning the silos that exist, while stepping forward with a we are in it together mentality. I’ve also emphasized
the power of inclusion through the idea that everyone, everyone, and every voice matters. This is especially important
because Fresno State is a university of the
people and for the people. It is this very type of
collaboration and inclusion that gives all of us the right to be proud that Fresno State has
moved up this academic year in the Washington Monthly Top 30 National University
rankings from 25 to 17. That’s great news. (audience applauding) And it’s an honor to represent
the CSU in the Top 30 and to be among some of
the most premier public and private universities in the country. And many of those are
charging a lot more money, by the way, than we are. Washington Monthly is a
well-known publication, and its university rankings
focus on three core factors that matter the most to Fresno State, social mobility or ascension, research, and service. And I’m very proud that our students and their efforts to excel
academically and through service have been acknowledged in that way. I’d also like to take a moment with you to celebrate these four awards here from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. They recently recognized Fresno State with its Excellence and Innovation Award for Student Success
and College Completion. This award that we received in October was our fourth since 2014
and is the most awards of its kind received by any
university in the country. So that’s really good news. (audience applauding) And as Fred said, that’s because of all of us. These rankings that I talk about are concrete evidence
that talent and leadership in our community can
come from any household, regardless of income
level and whether or not there is a prior history
of going to college. I know this because it
is the story of my life growing up in Hanford. And it is the life
story for so many of you and so many people throughout the Valley. And it is not a coincidence that these achievements
are happening right now. It is occurring because we
are thinking smarter together and we are linking student
success to our broader region. Each year, over 5,000 Fresno
State students graduate, and these graduates, over 70% of whom are first
generation to college, are entering the workforce, and 80% of them are staying right here to live and work right here in our Valley. The 25,000 degrees awarded by Fresno State between 2014 and ’18 are helping to fuel the Valley and its economy. And our Central Valley Business Review, sponsored by the Craig School of Business, recently found that employment
growth in our region is double the national average. And this is very encouraging news. These new graduates that
I’ve been talking about are a vital part of our
next generation of leaders. And on average, a
graduate of the CSU system earns a starting salary of almost $50,000, and over the course of a lifetime, earns an income that is 66% higher than someone without a bachelor’s degree. According to the Public Policy
Institute of California, California’s economy relies heavily on highly educated workers. By 2030, the state will need 1.1 million more workers with bachelor’s degrees to keep up with the economic demand, and 40% of those jobs will
require a master’s degree. The PPIC study found
that bachelor’s degrees, if they were distributed, bachelors’ degrees were
distributed across California in proportion to its population, the Central Valley would be producing twice as many bachelor’s
degrees as it is today. This means that we have more work to do. And more college graduates
in the Central Valley means higher incomes and
greater economic mobility, more tax revenue, and
greater community engagement. So to help meet this regional shortfall, our campus student success goals are aligned with the CSU System
Graduation Initiative 2025, which calls for increased graduation rates and improving the transfer pathway from high school and
our community colleges. And you’ll see that we
are making progress, but there is much more
work to do to retain and to help our students
get across the finish line in a timely way. And for students to stay on
track to graduate in four years, they must take 15 units a semester. And I am pleased to share
that we can now guarantee all new students who want one a full 15-unit course load each semester. And this, yeah, this is a big deal. (audience applauding) This monumental change
gives each of our students the opportunity to graduate in four years if they are a freshman and two years if they
are a transfer student. And building a true pipeline of students prepared for higher
education takes commitment, alliances, and a pathway. And the Central Valley Promise is a community-wide effort to promote college as a viable option for the youth in our region. The Promise will ensure
that if students and parents pledge to do what is necessary that gets them through
middle and high school to prepare for college, that college will be there for them in the future, guaranteed. And we are pleased to
join with our K through 12 school district and
community college partners in developing common standards to help our future
students and their families understand what is required
to be ready for college. We’ve also established
a pathway for veterans that have served our country
with great courage and pride. And our Continuing and Global Education Veterans Education Program began in 2012 and is the only of its kind in the CSU. This program provides returning veterans and current service
members with a clear path to attend Fresno State. And it offers required coursework, thank you. (audience applauding) It offers required coursework
necessary for admission and it paves the way through
a supportive cohort experience that helps our veterans work together with our faculty and staff
and matriculate into college. And some fine individuals have
participated in that program. I’d like us to take a moment
right now to recognize all of our past and present veterans who are here with us today. I’d like them to stand and be recognized, all of our veterans. Thank you. (audience applauding) Thank you for your service. Fresno State’s impact on the
development of professionals for our region and state is profound. Take for example the shortage of qualified teachers in California. Fresno State proudly
graduates more teachers than any other university
in the entire state, any other public university
in the entire state. (audience applauding) And since the majority of our graduates stay to work where they grew up, most of the teachers in the Valley are alumni of Fresno State. And therefore, it is
especially incumbent upon us to ensure that our students
have the best training and opportunity to be successful when they get into the classroom. The very wellbeing of our
children depends upon it. The Mathematics and
Science Teacher Initiative has addressed the great
need for recruiting and educating math and science teachers in the Central Valley. Joint efforts have been made by faculty in the Kremen School of
Education and Human Development and the College of Science and Mathematics to address this demand. And in just the first six
