From the President’s Desk
Causes for Celebration
As this issue of Chico Statements goes to press, the university community is thrilled to learn of two achievements that underscore the excellence of our faculty and academic programs. Both have a direct connection to features in this issue.
The Nobel Peace Prize this year recognized two influential efforts that focus on the threats of global warming and climate change. Former Vice President Al Gore, whose Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth is credited with changing the debate in America about global warming, shared the prize with the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a network of 2,000 scientists representing 120 countries, which this year produced a sobering, but hopeful, report on the same subject. One of those scientists, and the only California State University faculty member on the panel, is our own Jeff Price.
Price is a biologist in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, and his work has largely focused on biodiversity and adaptation. He is the lead author of the section in the IPCC’s 2007 report that examines what is happening to the world’s ecosystems as a result of global warming. Although Price’s section, like the full report, raises dire alarms about the need to reduce global warming emissions, he is emphatic in his belief that people and governments can change the current trends. But the decision to do so, he warns, cannot be delayed. “Every year [mitigation] is delayed, it becomes much more expensive and the impacts will become more great,” says Price.
Chico State is the California State University’s leader in sustainability, evidenced, for example, in my own action as one of the first eight college and university presidents in the country to sign the Presidents Climate Commitment, which now includes almost 500 signatures. Our institutional leadership is affirmed and informed by the work of such folks as Jeff Price, who can now list proudly on his résumé, “Nobel Peace Prize winner.”
We have also recently learned that our College of Business has earned a listing among the “Best 290 Business Schools” in the country in the 2008 report of The Princeton Review. This New York-based education services company surveys students on college campuses about their college experiences and takes into account other indices of academic quality, campus life, and career success. The publication aims to make information available to prospective students in order to help inform their decision about a higher education choice. Business schools are not ranked in this publication, but those who make it are considered to be national leaders.
This recognition acknowledges the direction in which our College of Business is going, especially its emphasis on ethics, entrepreneurship, and sustainability. Indeed, the college echoes Price’s prescription for the future because he believes there are “huge opportunities for young people and business to come up with solutions.”
This issue’s cover story on three of our eco-entrepreneur alums and the profile of environmental geo-archaeologist and alumnus Timothy Beach suggest that our faculty and the University are teaching these lessons well and preparing our students to help meet the environmental and social challenges that our planet faces. It is, truly, a hopeful story. And, like our Nobel Prize winner and highly regarded College of Business, it is a story worth celebrating.
—Paul J. Zingg, President