|December 12, 2002
Volume 33 Number 8
|A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico|
A Holiday Message
During my convocation speech three months ago, I promised that I would keep you abreast of any changes in the 2002-2003 budget picture. I don't know much more than what you may have read in the newspapers, namely, that, according to the nonpartisan legislative analyst Elizabeth Hill, California will end the 2002-2003 fiscal year with a General Fund deficit of $6.1 billion and that the 2003-2004 budget faces a cumulative year-end deficit of $21.1 billion, absent corrective actions. So, faced with this budget shortfall, Governor Davis has called the legislature into a rare special session on Dec. 9 to consider a package of cuts and other measures to attempt to bring the budget into balance. Although Governor Davis has repeatedly stated that he wants to spare higher education from severe cuts, the magnitude of the budget deficit is such that it is likely that the CSU will be faced with cuts and the possibility of fee increases for students. I will inform you as soon as we have more definite information. Let me leave this somewhat depressing topic, for now, and take advantage of this space to talk to you about more personal and positive things.
I hope that you all had a good Thanksgiving, that you were surrounded by family and friends, and that you ate well, but not so much that you will need to diet between now and the second part of the holiday season. Gloria and I were very fortunate in that our daughter, son-in-law, and two granddaughters, Adriana and Monica, came to spend a whole week with us. Gloria seems to handle this far better than I -- the change from a house without children to one with a great deal of activity, running around, noise, and the viewing of many, many children's movies. While we had a grand time with all of them, they are gone now, and I am glad that I am back at work. I need the rest. I need to recover before we go down to San Diego to spend time again with our grandkids for Christmas. One of the reasons Gloria is so excited about my stepping down from the presidency at the end of this academic year is that we will be able to spend much more time with our granddaughters. But being a full-time grandfather is no easy task. I may have to reconsider my decision.
Speaking of retirement, I have to say that I have been overwhelmed by the manifestations of affection that many of you have bestowed upon Gloria and me since I announced my decision. We find it particularly comforting to realize that so many are pleased to know that we have decided to stay in Chico. We are surprised about this reaction. Chico is a wonderful community, and we have been made to feel an integral part of it. Chico is our home.
One of the disadvantages of having had to announce my decision so early is that I am constantly being asked about it. Many assume that I am counting the days until I step down. Nothing could be further from the truth. I only think about my impending retirement when people ask me about it. I still enjoy my job very much, and I have more than a full semester ahead of me. There is still a lot of work to be done.
So far this year, despite a gloomy economic picture, we have reasons to celebrate and reasons to keep working hard. Yolo Hall is almost finished. I can well imagine how excited the faculty and staff are who will be moving into this brand-new building and who will teach in the state-of-the-art facilities.
The passage of Proposition 47 will permit us to start working almost immediately on yet another new building on campus, a $34 million student services building. We have received a $3 million grant from the State of California to help turn the dream of a new natural history museum into a reality. With this important infusion of money, we are close to our goal. I will be working closely with the central development office, with Natural Sciences Dean James Houpis, and with the volunteer members of the natural history museum board to raise the additional $2.9 million needed to complete this exciting project.
In March of 2004, there will be a second part to Proposition 47 on the ballot. Should this one pass, CSU, Chico would receive funding to replace Taylor Hall and build, in its place, a bigger and better facility. The recently completed renovation of the Bell Memorial Union, the soon-to-be built student services building, and a brand-new Taylor Hall would change dramatically the Second Street landscape and the overall physical appearance of our campus. I am very excited about these projects. I hope you share this excitement.
Let me take this opportunity to wish you all the very best for the holiday season and wish you a 2003 filled with joy, health, and peace.
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