Fall Convocation 2022: “The State of this University is Strong”csudhbulletin September 23, 2022 0 COMMENTS
Teddy the Toro monitoring calorie intake at the luncheon following Thursday’s convocation.
Fall Convocation 2022 celebrates university’s growth, but also recognizes challenges
By Maya Garibay-Sahm
The Fall Convocation held Thursday in the University Theater celebrated the university’s accomplishments during the pandemic and reiterated its goals for the future, but also addressed some of its present challenges.
The hour-long ceremony, which featured provost Michael Spagna as emcee, leaders of the California State University, Dominguez Hills Academic Senate and Associated Students Inc., and President Thomas A. Parham. was both a symbolic kick-off for the 2022-23 academic year and a state of the university address.
It was also a big welcome back to campus.
“It’s been a long time since we were able to get together like this,” said Parham, addressing the approximately 75 people in the theater as well as those watching via Zoom and a live stream. “I’m sure I don’t need to remind any of you of the tumultuous events of the past two years…but I would like to commend each and every one of you…nothing about these past 24 months has been easy or straightforward, and yet through every twist and turn…or bump in our virtual road, the Toro nation (has persevered)… but it has also thrived.”
After the convocation, lunch was served on the university lawn. Photos by Dylan Bertani
Spagna began the convocation by referencing a remark he made in 2019: that the next three years were going to “define the future” of CSUDH. Spagna said that despite challenges, including the pandemic, and state budget constraints,he is sticking with the prediction, as university has pushed on and made significant innovations on campus.
“We are building something special in Carson,”: he said. “We are living the future right now… That prediction actually is coming true and has come true.”
Spagna highlighted what the university has accomplished in that time, including three new buildings: the Science and Innovation Building, Innovation and Instruction Building, and a new Student Housing building. He also mentioned that “unlike many other CSU’s,” CSUDH had not laid anyone off and had, in fact, hired more faculty; philanthropic donations have increased from $4 million to $8.5 million, and new projects are in the works, including a new student health center, and an esports initiative center.
Spagna reiterated the core focus of CSUDH: recruiting, supporting, and retaining students while ensuring that those who come to CSUDH begin on the path to achieving their goals. The fact that CSUDH was ranked second in socioeconomic mobility was mentioned as a marker of success for the university.
But, as the achievements of the university were acknowledged, President Parham also took a moment to remind listeners that work still needs to be done to fully achieve his goal of making CSUDH a model urban campus.
Parham mentioned several challenges in his concluding remarks, including declining enrollment (from 17,763 in fall, 2020 to an estimated 15,565 in fall, 2022); faculty union dissatisfaction at receiving 3 percent raises when every CSU president received a minimum 7 percent raise (some presidents, including Parham, received higher raises tied to their performance reviews; Parhamn was one of the few CSU presidents to receive the maximum 10 percent in both 2020 and 2021); buildings in need of repair; athletic facilities in need of upgrades; and Women’s Resource Center staff and members of the Asian and Pacific Islander community either seeking a space or a larger space (the WRC is currently without a space and the AAPI resource center was scheduled to open in 2021-22.).
Parham ultimately applauded the Toro community for making such great strides during a tumultuous past few years,
“The state of the [CSUDH] campus is strong and poised to embrace our mission of providing a high-quality education that leads to personal and professional success, economic and social mobility, and mutually beneficial and reciprocal relationships with our surrounding community,” said Parham. And in a ceremony hat was filled with shoutouts to everyone from students and the two administrators who oversaw the drafting of the campus’ strategic plan to the eunsung heroes who kept the university running and looking beautiful during the pandemic (I,T., and the custodial and landscaping staff) Parham made sure to pause and ask for a round of applause to someone who may not steer the vessel called California State University,l Dominguez Hills, but who is the anchor of the person who does: his wife: Davida Hopkins-Parham.