President Coley speech: ‘Light our way’

By Bri Wingfield

After shaking hands and offering greetings to the upbeat sounds of Justin Timberlake on her way to the stage, Cal Poly Pomona President Soraya M. Coley began her convocation address with a symbolic gesture”penlights placed on every seat to”light our way””a nod to the overarching theme of the conference, “coming out of the cave”.

Marking the 2016-17 school year as a “year of change,” about 24,000 students now attend CPP, the largest student population in the university’s history

Along with the change in campus population, CPP is undergoing physical changes with the construction of the new Student Services building, set for completion in 2018.

The university’s conversion to the semester system is also set to take effect in 2018.

After last year’s listening tour in which Coley met with 93 academic and administrative units, as well as 1,200 members of the campus community, the president was “inspired and motivated” by the “passion” and commitment” of those she spoke with.

Insight gained by Coley’s listening tour led to a reduction in summer course fees, resulting in an increase in attendance by 29 percent.

In acknowledgment of community diversity, university plaza restrooms are being updated to accommodate the needs of the transgender community on campus.

“I heard on several occasions about the need to maintain inclusiveness while expanding diversity,” said Coley in her speech.

“With a growing campus population there will also be an increase in diversity, so it is great that President Coley is committed to putting systems in place to make everyone feel welcome,” said Adrienne Lombard, a fourth-year hospitality student, in response to Coley’s speech.

Coley said she will continue to consult with the campus community in order to “effectuate change and to give substance to the perspectives we hear about.”

“We can ill afford to wander aimlessly despite the best of intentions, and we cannot go backward or in circles. We must sharply focus on the direction we will pursue and the values that will reflect our Cal Poly community,” said Coley.

Through the use of a strategic guidance system, which Coley compares to a GPS system, the goal is for CPP to become “the preemptive metro-urban polytechnic university with a global reach that serves as an epicenter for creativity, discovery and innovation.”

Fall 2016 President Coley

Courtesy of Tom Zasadzinski

Fall 2016 President Coley

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