Dear campus community,
For the umpteenth time, I write you during a surge in COVID-19 infections. I remain grateful to live and work in a community that is vaccinated and boosted and has embraced public health mandates such as indoor masking. But it has not been easy. I know that many of us find ourselves yet again struggling with the consequences of the disease, including my own family. My husband and daughter, while thankfully recovering, had a few rough days. And, like many of you, I found myself once again working remotely while also serving as caregiver, grocery shopper and cheerleader. It feels like we have all had to do this far too often. At SF State, we continue the cautious practices that have allowed us to safely return to campus, including mandatory indoor masking. Please continue to take care of yourselves and one another.
Fortunately, I tested negative repeatedly and was able to attend the last day of the California State University Board of Trustees meeting and meet our newest student trustee, Diana Aguilar-Cruz. Trustee Aguilar-Cruz is a fourth-year biology student at Cal Poly Pomona preparing for a career in public health and medicine. I confess, I arrived tired and a bit down — worried about my daughter who was recovering slowly and selfishly disappointed that the pandemic had forced me for the third time to cancel plans to attend a reunion with college friends. I left the Board meeting a few hours later, inspired and rejuvenated—inspired by our students, their determination, and our work to open worlds of opportunity for them.
In her introduction to the Board, Trustee Aguilar-Cruz shared her story—a story that echoes that of many of our students. An immigrant from Mexico, she came to the U.S as a teenager searching for opportunity. Trustee Aguilar-Cruz thanked many for their support but highlighted her grandmother who “opened the doors of her home and gave (Trustee Aguilar-Cruz) strength” and a teacher who “opened the doors of her classroom and taught (Trustee Aguilar-Cruz) how to use this strength.” She acknowledged the sacrifices she and her family have made along way, including a powerful thank you to her mother who she was unable to see for three years.
Trustee Aguilar-Cruz reminded me, just as I begin my fourth year as president of San Francisco State, how lucky I am to be here and to get to do the work I do. What better job could there be than to facilitate the success of the incredible students and employees of San Francisco State? While challenges and obstacles abound, I was reminded that so do opportunities. With the support of families, communities and all of us, our students achieve great things. I could not be prouder of the work we do as a community.
I urge you to listen to Trustee Aguilar-Cruz yourself (and defy you not to get teary eyed—I do every time I listen). You can find recordings of each Board session on the CSU website. Scroll to the bottom for the last video, Plenary Session Day 2, to meet our newest student trustee for yourself.
I conclude here with Trustee Aguilar-Cruz’s remarks on her goals as a future physician and as a student trustee. Trustee Aguilar-Cruz stated that her future goal is to “save minds and heart, one patient at a time,” and her goal as a trustee to save “one student at a time.” Her goal is ours—seeing all our students achieve their dreams. Trustee Aguilar-Cruz emphatically concluded: “Si se puede. You can do it.”
Yes, we can do it.
I send wishes for good health and a good summer.
Lynn Mahoney, Ph.D.