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President's Bio

Since 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.  

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. In 2020, the university ranked 28th nationally out of almost 1,500 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.

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 board of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation and on the board of the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities.

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

  • 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.