Hello SDSU Alumni and Friends –
I just celebrated my one-year anniversary as Dean of the College of Health and Human Services. Over the past 12+ months I have witnessed many accomplishments and actions by students, staff, faculty and alumni that have amazed, but not surprised me. The caliber of people currently and previously associated with our college is second to none. As I reflect upon the superb qualities of those people, it makes me extremely proud to be the Dean, but also reminds me of the great responsibility that I have to live up to their expectations and abilities. In essence, to do all that I can to help them to be successful as what they do daily makes me look very good. Let me tell you about one of these outstanding people.
Christopher Thomas just graduated from SDSU this past May with a BS in Kinesiology (Fitness Specialist) and a minor in Leadership Development. Chris also served as President of Associate Students (AS) this past year, an organization that represents nearly 35,000 SDSU students and manages an annual budget of about $30 million. I personally observed Chris in many high-level university functions rubbing shoulders with university administrators, donors, and fellow students, and at times addressing large audiences such as during commencement. I was constantly impressed with Chris’ mature, cheerful, and charitable personality. The theme of his service as AS President was ‘heartfelt leadership’. In several venues, I heard the story about his relationship with his mom who passed away far too early, and the impact she made in his life. I must say, I got choked up and teary eyed every time. Despite that unfortunate circumstance, Chris has chosen to use that as motivation to not only succeed in his life, but to make a positive difference in the lives of others. It was my honor to get to know Chris, and I was so proud to tell others that he was a major in our college. Now, we are proud to claim him as a CHHS alumnus as he pursues a graduate degree!
I use Chris as an example of hundreds of students in our college I was able to meet this past year. They are outstanding in so many ways. They seem to be much more mature, savvy, and socially engaged than prior generations of students that I know. They focus hard on their studies, seek out research and learning experience opportunities, put in many hours of community service, and work to support themselves and others.
This brings me to what I want each reader of this message to consider. CHHS has many opportunities to contribute to programs that support our undergraduate and graduate students. There are discipline-specific scholarships and fellowships, the CHHS Dean’s fund, various program funds (e.g., Adaptive Fitness Clinic, Adapted Athletic Program, Study Abroad), and endowed faculty chairs and professorships designed to financially assist students and substantially enhance their educational experience.
I encourage you to consider an affordable gift to one of the multiple opportunities we offer. Every dollar will be carefully allocated to aid students like Chris who are overcoming personal hardships in pursuit of a meaningful education, future gainful employment, and, like most of us in the health and human services arena, helping others to overcome their hardships and realize their potential.