New Presidents Take the Helm at Three CSU Campuses, Increasing the Diversity of University Leadership

The California State University (CSU) is leading the charge to diversify the ranks of campus leadership. With new leaders taking the role of president at the CSU’s Bakersfield (Lynnette Zelezny), Dominguez Hills (Thomas Parham) and San Diego (Adela de la Torre) campuses, the group of CSU presidents continues to diversify and now features women presidents leading 12 of the 23 campuses.

“In our presidential searches, we strive to find the person with the skills, experience and aspirations best suited to lead a respective campus. The work to diversify the pool of candidates has been intentional as people coming from diverse backgrounds bring a richness of ideas crucial to serving the diverse students of California who will go on to work in a global economy,” said CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White.

The CSU has engaged in university-wide efforts to diversify the ranks of faculty, staff and campus executives to provide role models and mentoring opportunities as well as variety of backgrounds and ideas, all with a goal of enhancing achievement of the most diverse student population in the country.

While women have been the majority student population on university campuses across the country since the late 1970s, female university presidents remain the minority. According to a 2016 report by the American Council on Education (ACE), just 30.1 percent of university presidents are female, a number that only grew by seven percentage points over the past decade.

Since White became CSU Chancellor at the end of 2012, the CSU Board of Trustees has appointed 16 new presidents, including 10 women.

Karen Haynes of CSU San Marcos, currently the longest-serving CSU president, applauded the university’s efforts to further diversify campus leadership.

“I’m proud of the progress that we’ve made in the CSU and I hope it inspires other universities and systems throughout the country to follow a similar path. There are talented

women at universities across the country, and they deserve attention, support and consideration,” said Haynes.

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