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Fall Convocation 2007: President García Shares Her Vision



Dominguez Hills President Mildred García welcomes new and returning faculty and staff to campus for the 2007 fall semester; photo by GK

Fall Convocation 2007: President García Shares Her Vision

We are a community where everybody knows: no matter where you work, you are an educator.
- Mildred García, president, CSU Dominguez Hills

The 2007 Fall Convocation ushered in the new academic year on August 20 in the University Theatre on campus. The recently arrived president of California State University, Dominguez Hills, Mildred García, was introduced to a nearly 485-seat venue filled with faculty and staff, who attended to meet their new leader. In anticipation of the large crowd, the convocation was webcast on the Internet for the first time ever by the university’s Center for Mediated Instruction and Distance Learning.

Rod Butler, chair of the Academic Senate and chair of the Division of Performing, Visual and Digital Arts, introduced García to the crowd as the eighth president of Dominguez Hills, and the 11th female president — and first Latina president — of the California State University system.

“President García brings with her a commitment to multicultural alliances and believes that these coalitions strengthen not only the individual’s self-development and opportunities, but also strengthen institutions and communities,” he says.

García introduced her cabinet, including Sam Wiley, new interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Ron Bergmann, associate vice president of information technology. Wiley, an emeriti professor of physics, has been on the Dominguez Hills campus for more than 30 years and has previously served as vice president for academic affairs. Bergmann returns to campus after having served as the acting executive director of information technology in 2001. Most recently, he served as marketing manager of media link and educational technologies at Extron, Inc., in Anaheim.

Provost Wiley also introduced George Arasimowicz, the new dean of the renamed College of Arts and Humanities. Arasimowicz comes to Dominguez Hills after serving most recently as dean of the Division of Arts, Media and Communication at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., since 1999 and a faculty member and professor of music for the last 10 years.

In addition, Wiley introduced William Fox, the university’s visiting distinguished scholar for the fall semester. Fox is an internationally known independent scholar who writes books about cognition and landscape, traveling to extreme environments with scientists and artists to study the transformation of land into landscape. He has done research in the Arctic and Antarctic, the Himalayas, the deserts of Australia, and for NASA and the Guggenheim Museum of Art.

Finally, García took the podium to introduce herself to the campus community and present her vision for the institution’s future. Fresh from six years at Berkeley College, a seven-campus urban institution, she says she was “intrigued” by her meetings and visits with the Dominguez Hills faculty and staff, inspiring a career move to the West Coast.

“Here was a diamond in southern Los Angeles, an institution serving the students that I have committed my life to,” she states in her address. “This is a community that provides excellent academic programs and good customer service to every student who enters, with a strong faculty who understand our student body. This institution gets it.”

The first member of her family to attend and graduate from college, García zeroed in on the mission of Dominguez Hills and underscored the importance of the campus faculty and staff in that mission, no matter what their position.

“Many of our students come for a better career and a better quality of life,” she says. “We are the ones who help them open their imaginations and see the wonders of learning and form a love for learning and education.

“We are a community where everybody knows that no matter where you work, you are an educator,” she continues. "Yes, the faculty is the heart of an institution and students learn mainly in the classroom. But all the research I have read indicates that education occurs inside and outside the classroom. Our maintenance staff and gardeners who take care of our campus ensure that we have a clean and beautiful environment in which to learn. Our admissions counselors and outreach recruiters are educating students about and the great choice that Dominguez Hills is for them. The administrative assistants who answer phone calls are some of the front line people who teach and show potential students about the beauty of Dominguez Hills.”

García called on the campus community to recognize “an opportunity to be the role model to the rest of higher education, teaching other colleges and universities how to educate all students to live in a just and global world.”

“We will succeed and continue to succeed because of people like you, committed to all students regardless of their standing in life,” she states. “Together, we will take Dominguez Hills to new heights and I will serve you as a president who will work alongside of you and give you nothing less than my all. I thank you on behalf of the students at Dominguez Hills, our communities and those we will serve in the future.”

- Joanie Harmon


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Last updated Wednesday, August 29, 2007, 3:18 p.m., by Joanie Harmon