Open Letter to the California State University, Fullerton community from Charles B. Reed:

May 23, 2006

During the spring 2006 term, a three-year review of Milton A. Gordon, President of California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), was conducted. The review took the form of collecting and summarizing letters from a selection of the campus community, both internal and external. The review concluded on May 16, 2006, with discussion of the review by the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees and I appreciate the contributions of those who worked with us on this review.

Criteria established by the Board of Trustees in 1984, and updated in 1994 and 2001, were used to assess the performance of President Gordon and the progress of the institution. These measures included the overall management of the institution, relations on campus and within the system, educational leadership, community relations, major achievements of the campus and the president, and personal characteristics of the president. Faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community representatives were invited to submit written comments responding to the trustees’ criteria.

The review concluded that Milton A. Gordon is a highly respected president of CSUF. He is admired and trusted by all constituent groups.

President Gordon operates in the context of a collaborative style of management. With the assistance of his cabinet team, Dr. Gordon tries to think through the short- and long-term effect of decisions, and the effect on individuals.

President Gordon is forward thinking. As a result of Dr. Gordon’s vision and fiscal prudence, CSU Fullerton was wired with fiber optic telecommunications before most CSU campuses started implementing a comprehensive technology plan.

When Dr. Gordon arrived in the summer of 1990, CSU Fullerton enrolled 25,603 students. Today, the university enrolls 35,040 students. Accommodating the terrific growth, mostly local students, has been a challenge over the past decade. Four years ago, a measure of relief was provided by the El Toro Off-Campus Center, now called

CSU Fullerton’s Irvine Campus. The growing population of Orange County and the increasing number of CSU-eligible local first-time freshmen will continue to challenge CSU Fullerton. A new parking structure, opened in fall 2005, is helping reduce stress about finding a place to park. Another parking structure opened recently.
CSU Fullerton is ranked by the U.S. Department of Education as sixth in the nation for awarding undergraduate degrees to minority students. CSUF is fourth in the nation in conferring undergraduate degrees to Hispanics. The graduation rate at Fullerton is above the CSU average. Among CSU’s large campuses, Fullerton has the highest graduation rate.

An area that provoked some concern in this review is the demand by qualified students to attend Cal State Fullerton. Some administrators and faculty are indicating it is becoming unreasonable to be willing to accommodate every eligible student. Others, however, are proud that CSUF provides access.

President Gordon and his administrative team receive compliments for purchasing the College Park office building, adding to student housing, developing the faculty and staff housing project in Buena Park, starting another affordable faculty and staff project in Fullerton, and, as noted above, constructing two parking structures. The new Performing Arts Center is a welcomed addition for the campus and the community. Construction of the College of Business and Economics facility is underway.

Dr. Gordon is active in a number of Orange County community organizations. He is a member of the executive committee of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Whether locally or nationally, Milton Gordon is a wonderful ambassador for the California State University system.

Several popular special events attract campus and community participation and support. These include Concert Under the Stars, Front & Center, Visions & Visionaries and the Titan Hall of Fame dinner.

The following goals were established for President Gordon for the next several years:

1. Continue pursuing discussions with the City of Fullerton about the permanent closure of Nutwood Avenue out of concern for public safety;
2. Challenge the division of University Advancement to generate a dramatic increase in funding from voluntary support;
3. Begin plans for a capital campaign;
4. Continue efforts to manage enrollment;
5. Continue to provide leadership to CSU initiatives and especially graduate rates; and
6. Continue efforts to establish a permanent branch campus in central Orange County (Irvine).

Dr. Milton Gordon continues to lead Cal State Fullerton with bravado, confidence, and dedication. It is comforting to the CSU Fullerton constituencies to have Dr. Gordon at the helm.

With kind regards,

Charles B. Reed