Chancellor's Recent Speeches

Remarks by Dr. Charles B. Reed
Chancellor, California State University
State of the CSU Address - CSU Legislative Day
Sacramento, CA
April 11, 2005

Good morning, and thank you to all of you for coming here today.

Special thanks to the teams who organized today's events: the CSU Alumni Council, the CSU's Office of Advocacy and Institutional Relations, and all of our campus representatives and friends.

We talk a lot about how the California State University is the university that "works for California." But in order to work for California, the CSU has to meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of individuals.

A few weeks ago, I had a chance to talk with one of those individuals at length. I sat next to one of our alums during a cross-country flight. We were not in first class like some other universities. We were in coach, way in the back - and I was in the middle seat. During that flight she told me her story and how her experience with the CSU essentially changed her life:

Geri MacPhee was originally from Guam but grew up in China Lake, California. After graduating from high school, and after a brief return to Guam, she found work as a clerk/typist in China Lake. Soon she realized that she would need to get a higher degree for a more promising future. While she was working full-time, she became a part-time student. She attended community college and then transferred to Cal State Bakersfield, where she earned her bachelor's degree in business administration.

She never actually had to go to Bakersfield to take a class. Professors traveled to China Lake two times per week, and many of her courses were offered via distance technology.

She now works for the U.S. Navy as a technical specialist and contracting officer's representative for the Navy Marine Corps Intranet program, the single largest intranet in the world. She is also a part-time student at Cal Poly Pomona pursuing an MBA through the Professional MBA program.

I really liked her story because I thought it was a powerful example of how the CSU helps make a difference in the lives of thousands of people. She did not live close to a four-year university, but with her commitment to her future, and with the CSU's flexibility, she was able to complete the degree of her dreams - and she is determined to keep going.

We are very fortunate that she was able to join us today. Please join me in welcoming Geri MacPhee.

There are thousands more people like Geri all around the state who have turned to the CSU to help them achieve their dreams. This story could be told in countless different ways, about how this great university has helped millions of students make California what it is today.

The bottom line is that the CSU is the university that is shaping California.

The CSU represents California's future because of the people like Geri MacPhee who help strengthen California every day.

CSU Impact

You and I know about the major impact that our campuses have on individuals and on our local communities. But now we have tangible proof that the work we do has a massive impact across the state of California.

In November, the CSU released a report showing how our university system dramatically affects the economic, social, intellectual and cultural life of our state. This is the first systemwide analysis of this magnitude. The results show that:

  • The CSU provides a four-fold return on investment. For every $1 the state puts into the CSU, we generate $4.41 in spending. This means that the CSU more than pays for itself. Few other public entities can make that claim.

  • CSU-related expenditures create over $13 billion annually in economic activity and support more than 200,000 jobs in the state.

  • When you take into account the impact that our 1.7 million alumni have on California, we have a $53 billion impact.

  • The CSU provides the majority of the professional workers that are critical to the state's knowledge-based industries: agriculture, engineering, business, technology, media, and computer science. We graduate more students in these fields than all other California universities and colleges combined.

  • The CSU is the state's leading provider of graduates in services that are critical to the state, providing more than 80 percent of the college degrees in criminal justice, education, social work and public administration.

  • The CSU educates a diverse population: More than half of all undergraduate degrees granted to Latino, African American and Native American students in California were awarded by the CSU.

  • The CSU improves local communities and residents' quality of life: CSU students contribute 30 million hours a year to community service activities including education and health projects.
Why is this study important? Because it means that every day, we are making a difference by strengthening California's communities and making its workforce more competitive. Each one of us affiliated with the CSU plays a role in helping shape California and its future success.

Ever since I came to California seven years ago, I have felt that Californians undervalue the vital importance of the CSU system and its campuses. These results clearly show that the CSU is the university that is working for California.

The CSU has a great story to tell and I hope you can all help us tell that story. You can read more about the report on our web site at

I hope that you will read it and share it with family and friends and colleagues throughout the year.

Communications & Advocacy Plan

This impact study represents the beginning of a long-term communications and advocacy campaign in which we will ask the entire CSU family-students, faculty, staff, alumni-to help us spread the word that the CSU is working for California.

As part of this communications and advocacy plan, we are holding a series of events around the state. These events feature the CSU's role in key industries for California.

The first event, which highlighted the CSU's contributions to agriculture, was held at Fresno State in February. We heard from about 200 of the most influential people in California's agriculture industry. It was an outstanding forum and a very productive exchange of ideas.

In March we held a community forum with African-American leaders at the West Angeles Church. This meeting was a good opportunity to hear from community members about how the CSU can reach more African-American students, particularly males.

Later this month, we will join an event at Cal State L.A. honoring Hispanic leaders in the film industry. In early June, we will highlight our role in tourism in a forum at Cal Poly Pomona.

In the fall will meet with leaders in the Chinese-American community. We are also planning events highlighting engineering, health sciences, biotechnology, and other industries in which CSU plays a key role in California. I hope all of you will join me in sharing the CSU message.

Legislative Visits

Later this afternoon, many of you will be going on legislative visits and talking about the CSU with your legislators. I hope that you will continue to emphasize to them the incredible impact that this institution has on our state.

There is no doubt about it; this is going to be a tough budget year. We were fortunate to reach a compact agreement with Gov. Schwarzenegger, but anything could happen after the May Revise.

I hope you will help our legislators understand how critical it is for our university system to be properly funded - especially after years of budget reductions. We need to tell them how important it is to preserve the quality of the education we provide to our students.

Let's tell them the Geri MacPhee story. And let's tell them about the more than 80,000 students like Geri who will get their degrees from our university next month.

Finally, we need to ask them to continue to build the foundation of a strong university system that will help California students for many, many years to come.

California is a 21st century state. And this is the university for the 21st century.

I want to close by thanking you all for taking the time to join us in Sacramento to deliver this message. I wish you a very informative, productive, and enjoyable day with your colleagues and friends.

Thank you very much.

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