Commencement Address 2005

CSU, Chico was founded in 1887 and is one of the oldest post-secondary institutions in California. Highly ranked among all public universities in the West, CSU, Chico is one of the very best in the twenty-three campus California State University system.

Over the course of more than 115 years, we have established a record of distinction in teaching, scholarship, research, and service to Northern California, the state, and the nation.

As our Strategic Plan emphasizes, now and for the future our first priority is our students. We are confident that the skills and abilities our students develop here will enable them to adapt successfully to the constantly shifting demands of society and will effectively prepare them to meet the challenges and changes in their personal and professional lives.

I encourage you to explore our home page to discover more about us: our impressive reputation which has led employers to recruit here more actively than at most universities in the western United States; our recognition as a rigorous institution, reflected in the awards and prizes our faculty, staff, and students have won for scholastic achievement; our retention and graduation rates, which are among the highest in the California State University system; and our dedication to providing the very best learning environment possible.

You will also discover our unsurpassed natural beauty. Winding through the campus is a beautiful creek that rushes down from the Sierra Nevada and runs through several miles of Bidwell Park, the fourth largest urban park in the nation. The Big Chico Creek Ecological Preserve, 3950 acres along 4.5 miles of Big Chico Creek, provides an extraordinary outdoor classroom for research by faculty and students. This California treasure will protect the habitat for native animals and preserve the land for generations to come.

Our accomplished faculty, high-achieving students, and caring, nurturing staff–along with the inspiring natural environment–all contribute to our commitment to learning and to making CSU, Chico the very best place it can be.

CSU, Chico honors the public trust given us to provide an excellent education. We revere the lofty ideals and purposes of higher education, and we respect not only the work that our faculty and staff do to create high-quality learning environments but also the diversity of experiences our students bring to our community.

Above the doors of Kendall Hall, CSU Chico’s administration building, is the inscription “Today Decides Tomorrow. ” We take these words to heart as we focus with optimism and hope on the future while building on the best of our past.