Dear friends of Cal State Monterey Bay,

As Cal State Monterey Bay continues to grow and mature as a university, my goal is to have it play an ever more important role in public discussions about issues facing the Central Coast.

As we help bring new ideas to the table, we can help community leaders look at familiar problems from new perspectives.

That was the goal of this year’s President’s Speaker Series, which brought three nationally recognized speakers to our campus during the spring semester. Its theme was “Flourish Monterey County,” as we explored the economic, educational and criminal justice challenges facing the Central Coast region.

Our speakers were Mary Jo Waits, director of the Economic, Human Services & Workforce Division of the National Governors Association; David Kennedy, director of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and former director of the Boston Gun Project; and Jeff Edmonson, managing director of Strive Together, the national group with whom we are working as we establish our own Cradle to Career pipeline.

Their public presentations, held at the World Theater, were excellent and well-attended. Equally important were the sessions each speaker held with campus and community representatives to discuss their ideas in even greater depth.

To cite just one example, it was fascinating for me to listen to police chiefs from around our county engage in an open, thoughtful and heartfelt discussion with Mr. Kennedy about how best to cope with the plague of gang violence that has struck too many of our communities.

Each of the local public safety officials brought vast experience to that roundtable discussion. Each shared an interest in discussing new ideas and finding out what was working elsewhere.

Universities provide forums where learning happens. While the interests of students in our classrooms and laboratories will always be paramount, we also have an important obligation to reach out into the larger community.

At Cal State Monterey Bay, we are proud to be our county’s four-year public university and are eager to take on all the responsibilities that role entails.

Sincerely,

Eduardo M. Ochoa, President