President Leroy M. Morishita (center) is congratulated by CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed (right) as CSU Trustee Robert Linscheid applauds. (Photo: Stephanie Secrest)
A gathering of hundreds alternately applauded, cheered, tapped their feet and listened attentively Friday, Oct. 12, at Cal State East Bay during A Day of Celebration ceremonies honoring faculty and the investiture of Leroy M. Morishita as the university’s fifth president. The morning rites were followed by al Fresco, the fall welcome back event for students.
In his Investiture remarks, “A Model for Regionally-Engaged Learning in the 21st Century,” Morishita acknowledged his mentors and supporters, discussed his family core values, paid tribute to his CSUEB predecessors, staff, faculty and students and outlined his vision for the university.
“This model expands on Cal State East Bay’s strengths – our diverse community, our pedagogy of engaged learning and our regional partnerships – and suggests how we can contribute as an innovative and creative leader in higher education,” Morishita said.
“I see the future of Cal State East Bay as the University of choice for our students, the University engaged with our regional community – indeed, the University that serves as the intellectual, social, cultural and economic heart of the East Bay,” he said.
In addition to the Investiture, A Day of Celebration included Faculty Honors Convocation, in which faculty members receiving promotions, emeriti status or honors for 25 years of service to CSUEB were feted.
As a processional march played, dozens of faculty members adorned in rainbow-bright regalia led off the festivities, strolling two-by-two into the venue adjacent to the Music Building peristyle. Attendees stood and applauded as Charles B. Reed, chancellor of the California State University system, and Robert Linscheid, CSU trustee, led Morishita toward the stage.
Following the Faculty Honors Convocation and remarks by Mitchell Watnik, chair of the Academic Senate expressing the senate’s wish for a close working partnership with the new president, the CSUEB Choral Union performed “It Takes a Village.” Associate Professor Buddy James conducted the piece, which led off with each chorus member thumping a heartbeat-rhythm on his or her chest. Two drummers accompanied them, as they sang:
It takes a whole village to raise our children./ It takes a whole village to raise one child./ We all everyone must share the burden./ We all everyone will share the joy.
When Reed addressed the audience, he said that Morishita is the “right person at the right time” to lead CSUEB.
“Choosing a president is one of the most important responsibilities given to the chancellor and the board of trustees,” said Reed, noting that the choice affects the campus, region and state. “That is why when it came time to choose a president for Cal State East Bay, we chose Leroy Morishita.”
Reed praised his abilities to plan and work with a volatile state budget, collaborate and provide strong leadership. At a few moments past noon, Reed turned toward Morishita and announced: “I hereby invest you with the office of President of California State University, East Bay.” The president approached the podium, where Linscheid greeted him and draped a presidential medallion over his head.
Attendees stood and cheered.
The President’s Investiture remarks, “A Model for Regionally-Engaged Learning in the 21st Century,” are available on the university Web site.
CSUEB’s Day of Celebration brought together members of multiple groups that make up the university community.
The invocation was offered by Bishop J.W. Macklin of Glad Tidings Church of God in Christ, Hayward, and the benediction was offered by Bishop Kodo Umezu of Buddhist Churches of America. Greetings were delivered by individuals representing University constituencies including presidents of the CSU (James M. Rosser, CSULA); faculty (Associate Professor Derek Kimball, George and Miriam Phillips Outstanding Professor), staff (Derrick Lobo '93, Vivian Cunniffe Outstanding Staff Member), students (Jerry Chang, president, Associated Students Inc.) and alumni (Judith Silva, chair, Alumni Association Board).
Dignitaries in attendance representing academic institutions included: CSU trustees Kenneth Fong and Larry Norton; previous CSUEB presidents Mo Qayoumi and Norma Rees; Robert Corrigan, president emeritus of SFSU; presidents of CSU campuses, including Fresno, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Luis Obispo, Sonoma and Stanislaus; the chairman of Fukuoka Institute of Technology in Japan; and educators representing other California colleges.
Among many elected officials and special guests at the event were: Hiroshi Inomata, the Consul General of Japan, based in San Francisco; Assemblymember Mary Hayashi, Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski; and a representative of the office of state Senator Ellen Corbett.
Students in attendance gave positive reviews to the president following the ceremony.
“He seems like he’s going to make a lot of changes for the university,” said 20-year-old junior Cathy Torres, a double major in criminal justice administration and sociology. “Since I was here when the last president was here, I’ll be able to see (the change).”
Several students expressed appreciation that Morishita has been approachable and visible on campus and at Athletic and performing arts events.
“A lot of people are really able to relate to him,” said sophomore Roxana De La O Cortez, 19. “The first day I moved into the freshman year dorms, last year, he met my parents.”
Torres and De La O Cortez agreed that his background as a first-generation college student served as a positive model for them and their classmates.
Brittany Clemmons, 20, a senior majoring in health science, liked that the president is championing causes important to students.
“He said he was fighting for us, (since) fees are rising,” she said. “To hear that he’s going to fight for us as much as possible, that’s inspiring.”