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Incoming Fresno State President Castro: 'I'm Going to Be President For Every Student'

Fresno State

Later this summer, for the first time in a generation, Fresno State will have a new president. The CSU Board of Trustees late last month selected Joseph Castro to become the university’s eight president, replacing the soon to retire John Welty, who has led the institution for the last 22 years. Castro will become the first Californian to hold the position, and the first Latino.

He’s spent the last 23 years in leadership positions in the UC system, with his most recent job being vice chancellor for student academic affairs at UCSF. Castro recently spoke with Valley Public Radio at the University’s alumni house about his background and his vision for the campus.

Some interview highlights:

On speaking with Dr. Welty:
"One of the things that I learned in my doctoral research is that a lot of new presidents make the mistake of thinking that they don't need to talk to their predecesor. I'm not making that mistake."

On his plans for the university moving forward:
"There's a window of opportunity when a new president gets appointed. There's an opportunity for everyone to step back and say 'what have we done?'" In the case of Fresno State, we've just had an unbelievably successful 20 year tenure, {with Welty] the median average is much lower... But a new president offers an opportunity for everyone to say what should we do differently, if anything else. Before we do anything differently I'm going to continue to stay on course and listen to folks and understand where those new opportunities are."

On being a first generation college graduate and the first Latino president of the university:
"The incoming [student body] president met yesterday. He's a first generation college student from Patterson. I could tell how happy he was to meet with me, and I was happy to meet him, and we shared a lot in common. And I love the that that I share that in common with so many students. I'm going to president for every student and faculty member and every staff member. That's very important to me that I do that. I'm going to support everyone here."

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