As part of the ceremony that rings in the academic year, new SDSU President Eliott Hirshman addressed the faculty and staff members during Thursday's All-University Convocation in Viejas Arena. He focused on mitigating the university's fiscal challenges and its role as a leader locally and nationally.
“Every day, I see the good work that everyone on this campus is doing,” Hirshman said. “My sole goal and purpose as president is to support you in this work, help us overcome our current challenges and build a foundation for our future success.”
In outlining the university’s current challenges, Hirshman noted the effect budget cuts have had on the university, from tuition increases to fewer faculty and staff members to reduced class offerings. Hirshman has adopted the recommendation of the Presidential Budget Advisory Committee, and said that the $25 million conserved from the prior fiscal year will help mitigate some of the effects on campus departments.
Public universities must have public support to succeed and we have to stop future reductions to keep tuition low.
At one point, Hirshman asked the approximately 900 audience members if they had contacted their legislators regarding budget cuts. He thanked those who had already done so, and urged others to seriously consider contacting members of the state assembly and senate. The audience answered with unexpected applause.
“Public universities must have public support to succeed and we have to stop future reductions to keep tuition low,” Hirshman said. “The time for advocacy is when the legislature considers its actions. Any discussion that occurs after the legislator makes the cut is really about how we share the pain amongst ourselves.”
The new president also spoke about the university’s financial future.
“We must have an integrated financial strategy moving forward,” Hirshman said. “We must focus on multiple revenue streams and costs where appropriate. This approach — more than anything else we do — will help us control our own destiny moving forward.”
Hirshman spoke about private philanthropy and the university’s capital campaign. To date, the campaign has raised more than $250 million to support scholarships, professorships, research grants and core university initiatives. The campaign will go public next month and aims to raise $500 million to support SDSU’s students, faculty and staff.
SDSU and leadership
In his closing remarks, Hirshman spoke about leadership.
“The core of our passion and pride is that we’re about leadership — about educating the next generation of leaders, about leading in research and creative endeavors, about leading in community engagement ... San Diego State University is a leading national research university and it is entirely due to your efforts and accomplishments.”
All-University Convocation also featured the SDSU Alumni Association’s Awards for Outstanding Faculty Contributions to the University, commonly known as the Faculty Montys. This year’s awardees included:
- Rebecca Moore, Department of Religious Studies, College of Arts and Letters
- James Beatty, Department of Management Information Systems, College of Business Administration
- Laura Hall, Department of Special Education, College of Education
- Kee Moon, Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering
- Karen Emmorey, School of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, College of Health and Human Services
- Linda Salem, Department of Reference Services, SDSU Library and Information Access
- Kathy LaMaster, associate dean, College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts
- Forest Rohwer, Department of Biology, College of Sciences
Provost Nancy Marlin and James Marston, president of the SDSU Alumni Association, presented the awards.
Additional speakers at this year’s All-University Convocation included Associated Students President Cody Barbo and William Snavely, director of the School of Communication and chair of University Senate. The event was emceed by Tyler Sherer, director of community and government relations.
Following the ceremony, light refreshments, including Dippin' Dots ice cream, was served to attendees.