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Happy holidays and a healthy new year!

Dear students, faculty, staff, and our community,

This is a time to reflect and be thankful for all we have overcome — a time to think about our success and our ability to persevere. As you enjoy the upcoming holiday season, I ask that you continue to act in ways that protect your family and our community's health and safety.

Otters consistently express incredible heart and compassion for others. I know that we will each find ways to engage in the spirit of gratitude and caring that is the hallmark of CSUMB.

2020 provided us with challenges to overcome. I am humbled by how our community rallied to conquer — continuing to live the creative spirit and embody the can-do attitude, which founded our university and fuels our success.

Our faculty and staff's hard work and accomplishments are a testament to the dedication they have to our students. Thank you to our faculty for rolling up their sleeves and mastering the skills necessary to continue delivering engaging and effective learning opportunities. Thank you to our staff, who created innovative ways to provide essential student support services and fostered opportunities to keep us connected. Your collective adaptability and ingenuity have helped keep students on track toward realizing their dreams.

I congratulate our students for their flexibility and grit. You have accomplished much in these difficult times and continued to succeed. I am proud of you; I am proud of your stick-to-it-ness, and I appreciate your willingness to connect in new ways. The lessons you learn in these alternate circumstances will prepare you to lead our region, state, and country into the future.

I am grateful for the support of our community, donors, and partners who contributed to helping our students create a better future for themselves and their families. It is heartwarming.

This year, we launched the public phase of our Vision 2020 campaign with the university's largest gift ever. Thanks to the generosity of Bob Darwin, a college education will be accessible to deserving students regardless of financial need. We are thankful for all of our supporters. Through your generosity, we have achieved the $100 million goal we set for our campaign. The outpouring of support will help CSUMB build for the future, innovate in our programs, further academic excellence, create heightened student success, and ensure students receive support for basic needs. We have much for which to be grateful — thank you for your belief in us and your support.

I encourage everyone to leverage this season of gratitude and share it with others in caring and peace. I look forward to seeing students back on campus in Fall 2021 and to the buzz of excitement that an engaging college campus brings. Our vibrant community is looking forward to gathering again once we may safely do so.

Holly and I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season and a healthy new year.

Eduardo Ochoa and Holly Byers Ochoa

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