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Ensuring Student Success Is Top Priority

CSUF President García Delivers Fall Convocation Address

Aug. 19, 2013

woman in dark blue suit speaks at podium

CSUF President Mildred García welcomes the campus community during the fall convocation address.

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On the first day of the fall semester, CSUF President Mildred García welcomed the campus community — including 33 new tenure track faculty members and 141 new staff members — to the start of the new academic year, during her convocation address and reception that followed.

Before more than 500 gathered for the occasion in Meng Concert Hall, García emphasized that ensuring student success "remains the top priority for the entire institution" and pointed to the CSUF Strategic Plan as the guide to that effort. Copies of the five-year plan, which was completed in the spring, were distributed to attendees. She reviewed the plan's goals and outlined the steps to be taken this year to begin implementation.

"Together, all of us, everyone who works and supports Cal State Fullerton are educators, providing an opportunity," she said. "As educators, we provide an opportunity to a world-class education for our students; we provide an opportunity for our faculty to excel by delivering the best educational program possible, and to excel in their research and creative scholarly pursuit and engage in community service. For our staff, we provide an opportunity to work in an educational environment that gives us pride for what we do, to grow in our chosen careers and work to the best of our ability to give back to the university community we serve; and to the supporters and alums, we provide an opportunity to give back and help us open doors to the thousands of students we serve with excellence."

In reporting progress made in the six-year graduation rate — a widely used benchmark of student success — Garcia announced that CSUF had reached its highest-ever mark of 52 percent.

"While we applaud this increase, when we compare ourselves to the 77 percent of the top five institutions in our Carnegie class, we note that we still have much work to do," she said.

Recapping highlights and achievements of the previous academic year, illustrated in a short video, García said: "We have much to be proud of, and our past year together demonstrates the opportunities we provide to every student who enters our doors and all who work here."

García added: "I am so impressed by the dedication from all of you and thank you for this great work you are doing on behalf of our students and our University. I remain in awe of all you do and proud to serve you as your president.

She spoke of the "excitement that comes with the start of each new year, with the promise of opportunities for our students to achieve their academic dreams, and this year is no exception." She reported that fall semester enrollment is expected to exceed 37,000 students.

In the back-to-school spirit, she urged faculty and staff members to attend the Sept. 21 Concert Under the Stars, where free lawn seating is being provided, due to underwriting by Kaiser Permanente and the SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, and that discounted seats also are available for faculty and staff members. Describing it as a "favorite event of the campus and the community," she noted that it "has been re-envisioned and will become our signature fundraising event."

García reiterated "our goal of becoming the premier comprehensive public university in the state and in the nation."

In concluding her address, she said: "It is through our faculty and staff, who excel in their teaching, research and community service that our students thrive. We understand that it is through the nurturing environment we provide and our respect for all cultures that our students graduate fully prepared to enter their chosen professions and participate in the life of our diverse American democracy."

More images from convocation may be seen online.

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