President's Office

From the President's Desk May 18 2000


As a reminder to the campus community, I am pleased to share the schedule below for the 2000 Honors Convocation & Commencement:

Friday, May 26
Location: Channel Islands

Tuesday, May 30
Location: Oviatt Lawn

Wednesday, May 31
Location: Oviatt Lawn

Location: University Club

Location: Oviatt Lawn

Thursday, June 1
Location: Oviatt Lawn

Location: University Club

6:30 p.m. HUMANITIES
Location: Oviatt Lawn

Friday, June 2
Location: Oviatt Lawn

Location: University Club

I hope everyone will find a way to participate in one or more of the commencement programs. These events are always inspirational, providing us the opportunity to share with our students and their families and friends great pride in their achievement of an important personal and societal milestone. Many of our graduates have overcome substantial barriers to earn their degrees, and the commencement celebrations are especially meaningful to them and to us. Commencement is a joyous occasion for renewing our commitment to the mission and values of the university and for taking well-deserved satisfaction in the contributions that each of us has made to the welfare and intellectual progress of our students.

Honored Faculty Reception

Today, on May 18, I will be co-hosting the Honored Faculty Reception with Faculty President Albert Kinderman. At the reception, the university will pay tribute to more than 40 faculty who have been granted emeritus status based on the recommendations of their colleagues. Given the distinction that these emeriti faculty have brought to the university through their many years of scholarship, teaching and service, I look forward to honoring them at the ceremony.

The Outstanding Professor Award and the Award for Outstanding Achievement in Equity and Diversity also will be bestowed. This year's Outstanding Professor is Dr. June Downing of the Special Education Department for her achievements as a leader and an educator for teachers in the field of severe disabilities.

The Award for Outstanding Achievement in Equity and Diversity will be given to Dr. Maria Elena Zavala of the Biology Department for her extraordinary work in creating opportunities for minority students to engage in scientific research and to pursue advanced degrees and careers in the sciences.

My congratulations to Dr. Downing, Dr. Zavala and our distinguished emeriti faculty for their work to make Cal State Northridge a strong and vibrant academic institution.

Best Wishes for the Summer

As we come to the close of this academic year, I want to wish all members of the campus community a productive, enjoyable and restorative summer. It has been a very busy and challenging year for all of us, and I know you share my hope that the summer will provide all of us with opportunities to catch up on delayed reading, writing and other projects, and to vacation and spend time with family and friends.

Cal State Northridge is a creative and admirable institution that serves our students and community in innumerable ways. This is possible because of the dedication and hard work of our faculty, staff and students. I honor each of you for what we have achieved together.

NCOD Gains Special Recognition Across U.S.

I am pleased to congratulate our National Center on Deafness for its involvement in a new, unusual and special program that is bringing both the NCOD and this university valuable national recognition. The NCOD was approached late last year by the Mattel company for assistance in developing "Sign Language Barbie," a doll that would feature Barbie in a classroom setting, teaching her young students American Sign Language. Meeting with Mattel officials were Dr. Merri C. Pearson, NCOD director; Ms. Caroline Preston, coordinator of interpreting services, and Ms. Jennifer Olson, administrator of special projects.

With their advice and counsel, Mattel developed a package that features Barbie with her hand signing "I love you." The complete boxed package represents a classroom scene including a blackboard and a series of more than 20 reusable vinyl pictures showing students signing such words as "ice cream," "tree," "sleep" and "pet." The pictures can be arranged on the blackboard to form different sentences. The back of the box describes signing and how sign language can be used to communicate with deaf or hard of hearing children. The box also carries this note to parents: "Sign Language Barbie was developed in consultation with the National Center on Deafness at California State University, Northridge." It also gives the NCOD web address for more information and resources. "Sign Language Barbie" is being sold nationwide through Toys 'R Us stores.

The NCOD has gained national recognition through the years both for its strong, basic instructional programs and its innovative ideas and methods. Everyone involved in the program is to be congratulated.

President's Opening Address: August 25, 2000

As you know, President-Elect Jolene Koester formally assumes the presidency of the university on July 1. During this transition period, she has met with members of the campus community and looks forward with great excitement to the opportunity to work with all of us in leading Cal State Northridge into the new century.

To introduce herself and to begin to articulate her vision and goals for the university, Dr. Koester will deliver an opening address on Friday, August 25, at 9 a.m., to be followed immediately by a question-and-answer session and a reception. As we get closer to the date, reminders will be sent about the location of the address, but we hope you will reserve this date on your calendar now.


Louanne Kennedy
Interim President

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Interim President Louanne Kennedy