Latina Educator Makes History: Named Chancellor of California State University

Mildred Garcia has been named the 11th chancellor of the California State University system.

Photo: California State University / Courtesy

Noted Latina educator Mildred Garcia was named Wednesday to the position of chancellor of California State University (CSU), the largest public university system in the United States.

Garcia is the first Latina educator named to head California's public universities, the largest and most diverse four-year public university system in the country, with nearly 500,000 students, with nearly 40% of students Latino, at a time when it has American confidence in higher education has declined.

Mildred Garcia is currently President of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and was the first Latina also to reach that position, having previously chaired California State University Fullerton and California State University Dominguez Hills, both belonging to the CSU system.

?California State University is a powerful engine of change and upward mobility for California and the nation, supporting hundreds of thousands of students in achieving their educational, professional and personal aspirations,? Garcia said in a statement.

Garcia added that she is honored and excited to have the opportunity to "advance student achievement, close equity gaps, and continue to fuel California's economic prosperity."

The educator will begin her tenure as rector on October 1. His predecessor Joseph I. Castro, the first Mexican-American to reach that position, was forced to resign in 2022 after a series of criticisms for mishandling allegations of sexual misconduct by a professor when the Hispanic was president of the University Fresno State.

Wenda Fong, president of the CSU Board of Trustees, praised Garcia's ability in a statement.

"Her optimism, authenticity and courageous leadership will inspire greatness for the California State University community as we meet the challenges and seize the opportunities ahead and chart a path to a brighter future for our great institution," Fong said.

Born to Puerto Rican parents and raised in New York, Garcia was the first in her family to earn a college degree. She has been a multiple award winner and appointed by now former President Barack Obama (2009-2017) to serve on various advisory boards, including the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

California State University is the nation's largest four-year system of higher education, with 23 campuses, nearly 460,000 students, and 56,000 faculty and staff members.

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