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CSUF, City of Fullerton Strengthen Partnership

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Over a breakfast of muffins, eggs and coffee, leadership teams from Cal State Fullerton and Fullerton met to discuss priorities for both the city and university, and how the two could mutually benefit from working in partnership.

At the Dec. 12 event, CSUF President Fram Virjee focused on some of the top priorities of the university.

“Just to clarify, we are a first-choice destination,” Virjee proclaimed. “We had more than 75,000 applications for the fall semester — a 12 percent increase over last year for undergraduate students. In addition, the average grade-point-average of these incoming students is 3.7. About 60 percent of our students are the first in their families to attend college and more than 60 percent are underrepresented students of color.

“We want the city of Fullerton to be as proud of the campus as we are,” he continued. “With more than 40,000 students, we represent a sizeable chunk of Fullerton. We aren’t a commuter campus. Two thousand of our students live on campus and the others arrive early and often stay until late at night. Cal State Fullerton is an economic engine for the city and the surrounding areas. Of our more than 300,000 alumni, about 50 percent live in Orange County.”

Additionally, he added, Cal State Fullerton accepts more community college transfer students that any of the other 23 CSUs, with Fullerton College leading the way. For that reason, CSUF is in close communication with the nearby campus.

Virjee also noted that through the university’s athletics and wide variety of arts programs, community members often visit campus as well.

“Because our students tend to stay in Orange County — many of them in Fullerton — they will become your neighbors,” Virjee said. “They’ll be the judges, the small business owners, the nurses and architects and teachers. We are educating the future workforce of this area. Our students are the future of Orange County.”

Fullerton City Manager Ken Domer, then described some of the new developments within the city.

“The city has great opportunities, in part, because of Cal State Fullerton,” he said. “There is a great deal of pride in the institution and that’s why it’s important that we try to work in partnership with one another.

“We look at planning documents to see how we can work together cooperatively. We look for opportunities that are mutually beneficial. The Center for Healthy Neighborhoods is one example — your students receive the ‘hands-on training’ they need to complete their studies, while families in that neighborhood receive health and social services benefits.

“Fullerton has challenges like any other city but we look forward to working with the university to see where our ideas might mesh,” Domer added. “We are bullish on growth and expanding opportunities and I am encouraged to see us work together for the betterment of our city, the university and, most importantly, the students and residents.”