California State University (CSU) Interim Chancellor Jolene Koester has appointed Leroy M. Morishita to serve as interim president of California State University, Los Angeles.
Morishita will begin in his position on July 31 and will serve in that capacity until a new president is appointed by the CSU Board of Trustees.
“Dr. Morishita is an extraordinary leader who, over a long and distinguished career, demonstrated an unwavering commitment to inclusive excellence, innovative student-success initiatives and to educational equity in all its dimensions,” said Koester. “His more-than 40 years of experience in leadership positions across the CSU, including his highly successful tenure as president of California State University, East Bay (CSUEB), will serve him well in this role.”
“I am excited to formally return to the CSU and to be part of a vibrant, dynamically diverse and student-centered university like Cal State L.A.,” said Morishita. “I look forward to working with the extraordinarily talented faculty, staff and administrators to continue providing transformative educational opportunities for Cal State L.A.’s students.”
Morishita has most recently served the CSU in a consulting role, participating in a workgroup formed by Koester to identify a multi-year strategy to achieve stable and predictable revenues to support the CSU mission and to maintain affordability for its students, while recognizing and meeting the differing needs of the 23 universities.
He served as president of CSUEB from 2011 to 2020, first as interim president before being appointed to the permanent position in 2012. Under his leadership, achievement at CSUEB reached new heights, with graduation and retention rates steadily increasing, while equity gaps narrowed.
Morishita has held a variety of leadership positions within the CSU, since beginning his career at San Francisco State University (SFSU) in 1978. There, he held positions of increasing responsibility over the course of 30 years, ultimately serving as executive vice president and chief financial officer, administration and finance.
Morishita also served on a number of systemwide and statewide committees on budget, investments, human resources and other policy issues.
Morishita earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UC Berkeley; a master’s degree in counseling at SFSU; and a doctorate of education from Harvard in administration, planning and social policy.
In August 2022, Cal State L.A.’s current president, Dr. William A. Covino, announced that he would be retiring. He will be stepping down from the position at the end of July. Covino is the seventh president of Cal State L.A. and has served in that capacity since 2013.
The California State University is the largest system of four-year higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, nearly 460,000 students, and 56,000 faculty and staff. Nearly 40% of the CSU’s undergraduate students transfer from California Community Colleges.
The CSU was created in 1960 with a mission of providing high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of California. With its commitment to quality, opportunity and student success, the CSU is renowned for superb teaching, innovative research and for producing job-ready graduates.
Each year, the CSU awards nearly 130,000 degrees. One in every 20 Americans holding a college degree is a graduate of the CSU and alumni are 4 million strong.