President Suzuki?s Surprise Announcement

President Suzuki?s Surprise Announcement
President Bob H. Suzuki announced his decision to retire, effective at the end of July 2003, during the Fall Conference All-University Breakfast and Convocation.
President Suzuki presented the 2002 George P. Hart Award for Outstanding Faculty Leadership to William Girouard, professor, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering, at the convocation.

Traditionally, the Fall Conference All-University Breakfast and Convocation is a time for renewal and reflection. It serves as a chance for members of the faculty, staff and administration to join together prior to the start of the academic year, a time for looking back on past accomplishment and setting sights on the goals ahead.

While the 2002 convocation again provided such opportunities, its biggest highlight proved unexpected as university President Bob H. Suzuki announced his decision to retire, effective at the end of July 2003.

?After considering the matter for several months and with considerable ambivalence, Agnes and I have decided that this coming year will be my last as president,? said Suzuki. ?For the past 11 years, this university has been practically our entire lives. We have been highly gratified by the progress made and by the impact the university has had on thousands of students and on the surrounding communities. However, we are not getting any younger and would like to spend more time with our family, especially our grandchildren, and enjoy other aspects of life while we have the energy and our health.?

Suzuki added that he had already contacted Cal State University Chancellor Charles Reed and stated his intention to retire in July 2003, requesting that the chancellor and the CSU Board of Trustees to begin the search for a successor. He also took time to thank his office staff, the university leadership team, the administration, faculty and staff for their efforts during his tenure as president.

?I am confident that Cal Poly Pomona will rise to new heights of excellence in the years ahead, a confidence based on the tremendous energy, initiative, enthusiasm and creativity I have seen in our faculty, staff and students and your willingness to take risks to pursue new and innovative ideas,? said Suzuki. ?You must all work to preserve that spirit of empowerment because I believe it will be the key to the continued success of this outstanding university.?

As it did the year before, the convocation began with a moment of silence in memory of the 9-11 tragedy as well as honoring the service of emergency, safety and military personnel in the months since. Suzuki again took time to emphasize the university?s commitment to maintain a safe and enlightened educational setting.

?It has long been important here that we create a learning and social environment on this campus that is free from violence, discrimination and hostility through a strong policy against such behavior,? he said. ?We will continue to enforce these policies to maintain a campus climate of civility and respect, and I urge all of you to conform and contribute to these efforts.?

Suzuki listed five areas of emphasis for the upcoming academic year, focus points intended to garner campus-wide attention, resources and efforts. The five priority areas include:

·Enrollment management: Because of continuing enrollment growth and the current budget crunch, this is an area of extreme importance. Additional funding will not be available should the enrollment target be exceeded. Yet with improved enrollment management, the quality of admitted students will increase along with graduation rates while reducing the need for remedial education. All can be accomplished without reducing student population diversity.

·Planning: Continuation of a positive progress as regards the university?s strategic plan and priorities, initiated last year by vice president Jane Ollenburger in consultation with faculty, staff and students. Development of a common vision widely shared by the campus community will continue, seeking to provide a statement that most will share and be passionate about.

·Delivering and maintaining quality of instructional programs: To accomplish this, the campus must fully support the university budget advisory committee?s recommendation that offering all classes required by students be the No. 1 priority. It is also imperative that the administration work with faculty to utilize instructional technology strategically to maintain and improve academic program quality.

·Diversity and educational equity: Through the leadership of Vinita Dhingra, executive director of diversity, an advisory committee has developed a draft diversity plan. This plan will be submitted over the next few months to the campus community for review, with finalization and implementation planned for later this academic year.

·PeopleSoft: Development of the PeopleSoft Student System will begin this year with completion anticipated in fall 2004. The new system is expected to provide more efficient and convenient web-based student services and an improved information base to assist in decision-making concerning courses and enrollment.

In addition, Suzuki announced acceptance of the university budget advisory committee?s recommendation to continue funding for faculty and staff development. This year, the university will provide $120,000 for faculty travel, $100,000 for faculty development and $75,000 for staff development.

?I believe it is important to provide funding for these purposes,? said Suzuki. ?The most valuable resource we have are the faculty and staff of this campus and we must invest in their professional development.?

The President?s Award for Excellence through Teams honored three different groups for outstanding efforts during the previous academic year. Those recognized included members of the 2001 Pumpkin Festival Committee ? Anna Marie Bartlet, Ardith Barr, Lucy Breza, David Carson, Edward Cogger, Penne Fode, Nancy Gonzalez, Diahann Harris, Daniel Hostetler, William Hughes, Richard Kaae, Jerry Liberatore, Janet Mundy, Rhonda Ostrowski, George Pool, Laura Ramirez, Fred Roth, Deanna Stewart, and John Trei; the Career Center Orientation/Registration Program ? Vicki Calderon, Gee Gee Crews, Karen Capestro, Karen Denison, Christina Gonzalez, Dorothy Fleck, Elaine Gray, Eric McDowell, Annette Pettit, Brett Roth, Sandy Summers and Penni Sweetenburg-Lee; and the Science IMPACT Summer Science & Math Campus for Elementary and Middle School Students ? Michael Brown, Douglas Freer, Mark Harnetiaux, Jolene Houser, Michael McAtee, Holly Green, Eloise Pro, Carol Smith and Stefanie Saccoman.

The 2002 George P. Hart Award for Outstanding Faculty Leadership was presented to William Girouard, professor, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering.

Visit the Fall Conference 2002 Web site to read the full Fall Conference speech or letter by President Suzuki.