Morishita Retiring as Cal State East Bay President; Successor Named

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HAYWARD — Cal State East Bay President Leroy M. Morishita will be stepping down on Dec. 31. 

Morishita, who has led the university since July 2011, was originally scheduled to retire on June 30.

Leroy Morishita

In a letter to the campus community in March, Morishita said, “I want to inform you that [CSU] Chancellor Timothy P. White has asked me, and I have agreed, to extend my service as president of Cal State East Bay through Dec. 31, 2020. The presidential search will be paused and restarted later this year. 

“The last few weeks have been filled with unexpected life changes, as we have altered our delivery of instruction and learning, social circles, daily habits, work and school schedules. 

“Providing continuity in ensuring the health and safety of our students, staff and faculty is the highest priority, given the uncertainty and quickly changing landscape due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am committed to carrying out this request and focusing on the needs of our university.

“As always, please use our COVID-19 website as a resource for information and announcements. Take good care of yourselves and each other.”

Morishita was the fifth president of the university, which was founded more than 60 years ago.

Morishita was recently honored with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education District VII Chief Executive Officer Leadership Award. The nonprofit is an international association focused on educational advancement — alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and advancement services.

According to CASE District VII, CEO award nominations are received from CASE members and universities, schools, colleges and community colleges. 

Morishita received his award at a luncheon attended by university staff, Cal State East Bay Educational Foundation board members and his wife, Barbara.

Morishita started his career in the CSU system in 1978 as a counseling coordinator and counselor for the Educational Opportunity Program at San Francisco State University, where he continued his career. Before joining Cal State East Bay, he was executive vice president for administration and finance and chief financial officer at San Francisco State.

“With our deserving students, the great work of our faculty and staff, and ongoing support of alumni and others, we have flourished and met the potential I knew existed when I began my presidency,” Morishita said when he first announced his retirement last year. “My 40 years as a California State employee has taken me on a journey I could not have imagined. I thank all of you for helping to make this the best job I ever had.”

At the time of his retirement, more than 40,000 graduates, about 50 percent of whom are the first in their families to attend college, will have received diplomas signed by Morishita. He also led the university through a three-year conversion project from a quarter-term to semester schedule. Under his direction, Cal State East Bay has seen its highest-ever fundraising, exceeding the target with $65 million raised during the Rising in the East campaign. 

“My goal to build the CSUEB community — across Hayward, Concord, Oakland, the East Bay and beyond — has been to provide the vision for our staff, faculty, alumni and community partners to work collaboratively to teach, to envision the future and to provide the support services needed to assist our students to dream, soar, be successful in their endeavors and become socially responsible citizens in the world,” he said.

Cathy Sandeen

The CSU Board of Trustees in October appointed Cathy Sandeen, Ph.D., to serve as the next president of Cal State East Bay. She currently serves as chancellor of the University of Alaska Anchorage and is an Oakland native.

“I am thrilled to return to the Bay Area to work alongside Cal State East Bay’s gifted faculty and staff to further the academic achievement of this wonderfully diverse group of students attending the Hayward and Concord campuses,” she said. “My own previous experiences and future aspirations closely match Cal State East Bay’s values, and the university-wide commitments to communities of color and sustainability are particularly relevant in this time. I embrace those commitments and will work to further the university’s leadership in these critically important areas.”

Morishita wished Sandeen his best. “She is a proven leader with a long and demonstrated history of innovation leading to greater opportunity and success for all students,” he said.

“I am pleased to welcome Dr. Cathy Sandeen as the next president of Cal State East Bay. Dr. Sandeen has an impressive record of accomplishment in major public universities, including the University of Wisconsin system and most recently as chancellor at the University of Alaska Anchorage. As a proud graduate of the CSU, she brings a depth of experience and the knowledge needed to lead this special place. On behalf of the Cal State East Bay community, I offer my heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Sandeen and wish her the very best and much success.”   

CSU Trustee Jack McGrory, chair of the Cal State East Bay search committee said Sandeen’s leadership and focus on diversity, equity and inclusion will be an asset to her new role at the university. 

“She is a proven leader with a long and demonstrated history of innovation leading to greater opportunity and success for all students,” McGrory said. 

Sandeen was appointed to the position of UAA chancellor in 2018 and in that role, she oversees all academic, financial, operational, student affairs, outreach and development functions for Alaska’s largest open access, urban-metropolitan university.

Prior to her time at UAA, Sandeen served as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Colleges and University of Wisconsin-Extension from 2014-18. In that role, she served as leader and chief administrator and was responsible for the academic, financial and administrative activities of two statewide higher-education institutions. 

Her other experience in higher education includes service as the vice president, education attainment and innovation for the American Council on Education (2012-14), the dean at the UCLA Extension (2006-12) and in various leadership roles at UC Santa Cruz (2000-06) and UC San Francisco (1990-2000). She has been a member of the faculty at Santa Clara University, San José State University, the University of Utah, Stanford University and San Francisco State University. 

A product of the CSU, Sandeen graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology from Humboldt State University. She earned a master’s in broadcast communication from San Francisco State University, an MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Ph.D. in communication from the University of Utah.  

Sandeen will assume her new role at Cal State East Bay on Jan. 4, 2021.

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