Zelezny excited to take helm at CSUB


Lynnette Zelezny became the fourth president in CSUB history and the first woman to lead the school. Photo by Peter Castillo/ The Runner

By Peter Castillo


The thought of being the first woman president in the history of CSU Bakersfield might put a ton of pressure of some, but not Lynnette Zelezny, who assumed her position on July 1.

“When I think about being the first female president of this institution, the thing I feel most is joy,” said Zelezny. “I feel very proud.”

Zelezny’s appointment shifted the balance of presidents in the CSU system to mostly women, as there are now 12 women who are currently serving as presidents of their respective universities, compared to only 11 men.

According to Zelezny, she received about 1,500 congratulatory emails the day the news surfaced about her presidency. She says about 500 of which came from women and girls who she did not know but were acknowledging the significance of the moment.

After serving at Fresno State for 30 years, Zelezny admits the first time she stepped on campus here at CSUB, she became starry-eyed. She contrasted the two schools and noted the many advantages CSUB has.

“It’s a crown jewel,” Zelezny said about CSUB. “At Fresno State were land-locked and we were crowded and our students got lost because we were so big.”

Zelezny has already began to make herself known within the community and to students, something she values very much. On Saturday, Aug. 18, she was part of the CSUB Caravan Day, which is an event where members of CSUB athletics travel to different parts of Kern County to engage with the community.

“[Being visible to students] is very important to me and our students,” Zelezny said. “We’re scheduling time each week to go out and talk to students and engage with them and the community.”

As for the long term, Zelezny’s goals and initiative focus around the improvement and expanding of facilities.

“It’s obvious to me that we need to think about our priorities related to facilities and using the land that we have, which a real asset here at CSUB,” Zelezny said.

It is part of her strategic plan for the long-term growth of the university. She is considering the launch of a capital campaign to support the process.

“A strategic plan drives your resource allocation and it is very important to be disciplined about that,” Zelezny said.

She also says she will keep an ear on what is most important to students and what they need most.

Her busy schedule is not something she feels is overwhelming at all. Zelezny says she embraces it all.

“I want to experience as much as I can here, especially if it interests the students,” said Zelezny. “I am really energized by the position and being the leader of all the students and faculty here.”

The thing Zelezny is most excited about for this coming school year is welcoming the students back to the school year. To her, the students are her first priority.

“The students we are able to impact,” said Zelezny about what she feels will be her lasting impact. “That’s the only thing that matters. In this line of work, just knowing that something I had to opportunity to say and it made a difference.”

Lynnette Zelezny became the fourth president in CSUB history and the first woman to lead the school.
Photo by Peter Castillo/ The Runner