Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
‘Passionate and Effective’: Fresno State’s Castro Will Now Lead CSU System.
gvw_nancy_price
By Nancy Price, Multimedia Journalist
Published 4 years ago on
September 23, 2020

Share

Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro has been selected as the eighth chancellor of the California State University system, the CSU announced Wednesday morning.

Castro has led Fresno State since 2013. He will be the first California native and first Mexican American to lead the 23-campus university system with enrollments of nearly half a million students.

Outgoing Chancellor Timothy P. White, who has held the job since 2012, is retiring.

Castro, who will become chancellor on Jan. 4, will get an annual salary of $625,000.

In a Zoom news conference Wednesday afternoon, Castro talked about some of his priorities he plans to set for the CSU system as chancellor, which include meeting the goals set in Graduation Initiative 2025, his accomplishments as Fresno State’s eighth president, and making sure the CSU emerges from the pandemic stronger than ever and with more tools available for students.

Castro said the accomplishments included Fresno State’s graduation rates increasing from 48% to nearly 60% at a time when the student body was becoming more diverse.

What He’ll Miss Most

Castro, who is typically straightforward and unemotional when speaking in public, appeared to tear up a bit when he was asked what he would miss most about Fresno State.

“I haven’t thought about that yet. There’ve been so many,” he said. “Mary and I have spent most of today together, we just took a walk and we were talking about different memories.

“Probably graduation. … probably every graduation,” Castro said, his voice faltering.

Although distance learning was forced on the university by the COVID-19 pandemic, Castro said he sees how technology that was put into place rapidly could continue to be useful to support students once the pandemic ends.

He said he also plans, with the assistance of the Board of Trustees, to lobby for increased funding for the CSU from the state Legislature.

“I know it’s going to be challenging in the short term. But the CSU is such a great investment,” he said. “The return on investment is immense, and it will help all of California if we can continue to invest more in our talented students.”

‘Bulldog Born And Bulldog Bred’

Castro, in an open letter released Wednesday morning, said he was thrilled to be taking on the new job but also somewhat sad that he and his wife will be leaving the Fresno community. The CSU is headquartered in Long Beach.

“Mary and I will be forever grateful for the support and inspiration you have so generously provided to us. We will always cherish being part of the Fresno State family and will take our Bulldog pride with us as we serve the state,” Castro wrote. “As the saying goes, we are Bulldog born and Bulldog bred!”

He announced that he will share his vision for the CSU in a webinar scheduled for 11 a.m. to noon Friday. “Conversation with the Chancellor-select” will be hosted by Monica Lozano, president and CEO of the College Futures Foundation.

‘Passionate And Effective Advocate’

The Hanford native was praised as a “passionate and effective advocate” for students, Fresno State, and the CSU system by Lillian Kimbell, chair of the CSU Board of Trustees.

He was selected from a “deep” pool of candidates in a search that began before the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, Kimbell told reporters during the news conference.

The pandemic caused the trustees to adjust their priorities somewhat, she said.

“When we came to our decision, it was really evident to all of us that President Castro embodied what the CSU, what California needs now in in this COVID environment,” she said. “We need somebody with a steady hand. We need somebody who’s a good listener, somebody who’s unflappable, as more than one person called him. And with deep experience, with a campus, with a lot of first gen students, students of color. So it was a totality of who he is and the situation we’re living in today.”

The fact that Castro is Mexican American was not a deciding factor in his selection, but it didn’t hurt, especially at a time when the issues of racial injustice and the need for equity are so prominent in the nation, and when the CSU student population already is so diverse, Kimbell said.

“It certainly influenced us and particularly me,” she said. “I’m Mexican American as well, and I’m so proud, muy orgullosa,  that we’re going to have for the first time a Mexican American chancellor. I’m over the moon about that.

“But I think because of who our students are and who the state is, you know, over 40 percent of our students are Latinx, 60 percent are students of color. … I think it’s very exciting and meaningful that we have a chancellor who looks like Joseph Castro and has his lived experience.”

Kudos Across the Board

Castro’s appointment was lauded by state legislators, Fresno State alumni, and others in social media posts.

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statement noting that Castro has firsthand knowledge of the importance of higher education in providing opportunities and said that he is “thrilled” at Castro’s selection.

“His extraordinary record as a leader in higher education will serve him well as he assumes this role at a pivotal time for students, faculty and staff,” Newsom said. “I know he has the experience, wisdom and respect of many that he will need to build on Chancellor White’s progress on graduation, retention and diversity and inclusion.”

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand said he is proud of Castro’s selection as chancellor not only as a Fresno State alumnus and as a Fresnan, but also as a “proud friend.”

“I’m certain he will bring the same bold leadership and advocacy to the entire California State University system and its students, faculty, administrators and staff that he did to Fresno State,” Brand said.

First in Family to Graduate College

Castro, the grandson of Mexican immigrants and son of a single mother, was the first in his family to graduate from college. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in higher education policy and leadership from Stanford University.

