Having now completed my first official week on campus, I want to say how delighted I am to have assumed my responsibilities as president of California State University, Northridge. I am energized by the wide-ranging achievements and strong commitment by the faculty and staff to the mission of the university. My first priorities will be to continue to develop our campus' existing strengths and to deepen the academic and personal connections among us and with our external community.
I enjoyed visiting with many of you at the informal open house in my office last Friday and look forward to greeting others of you when I take frequent walks around the campus, as will be my custom. I hope all of us will find opportunities for some rest and renewal during the summer and that we will anticipate the new academic year with joy and enthusiasm.
Academy High School Community Meetings
We on the campus and our community members will have two upcoming opportunities to learn more about the Los Angeles Unified School District's joint proposal with the university to establish a special "academy high school" on the CSUN campus. The proposed 800-student high school, which the LAUSD would build on our Zelzah Court property, is an important project that we are continuing to pursue with the school district. CSUN and the LAUSD would gain the opportunity to jointly create a model school for local Valley students with a focus on preparing future teachers. The university, by permitting the LAUSD to use Zelzah Court, in exchange would obtain the Prairie Street School site, which now juts into the perimeter of our campus, for expanded parking.
The LAUSD will hold its next information meeting on the academy high school project at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 12, in the auditorium at Topeka Drive Elementary School, 9815 Topeka Drive in Northridge. This session is scheduled essentially as a repeat for anyone who was unable to attend the June 5 meeting held at Monroe High School. Then, the LAUSD is planning a follow-up meeting a week later at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 19, also in the auditorium at Topeka Drive Elementary School. Both sessions are open to the public, and everyone with an interest in the project is invited to attend.
If approved by the CSU Board of Trustees and other entities, the project would be the LAUSD's first new high school built in the San Fernando Valley in nearly 30 years, and would be the only LAUSD high school located on a university campus. Through extensive discussions with the LAUSD, we have agreed that the school site along Zelzah Avenue would be enclosed, would handle its student and staff parking needs on-site, and would not have any busing program for regular students since those attending would live in the surrounding areas. The school would be a good neighbor to the campus and the community.
Provost Louanne Kennedy and Vice Provost Philip Handler are leading the university team that is pursuing this project with the LAUSD. Questions or comments about the project from campus community members can be directed to their offices in Academic Affairs. For additional information about the upcoming LAUSD information meetings, the contact person in the LAUSD's Community Outreach Department is Mr. Vince Maffei at (323) 931-5501.
CSUN at Channel Islands Student Chosen for Trustees' Award
I wish to extend the congratulations of the university community to Mr. Lawrence Johnson, the Associated Students president at our Channel Islands satellite campus, for his selection this month as one of five Cal State students to receive the 2000 Hearst/CSU Trustees' Award for Outstanding Achievement. This important award, which includes a $3,000 scholarship, recognizes CSU students with demonstrated financial need who have shown superior academic performance, community service and personal accomplishments.
Mr. Johnson served as the AS president for the CSUN at Channel Islands program during the past year and will serve in that same capacity during the 2000-2001 school year. He also was chosen as Channel Islands' Student of the Year, and recently completed his undergraduate studies at CSUN by earning a bachelor's degree in psychology. He now will be pursuing his graduate studies toward a career in college or rehabilitation counseling. Mr. Johnson has achieved these milestones by overcoming the obstacles he faced after a 1989 motorcycle accident left him paralyzed from the waist down.
During his involvement with the AS at Channel Islands, Mr. Johnson has worked to increase the budget for the student government organization, helped to create a child care voucher program for students there, and sought to forge a partnership with the YMCA to promote fitness on campus. He is a member of several academic honor societies, and also works as a community intervention specialist in Ventura dealing with gang intervention, drug/alcohol awareness and leadership skills.
Mr. Johnson and the other four student award recipients from other CSU campuses will be honored by the CSU Board of Trustees during the board¹s July 19 meeting in Long Beach. The selection of Mr. Johnson to receive the trustees' award, in addition to highlighting his own personal accomplishments, also is a broader recognition of the caliber of Cal State Northridge students. Many at the university overcome great odds to pursue and achieve their personal and educational goals, and we all should take pride in being a part of that great success.