1995


Inaugural Address
Robert L. Caret
San José State University
October 6, 1995

Chair Considine, Members of the Board of Trustees, Chancellor Munitz, distinguished guests, colleagues, friends and family. Thank you for being here today, for being here to celebrate with us, and for being here to celebrate a milestone in the continued development of the oldest institution of public higher education on the West coast. San José State University has produced tens of thousands of alumni and has earned the reputation among many companies of being "the engine that drives Silicon Valley." For 138 years, this institution has always risen to the challenges before it, providing wave after wave of educated citizens to move this valley and this city forward along its chosen path.

In my first address to the campus community at San José State, on August 24th, I provided a general overview of the tumultuous times this institution has recently confronted. As we view the most recent five-year span, we have fewer dollars with which to work, fewer faculty, fewer students, fewer sections of classes, and an increase in demand for all of our services, as well as increased maintenance and physical plant needs that must be addressed. Couple those demands with the predicted increase in the number of high school graduates wanting to enter our portals, and you have some sense of the concern we feel as we look toward the next century. However, I said at that time, and I state again here today, that with the talent we have available on this campus, in this system, and in this region, and with the commitment I know we all share, we will meet these challenges. In that speech I focused on the current state of this institution, its recent past, and its immediate future. Today I would like to paint a view of what I believe this institution might look like as we enter the next century. I want to talk about the San José State University I see five or ten years down the road, and I want to characterize that institution from the perspective of the institution itself, and from the perspectives of the faculty, the staff, the students, and the society/community we serve. In numerous talks in the community as well as in my August address, I have been commenting upon what has been and what is. Today I want to comment upon what might be, what I hope will be.

Clark Kerr once said, "The test of a modern American university is how wisely and how quickly it adjusts to important new possibilities." We must recognize the reality of that counsel. Our enterprise must change fundamentally. If we do not, we will fail.