years of that initiative, the number of math and
science teaching credentials produced annually by Fresno
State has more than tripled, and every single one of
our credentialed teachers makes a difference in the classroom. Water sustainability, as you know, is another critical need of
the Valley and the state, and there are no shortages of innovation in that area at Fresno State. I’d like us now to take a
look at how Fresno State is applying technology
to help our area farmers. Let’s take a look. (uplifting piano music) (drone buzzing) (audience applauding) – Thank you very much. And after a long hiatus, Fresno State students can
once again earn a degree in city and regional planning. That’s really good news, right? (audience applauding) The Bachelor of Science degree program through the College of Social Sciences became effective in the fall of 2017 and is the only such planning
program in the Central Valley. A partnership formed with McCaffrey Homes complements the program
by providing our students with hands-on experience in
design and infrastructure through a class working in the field at the new Tesoro Viejo development, a 1,600-acre site at the foot
of Little Table Mountain. Transportation challenges
of the 21st century, including our air
pollution, climate change, traffic congestion, transportation equity, increasing energy prices, and deteriorating infrastructure are being addressed at a macro level through our newly launched Fresno State Transportation Institute. The Transportation
Institute is a collaboration between the Fresno State
Lyles College of Engineering, College of Social Sciences, Craig School of Business, Fresno County and its
15 incorporated cities, and is a wonderful partnership. Together, Fresno State faculty
and student researchers will work hand-in-hand with our engineers, urban planners, and local agencies. And infrastructure from
waterways to railways is a priority of the state, and as you can hear, it is also on our minds
here at Fresno State. Enhancing the quality of life
for Central Valley residents is why we aggressively supported efforts for the passage of AB 422, which allows the CSU and the College of
Health and Human Services to continue offering the
Doctor of Nursing Practice at Fresno State. And through this program, advanced-practice nurses
are trained to work in the areas of hospital administration and nursing education, all while leading health care
change across the Valley. As the world becomes
increasingly competitive, a holistic approach in addressing the needs of our Valley is critical, and that means investing early and often into public higher education. And we have hundreds of
formal credit internships. I was talking to the mayor this morning. That’s how he got started. Councilwoman Soria, that’s how she got started, and that’s how our students
today are getting started. These opportunities help increase
our student’s skill level, their ability to adjust to rapid change, to problem solve, to work in groups, to be self-motivated, and to be ready for our
future in your industry. Education isn’t a luxury, and as a student’s dream comes true, a commitment to helping to develop the whole student is essential, which is why we are purposeful around connecting our students to the arts and digital literacy and leadership. The College of Arts and Humanities is the one college at Fresno State that serves all Fresno State students. Writing and oral communication are taught through this college and are essential when a
graduate enters the workplace. The President’s Commission on the Future of Arts and Humanities, which I announced here a year ago, is currently exploring the need, feasibility, and possibility of a Creative and Performing Arts Center. And as the arts form a natural bridge between the university and our community, the commission is currently
finalizing its report on how such a center would highlight the excellence of our students through artistry and academic pursuit. And digital literacy
is extremely important. Our students must be
adept in this digital age. Many are already savvy, I’m finding out, with technology, but all of them need to learn how to source trusted content, to fact find and analyze and learn. And four years ago, we launched DISCOVERe, a digital initiative to
expand faculty curriculum leveraging the open-source digital content in a technology-infused
learning environment. The results of this
program consistently show that our participating students
have higher retention rates, higher end-of-term GPAs, and are more on track to graduate on time, and it saves 70% on textbook costs too. So that’s really good news. A strategic and collaborative
community approach to equipping our students
for success is required. And I am grateful that we all seek to discover ways to work together to make our Central Valley
an exceptional place to live. And speaking of exceptional, how about that Bulldog football team? (audience applauding and cheering) They made us very proud this season. They were the only football
team on the West Coast to win a bowl game, the only one. (audience applauding) We also acted boldly
to reinstate wrestling and add a new women’s water polo team. (audience applauding) And these teams are filled
with talented Valley students. And I love it. Just Saturday when we wrestled Stanford, we had almost all freshmen taking on one of the top teams in the country, and we hung in there. And we’re gonna get better and better. And water polo opens up this Friday for any of you that want
to come check it out. Our academic and athletic programs will continue to rise together. With the strong partnership between the university and the community, our student athletes will thrive inside and outside of the classroom. I ask you today to continue helping us to unleash the talent at Fresno State and to prepare a new
generation of leaders. I cannot imagine a more inspirational call to action than that one. Fresno State is the primary engine to our region’s economic
prosperity and ascension. In the words of Michael Beschloss, award-winning presidential historian whom I’ve invited here to Save Mart Center to give a free lecture on April 30th, “Legacy,” he says, “is what a president does that
affects later generations.” And as a university president, there are many levers to ensuring the success of our students. Today I’ve emphasized just one of them, that when a university and a community intentionally collaborate, regional challenges can be tackled and the next generation
of leaders can grow. And as we together grow more leaders, our Valley will become
a more prosperous place where all can thrive. That, my friends, is the gift that we together can give and will give to future generations. The students and families of the Valley deserve our best efforts. Thank you all and God bless you. (audience applauding) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, my friends. Thank you. We would now like to share a short video, followed by Paula Castadio, our Vice President for
University Advancement, who will close with a few final words. Thank you. (upbeat acoustic music)