Chancellor's Recent Speeches

Remarks by Dr. Charles B. Reed
Chancellor, California State University
Chinese American Studies Conference
San Francisco, CA
October 7, 2005

Thank you very much for this opportunity to speak. I am honored to be a part of this event and to meet so many distinguished guests.

II'd like to start by sharing a few words from a good friend of mine, a successful businessman and a former California State University trustee, Stanley Wang.

Stanley gave our system an amazing gift a few years back. He and his wife Franny donated $1 million to be used over ten years to recognize outstanding CSU faculty and administrators.

When he made this gift, he told us that he wanted to do so because he believed in the power of education.

He told us, "In our shrinking world, the interdependence of the global economy requires greater knowledge and understanding between the West and the East."

He said he was confident that helping to strengthen education and build partnerships would lead to great success for California students in the global economy.

I know that Stanley was right.

And when we step back and look at our university system and its role in the state and global economy, I remember Stanley and his wisdom about the importance of making connections and building bridges.

Most people, when they think of the California State University, think of their local campus, like San Francisco State. In fact, the California State University system is the country's largest four-year university system with approximately 400,000 students.

It is the most diverse, with minority enrollment at over 53 percent, and it is one of the most affordable, with some of the lowest student fees in the country.

The CSU graduates 82,000 students each year into California's workforce. We graduate 58 percent of California's Hispanic graduates, 52 percent of the state's African-American graduates, 53 percent of the state's Native American graduates, and 39 percent of the state's Asian/Pacific Islander graduates.

I should note here that Asian-Americans are the second largest ethnic population at the CSU - making up 17 percent of our students. Altogether we have more than 17,000 Chinese students. From an economic perspective, the CSU's impact is enormous. CSU-related expenditures create over $13 billion in economic impact and support over 207,000 jobs in California.

California reaps more than a four-fold benefit from every dollar the state invests in the CSU.

Given our critical role in California, we see ourselves as bridge-builders - building continuity across the spectrum from education… …to the economy and workforce…to the community.

We are proud to support your efforts in Chinese American studies as we continue to build bridges between academia and our communities.

High School Outreach

Our bridge-building begins with high school outreach.

We have a number of outstanding high school students with us today. Will they stand so we can recognize them?

I had a chance to talk with them briefly about some of the CSU's efforts to make sure they are on the path for college success.

One of the most important tools we have to reach high school students is the Early Assessment Program, or EAP.

We developed this test, along with the California Department of Education and the State Board of Education, to help 11th grade students to get a 'snapshot' of their mathematics and English/language arts proficiency.

The test incorporates the CSU's placement standards into the California Standards Tests for English and math. If the EAP test shows that that a student needs more work, they can make the most of their 12th grade experience by using that time to brush up on the skills they need for college.

We have also designed programs for teachers and students to help them make the most of the final high school years. Plus we created web sites called and to help students make sure that they are ready for CSU math and English placement tests.

Another effort is our support for what we call the A through G curriculum, the curriculum required for admission to the CSU or the University of California, for all students.

In May, we joined with the Alliance for a Better Community to support their effort to establish the A-G curriculum as a requirement for graduation at the LAUSD.

We will continue to be outspoken public supporters of this effort as we work with ABC and others to help more students become eligible for a four-year university.

A third major project is our "Steps to College" poster. For the last six years, we have distributed copies of this poster in English and Spanish to middle and high schools throughout California. Last year, we started printing copies in Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

I hope all of our high school students read and study the poster so they can make sure they stay on track to go to college and succeed.

At the CSU

At the university level, our work continues with a diverse population of students who reflect what California really looks like.

We offer our students opportunities to understand and engage with their culture and community.

Thirteen CSU campuses have Asian and Asian-American studies programs and we offer ethnic studies opportunities across the CSU system.

I'm sure many of you know from Professor Lorraine Dong that San Francisco State houses the first and only College of Ethnic Studies in the country. Also, the Chancellor's Office has recognized San Francisco State's Asian American studies department as an "exemplary program."

Some other programs worth noting:

  • " Cal State East Bay has been offering business management and public administration programs to Chinese students since 1993, and has executive MBA programs in Beijing, Hong Kong, Vienna, Moscow and Singapore.
  • " Cal State Northridge houses a $38 million collection of Chinese antiquities, donated by entrepreneur Roland Tseng. He said he chose Cal State Northridge because of the university's longstanding connections with China, and because the university is a place where the antiquities can be publicly shown and studied in many different disciplines.
  • " San Jose State's Asian-American Center offers events and opportunities for students and community members to learn about Asian-American history and culture.

Another important systemwide program is the Wang Scholarship, established by our friends Stanley and Franny Wang. These scholarships provide students and faculty an opportunity to study and teach in China and Taiwan.

While Stanley was a trustee, I had the opportunity to travel with him on trips to universities in China and in Taiwan. What impressed me the most on these trips was the willingness of those administrators and faculty to enter into partnerships and work collaboratively with the CSU.

That kind of collaborative spirit is essential to success in the 21st century. I know that the students who study there will do well in today's partnership-driven, global economy.

After Graduation

When our students complete their studies at the CSU, we help them make the transition into fields that are needed in California.

In 2003/04, we granted more than 3,500 degrees to Chinese and Chinese-American students. Some of our outstanding alums include:

From San Francisco State - Fred Lau, San Francisco's first Asian-American police chief -- Leland Yee, the first Asian American to rise to Speaker pro Tem of the California State Assembly.

From Fresno State - Faye Woo Lee, Commissioner, City and County of San Francisco Human Rights Commission.

From San Jose State - International bestselling author Amy Tan.

And there are many, many others who are leading companies, heading research projects, designing buildings, teaching in classrooms, and working in communities.

We are proud of what we do for California and for all of its people.

That is why we continue to reach out to the community, especially at events like this one.

I know that the partnership between San Francisco State and the Chinese Historical Society is considered to be a model of town-gown cooperation.

I thank you for all that you do to help us stay connected and informed about community and cultural issues, and as always, I welcome your feedback on how we can serve your communities better.

Thank you again for the opportunity to speak.

Back to speeches