July 22, 1997
Several months ago I was asked to allow my nomination for the position of President of Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan to go forward in the search process. After agonizing discussions with my husband, Louis, and supportive advice from Chancellor Barry Munitz, I agreed to become a candidate. I have been informed that the Wayne State Presidential Search Advisory Committee will be recommending me as a finalist for the position tomorrow afternoon. I wanted you to learn about this possibility directly from me. I also want to take this opportunity to share my thoughts and feelings about it with the university and community that have been my home for the past five years.
Those of you who know me and my husband probably also know that when we left Michigan to come to California, we left part of our hearts behind. While Detroit has many of the problems of most old, urban Midwest cities, we had found it to be an extraordinarily rich community in which we planted deep professional, civic and spiritual roots.
I chose to come to Northridge in 1992 to be a part of this great campus and system, with its remarkable potential and talented faculty, staff and students. My work here remains a constant source of personal fulfillment and pride in our collective accomplishments. Our goal of rebuilding the campus after the devastating Northridge earthquake is a certainty now - plans and funding are well in hand. We have ensured that classes are substantially more available to students; improved advisement and orientation; created a technologically rich learning environment; expanded community service programs; created two "new" professional schools; created a new Division of University Relations; restructured the University Foundation; supported the priorities of our strategic planning process; and sustained our values of excellence, inclusion and innovation.
I have rejected all previous offers to pursue positions elsewhere, preferring the anticipated satisfaction of completing the exciting changes and plans the campus has embarked upon.
Like CSUN, Wayne State University plays an integral and valued role in the total life of its community. It supports a medical center which serves needy populations, as well as first-rate research and K-12 support programs. Wayne State is, uniquely, a national research university with a commitment to access and service in an urban environment. This focus offers a special challenge and opportunity for any future president.
Personal considerations also played a role in my decision. If I were to find that Wayne State is a right fit for me and if I were to be offered this position - neither of which is assured at this point in time - my husband and I would be able to spend our last working years at "home."
You understand well that I could not predict or influence the timing of this search, and that the only way I can fully explore the Wayne opportunity is by participating in the search process. Whether or not my candidacy progresses further, I will continue to give my very best to CSUN, help craft positive solutions to current issues, and seek long-term means of assuring that we will remain one of the finest institutions of higher learning in the state.
Blenda J. Wilson