Thank you very much for this opportunity to speak. I am honored to be a part of this event and to meet so many distinguished guests.
I'd like to start by sharing a few words from a good friend of mine, a successful businessman and former California State University trustee, Stanley Wang. Stanley gave our system an amazing gift a few years back. He and his wife Franny donated $1 million to be used over ten years to recognize outstanding faculty and administrators. When he made this gift, he told us that he wanted to do so because he believed in the power of education. He told us, "In our shrinking world, the interdependence of the global economy requires greater knowledge and understanding between the West and the East." He said he was confident that helping to strengthen education and build partnerships would lead to great success for California students in the global economy. I know that Stanley was right. And when we step back and look at our university system and its role in the state and global economy, I remember Stanley and his wisdom about the importance of making connections and building bridges.
Most people, when they think of the California State University, think of their local campus, like San Francisco State. In fact, the California State University system is the country's largest four-year university system with approximately 400,000 students. It is the most diverse, with minority enrollment at over 53%, and it is one of the most affordable, with some of the lowest student fees in the country.
CSU graduates 82,000 students each year into California's workforce. We graduate 58% of California's Hispanic graduates, 52% of California's African American graduates, 53% of California's Native American graduates, and 39% of California's Asian Pacific Islander graduates. I should note here that Asian Americans are the second largest ethnic population at CSU--making up 17% of our students. Altogether we have more than 17,000 Chinese students.
From an economic perspective, CSU's impact is enormous. CSU-related expenditures create over $13 billion in economic impact and support over 207,000 jobs in California. All told, California reaps more than a fourfold benefit from every dollar the state invests in CSU. Given our critical role in California, we see ourselves as bridge-builders--building continuity across the spectrum from education ... to the economy and workforce ... to community
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