Chancellor's Recent Speeches
Remarks by Charles B. Reed
Thank you, Judy (Genshaft).
It is outstanding to be on a panel with so many people committed to the same outcome: getting our veterans into college, getting them graduated and then into the workforce.
That is what I would call success.
Before I make remarks about our Troops to College initiative, let me introduce some distinguished guests in the audience.
First is a Flag Officer:
Mike Lehnert, Commanding General, Marine Corps Installations West. He has dedicated his Deputy Commander, Colonel Patrick “Paddy” Gough, as the co-chair of our working group.
All of our military contacts have been incredibly supportive of the initiative and we could not have gotten this far without them. Thank you all.
Next is Kent Valley, Senior Vice President of Majestic Realty Co.
Kent was the driving force behind the $100,000 gift from the “Land of the Free Foundation” that was given to the CSU Foundation in support of ACE’s Severely Injured program at Balboa Naval Hospital San Diego. Thank you, Kent.
Let me now proudly introduce four of our student-veterans.
They are here to help us.
I have asked them to be available to meet with you at the end of this session to explain some of the hurdles they have had getting access to a college degree. They can also talk about their successes.
We need to carefully listen to them as we design our campus programs. They are my speech for today – ask them lot of questions.
Also let me introduce Retired Colonel Bucky Peterson, USMC.
Also in the audience is San Diego State President Steve Weber who has been instrumental in working with our veterans in this region and helping get these students into SDSU. He has also worked with us on the programs at Balboa Hospital and the Miramar Air Base.
Bucky, Steve and others at the CSU are the reasons why we know we are beginning to make a difference in our veterans’ lives.
The CSU has taken the lead on Gov. Schwarzenegger’s Troops to College program, which was announced in March 2006.
But before I give you more specifics, let me share a short story from our Board of Trustees meeting last month:
That is what makes us work so hard on this program. It is the right thing for us to do.
And the Governor really likes it that the California State University has taken the lead.
About six months ago, Bucky and I went with all 23 presidents and a few other people and spent a day and a half at Camp Pendleton.
It was “Gut Check Time.”
Spent the evening with the “wounded warriors” and admitted several of them on the spot to our campuses.
What is important to us is that these veterans look like our CSU students – they are African-American, Latino, Asian, and white; they are older and many have families. All 23 of our campuses have this focus on these students.
Balboa Naval Hospital:
We have established the “Severely Injured” program at Balboa and Camp Pendleton in partnership with ACE and modeled after Jim Wright’s “wounded warriors” program at Dartmouth.
I want to congratulate Jim on conceiving of that program – it is a good one and we are pleased to follow his example.
Now that he is retiring from Dartmouth and dedicating himself to this program, I know he will really make a difference to the men and women wounded in service to their country. As a former Marine, Jim knows that this kind of college counseling program is sorely needed. Thank you, Jim.
What else the CSU is doing:
This is a call to action for all of us to do better for our veterans.
I encourage you to go back to your campuses and see what you already have for these military personnel and veterans. If you do not have enough, then figure out a way to do more.
It is very essential that we all help these men and women transition to college.
We need to work with them on financial aid, credit transfers and their life-learning and leadership experiences. They are part of our future workforce.
We need to respect them for what they have already done, and get them on a career path so they are as productive in the civilian world as they were in the military world.
As I said at the beginning, it is the right thing to do.
And don’t forget to talk to the student-veterans I introduced earlier in these remarks. Thank you.