Since I became president of Cal State Monterey Bay, I have stressed the important role our campus should play in regional, cultural and economic development.

This year, the President’s Speaker Series will advance that effort. Built around the theme of “Flourish Monterey County,” the series will bring speakers to campus to address issues of concern to the community we serve.

Mary Jo Waits, director of the Economic, Human Services & Workforce Division of the National Governors Association, will begin the series. She was one of the most thought-provoking speakers at our recent colloquium on Fort Ord redevelopment, and I am pleased that she will be able to return to our campus to expand on her ideas on how to leverage university research to enhance economic development.

One of the clearest messages that emerged from the colloquium was the need to move beyond jurisdictional battles and take a comprehensive look at what makes economic and environmental sense for the area. In her upcoming visit, Ms. Waits will continue the productive discussion begun at the colloquium.

She is scheduled to make her presentation at 3:30 p.m. on March 4 at the World Theater, followed by a question and answer session. A reception will begin at 5 p.m.

We are also planning to set up a meeting of interested faculty members and community leaders to allow more one-on-one time with Ms. Waits before her speech. We will share more details of all events as the date draws closer.

Other confirmed speakers for the series are Dr. David Kennedy (March 28) of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, who directed the Boston Gun Project, whose Operation Ceasefire was credited with sharply reducing the youth homicide rate in Boston; and Jeff Edmonson (April 9), managing director of Strive Together, the national group with whom we are working as we establish our local Strive Initiative to improve the cradle-to-career pipeline. Another speaker may be announced at a later date.

Both Dr. Kennedy and Mr. Edmondson will, I believe, offer fresh insights into the challenges faced by our communities as they seek to improve the lives and the prospects for today’s young people and for generations to come.

Provost search forums: The nationwide search for a permanent provost, which we began after Kathy Cruz-Uribe became chancellor of Indiana University East, is reaching its final stages. We had a strong response from candidates, which is a tribute to the growing reputation of our campus. The search committee, led by Marsha Moroh, has done an outstanding job in bringing the process this far.

Now, the campus community can meet the candidates at three public forums, the first of which is this afternoon. This hiring decision will impact the future of our university and I encourage all faculty, staff and students to find time to talk with the candidates and share their opinions.

Otter Basketball and the Otter Blitz: The CBS Sports Network will be on campus next Saturday (Feb. 15) to televise the 11 a.m. women’s basketball matchup between our Otters, coached by Kerri Nakamoto, and CSU San Bernardino, led by our former coach Renee Jimenez. There is great excitement around this game and I am sure The Kelp Bed will be packed with fans to support our team.

Of course, supporting our athletes involves more than just cheering at the games. The athletic program needs financial support as well. Through the 36-hour MB Blitz, we hope to raise $10,000 for Otter Athletics. The blitz will begin next Friday (Feb. 14) at 6 a.m. and end at 6 p.m. Saturday. This effort, which will be powered through social media, will help us close the gap that exists in our scholarship funding with our fellow conference schools. Please keep your eye on the Otter athletics site for more information and updates. I have agreed to be an MB Blitz Ambassador to help promote the campaign through social media, and you may join me by signing up here.

As always, I welcome your comments on this newsletter or on any issues facing the university. You may direct them to


Eduardo M. Ochoa
President, Cal State Monterey Bay