When it became clear that San Diego State was interested in me, I immediately wrote our campus to inform everyone of this development and to emphasize that I would approach this matter with an open mind as both that institution and I considered the prospects of a good fit. As always, I would be guided by an evaluation of my own interests and values and a deep commitment to support the CSU and the promise and benefits of public higher education in our state.
Subsequently, I informed our campus that San Diego State offered their presidency to another candidate. In that message, I emphasized the outcome of my own self-assessment through this experience and how it has left me with an even stronger sense of why I enjoy, find inspiration, and feel at home with the people and promise of Chico State.
In effect, what I experienced is something in which I strongly believe and advocate all the time. Namely, that one of the larger aims of education is self-discovery, and that finding out about ourselves is a process that is as much an act of discovery as an expression of will, and that it occurs in many ways. Whether through reading, thinking, making friends, meditating, exploring foreign cultures or unfamiliar experiences, participating in competitive athletics, or putting yourself on the line in a public search process, we are caused to look at ourselves in different ways.
I am very fond of John Wooden’s observation, “The crime is not to fail; it is to aim too low.” So, yes, I failed to receive an offer to move to another presidency. But I gained a renewed and deeper understanding of the Chico State story, our own high aspirations, and most personally, a sense of why I want to be here as the story continues to unfold and our aspirations climb even higher. Despite daunting challenges, I am more certain than ever that we are embarked upon the right track to deliver on the well-placed expectations that our many stakeholders have for us and confident that we are guided by clear, compelling values and smart, dedicated people.
Paul J. Zingg