Santa Paula Times

Since 2001, Dr. Richard Rush has been the founding president of CSUCI, a four-year, public university committed to the highest ideals and standards in education. Above, Dr. Rush addresses the Boys & Girls Club Breakfast of Champions breakfast Tuesday morning.

Dr. Richard Rush keynotes Boys & Girls Club Breakfast of Champions

October 05, 2012
Santa Paula News

Education is a priority of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clara Valley, which emphasized its mission to create responsible, happy and educated adults at its annual Breakfast of Champions breakfast featuring keynote speaker Dr. Richard Rush, president of California State University Channel Islands.

Club Board President Tammy Hobson welcomed the crowd that included numerous education officials as well as City Councilmen Rick Cook and Fred Robinson.

Supervisor Kathy Long lauded the three T’s, those who offer “their time, talent and treasures” while setting an example of giving. Those who helped create CSUCI raised that bar by helping create the university “from the ground up.”

Since 2001, Rush has been the founding president of CSUCI, a four-year, public university committed to the highest ideals and standards in education. Long said Rush combines a “great sense of humor” with a passionate devotion to students and their education. 

“It’s truly an honor,” said Rush, to be among those “that build community... being with good people is a joy of life.” CSUCI is “your university, not mine,” in an area Rush said was the largest in the state without a university to call their own. After years of effort to create a university finally reached success under the guidance of then Assemblyman and State Senator Jack O’Connell, Rush said officials took on the task of a public-private partnership as organizers were “on their own” to make CSUCI a reality.

Rush said education overall in California has lost its bearings, as the state has “given up its future” by continuing to cut funding. “What really bothers me is how did we get here” to voters being asked to decide a ballot proposition “that tells us we fund schools or don’t fund schools... we’re revolving on the head of a pin” while the future of education is decided. 

That future can be seen “in the faces of our children and grandchildren,” and Rush said he is “deeply offended we have gotten to that point” where education - and in turn the future - has failed to remain a funding priority.

CSUCI has been innovative - from creating housing units for sale to aggressive fundraising. New facilities and buildings (the campus is the former Camarillo State Hospital) have followed, all constructed without state funding. 

Said Rush, “We are not going to succumb” to state cuts, but rather “remain the leaders that will create the future.” And CSUCI is “the best university there is,” with outstanding faculty recognized both nationally - many professors are acknowledged to be the best in the nation - and internationally.

The goal of CSUCI is to “serve the underserved with access and opportunities,” including its 31 percent student body that allows the university to utilize federal funding. 

Its innovative educational programs have won awards, and Rush said when he “reflects on upon the malaise” accorded higher education by the state, it reinforces “If the state won’t step up and provide, we’ll do it ourselves.... Public education is a public good, our democracy stands on an educated” population. “... it’s our birthright.” Rush said education must have a brighter future to ensure the “future in the eyes of children” is fulfilled.