Thank you Provost Abrahemse and good morning students, faculty, staff, Board of Governors, and Alumni Association Board of Trustees to a new academic year at California State University, Long Beach. I first want to thank Professor Soni, Chair of the Academic Senate for his thoughtful remarks and leadership as we head into another academic season. It is indeed my pleasure to also welcome you to the annual 2006 CSULB’s Convocation. It is especially nice to see so many of you in attendance after learning of the tragic plight of the former planet Pluto. It is not every day that you lose your status as a planet. I actually wondered last night what might have happened in Europe prior to the official vote yesterday by the world’s astronomers if Pluto had simply hired a few highly-skilled lobbyists. In fact, the real message that we can take away from this announcement is that we should never underestimate the power and influence of academics. We are the only group in the world that can wipe out a planet overnight.
As you are well aware our Convocation is a very important event for the University because it is the only time during the year where our faculty and staff are able to come together in one collective body to share ideas, laughs, and to discuss the tasks that lie ahead. Convocation also provides me with an opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments of the last year while giving me a chance to update you on the current status of the University as we prepare for the challenges of the coming years.
It is because of your dedicated efforts and the work of many others including our previous President Emeritus Bob Maxson and our former Provost Gary Reichard, that I am able to announce that the state of our University is very strong, perhaps stronger than it has ever been. This is indeed a wonderful testimony to the leadership of my predecessor and the care and commitment that all of you have exhibited for our students and this great institution.
However, before I discuss some of these details I would also like to welcome some new faces to our campus. Within the last year we brought on board Andrea Taylor, our new Vice President for Development and University Relations, and Victor Cegles, our new Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. Additionally, some well recognized campus individuals who have stepped up to assume other important campus leadership roles including Gerry Riposa, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Mo Khan, Interim Dean of the College of Business, Karen Nakai, Interim Executive Assistant to the President, and Dorothy Abrahemse, who has generously placed her retirement plans on hold temporarily to assist us as Interim Provost until the position is filled later this year. Would you please join me in thanking Provost Abrahemse for her continued commitment to our University.
May I, too, welcome the 77 new tenure-track faculty, who have joined us from all over the world with very impressive academic credentials. I am please to announce that this new entering class of faculty is the second largest cohort that we have had since 1989 and one of the most globally diverse cohorts that we have ever brought to campus.
In case you have not already learned, you are joining some of the best scholar teachers and researchers in California and the nation. Please know that we all will certainly do our best to ensure that you get off to a very good start in your new careers at Cal State, Long Beach. In fact, if I may give you some early advice as a recent newcomer to campus myself, if you have problems of any sort, no matter how small, at any time day or night, just do as I do and call Provost Abrahemse. That always works well for me.
I also would like to welcome our new lecturers and staff members to our campus family. Student success and graduation encompasses the work of everyone from the dedicated grounds crews that keep our campus beautiful, to the student affairs professionals who labor behind the scenes, to our world class faculty who teach, conduct research, and provide invaluable public service to our students and society at-large. Our collective efforts have led to a long list of achievements during the last year.