CSU picks 1st Mexican-American to lead the nation's largest 4-year public university system

FRESNO, Calif. -- Dr. Joseph Castro was named Wednesday as the new chancellor of the California State University system, becoming the first Mexican-American and native Californian to lead the nation's largest four-year public university system.

CSU's Board of Trustees announced the appointment of Castro, who is currently president of CSU Fresno, on the final day of its meeting Wednesday.

He will replace Chancellor Timothy White, who has held the post since 2012. White had announced he would retire in June but delayed stepping down to help steer the 23-campus system through the coronavirus pandemic.

"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," Castro said in a press release.

Before becoming president of Fresno State, Castro previously served the University of California (UC) in several roles, including the Vice Chancellor of Student Academic Affairs and as a professor of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

He attended the University of California, Berkeley, where he received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in political science and then later obtained his Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Castro will begin his new job in January, with an annual salary of $625,000.

Lillian Kimbell, chairwoman of the board of trustees, called Castro a "passionate and effective advocate" for students, the campus and the CSU system.

"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," she said in a statement.

It wasn't immediately clear who would replace Castro as Fresno State's university president.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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