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Joseph Castro Appointed to lead CSU, the Nation’s Largest Public University

Friday, September 25, 2020

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The California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees has appointed Joseph I. Castro, Ph.D., to serve as the eighth chancellor of California State University. Castro has served as the eighth president of California State University, Fresno since 2013. He is the first California native and first Mexican American to be appointed to oversee the 23-campus university. Castro will succeed Timothy P. White who is retiring after leading the university since late 2012.

“The California State University provides unprecedented and transformational opportunities for students from all backgrounds to earn a high-quality college degree and to better their families, their communities, and the industries in which they become leaders. There is no other institution that makes this great of an impact on the entire state – the CSU is key to a growing and thriving California," said Castro. “I am truly grateful for and excited about this unique and wonderful opportunity, and I look forward to working with the talented faculty, staff and presidents of the 23 campuses as well the Board of Trustees and executives and staff at the Chancellor's Office to further increase achievement for our 482,000 students."

As president of Fresno State, Castro led the university to become a national leader in recruiting, supporting, and graduating students from diverse backgrounds. Fresno State is routinely among the top public colleges in rankings issued by Washington MonthlyU.S. News and World Report, and Money Magazine for its efforts to enhance student achievement as measured by graduation rates and social mobility. Castro is a respected scholar in the fields of higher education leadership and public policy and has mentored many other university presidents and other senior officers across the nation over the course of his career.

“Dr. Castro is a passionate and effective advocate for his students, his campus and the CSU – in his local community, in Sacramento and in Washington, D.C.," said Lillian Kimbell, chair of the CSU Board of Trustees. “Above all, he is a leader who inspires greatness in students, faculty, and in the broader community. He is the right leader for the California State University in our current circumstance and for our future."

Prior to joining Fresno State, Castro served for 23 years in the University of California (UC) system, holding a variety of leadership positions culminating in roles of Vice-Chancellor of Student Academic Affairs and Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

Castro was born in California's San Joaquin Valley (Hanford). He is the grandson of immigrants from Mexico, the son of a single mother, and the first in his family to graduate from a university. He received his bachelor's in political science and a master's in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in higher education policy and leadership from Stanford University. Castro has been recognized with alumni excellence awards from the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University.

Castro and his wife, Mary, have three children (Isaac, Lauren, and Jess). He will begin his duties as Chancellor on January 4, 2021. Following consultation with stakeholders at Fresno State and with the board chair, Chancellor White will soon announce an interim appointment who will serve as campus president beginning early next year. The Board of Trustees anticipates launching a national search in the new year for Castro's successor.


The California State University is the largest system of four-year higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, 53,000 faculty and staff, and 482,000 students. Half of the CSU's students transfer from California community colleges. Created in 1960, the mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of California. With its commitment to quality, opportunity, and student success, the CSU is renowned for superb teaching, innovative research, and for producing job-ready graduates. Each year, the CSU awards more than 125,000 degrees. One in every 20 Americans holding a college degree is a graduate of the CSU and our alumni are 3.8 million strong. Connect with and learn more about the CSU in the CSU NewsCenter.

Category: Education News

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