Office of the President

Accessible, affordable and quality public higher education for all

Dear Friends and Colleagues, This is the first of what I plan to be a series of e-newsletters through which I will provide updates on events affecting our campus. I would also like to highlight some of the good things that we see happening every day at our university. I welcome your comments and your suggestions at president@csumb.edu.

Late last month I signed, on behalf of our university, "A Commitment to the Future," through which members of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) affirm our commitment to accessible, affordable and quality public higher education for all students.

There are two important reasons I believe that Cal State Monterey Bay needed to sign this document. First, it calls for a renewed partnership between state and federal government and colleges and universities to increase the numbers of college graduates in the next decade. That is absolutely vital. In today's knowledge-driven economy, the United States cannot afford to continue to lag behind our economic competitors in the education level of our citizens.

Second, the call for increased educational access for the broadest range of qualified students is very much in keeping with the reasons our university was founded.

I am proud of our historical commitment to diversity and access and am pleased to report that we are continuing to live up to that commitment, even in times of economic difficulty.

If you think our campus is busier than ever these days, you are right. Our fall enrollment is the highest in Cal State Monterey Bay history. While the numbers will not be official until the middle of this month, our total enrollment appears to be more than 5,500 students. Included in that number are significant increases in African-American students, higher Hispanic enrollments and an increase in first-generation students.

The fall enrollment total is somewhat higher than original estimates, for two very positive reasons. According to our Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Services Ronnie Higgs, our yield rate is increasing, which means a higher percentage of accepted students are enrolling in classes. That speaks to the drawing power of our programs and our campus. Also we are making progress on retention; more students are returning to continue their studies; fewer are dropping out. I know that improved retention has been a focus for a number of years on campus, and it is important that those efforts show continued progress.

We all know that enrolling students is only a first step. To fulfill our obligation to those students, we need to provide them with access to the tools that will help them succeed and graduate. Our retention efforts show that we take that commitment seriously.

In the first weeks of our fall semester, I have been greatly impressed with the campus-wide efforts to meet the needs of this bumper crop of Otter students, both new and returning. Thank you all for your good work.

I would also like to bring to everyone's attention an important — you could even say historic — event that will be happening Sept. 7 to 9. It is our first Reunion Weekend, which will bring Cal State Monterey Bay graduates from 1997, 2002 and 2007 back to our campus.

Our alumni relations team has a full schedule of events planned, including receptions, meals, athletic events and visits to Monterey Bay attractions. One particularly worthwhile event will be the alumni and faculty breakfast at 9 a.m. Saturday at the University Center.

Often, the most lasting bonds between a graduate and his or her alma mater are those that are formed with exceptional faculty members.

I hope that as many of our faculty as possible can attend this breakfast, and, in a larger sense, that everyone on campus provides our returning alumni with a warm welcome back to Cal State Monterey Bay.

Best wishes,

Eduardo M. Ochoa Interim President, Cal State Monterey Bay