Fresno State president, Valley native Joseph Castro selected as next CSU chancellor

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Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro

UPDATE (1:30 p.m.): Gov. Gavin Newsom provided a statement about Castro’s selection this afternoon.

“I am thrilled to welcome Joseph I. Castro as Chancellor of the California State University. His extraordinary record as a leader in higher education will serve him well as he assumes this role at a pivotal time for students, faculty and staff,” he said. “I know he has the experience, wisdom and respect of many that he will need to build on Chancellor White’s progress on graduation, retention and diversity and inclusion. Chancellor Castro also knows firsthand how higher education transforms lives and opens doors. A son of the San Joaquin Valley and the first in his family to graduate from a university, Chancellor Castro is also the first-ever California native and Mexican American to helm this remarkable system. I look forward to working closely with Chancellor Castro to help the next generation of diverse Californians achieve their dreams.”


UPDATE (11:50 a.m. ): Cal State Bakersfield President Lynnette Zelezny commented on social media today on the selection of Joseph Castro as the next chancellor of the CSU system. Zelezny had previously worked as the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Fresno State before coming to CSUB and had worked with Castro.

“I am so fortunate to call Chancellor-Select Castro a friend. He is a man of integrity, compassion and principle and I am thrilled for him, for the Central Valley and for the CSU,” she said.


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGET) — Cal State Fresno President and Kings County native Joseph I. Castro has ​​​​​been selected to succeed Timothy P. White as the chancellor of the California State University system.

The CSU Board of Trustees appointed Castro to the position today. Castro has served as the president at Fresno State since 2013. He is the first California native and first Mexican American to be appointed to oversee the 23-campus system.

Castro will take over the position from White, who is retiring after leading the CSU system since late 2012, starting on Jan. 4, 2021. A national search for an interim replacement for Castro at Fresno State is expected to begin next year, according to the CSU.

“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.”

Prior to joining Fresno State, Castro served for 23 years in the University of California 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 UC San Francisco.

“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.”

Castro was born in Hanford in Kings County. He is the grandson of immigrants from Mexico, son of a single mother and the first in his family to graduate from a university. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s in public policy from UC Berkeley. He also has a Ph.D. in higher education policy and leadership from Stanford University.

Castro and his wife Mary have three children, Isaac, Lauren and Jess.

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