Leading a Good Life

President's Desk: Leading a Good Life

Born in segregationist Mississippi in 1939, and molded by the Civil Rights and Women’s Movements of the 1960s, Marian Wright Edelman has been one of the world’s most effective and articulate advocates of children’s rights since she founded the Children’s Defense Fund in 1973. Closely tied to this work is her strong message that a fundamental aim of education, especially for the college years, is not just to equip someone to make a good living, but also to lead a good life. Put another way, students come to college to learn. But, hopefully, they should leave imbued with values and virtues that will bring out their goodness, bless their families and friends, and benefit their communities.

At Chico State, we do not just hope that this will happen. We work diligently to ensure that it will. We do so because we emphasize that the capacity to learn finds its fullest expression in the use of knowledge to improve self and society. We believe that the goals of self-discovery and service are connected and complementary. This is why we chose to put service at the center of our yearlong celebration of the 125th anniversary of our founding.  

Our cover story provides program highlights and volunteer profiles of the My Service Counts initiative. The goal: 125,000 hours of service in 2012 to mark our 125th year. So how did we do? Read the story. Suffice it to say that we blew through the target.

A related feature profiles Ian Ruddell, a truly amazing individual who translated his service to Chico State into service to all students of the California State University as a student trustee on the CSU Board of Trustees. Reflecting the spirit of service that animates our community, Ian serves others generously. His commitment to our campus led to his appointment to the board, and he comfortably found a bigger stage on which to serve and represent his constituency.  

In just a few weeks, Ian Ruddell and My Service Counts will come together on the stage for our spring Commencement. First, I will have the opportunity to award Ian his baccalaureate degree. Joining me will be CSU Chancellor Tim White and Trustee Chair Bob Linscheid, who are coming to this event to honor Ian as well. Their presence is a lovely expression of the respect that Ian has earned as a trustee and as a champion of the interests of all CSU students.

Second, in my Commencement remarks, I will urge our graduates to embrace the example of the many among them who helped the residents of Joplin, Missouri, recover from the terrible tornadoes that ripped through their town; who raised dollars and hopes for the children victims of cancer in the annual Up ’til Dawn fundraiser for St. Jude; who devoted countless hours of service to the Chico Boys and Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, the Chico Humane Society, a cleaner environment, and a sustainable future; who tutored the less fortunate, provided company to the elderly, and fed the hungry.  

Yes, these are the expressions of a community that acknowledges the obligations of service and accepts the responsibility to foster hope in others. These acts make a difference in the lives they touch. And, most assuredly, this understanding applies not just to those who are the beneficiaries of a service rendered but also to those who provide the service.  

Service counts; service matters. Yours, mine, ours. Each act of service strengthens those habits of the heart that can enrich an individual and define an institution. There is much to celebrate in our 125th year, but nothing more important than inspiring those who come to our campus to learn and who leave here to serve.

Paul J. Zingg, President

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Alum Notes

Mark Ulriksen

Mark Ulriksen

(BA, Information and Communication Studies, ’80) illustrated the New Yorker’s 2012 election cover.

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Istvan Kadar

(BA, Chemistry, ’71) is helping design Disney’s newest theme park in Shanghai.

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Laurel Miller

Laurel Miller

(BA, Communication Design, ’92) runs The Sustainable Kitchen, a cooking school/farm tour program.

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