CSU trustees begin Sacramento State presidential search at campus meeting

The search for a new Sacramento State president began in earnest Wednesday morning with a public meeting in the campus’s University Ballroom.

California State University trustees, CSU Chancellor Tim White and an advisory committee of faculty, students, alumni and community leaders listened to members of the campus community as they described the characteristics they would like to see in the next president.

Speakers asked for a new president who is politically savvy, would encourage diversity, would include students in decision-making and would increase class availability to shorten the time it takes to graduate. A number of the speakers said it was important for a president to be able to build relationships in the community and among alumni.

Student Charisse Francis asked for a president who would “come to talk to us and hear our voice.” She said she appreciated the present administration’s “willingness to come down to the student level and talk to us.”

California State University, Sacramento, President Alexander Gonzalez, 69, announced in August that he will retire at the end of the 2014-15 academic year. He plans to remain on the faculty teaching either education or psychology.

White said the legacy left by Gonzalez and his predecessors makes Sacramento State an attractive option for candidates. He said campus leadership has helped the university succeed academically, become more engaged with the community, increased fundraising and improved physical developments on campus.

The trustee committee consists of CSU trustees Steven Glazer, Rebecca Eisen, Margaret Fortune, Lupe Garcia and Lou Monville, as well as CSU Chancellor White, according to the chancellor’s office.

An advisory committee of faculty, students, alumni and the campus community also will give input on selecting finalists, though trustees will make the final decision. Among the advisory committee members: CSUS Faculty Senate Chair H. Reza Peigahi, Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Pat Fong Kushida and Sacramento Bee Publisher and President Cheryl Dell.

The two groups will meet again in February to review résumés, Glazer said. Interviews will take place in March. The board of trustees will make the final decision at either its March or May meeting, he said.

White encouraged nominations. He asked that community members pass on the names of people “you admire – someone who is a sitting president somewhere else in the country or the world, actually, or a senior leader or somebody in business or in politics.”

Call The Bee’s Diana Lambert, (916) 321-1090. Follow her on Twitter @dianalambert.