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New CSUB president plans to boost grants, alumni pride

Dr. Lynnette Zelezny, who will take over this summer as president of California State University, Bakersfield, speaks with Eyewitness News from her office as provost at Fresno State University in Fresno, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

A new president will take over California State University, Bakersfield next school year, but the campus' old problems are sticking around.

Dr. Lynnette Zelezny knows she's got some work to do once she gets to CSUB. Her plan is to use her strengths to push the university forward.

"We have a big opportunity," the soon-to-be president recently told Eyewitness News.

Zelezny said her plan to fix the issues she's inheriting is multifaceted. She said CSUB has a great foundation and framework, but now it's time to start building. That's something she doesn't plan to do alone.

"We'll build together, the vision for what the entire university should look like," said Zelezny.

When Zelezny said "we'll," she was talking about everyone involved with CSUB, from the leadership to the staff to the parents to the students. She said she wants community involvement as she pushes CSUB to build.

The school's growing pains and funding struggles are well known. Zelezny said the solution to both is getting more grants into the university, something she knows how to do.

"I actually serve as the principal investigator or the co-principal investigator on $10 million of grants, right now, as I sit here," said Zelezny, currently the provost at Fresno State University.

More grants can lead to more on-campus research and more internship opportunities for students, according to Zelezny. They can even lead to new buildings and infrastructure.

It's important to point out that Zelezny isn't only concerned about academics.

"I do like athletics," said Zelezny. "I can't wait to attend the athletic events."

Zelezny wants to see the 'Runners excel in every way possible, in the classroom and on the courts and fields.

"Hope that athletics and academics can rise together," said Zelezny.

She went on to say concerns and needs of sports teams will be heard to make that vision possible.

Another key element of Zelezny's plan is to ramp up community involvement and alumni pride. One way she plans to do this is to build a stronger alumni network and by celebrating the success of CSUB alumni.

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