During his annual University Day address to the campus community, California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB) president Horace Mitchell announced that he will retire at the end of the 2017-18 academic year, effective June 30, 2018.
“I believe we have made significant progress toward realization of our vision, which is always aspirational: extending the excellence and diversity of our faculty and academic programs; enhancing the quality of the student experience; and strengthening our community engagement. It has been my great honor and privilege to serve with you, our outstanding faculty, staff and administrators, in serving our students and community over the past 13 years, and I have enjoyed doing so. We have been dedicated to inspiring excellence among our students and transforming their lives,” said Mitchell.
Among the many major achievements the university has reached under Mitchell’s direction, CSUB has reached all-time highs in both enrollment and graduation rates. Additionally, Mitchell spearheaded CSU Bakersfield’s transition to NCAA Division I athletics as well as the move from a quarter-based academic calendar to a semester-based one.
President Mitchell joined CSUB from the University of California, Berkeley, where he served as vice chancellor, Business and Administrative Services and affiliated professor, African American Studies. Upon leaving UC Berkeley, he was awarded the Berkeley Citation, one of the campus’ highest honors. Also, the title Vice Chancellor-Business Affairs, Emeritus was bestowed on him by the president of the University of California system.
Mitchell holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, a master of arts in education, and a Ph.D. in counseling psychology, all from Washington University in St. Louis. He began his professional career at his alma mater in 1968, serving as assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, assistant professor of Education and Black Studies, and chair of the Black Studies Program.
Mitchell then spent 17 years at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), serving in several faculty and management positions. He was associate dean for Student and Curricular Affairs in the UCI College of Medicine. During his last 11 years at UCI, he was vice chancellor-Student Affairs and Campus Life, and associate clinical professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior.
Mitchell, also a professor of psychology at CSUB, has teaching and research interests in the areas of identity construction, multicultural psychology, and psychological assessment. He continues to teach each year, and he maintains his California license for private practice as a psychologist.
Mitchell has served on the board of directors of the American Council on Education (ACE) and is a past commissioner and vice chair of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). He has served on the NCAA Board of Governors, Division I Board of Directors, and Division I Presidential Forum. He has been recognized widely for his many years of community service by civic, non-profit, governmental, educational and professional organizations. In April 2002 he received the “Distinguished Psychologist Award” from the Association of Black Psychologists and in May of 2006, Mitchell was named the recipient of the 2005-2006 “Robert C. Maxson President of the Year Award” given by the California State Student Association which represents over 470,000 CSU students. He received the “Distinguished Alumnus Award” from Washington University in St. Louis in May 2008. In November 2010 he received the “President’s Award” from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Region VI. He received the “Harold Delaney Exemplary Educational Leadership Award” from the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education (AABHE) in April 2016.
“President Mitchell has made a significant impact on CSU Bakersfield… indeed the entire Cal State system. His dedication to students and community coupled with his tireless efforts have led the university to a higher level of academic success and community engagement,” said California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White. “His focus on academic excellence and on life-changing educational opportunities for students from all backgrounds has contributed to CSUB’s emergence. His legacy at CSUB will be felt for generations to come.”
The CSU will conduct a national search for Mitchell’s successor, starting early this fall.