The prominent educator Mildred García was named rector of the California State University (CSU), the largest public university system in the United States, this Wednesday. Garcia is the first Latina woman appointed to lead the system, in which close to 40% of the students are Latino. She is currently president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the first Latina to reach that position, and previously chaired the California State University at Fullerton and the California State University at Dominguez Hills, both belonging to the CSU system.
We recommend “California State University is a powerful engine of change and upward mobility for California and the nation, supporting hundreds of thousands of students in the achievement of their educational, professional and personal aspirations,” Garcia said in a statement. She added that she feels honored and excited to have the opportunity to “promote student achievement, close equity gaps, and continue to drive California’s economic prosperity.”
The educator will begin her term as rector on 1 October. His predecessor Joseph I. Castro, the first Mexican-American to reach that position, was forced to resign in 2022 after a series of criticisms for mishandling allegations of sexual misconduct by a professor when the Hispanic was president of the University Fresno State. Wenda Fong, chair of the CSU Board of Trustees, praised Garcia’s ability in a statement.
“Her optimism, authenticity, and courageous leadership will inspire greatness for the California State University community as we face the challenges and we seize the opportunities that lie ahead and chart a path to a brighter future for our great institution,” she said.
Born to Puerto Rican parents and raised in New York, Garcia was the first in her family to earn a college degree. She has been a multiple award winner and appointed by now-President Barack Obama (2009-2017) to serve on various advisory boards, including the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.
California State University is the four-tier higher education system largest in the country, with 23 campuses, nearly 460,000 students, and 56,000 faculty and staff members.