LONG BEACH, Calif. (CNS)—Joseph I. Castro, who has been president of Fresno State University for the past seven years, on Sept. 23 was named the next chancellor of the Long Beach-based California State University (CSU) system.
Castro is the first California native and the first Mexican-American to hold the position. He will take over the office on Jan. 4, 2021, replacing retiring Chancellor Timothy White.
"My great-grandparents and grandfather immigrated from Mexico about a hundred years ago to work on the railroad and to work the land of the San Joaquin Valley," Castro told the CSU Board of Trustees during a virtual meeting in which he was introduced.
"Like the majority of students that we serve at CSU, I was the first in my family to attend and graduate from a university, and that's a gift that I've been paying back ever since," he said.
"I intend to continue paying that gift back over time as chancellor of the CSU. I am committed to working with the entire CSU community, including my brother and sister presidents and vice chancellor colleagues, to take our transformational 23-campus system to new heights of success in the coming years."
White, 71, announced in October 2019 that he would be retiring, effective in July 2020. But he delayed those plans in March when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, forcing the system and its roughly 480,000 students into a virtual learning environment that will continue through the spring of 2021.
The search process for his replacement was also put on temporary hold.
CSU Board of Trustees Chair Lillian Kimbell introduced Castro, 53, during the board's Sept. 23 virtual meeting.
"Dr. Castro is a passionate and effective advocate for his students, his campus, and the CSU in his local community, in Sacramento, and in Washington, D.C.," Kimbell said.
"Above all, he's a leader who inspires greatness in his students, in his faculty and staff, and in the broader community. He's bold yet measured and collaborative, courageous, and a proven innovator, but uncompromising in his core values. In short, he is the right leader for the California State University in our current circumstances and for our future."
Castro will earn $625,000 a year as chancellor, along with a monthly auto allowance and a nearly $8,000-a-month housing allowance. The CSU system does not have an official residence for the chancellor.
Castro earned bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of California–Berkeley, and holds a doctorate in higher education policy and leadership from Stanford University. He and his wife, Mary, have three children.
White has been CSU chancellor since 2012. Prior to that, he was the chancellor of the Riverside campus of the University of California from 2008 to 2012.
White is credited with spearheading efforts to bolster graduation rates. During his tenure, state funding for the system increased from $2.3 billion to $3.6 billion, and enrollment grew from 436,000 to more than 480,000.