By Julie Mana-Ay
Senior multimedia reporter
CSU Bakersfield President Horace Mitchell announced during a welcome back event that he would retire at the end of the academic school year.
Mitchell has served as CSUB’s president for 13 years and has had a career in higher education for nearly 50 years. Mitchell said when he first joined the CSUB campus, he had a vision of enhancing the student experience.
“An important milestone for us, including things like reorganization of our school we did several years ago to provide greater energy among the academic programs in those schools,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell goes on about the start of programs like engineering, agricultural business and independent doctoral degrees. He also mentions the conversion from the quarter system to semester system is also important to CSUB’s progression throughout his time as president.
CSUB’s Associated Student Inc. President Mariela Gomez said Mitchell is closely involved within the CSUB community and has been supportive of ASI.
“I’m glad that he’s always put the students before anything on this campus. I see other ASI’s and their student governments and I wish that they had the same great relationship that we have,” she said.
Gomez said seeing President Mitchell on campus for every event is an inspiration because of his energy and support he gives for organizations, clubs, and community involvement.
“I look up to him immensely and he’s one of my role models, actually. I’d love to be at the level he’s at someday whether I’m university president or just hold a position in higher education,” she said.
During Mitchell’s presidency, he expanded enrollment on campus and turned CSUB into a NCAA division I athletic school.
“I hope the next president has the same level of passion and dedication to higher education. I believe that [President] Mitchell truly cares about the constituents he serves and he really is here for the best interest, which is the students,” said Gomez. “I’m glad he puts the students before anything else on campus.”
Mitchell advises the next president should be clear about a vision for the university.
“I think we’ve built enough of a foundation in what we’re doing. It’s important that they understand this is a caring community, a very student centered community, and one that focuses on excellence and diversity.”
One of Gomez’s favorite memories of President Mitchell was when he sent the campus a memorandum of his support of DACA students after U.S. President Donald Trump released a statement on Sept. 5, 2017 to urge the retention for the DACA program on, which scared thousands of students attending college in the U.S.
“It meant a lot from our university president. He’s done a great job at making this community more inclusive and making sure that everybody is represented and making sure all of our voices are heard,” she said.
After 13 years of being CSUB’s president, Mitchell said he and his wife will continue to be involved within the CSUB community.
“Certainly, I’ll miss the people, I’ll miss our students and the community. I’m not ending a relationship, I’m just changing the nature of it but will still care and will still be involved,” Mitchell said.
Though there is no word on who will fill President Mitchell’s shoes, the search for his successor is said to begin this fall, according to CSUB officials.
“The first thing I’m going to do after June 30, 2018 is take a vacation,” he said.