Prior to taking on Fresno State’s top job, Castro had worked 23 years in the University of California system, including vice chancellor of student academic affairs and professor of family and community medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

His appointment comes at a time of growing pressure on institutions nationwide for more diverse leadership.

Both Fresno State and the CSU system reflect California’s diverse population: At Fresno State, 53% of students are Hispanic, 19% white, 13% Asian, and 3% are African American; across the CSU, 42% are Hispanic/Latino, 23% are white, 16% are Asian, and 4% are African American.

During Castro’s tenure, Fresno State has been recognized repeatedly for its recruitment and support of students from diverse backgrounds.

Fresno State Will Have Interim President

White is expected to announce an interim Fresno State president soon.

A national search for Castro’s replacement will be conducted next year.

DON'T MISS

What Have We Liberals Done to the West Coast?

DON'T MISS

Caitlin Clark Overcomes Another Physical Game, Scores 23 to Lead Fever Past Sky

DON'T MISS

Giants Drop Angels as Soler’s 3-Run HR Keys a 9-Run Inning

DON'T MISS

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore to Issue Over 175,000 Marijuana Pardons

DON'T MISS

Ohtani Has Second Two-Homer Game of Season, Betts Breaks Hand as Dodgers Beat Royals

DON'T MISS

US: Michigan, CUNY Failed to Assess Hostile Environment from Israel-Hamas War Protests

DON'T MISS

Putin to Visit North Korea Amid Concerns Over Military Cooperation

DON'T MISS

Netanyahu Dissolves War Cabinet After Key Partner Exits, Say Israeli Officials

DON'T MISS

The Chilling Reason You May Never See the New Trump Movie

DON'T MISS

California Ranks Bottom Third in Overall Child Well-Being, Per New Report

UP NEXT

‘Wouldn’t Be Where I Am Today:’ California’s Small Business Owners Fight to Save State Aid

UP NEXT

Find Out Which Lobbying Groups Get Their Way Most Often in the California Legislature

UP NEXT

Gavin Newsom and Top Democrats Are Deciding California’s Budget Behind Closed Doors

UP NEXT

Fresno State Is 1 of Carnegie Foundation’s 25 Leadership for Public Purpose Colleges

UP NEXT

As the Flag Drops at Le Mans, Remembering the 3 Americans Who Won in 1978

UP NEXT

California Senate Passes Ban on Schools Notifying Parents of Child’s Pronoun Changes

UP NEXT

California Legislators Break with Gov. Newsom Over Loan to Keep Last Nuclear Plant Running

UP NEXT

California’s Manure-to-Fuel Solution Grows, Critics Warn of Community Risks

UP NEXT

Squaw Valley Man Allegedly Killed by Lifelong Friend

UP NEXT

Traveling/Not Traveling on District’s Dime Merits Mentions by Fresno Trustees

Nancy Price,
Multimedia Journalist
Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore to Issue Over 175,000 Marijuana Pardons

1 hour ago

Ohtani Has Second Two-Homer Game of Season, Betts Breaks Hand as Dodgers Beat Royals

1 hour ago

US: Michigan, CUNY Failed to Assess Hostile Environment from Israel-Hamas War Protests

1 hour ago

Putin to Visit North Korea Amid Concerns Over Military Cooperation

1 hour ago

Netanyahu Dissolves War Cabinet After Key Partner Exits, Say Israeli Officials

2 hours ago

The Chilling Reason You May Never See the New Trump Movie

1 day ago

California Ranks Bottom Third in Overall Child Well-Being, Per New Report

1 day ago

Tempted to Try a No-Buy Year? Here Are Tips From People Doing It

1 day ago

‘Wouldn’t Be Where I Am Today:’ California’s Small Business Owners Fight to Save State Aid

1 day ago

Lauryn Hill, Tyla and More Will Perform at the 2024 BET Awards. Here’s What to Know About the Show

2 days ago

What Have We Liberals Done to the West Coast?

Opinion by Nicholas Kristof on June 15, 2024. PORTLAND, Ore. — As Democrats make their case to voters around the country this fall, one chal...

37 mins ago

37 mins ago

What Have We Liberals Done to the West Coast?

50 mins ago

Caitlin Clark Overcomes Another Physical Game, Scores 23 to Lead Fever Past Sky

1 hour ago

Giants Drop Angels as Soler’s 3-Run HR Keys a 9-Run Inning

1 hour ago

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore to Issue Over 175,000 Marijuana Pardons

1 hour ago

Ohtani Has Second Two-Homer Game of Season, Betts Breaks Hand as Dodgers Beat Royals

1 hour ago

US: Michigan, CUNY Failed to Assess Hostile Environment from Israel-Hamas War Protests

1 hour ago

Putin to Visit North Korea Amid Concerns Over Military Cooperation

2 hours ago

Netanyahu Dissolves War Cabinet After Key Partner Exits, Say Israeli Officials

Search

Send this to a friend