President Erika D. Beck greets faculty and staff members at the Fall Welcome Address from the stage of The Soraya, Aug. 25, 2023. Photo by Sonia Gurrola.

Dance students from the College of Health and Human Development’s Kinesiology Department performed during President Erika D. Beck’s Fall Welcome Address at The Soraya, Aug. 25, 2023. Photo by David J. Hawkins.

A member of Masanga Marimba, a student and alumni performance group led by CSUN music professor Ric Alviso, enjoys playing for faculty and staff gathered in The Soraya courtyard. Photo by Sonia Gurrola.

Faculty and staff members gathered in The Soraya’s sun-drenched courtyard to chat and catch up following President Erika D. Beck’s Fall Welcome Address, Aug. 25, 2023. Photo by David J. Hawkins.

Lively beats, courtesy of the drumline from the Matador Pep Band, energized CSUN community members as they arrived at the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts on Aug. 25 for President Erika D. Beck’s annual welcome address.

Faculty, staff, administrators and guests gathered for the multimedia event that began with a cultural welcome by Rudy Ortega Jr., Hon.D. ‘23 and Mark Villaseñor ’16 (Global Supply Chain Management) from the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians. There were also welcomes from Faculty President Michael Neubauer and Associated Students President Paige Hajiloo, as well as a performance by dance students from the College of Health and Human Development.

Beck welcomed 30 new faculty members to the academic community. She noted recent investments including the addition of more mental health counselors and support from philanthropists for the MataCare Emergency Grant Program and scholarships.

Beck also spoke of building projects on campus, including the soon-to-open Maple Hall, formerly known as the Sierra Annex, with its state-of-the-art classrooms. The groundbreaking on the Affordable Student Housing Project will take place this fall — the first such project to be approved in the California State University system. Beck reported significant progress on plans to bring basic needs services together on campus with construction of a Basic Needs Suite.

She also commented on the ongoing construction of the Autodesk Technology Engagement Center, which will “house the Global HSI Equity Innovation Hub programming as well as academic and equity-focused programming for the College of Engineering and Computer Science, and interdisciplinary STEAHM opportunities,” Beck said. STEAHM includes science, technology, engineering, math as well as art and the humanities.

Beck talked about graduation rates and said some have improved — such as those for both 2- and 4-year transfer students, which are at or above CSU targets. She said the university will continue to invest in students, faculty and infrastructure toward structural equity she outlined last year in the Road Map to the Future.

Beck wished a happy new academic year to those gathered and finished her remarks with the following: “I am so proud to call myself a Matador, to stand shoulder to shoulder with each of you in this exceptional place, as we continue to build a brighter and more equitable future for us all.”

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