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Cal State Los Angeles President James Rosser to retire

September 18, 2012 | 12:41 pm

James M. Rosser

James M. Rosser, president of Cal State Los Angeles, announced Tuesday that he will retire after 33 years as the longest-serving leader in the university’s history.

Rosser, 72, became the sixth president of the hilltop campus east of downtown in 1979 and is also the longest-serving president in the 23-campus system’s history.

"I have had the good fortune to serve this institution in collaboration with an outstanding faculty, administration and staff, past and present,” said Rosser, after announcing his retirement during CSU L.A.’s annual Fall Faculty Day. “Thank you for the value you have added to my life and for the superlative service we have collectively provided to Cal State L.A., our students, this community, state and nation.”

Rosser helped to develop a number of initiatives in the sciences and the arts and in the 1980s helped launch the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts at Cal State L.A. as well as the Alliance Marc and Eva Stern Math and Science School in 2006 to serve students from the East Los Angeles community.

During his tenure, more than 1 million square feet of building space was added to the 173-acre campus including the $81 million Wallis Annenberg Integrated Science Complex and the $22 million Harriet and Charles Luckman Fine Arts Complex, which includes the 1,152-seat Luckman Theatre.

Rosser has also sought to increase the numbers of low-income and under-represented minority students, particularly in the fields of science, math, engineering and technology.

“Jim has been the voice and advocate for all students for the past three decades,” said Chancellor Charles B. Reed. “In particular his unwavering commitment to access and achievement of students of color and focus on helping them realize their dream of a college degree is a hallmark of his tenure. He has effectively partnered with K-12 and community colleges, established Cal State Los Angeles’ nursing program as one of the best nationally and has elevated the state of biotechnology and STEM education and research. Jim’s laser focus on students first, diversity, retention and graduation rates will endure as a remarkable legacy of his service to this university and to California.”

Rosser earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and a Ph.D. in health education from that university. He served as a faculty member, assistant to the chancellor and founding director of the Black American Studies Program at Southern Illinois.

His term will end on June 30, 2013.


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Photo: Cal State L.A. President James M. Rosser addresses faculty. Credit: Cal State Los Angeles