July 1, 2011
As I begin my first week at the University I express my sincere appreciation to the CSU Board of Trustees and Chancellor Reed for their confidence in appointing me as the interim president of Cal State East Bay. I assume this responsibility with a great deal of excitement and, at the same time, a great sense of humility.
First, let me acknowledge the outstanding leadership of President Mohammad Qayoumi. President Mo’s legacy and imprint on this distinguished University is obvious and indelible. I look forward to working with him on the CSU Executive Council, and I extend my best wishes for his continued success as he begins his new assignment at San José State University.
To the faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of the university, I very much look forward to working with you in moving the university forward. In preparation for this assignment I have been doing my “homework,” reading as much as I can about the university from as many sources as I can find. These sources include accreditation reviews, reports, communications and internal and external chronicles of your accomplishments, which are extremely impressive and expansive.
Realizing I have much more to learn in the coming months about the constituencies of the university and all else that makes Cal State East Bay so special and unique, I would like to share what I have learned about Cal State East Bay in my research to this point:
- Cal State East Bay’s academic programs are of high quality and rigor. They prepare our students to be globally aware and competitive in an environment that is becoming increasingly scientific and technical, with shrinking barriers between cultures around the world.
- Our distinguished faculty members have received regional and national recognition for their teaching, scholarship and service.
- Our staff are extremely committed and dedicated in support of students, the university and the community.
- Cal State East Bay’s remarkable students comprise one of the most diverse student bodies in higher education institutions in California.
- Over the past five years, the campus community has worked diligently, and now we can say with confidence that Cal State East Bay is no longer one of the best kept secrets in the CSU.
From what I have learned, it is clear to me that Cal State East Bay is fulfilling its mission to provide students an academically rich, multicultural learning experience that not only prepares students to realize their goals and pursue meaningful lifework, but also to be socially responsible contributors to their community—locally and globally.
As I join your ranks, you can see why I do so with a sense of both excitement and humility.
In my experience in higher education, I have found organizations are most effective when they have a well articulated and ambitious vision for the future, and especially when it is a collective vision. I have found this to be true for Cal State East Bay as demonstrated in your strategic planning documents including the Framework for the Future, its Seven Mandates, the Academic Plan, and the Hayward Campus Master Plan, which you have developed and then used to direct your accomplishments over the last five years. The process for developing a shared vision is a dynamic, interactive process and must reflect the rich traditions of the past as well as our aspirations for the future. I have also learned that a shared vision can only be accomplished by many people working together.
As we begin our work together, I strongly believe we can be inclusive of the various interests and constituencies of the university and the community, and align these diverse interests in a coherent and ambitious vision for our collective future.
Now more than ever, we must ensure that we have the will and resources to match our aspirations. Dr. Qayoumi and his leadership team set a direction and put the university on a sound financial base going forward. The University has already dealt with reduced resources and has learned how to establish priorities and make difficult decisions. Going forward under the prospect of further declining State support for higher education, we must look for new public and private opportunities for revenue generation.
A strong, unified and consistent message will be critical as we move forward to meet the needs of the future together. I will be tireless in advocating for Cal State East Bay and reinforcing the university’s commitment to our communities and our constituents.
Many have asked me why I wanted to be your president and what I hope to accomplish at Cal State East Bay. The answer is quite simple: Cal State East Bay is a welcoming university that has a rich sense and history of community, and I hope to continue to commit the university to enhancing the region’s economic, social, cultural, educational and artistic future.
- I come because of the tremendous opportunity to build on Cal State East Bay’s distinctiveness and fine reputation.
- I come to build on the comprehensive academic program array; the challenge of building more cross-disciplinary programs in the arts, the sciences, the humanities, the health sciences and the professional programs.
- I come to build on the scholarly potential of the faculty, to optimize their exceptional intellectual capacity, especially as they share their interests with their students.
- I come to build on the diversity and excellence of the student body, faculty and staff.
- I come to build on Cal State East Bay’s solid progress towards becoming a destination campus of choice for students.
- I come to build on the university’s efforts to enhance the student learning experience.
- I come to build with you on the early success of the University of Possibilities comprehensive fundraising campaign as it makes its transition from the leadership ("quiet") phase to the more formal ("public") phase.
- I come to build upon community partnerships and collaborations in advancing the university mission and influence in the region.
I would like you to know how extremely proud and honored I am to have been chosen for this very important leadership role. I am eager to begin and will focus my energy in service to advancing this great university. I ask for your support and look forward to working with you in the coming year.
Leroy M. Morishita, Ed.D.