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A magazine from California State University, Chico -- On-line Edition  
Fall 2005
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From the President’s DeskPresident Zingg

Expressions of Excellence

Excellence. A word both elusive and inspiring. Webster’s defines it as “the state, quality, or condition of excelling; a surpassing feature or virtue.” Synonyms include superiority, incomparability, distinction, prominence, merit, and value. Besides quality, a word equally ambiguous and ambitious, no word may be more invoked as a goal and purpose of higher education than excellence.

We use these words at CSU, Chico. We declare a commitment to high-quality learning environments and excellence in instruction, research, creative activity, and public service. We aspire to be a community of learning and excellence, to enroll a high-quality student population, and to achieve academic excellence.

But we do more than throw a few buzzwords around. We define these words precisely and purposefully, we determine how they will be measured, and we report on our performance in these regards.

This spring we will undergo a major test of our performance and credibility when a team from our regional accreditation agency, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), visits the campus for several days in March. Their task is simple: to determine if we are the place that we claim to be.

I am confident they will find that we are.

Part of my confidence is reflected in the features of this issue of Chico Statements:

  • The cover story focuses on our Applied Computer Graphics program, a program of extraordinary distinction as demonstrated through the numerous awards it has won and the accomplishments of the program’s students and graduates. With state-of-the-art software and equipment and an incredibly talented instructional team, this program serves satisfied clients throughout the world.
  • National visibility accompanies another subject in this issue, our men’s and women’s cross country teams. Once again, this fall, these teams competed in the NCAA national championships and finished among the most highly ranked teams in the nation. We are the “Runners U” of Division II in many respects, and the exemplary partnership among Intercollegiate Athletics, Recreational Sports, Adventure Outings, and California Department of Parks and Recreation, which has enabled us to build a unique cross country course in Oroville, adds to this reputation.
  • Two alums—John Nopel and Paul Niess—share the spotlight. John’s devotion to the history of Chico and Paul’s accomplishments as a master clock maker underscore the many ways in which our alumni bring credit to their alma mater. Our Master Plan declares how much we appreciate the loyalty and achievements of our alumni, and here are two of the many who are worthy of our recognition.
  • Finally, there is a feature on the students and staff who work for our Calling Center, an operation that helps the University obtain some of the funding it needs to support our programs and to keep our alumni informed. The private support that comes to the University through the Calling Center often makes the difference in the quest for excellence.

So back to excellence and five stories that reflect its presence on our campus and beyond. Five stories that suggest another synonym for excellence: Chico State!


—Paul J. Zingg, President