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2017: Milestones That Shaped Our Year

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For Cal State Fullerton, milestones are reflected in a wide range of rankings, partnerships, programs and awards. They’re also seen in the many collaborative and research opportunities available to students that enrich their educational journeys.

Celebrating more than six decades of service as a comprehensive University with a broad array of programs for academic and professional success, CSUF kicked off its 60th anniversary in the fall with record enrollment and a record number of applications for admissions. Founded as the 12th state college in California, Cal State Fullerton has since grown from 452 students in 1959 to more than 40,000 by 2017.

In addition, a 2017 economic impact analysis noted the University’s impact on the region and state, powering $2.26 billion in economic activity, supporting 15,000 jobs and generating $126 million in local and state tax revenue. CSUF returns $13.40 to California’s economy for every dollar invested by the state.

National Rankings

In 2017, CSUF maintained its national status in student diversity, in number and types of degrees awarded to underrepresented students. The University retained the distinction of being first in California and second in the nation for the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to Hispanic students, according to an analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Education by Hispanic Outlook in Education.

Diverse: Issues in Higher Education named CSUF first in the nation for awarding bachelor’s degrees in business to Asian-Americans, as well as first for awarding business-management and operations degrees and second for master’s degrees in history to Hispanic students.

Cal State Fullerton’s online master’s degree program in business was ranked among the top in the nation in the 2017 Best Online Degree Programs by U.S. News & World Report. The publication also would name CSUF 25th in its listing of “most innovative” institutions, 202 on the list of the publication’s “national universities,” and fourth in the nation for its graduate level nursing-anesthesia program.

In addition, the University was a recipient of the 2017 INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Honorary Mention HEED Award. The honor measures an institution’s level of achievement and intensity of commitment in regard to broadening diversity and inclusion on campus.

Programs and Partnerships

Graduation Initiative 2025 was launched to break down barriers to graduation and help students complete their studies in a timely period, while the inaugural Innovation Grants were given to faculty scholars to support this effort.

In February, CSUF became one of four campuses nationwide to participate in the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network, an initiative led by female university presidents who have demonstrated a commitment to collaboration, innovation, diversity and inclusion.

The University’s Center for Entrepreneurship opened its second Startup Incubator, this time on CSUF’s Irvine Campus. The program offers students opportunities to research and support business development in South Orange County’s rich tech startup region.

The Latino Communications Initiative was formally designated the Latino Communications Institute, representing its long-term commitment to prepare Spanish-bilingual students to be competitive in the workforce through curricular and co-curricular activities. LCI began in 2013 with founding partners and continued supporters: Univision, Casanova/McCann and Southwest Airlines.

Another partnership between the School of Nursing and Mountains Community Hospital and Rural Health Clinics will place nurse-midwife and women’s health nurse practitioner trainees in rural clinics to expand services and create a pipeline for nursing professionals.

CSUF’s Center for Healthy Neighborhoods, located in Richman Park in Fullerton, celebrated its one-year anniversary offering programs and services to the local community. But even more, students continue to gain hands-on, high-impact experiences while providing health, education and social services.

For nearly the entire life of the University, students have been exploring oral histories ranging from local political leaders to the Japanese relocation camps of World War II. Those histories continue to grow through the Lawrence de Graaf Center for Oral and Public History, named in 2017 for the professor emeritus of history and founding faculty member.

Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities

Titans continued to reach higher with scientific breakthroughs, significant grant awards and achievements in the arts.

More than a decade of investigating what a gravitational-wave signal from a cosmic collision of neutron stars resulted in an Aug. 17, signal detected from a galaxy 130 million light years away from Earth. CSUF astrophysicist Jocelyn Read, along with undergraduates and an alumnus, were instrumental in the latest discovery.

A student-led fossil study discovered that ancient crocodiles lived in California for almost 10 million years after what previous research had shown. Among the fossils were several from the John D. Cooper Archaeological and Paleontological Center — a partnership between CSUF and OC Parks.

A four-year U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant of approximately $2 million aims to expand the diversity of students studying to become nurses, while a five-year National Science Foundation grant expected to total nearly $3 million, is working to strengthen and expand the teaching and learning of mathematics at underserved schools in Orange County.

The University Singers’ album “Nostos” debuted in November, just months after their collaboration with Academy Award-winning composer John Williams was released.

“Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser,” an artist residency project of Cal State Fullerton’s Grand Central Art Center, premiered on KCET. The serial broadcast opera features Titan alumna and renowned soprano Deborah Voigt as the queen of Sweden.

Titan Pride

In a stand-out year, Titan athletes shattered previous records and made headlines on the national stage. Men’s outdoor track and field won its first Big West title in the school’s history, while men’s and women’s soccer won the Big West Championship Tournament and advanced to the NCAA tournament.

Women’s golfer Martina Edberg was the first Titan to ever advance to the NCAA Women’s golf championship as an individual, and women’s tennis advanced to its first Big West Women’s Tennis Championship semifinal after having the best record in the program’s history.

Titans baseball made its 18th College World Series appearance after defeating Long Beach State in the Super Regionals in June. The CWS wasn’t the only baseball championship featuring Titans. Justin Turner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chris Devenski of the Houston Astros, both former Titans, faced off in the 2017 Major League Baseball World Series. The Astros took home the title, but both players won the hearts of CSUF fans.

In social media, CSUF captured its fourth win in the national Forbes  #MyTopCollege competition and “dominated with posts of friendship and fun on campus.” In its inaugural year, Forbes named CSUF the top University in the nation. Titans won the large-school division in 2016 and 2015 also. See the CSUF top social media stories in the 2017 Social Media Review.

Finally, the University also welcomed a new Titan to the fold: a woolly mammoth fossil donated to the campus by Orange County resident John Gregg and the Gregg Family Foundation. The fossil now resides in the Chapman Atrium of the Titan Student Union.