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President's Bio

President NeufeldtSince becoming the fourth president of California State University in July 2019, Dr. Ellen Neufeldt has focused on engaging, interacting, listening, and building relationships with students, faculty, staff, alumni and community constituents.

A champion of innovation and entrepreneurship, President Neufeldt oversaw the opening of CSUSM’s Innovation Hub, an on-campus home for meeting societal needs, less than a year into her tenure in March 2020. But her commitment to innovation goes beyond a physical space, encompassing an entire ecosystem that includes a critical focus on social innovation.

President Neufeldt is also firmly committed to ensuring that Cal State San Marcos is a diverse, inclusive and welcome home for students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members. Focusing throughout her career on student success and student social mobility, she cares deeply about being part of the solution to creating pathways for students to achieve their dreams. In February 2022, President Neufeldt signed an MOU with the Coalition on Black and African American Education, a collection of community-based organizations that works to close educational equity gaps related to historically underrepresented students. In October 2022, CSUSM received the Freedom Fighter of the Year award from the North San Diego County branch of the NAACP.

Each day she works toward making CSUSM a national model for guiding students throughout the student life cycle so that they become engaged and active alumni in the community while fueling the needs of the region. CSUSM ranks in the top 1% in the nation out of nearly 1,200 colleges and universities in the Social Mobility Index – which measures the extent to which a university educates more economically disadvantaged students at lower tuition and graduates them into good paying jobs. CSUSM is also represented in the top 15 in the west on U.S. News & World Report’s Top Performers on Social Mobility report and ranked No. 2 in Best Undergraduate Teaching.

Taking this commitment to student success and social mobility further, President Neufeldt championed an institutional strategic planning process. In spring 2022, after more than a year of gathering input, vision casting and prioritizing goals, CSUSM solidified its new institutional strategic plan, “The Power of CSUSM,” which will guide the campus for the next five years and beyond.

Underscoring her commitment to Cal State San Marcos’ role in cultivating partnerships that create opportunities for students and enrich the communities served by the university, President Neufeldt serves on the boards of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, LEAD California and on the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities.

Dr. Neufeldt has been recognized with numerous awards, including in recent years:

  • A 2022 Distinguished Alumna Awardee from Tennessee Technological University.
  • A 2022 San Diego Business Journal CEO of the Year Awardee.
  • The 2020 Outstanding Enrollment Professional Award from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, Enrollment Management KC.
  • The 2018 Melvene Hardee Award, awarded by the Southern Association of College Student Affairs, recognizing her contributions to the student affairs profession for national work in social mobility and student success.
  • The 2017 Pillar of the Profession, awarded by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, for sustained professional distinction in higher education.
  • The 2016 Howard Davis Senior Award, awarded by the Southern Association of College Student Affairs, for outstanding service.
  • The 2014 Scott Goodnight Award for Outstanding Performance as a Senior Student Affairs Officer, awarded by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, presented to a lead student affairs officer who has demonstrated sustained professional achievement in student affairs work, innovative response in meeting students’ varied and emerging needs, effectiveness in developing staff, and leadership in community and college or university affairs.
  • The 2014 John Jones Award for Outstanding Performance as a Senior Student Affairs Officer, awarded by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Region III, based on criteria of outstanding administrative competency, respect of colleagues and students, innovative programming, leadership on campus and in the community, staff development, and significant contribution to the field.
  • Named in 2010 to The Daily Record’s “Maryland’s Top 100 Women” list, awarded annually to women in the state of Maryland who have made significant contributions to their organization, profession and community.

President Neufeldt received her Doctor of Education from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, her Master of Arts in Educational Psychology and Counselor Education from Tennessee Technological University, and her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Tennessee Technological University.