A Place of Purpose
In addition to this issue’s cover story featuring Chico State alumni in a quintessential California setting—the Golden Gate—two others emphasize powerful themes of the University’s story. The profile of Lundberg Family Farms is a celebration of a successful local business committed to social, economic, and environmental sustainability. Their commitment echoes the University’s sustainability orientation, as reflected in our Strategic Plan. The essay on architect Chester Cole’s three Romanesque buildings on the campus—Trinity, Laxson, and Kendall—provides a historical perspective on the icons of our own built environment and their contribution to the University’s powerful sense of place.
Each of these stories reminds us that a university is a place of purpose and performance, grounded in values that connect and inspire us. This role, however, is again threatened with serious budget cuts as part of the governor’s approach to addressing a state budget shortfall that may exceed $20 billion.
This budget crisis challenges us not just to manage public dollars responsibly, but to choose the areas of support and investment wisely. Neither new revenues nor budget cuts will take California beyond this budget crisis unless there is a strong sense of where we want to go.
Will California’s future be defined by a cleaner environment, a healthier population, greater economic growth, assured educational opportunity, more vibrant communities, and hope for all who live here and come here—or not? Can we build a promising future for all Californians, not just those of privilege and means?
Tough questions. But they must be answered positively, and at the heart of that answer is higher education. Almost 90 percent of the state’s K–12 teachers are graduates of the California State University system. Two-thirds of the state’s nurses come from the CSU. More than 50 percent of the agricultural research and management work force is prepared by the CSU. In some professional areas the numbers are staggering; for example, public administration and criminal justice draw 82 percent and 89 percent, respectively, of their work force from the CSU. It is not an exaggeration to emphasize the CSU as the engine for California and its future.
As the governor, the legislature, and other public policy makers debate the state’s budget problems, we—the supporters of Chico State and the CSU—must make sure that they know what is at stake. Simply put, higher education is an investment, not just an expenditure item in the budget.
I urge you to become familiar with the case for the CSU and to visit the Web site of the Alliance for the CSU at www.allianceforthecsu.org for more information, including how to help. There are so many stories like those highlighted in this issue that are yet to occur. Let’s make sure that they do, so that we can read about them, delight in them, and take increased pride from them. Thank you!
—Paul J. Zingg, President