President's Office

Culminating Our Academic Year

May 15, 2020

To the Campus Community,

The end of every academic year is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of the entire campus community. This year we have much to celebrate. I salute the 11,790 students eligible to graduate, realizing their goals and the epitome of educational success. I am also so appreciative of all of our faculty and staff and honor those who have received recognition for their work and reached milestones in their careers in service of our students. This year brought both tremendous highlights and challenges, particularly this spring. 

I invite our entire campus community to come together tomorrow, Saturday, May 16, at 4 p.m., virtually for a “Cheers to the Class of 2019-2020.” We will offer our congratulations to these incomparable graduates using technology until it is safe for us to convene for an in-person commencement. I hope you will go to and join us.

The Celebration 2020 website also features a listing of all the upcoming virtual celebrations and student, faculty and staff recognitions that mark the culmination of the 2019-2020 academic year. Graduating students can visit to connect with their fellow graduating Matadors through our first online yearbook. There, graduating students may submit photos and information to share memories with classmates. Currently, only graduating students can access the site by entering their email address to get started, but soon it will be released for all to view.

Our graduates join a thriving Matador alumni network of 370,000 who are elevating Los Angeles and beyond. I am pleased to share that this year’s graduates will receive lifetime memberships to the CSUN Alumni Association that will serve as a reminder that once a Matador, always a Matador. Look for more details next week.

Fall Instructional Planning and Operations

Earlier this week, I communicated that CSUN is planning for fall instruction to be offered in a primarily virtual format to deliver transformative educational opportunities in a safe and responsible manner. Our Academic Affairs Task Force and other campus partners are exploring the possibility of supplementing these virtual offerings with a limited number of face-to-face courses and labs that require in-person experiences.

Chancellor Timothy White and CSU Presidents’ leadership in our planning for a primarily virtual fall semester was affirmed by the recent extensions of Safer at Home orders for Los Angeles County and the City of Los Angeles. It is also supported by the science around COVID-19 and guidance from public health experts.

Across the CSU, campuses are preparing to offer a full slate of impactful academic offerings following this framework. By planning ahead, CSUN faculty and staff will be able to fully prepare both for high-quality virtual learning, as well as the necessary modifications for those limited courses and labs that may be offered face-to-face. CSUN students, both new and returning, will enjoy a vibrant educational experience and momentum toward life-changing degrees and certificates. More information about CSUN’s plans for the fall semester will be shared in the coming weeks.

Update on State Funding

Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced the May Budget Revision that included a $398 million reduction to the CSU operating budget. There is an expectation that campuses minimize the impact to programs and services serving students to ensure their success​. Chancellor White said the revision is “daunting and portends challenging times across the California State University and the entire state.”

We do not yet know the full extent of the budgetary impact to CSUN, but we know it will be significant. We will continue our prudent budget saving measures implemented this spring, which include significantly limiting hiring, constraining non-essential purchases and travel, and deferring scheduled facility renewal projects, among other strategies.

CSUN Cares for Students Grant Update

Today is the priority deadline for eligible students to apply for the CSUN Cares for Students Grant opportunity made possible through the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. More than 15,000 students have filed their applications, and more than half of the funding is being disbursed. However, this means there is still funding available.

For those students who are eligible, if you have not already done so, I encourage you to apply. Prior messages in your CSUN student email account have the instructions on how to complete the application. For questions, contact , and staff who are working remotely will get back to you as soon as possible. I hope every eligible student with need can access this emergency funding.

Friday Moment of Sunshine

It is hard to find anything more inspiring than the thousands of graduates who have earned degrees and certificates this year. I look forward to toasting them virtually tomorrow, Saturday, May 16 at 4 p.m. at our “Cheers to the Class of 2019-2020.” 

Please continue to find the latest campus updates at the CSUN COVID-19 website. Stay healthy and safe.



Dianne F. Harrison, Ph.D.