By Alexis Redding
Dr. Horace Mitchell is retiring as CSU Bakersfield’s fourth president after this academic year.
Students, faculty, and administrators of the CSUB community will be introduced to a forthcoming president for the university after Dr. Mitchell’s 13 years of leadership. Since Dr. Mitchell’s first year as president in 2004, staff feel he has encouraged others within the community to become leaders.
Dr. Thomas Wallace, the university’s vice president for Student Affairs, has worked in conjunction with Dr. Mitchell for five years now and witnessed many of Dr. Mitchell’s academic achievements on campus.
One of these includes the university’s progress since becoming a NCAA Division I school in September 2010.
“He took a very young university and advanced it in so many ways. He has enhanced the infrastructure of the university. As our leader, he has done an excellent job for putting this university in national providence,” said Dr. Wallace.
Including his time at CSUB, Dr. Mitchell has 50 years of experience in higher education inside the CSU system.
In a CSUB press release from Aug. 24, Michael Lukens, CSUB’s director of Public Affairs and Communications, said that Dr. Mitchell came to the university from University of California, Berkeley as a winner of the Berkeley Citation award.
“Part of his legacy is that he’s built a campus where it’s about the students and everybody realizes that. We’re educating the future leaders and future people who will become involved in our communities and help our economy grow,” said Lukens.
Montrelle Henry, a CSUB alumna, recalled Dr. Mitchell’s leadership skills from her days as a student. She has returned to her alma mater this semester, with Dr. Mitchell as her president for the second time, to receive a Master of Educational Administration.
“My first impression of Dr. Mitchell was that I was empowered to have an African-American male at the head of our local university. Although I don’t agree with all of his policies and decisions, I believe he genuinely serves our city well,” said Henry.
Lukens has confidence that Dr. Mitchell’s foundation will exceed when he leaves CSUB.
“He’s all class and always has been this figure you respect. He has a way about him that he earns people’s respect. I’ve always found him to be supportive and encouraging; I think this campus reflects his leadership,” said Lukens.
Rayshell Fambrough, a CSUB alumna, is an educational technology specialist for the Bakersfield City School District.
She recalls a favorite memory shared with Dr. Mitchell from her graduation day.
“One thing I appreciated about Mitchell, is that he never seemed too uptight.”
He added, “I like to play. At both of my graduations I acted silly on stage and he went right along with me,” said Fambrough.
Although Dr. Mitchell’s last day will be June 30, 2018, his constant loyalty and academic accomplishments are what will brace future academic years for the university and its students.