Seasons Greetings to all!
The holiday season always brings not only the sense of joy and warmth of family, great friends and colleagues, but serves to bestow wonder to what lies ahead in the new year.
But this year feels “different.”
Yes, many of us can still aspire to that same holiday cheerfulness, but clearly the year 2020 has wrought a new world that, while we feel somewhat subdued, reinforces gratitude for what we have accomplished and fortifies a renewed commitment and motivation to face any challenge.
As we collectively look back on the last nine-months, CVHEC takes pride in that we all stepped up in a meaningful way and are meeting these challenges together.
That collective pride was aptly displayed at our board meeting this week when we personally bid farewell to one of our ardent leaders, Dr. Joseph I. Castro, as he departs his position as Fresno State president to become chancellor of the California State University system in January. It was befitting of the season to hear so many heartfelt expressions of appreciation for Joe’s contributions as a CVHEC board member and of support for his new quest — enough to light up any holiday celebration! We look forward to continuing to rely on Joe in his new post as we move through this time of transition.
So many we serve in our region have faced extraordinarily trying times this year and for them, life may never be the same. We know higher education is evolving to better meet our student’s needs and new paths for higher education delivery are continuously being forged. Although this is an ongoing challenge, we will be adamant in doing our part.
As we look ahead, we have our sights set on many endeavors, most notably our upcoming CVHEC Virtual Summit Series which is a spin on our annual live Higher Education Legislative Policy Summit (usually held in October). In the Spring, we will take on some of those challenges presented to us this year: Broadband in the Central Valley – focusing in on Education, Ag and Telemedicine needs; calling for action through the CVHEC Equity and Racial and Social Justice Ad Hoc Committee; and yes, exploring the future of Higher Education in the Central Valley.
This season of giving also provides cause for pause to acknowledge our many partners, funders, and friends. Thank you for continuing to support the work CVHEC is doing for our students in the valley, thank you for the flexibility and creativity that this year has made us all tap into, and thank you for being ready to take on 2021 with us. You make the work we do at CVHEC possible.
I’ll leave you this issue with the final words that Chancellor-select Castro expressed to the board this month as he departed our Zoom session: “The best is yet to come, both here at Fresno State and across the Central Valley. Keep being bold!”
May you and your family find continued happiness during this “different” holiday season.
Benjamin T. Duran, Ed.D.
Executive Director – Central Valley Higher Education Consortium (CVHEC)