President's Monthly Campus Update

We are one week away from honoring our 38th graduating class. Spring commencement will be a little different this year. Of our 1,500 graduates, more than half are from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (HS&S). To accommodate this number and to keep graduation ceremonies on campus, HS&S will hold two commencement exercises. Spring commencement takes place on Friday, June 6th and Saturday, June 7th. The schedule is outlined below. Congratulations to all of our graduates, their families, and to the faculty who have helped them achieve this academic milestone.

School Date Time Location
Humanities and Social Sciences Friday, June 6 7:15 am Amphitheatre
Education Friday, June 6 12:00 noon Icardo Center
Business and Public Administration Friday, June 6 4:00 pm Icardo Center
Humanities and Social Sciences Saturday, June 7 7:15 am Amphitheatre
Natural Sciences & Mathematics Saturday, June 7 12:00 noon Icardo Center

We are pleased that Trustee George Gowgani will join us for our commencement ceremonies. We are equally honored to have the following speakers address our graduates: Humanities and Social Services: Robert Yohe, CSUB Associate Professor of Anthropology on June 6th and Congressman (ret.) William Thomas on June 7th; Education: Assemblywoman Jean Fuller, 32nd District; Business and Public Administration: Mr. Michael Olague, Vice President and Team Leader, Rabobank; and Natural Sciences and Mathematics: Dr. Kimberly Horton, Chief Nursing Officer, Mercy Hospital. For details and instructions regarding commencement, please visit our website at

Honorary Doctorate
As I announced in the February issue of the Update, CSUB is pleased to award an honorary doctorate of humane letters to former Congressman William "Bill" Thomas at Spring commencement. Bill will receive the award during the June 7, 2008 Humanities & Social Sciences ceremony in the Amphitheatre. Trustee George Gowgani will join me in presenting this degree for Bill's distinguished political leadership and service to our local community and our nation. Throughout his career, Bill has been a champion of legislative and tax reform and a long list of charitable causes. I look forward to awarding the degree to a true friend of Bakersfield and CSUB.

Celebrate CSUB!
Celebrate CSUB! is fast becoming a signature event for our campus. The annual open house provides opportunities for faculty, staff, students, parents, and community members to experience the university in a variety of ways. This year, our Outreach Department enrolled 490 freshmen during Freshman Day. This also means that our faculty advised 490 students. The 463 parents who accompanied them were able to interact with faculty, gain first-hand information about university offerings, tour the residence halls and campus, and engage with other parents and students. More than 100 entrants participated in the 5K run/walk. Our schools and departments were on hand to discuss and provide information about academic programs and university services. Student clubs and organizations were inundated with visitors to their booths and demonstrations. A myriad of eco-friendly exhibitors were on hand for the resurgence of our Earth Day celebration which had been on hiatus since 1996. We welcomed new audiences to our campus with standing-room-only pre-Celebrate CSUB! events which brought to campus the law enforcement and sixty plus communities.

We thank the numerous faculty, staff, and student volunteers who come together creatively, synergistically, and tirelessly to make this event work. We look forward to Celebrate CSUB! '09 on Saturday, April 25, 2009.

Bernard Osher Foundation Donates $1 Million
CSUB will receive a $1 million scholarship endowment from the Bernard Osher Foundation to assist students who transfer from a community college to CSUB. The gift was made to 15 CSU campuses which have Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) programs and is part of a larger $70 million gift to support the community college system. Scholarships of $2,500 will be awarded to community college transfer students beginning in the 2008-2009 academic year. This significant gift will make the difference in the decisions of numerous students to continue their education. We thank the Bernard Osher Foundation for their commitment to education and for their generous gift to CSUB, to the CSU, and to the community college system. For more information on these scholarship awards, please contact University Advancement at 654-2136.

State Farm Donates $250,000
Thirty-three Sun Microsystem workstations soon will fill the Science III computer laboratory thanks to a $250,000 donation from State Farm. The state-of-the-art computers will provide our students with access to the 21st century technology they will encounter in the workforce. The technology is an important academic support tool for our students. State Farm has been a longtime community partner with CSUB. We thank Kevin Stockton, Vice President of Operations, for his leadership in this important partnership.

