December 16, 2011
To the Campus Community:
As all of us look ahead to the holidays and prepare for a much deserved break from our important responsibilities and the demands of our work at the University, I wish to share with you some thoughts as my privileged time as president of this outstanding institution draws to a close.
While I have been deeply moved by the outpouring of wonderful tributes and recognition I have received—especially in the last few months as I have said farewell to many of you individually and to many of the diverse groups and supporters who have contributed so much to Cal State Northridge—I have taken great care to credit these achievements to all of you, the committed individuals who collectively form the heart of this campus community and have worked so hard and tirelessly to achieve our mission. The success we have achieved has been a collaborative effort and would not have been possible without your full engagement and contributions.
When the Board of Trustees announced my appointment as the fourth president of California State University, Northridge in 2000, I was given a number of charges, among them to raise the University's profile positively in the community. The opportunity to highlight the distinction and dedication of our campus community has made this charge a joy to fulfill during my years here.
Very early in my presidency—indeed, even before I formally assumed the role—I learned there was much excellence at this University that went unnoticed and unacknowledged. Excellence in the academic programs and unrecognized contributions to the region. I came to understand that Cal State Northridge was an institution that epitomized a university with a regional mission that accomplished not just private good for its graduates in the form of professional and financial success, but also made enormous contributions to the public good by educating teachers, accountants, engineers, small business owners, managers in city government, those who work in the entertainment industry, and more. Our graduates are everywhere you look and I'm proud that many of them now proudly assert their association with Cal State Northridge.
I mention this to remind you that this success and commitment to excellence have always been part of the University. For these reasons, though it was with some sadness I leave this wonderful institution which has been a source of great personal and professional pride and satisfaction, I do so with the knowledge that the institution will continue to flourish and grow.
I remember with fondness the warm welcome, the pride, and the sense of community that greeted me when I first arrived on this campus in 2000. So as I depart, I ask that you give our newly named interim president, Dr. Harry Hellenbrand, the same level of commitment, trust, collegiality, and collaboration you have given me to ensure the continued excellence of the University. When he begins his appointment on Jan. 1, 2012, Interim President Hellenbrand will need your full dedication to maintain the University's momentum during the transition, so that whoever is formally appointed as the next president can quickly assume the role of the office and move forward with assurance. I am confident all of you will welcome and support the new president with the same level of generosity and energy that has made my tenure at California State University, Northridge so extraordinary and fulfilling.
For now, it's time for me to begin the next phase of my life's journey, to focus on other challenges, and experience other ways of being. It is now time for me to heed Gandhi's thought that "there is more to life than increasing its speed."
When the new year begins, Cal State Northridge will begin a new era in its storied history. I am proud to have contributed to its legacy. Thank you for your support of the University and of me as president. I have been privileged and blessed to work with such wonderful colleagues.
Best wishes to all for a peaceful, safe and joyful holiday season and new year.