New university leader emphasizes communication, Fresno State’s future in inaugural speech to campus community
Fresno State President Joseph Castro, in his first address to staff and faculty as the university’s leader on Monday, said that he didn’t have a “wide-ranging, comprehensive plan” in place, noting that he’s been on the job for only 19 days.
He said, however, that he had ideas and visions of where he wants to see the university head toward – which he presented to the crowd at the Save Mart Center with one central thought: “Will you join me…”
“Will you join me in honest communications?” Castro asked.
“Will you join in me embracing 21st century teaching … Will you join me as we shape the future of Fresno State and Central California?”
Castro, who served his first day as university president on Aug. 1, spoke to a crowd of about 900 in this year’s Faculty/Staff Fall Assembly, his first official introduction to the campus community. Classes begin on Thursday.
The university’s commitment to fundraising, the push for integrating computer tablets and new technologies into academics (Said Castro: “I believe students will enjoy savings and textbook costs and find convenient and modern ways to collaborate with each other and faculty…”) and the future of Fresno State as it enters Year 103 were among the chief topics Castro covered in his inaugural address.
“Like you, I am 100 percent dedicated to helping our students succeed here at Fresno State and to continue their education in graduate school or move into careers of distinction and service,” Castro told the audience. “This work is deeply personal to me as the first Valley native to serve as president as Fresno State.”
Castro also emphasized communication, encouraging community members to submit their anonymous thoughts, concerns and input online at www.fresnostate.edu/president/feedback. The comments, Castro said, will be published at a later time.
“I really want to hear from members of the campus family and members of the community at large,” Castro said.
Castro also applauded the efforts of his predecessor, Dr. John Welty, who served for 22 years as Fresno State’s top administrator and is now retired living in Southern California. Welty first announced his plans to step down as university president during last year’s fall assembly.
“So much of what we see on campus today was made possible by President Welty’s leadership.” Castro said.
After his speech, Castro fielded questions from the audience for about 20 minutes.
One man asked: “Are you really on Twitter, or is it somebody else who does it for you?”
“It’s really me… I usually follow you if you follow me. It’s a great way to connect with students and faculty and staff,” Castro said to a chuckling crowd, noting his spike in Twitters followers since he was appointed to succeed Welty on May 22 (around 300 followers then compared to the 930 he now has).
“I think he brings a new energy to the campus,” said Dr. Dan Smith, who teaches under the Department of Counselor Education and Rehabilitation, after the assembly. “I think some of the things he had to say today about what we’re going to do moving forward are really exciting.”