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President Zingg’s transition, city spending addressed at fall convocation

Cheyanne Burens

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President Paul Zingg announces his upcoming retirement at the 2015 Fall Convocation. Photo credit: Stephanie Schmieding

Hundreds of students, staff and faculty members gathered last night in the Harlen Adams Theatre for the 2015 Fall Convocation. This year’s convocation proved to be memorable as President Zingg made the unexpected announcement that he will be retiring at the end of the academic year.

“Recently I have been considering an important decision, and this has been one for my health, my love for my family, and my deep commitment to the best interest of the university,” he said.

President Zingg went into emergency bypass surgery earlier this year and returned from medical leave for the fall 2015 semester, as previously reported by The Orion.

As he became choked up with emotion, he revealed his three key responsibilities to contribute to a successful transition in the upcoming months:

  • To ensure a smooth transition
  • To move the institutional agenda forward
  • To ensure that stability, certainty, continuity and strength are key components in moving the campus further
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Photo courtesy of Chico State

The president’s announcement at the end of the convocation followed several speakers who addressed issues within the university and offered solutions.

Deanna Jarquin, president of Associated Students, brought attention to food insecurity on campus and announced a plan for a food drive that will fill the Hungry Wildcat Food Pantry, a program that supplies food for Chico State students in need.

Another hot topic discussed at the convocation was city spending. Ann Schwab, the program director for Community Action Volunteers in Education, explained how the City of Chico has improved its financial status since the 2008 nationwide recession.

After the recession, the city was visited by state auditors who implemented a high-risk management program that monitors the city’s spending in hopes to revive its tattered financial status, she said.

“They (the auditors) found that the city has strengthened its budget policies to address the fund deficits, reduced personnel costs by eliminating positions and re-negotiating employee concessions, consolidated operations to increase efficiency, increase fees for services to more closely align with costs,” Schwab said. “The City of Chico is taking reasonable steps to decrease the risk factor so no further audit is recommended.”

In addition to food insecurity and city spending, the the importance of positive communication between staff, faculty and administration was addressed.

Betsy Boyd, academic senate chair, described the senate as the bridge between the campus and administration and stressed the importance of a healthy relationship between the two.

“When there is a mission and a purpose coupled with desire from the community, bridges can be rebuilt,” Boyd said. “The process of rebuilding bridges requires a tremendous amount of work, it is a process that necessitates collaboration. Rooted in good communication, containing primary elements such as consultation, honesty, transparency, respect and trust.”

The convocation provided the university and community with a chance to create a discussion on campus issues and set expectations for the academic year. Following the announcement of his retirement, Zingg still stressed the importance of working together to improve the university and community.

“We will continue to develop high-quality learning environments both inside and outside the classroom,” he said. “The heart of an institution’s academic worth is its academic quality.”

Cheyanne Burens can be reached at [email protected] or @cheybrizzle on Twitter.

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President Zingg’s transition, city spending addressed at fall convocation