Faculty, Staff, and Student Accolades
Please join me in congratulating the following faculty for their noteworthy achievements:

Andy Alali, Chair of the Communications Department, has received a Fulbright award for 2008-2009. Andy will teach and conduct research in Nigeria on media and communications.

The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies has named Rachel Bzostek, Political Science Professor, as an academic fellow. The fellowship takes Rachel to Israel where she will participate in a summer lecture series on terrorism and democracy.

At its "A Night to Honor Nurses" event, the Association of California Nurse Leaders of Kern County honored Kathleen Gilchrist, Assistant Chair of the Department of Nursing, with an award for nursing education. The association recognizes outstanding nursing leadership in Kern County. Kathleen also was awarded the Gupta Education Award.

The 2008-2009 California State University Academic Senate has elected John Tarjan, Associate Professor of Management and Marketing, as president. John will serve a one-year term. The 50-member advisory body recommends policy on academic matters.

Associate Professor of Psychology Luis Vega was named the 2008 Psychology Department Alumnus of the Year by California State University, Fullerton. Luis received both his B.A. in Psychology and M.A. in Experimental Psychology from CSU Fullerton. He received an M.S. and Ph.D. in Social Psychology from CSU Santa Cruz.

Brandon Pratt, Assistant Professor of Biology, was awarded $25,000 dollars by the National Parks Service to conduct research on post-fire re-sprouting of southern California shrubs. The grant will fund undergraduate students to work in the research laboratory.

Professor of Biology David Germano was a member of the Editorial Governing Board who copyedited Herpetological Conservation and Biology, an on-line hournal. The 4th issue (Vol. 2, Issue 2) was published in September 2007 and the 5th issue (Vol. 3, Issue 1) in January 2008.

Associate Professor of Physics and Geology Vladimir Gasparyan's article, "Determinant approach to the scattering matrix elements in quasi-one-dimensional and two-dimensional disordered systems" was published in Physical Review B, Volume 77, 113105 (2008).

Sam Hudson, Associate Professor of Chemistry, presented his work last summer in Lyon, France on an article entitled, "Biochemical Informatics Methods for Diagnosis and Disease Management." The article was published in the Proceedings of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, Vol. 29, pp. 3769-3772 (2007).

Ann Jacobsen, lecturer in the Department of Biology who completed her Ph.D. this year, and Assistant Professor of Biology Brandon Pratt, co-authored an article titled "Cavitation resistance and seasonal hydraulics differ among three arid Californian plant communities," in the highly respected Journal of Plant, Cell and Environment, Vol. 30, pp. 1599-1609 (2007). They authored and/or co-authored three peer reviewed papers and represented CSUB as invited participants in a plant hydraulics workshop at California State University, Fullerton.

Staff Appointments
Doug Wade, currently the Foundation Manager in University Advancement, has been named Associate Vice President for Fiscal Services. Doug holds a BA in Economics from the University of Chicago and an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He will join the BAS team on July 1, 2008.

Victoria Champion has been named director of the McNair Scholars Program. Victoria previously served as a counselor in the Outreach Department. We welcome Victoria's enthusiasm and outreach skills to the position.

Associated Students, Inc. Officers for 2008-2009
Congratulations to the new slate of officers elected to Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) for 2008-2009: President, Carlos Ortiz; Executive Vice President, Ali Zanial; VP for Legislative Affairs, Stephen Muchinvi; VP for Finance and Business, Jasmine Banuelos; and VP for Programming, Daniel Hernandez.

University Council
The May 16, 2008 University Council meeting was the final meeting for the academic year. University Council will resume in the Fall.

I look forward to seeing you at commencement, around campus, or at an upcoming community event.

I was honored earlier this month to receive a Distinguished Alumnus Award from Washington University in St. Louis. It was on the occasion of the 40th reunion of my undergraduate class. (How time flies!) First Lady Barbara Mitchell and I each hold three degrees from Washington University.