May 6, 2013
Spending Time with Students
Over the past few weeks, I have had the delightful opportunity to engage with many of the wonderful students that attend Cal State San Marcos.
In late April, I hosted a lunch with student leaders that brought together students from various organizations across campus. I hold these annual luncheons once a semester, and the atmosphere is casual and relaxed. I shared my vision for the university and then opened the discussion up to questions. As always, students were inquisitive, asking everything from my thoughts on the system budget crisis to the effects of Prop 30 on our campus.
A week later, I hosted more student leaders at my home for a night of good conversation. It was the 7th annual such event, and it was a diverse group. Student representatives from ASI to the Pride and Gender Equity Centers attended, as well as students from the pre-law and pre-dental societies, the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, the Cougar Chronicle and various honor societies, among other organizations. They represented a full spectrum of backgrounds and interests, and they shed light on their unique student experiences at CSUSM. Throughout the night, they asked insightful questions regarding how decisions are made at the university and system level and gave advice for how to get more students involved in campus life. The evening provided yet another opportunity for me to connect with students on a personal level and thank them for their service to the university and their advocacy in our communities.
Two nights after the dinner at my home, I spent the evening in the company of this year’s six CSUSM outstanding graduates and their friends and family. Each year, the deans of our four colleges, along with the Dean of Graduate Studies, select the student who has excelled academically, contributed to their field of study and provided service to our campus or community. The Dean of Students also selects an honoree exemplary student leadership. The criteria for all awards demands that students go above and beyond in every aspect of their time on campus, undertaking rigorous coursework, assisting fellow students, and demonstrating immense aptitude for scholarly discourse. The selection process is difficult but rewarding. Some of the students have overcome tremendous challenges to complete their educations, so to see them recognized for their extraordinary work is heartwarming and an affirmation of our mission to transform lives.
It is especially gratifying for me to recognize one of the dean’s honorees with the President’s Outstanding Graduate Award. The student selected for this award has displayed a tremendous capacity for intellectual thought, a steadfast commitment to service and an abiding dedication to the pursuit of knowledge. The quality of the candidates does not make my selection an easy one. This year’s recipient, Fernando Sánchez, has an incredible story and is well deserving of the award.
At CSUSM, our students are our pride. They are what make this university so unique — their diversity of ideas, of backgrounds, of talent — and I am delighted each time I have an opportunity to spend time with them. The students I met with over the past few weeks are by any measure some of the most accomplished and interesting students at the university, and I know that their CSUSM education is preparing them well for exceedingly bright futures. You can hear all about Fernando and this year's honorees by visiting http://www.csusm.edu/president/videos/.