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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

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Chancellor Joseph Castro (center) takes a campus tour with Jim Herrick (left).

CSU Chancellor Visits SDSU

Chancellor Joseph Castro met with faculty, staff and students, toured the campus and said SDSU sets a national example for supporting students from diverse backgrounds.
By Jeff Ristine

California State University Chancellor Joseph I. Castro toured San Diego State University and met with university leaders, researchers, faculty, staff and students on Friday in the latest in a series of official visits to CSU campuses.
“I want you to know how impressed I am with what you’re doing here at San Diego State,” Castro said in a forum at Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union hosted by SDSU President Adela de la Torre. “I’m really excited about what’s happening here.”
Of particular note, he said, are SDSU’s graduation and equity rates, and its service to students from diverse backgrounds.
Castro is the first California native and first Mexican American to serve as CSU chancellor, the top administrative position at the nation’s largest university system. He moved into the position in January after eight years as president of Fresno State University.
SDSU was the 14th of his planned visits to all 23 CSU institutions. In the forum, he took more than a dozen questions from an audience of close to 100 faculty, staff and students, with about 300 others following via livestream.
Castro spoke highly of SDSU’s graduation rates and success in closing equity gaps, measures that in many cases already exceed goals set by CSU for the year 2025.
“You all are well on your way,” Castro said. “You have equity gaps of zero or less than 4%. It’s amazing and that’s what I would like to do across all the 23 campuses.”
He said he sees the CSU as serving not just California, but the entire nation.
“We are America’s most consequential university,” he said. “We’re the most diverse university. We transform students’ lives from different backgrounds like no other university around the country.”
He spoke repeatedly of the importance of state funding to a number of concerns brought up in questions, including salaries for faculty and staff, bolstering lean workforces, support for mental health issues and support for graduate students. Next year’s budget outlook is good but clouded by uncertainties over the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
“The budget will include funding for enrollment growth, probably 9,000 or so new spots for additional students, and we know that there is tremendous demand here,” Castro said. “We will be allocating that to the campuses that have the strongest demand, including San Diego State.”
At the federal level, he said, increased support is needed to boost both Pell grants and research funding. 
Highlights of a packed itinerary for the day included meetings with de la Torre’s Council of Vice Presidents, the Associated Students, The Campanile Foundation, faculty and staff labor groups, and representatives from SDSU Imperial Valley. Castro took a tour of campus with Assistant Vice President of SDSU Alumni James Herrick and visited the Engineering and Interdisciplinary Sciences complex to meet a group of SDSU graduate students and several top researchers.