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Hold Fast to Dreams: A Legacy 34 Years in the Making

President Rosser, his career honored during gala in support of CSULA’s Honors College


Congresswoman, the Honorable Diane Watson:
“...President James Rosser brought to CSULA a new sense of education that was progressive with a forward focus. His innovations aligned well with the CSULA’s broadening and expansive experience. His refined sense of pedagogy is outstanding and visionary.”

Olympic Gold Medalist and Tennis Hall of Famer Pam Shriver:
“Thirty-four years is an amazing amount of time to do anything, much less lead an institution like Cal State L.A. It shows that President Rosser has not only great skills, but also loyalty and a work ethic that has put him in a special category of being a true legend.”

Academic Senate Chair Kevin Baaske:
“President Rosser is to be admired for his dedication to, and love for, CSULA. He has been committed to the students, faculty, and urban mission that define this institution. Two illustrations of this commitment are his continued support for faculty travel/development and his investment in research, scholarship and creative activity awards despite the large cuts to the campus budget. Both of these decisions flow from his firm belief that student success is inextricably tied to faculty success; a belief envisioned in the teacher-scholar model. On behalf of the faculty, current and past, I offer him our heartfelt congratulations on a well-earned retirement.”

CSU Chancellor Emeritus Charles B. Reed:
“For three decades, President Rosser has given his time, effort and voice to benefit students. In particular, he demonstrated unwavering advocacy for educational access and achievement of students of color. He found many partners in education, business and government, establishing Cal State L.A.’s nursing program as one of the best nationally and elevating the pursuit of education and research in science, technology, engineering and math. Jim’s commitment to student diversity, retention and graduation will endure as a remarkable legacy of his service to CSU and to California.”

CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White
“President Rosser has been an extraordinary leader for California State University, Los Angeles. His steady guidance and sure vision guided the university through times of great prosperity and great challenge. Jim’s thoughtful and principled leadership has truly benefited students, faculty, staff and community. While there are many points of special commendation, let me mention two programs he helped create: the CSU African American Initiative and the CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology. I commend Jim for his 34 years of leadership and wish him all the best in a well-deserved retirement.”

Picture of CSU Chancellor Timothy White honoring President James M. Rosser . Picture of President Rosser being recognized by the attendees during the formal gala on Thursday, April 11, at the Golden Eagle Ballroom. Picture of Tennis Hall of Famer and President Rosser. Picture of Honorable Diane Watson, who served as one of the emcees at the gala event. Picture of CSULA alumna Billie Jean King and former CSU Chancellor Charles Reed attending the gala event. Picture of President Rosser addressing the attendees during the gala event on Thursday, April 11, at the Golden Eagle Ballroom.

CSU Chancellor Timothy White and the previous three chancellors, Congresswoman Diane Watson, Olympian and Tennis Champion Pam Shriver, and more than 350 colleagues and friends honored President James M. Rosser’s 34 years of service to Cal State L.A. and the CSU system during the Hold Fast to Dreams: A Legacy Thirty-Four Years in the Making gala.

The program also featured performances by Grammy Award-winning jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves, and world-renowned mezzo-soprano and Director of LACHSA’s Office of Community Outreach Suzanna Guzman. All proceeds from the gala will benefit the CSULA Honors College.

President Rosser’s remarks during the gala:

As I stand before you, I am reminded of a phrase you may have heard spoken by Maya Angelou: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

Tonight has been one such moment for me. I am almost speechless. Tonight is also one in a long history of breathless moments that I have treasured during my tenure as President of California State University, Los Angeles. My time here has brought my life enormous personal gratification and pride in the accomplishments of our remarkably talented faculty, students and staff.

Each and every one of you in this room tonight deserves special recognition by me, because without you I would not have had those moments that took my breath away – whether you are a chancellor, faculty member, student, colleague, elected official or a person from the community. I want to thank you for having helped me to be who I have been able to be at this institution, and I trust that my presence with your support has enriched our lives and our community. So to each and every one of you, I express my deep and sincere appreciation for your presence.

In addition, the theme of tonight’s event is not random. Many of you have heard me recite on more than one occasion the following lines by poet Langston Hughes:

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

His words create an apt metaphor for the work we are privileged to do on this campus. I consider myself fortunate beyond measure to have been able to live my dreams here for the past 34 years, and, in doing so, I hope to have supported the dreams and aspirations of the diverse students of Cal State L.A., the CSU, the state, and the nation.

Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” I have always considered Cal State L.A. a part of my life.

I thank you for this evening and for your many contributions to the learning community that is California State University, Los Angeles. With our continued effort and vigilance, I am confident that this great University will continue to soar, as Golden Eagles are born to do, in the warmth of the Southern California skies.

The CSULA campus community is invited to attend a campus-wide reception honoring President James M. Rosser immediately following the State of the University Address, organized by the Academic Senate on Tuesday, May 14, 2013. The reception will take place at 3 p.m. in the Golden Eagle Ballroom. (Refreshments will be served.)

Links for reference:

5151 State University Drive . Los Angeles . CA 90032 . (323) 343-3000
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Last Update: 01/12/2016