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Mildred García, continued ...Published: September 01, 2012

“ZERO,” García says with emphasis. “We need help, which is why it’s so important that we reach out to the community. If all our graduates gave just a small amount, it would make a huge difference.”
Henry Mendoza, a member of the board of trustees, has been impressed with García so far: “She’s warm and outgoing, but she’s also tough. We need a tough person to get us through these economically tough times.”
Anil Puri, dean of the Mihaylo School of Business and Economics at CSUF, concurs: “She is frank and has a clear vision of what she wants to do. She expects us to follow her lead, and we will.”
There might be some growing pains for García, predicts Lucy Dunn, executive director of the Orange County Business Council (OCBC): “She will have to learn that nothing rhymes with ‘Orange.’ We have our own unique problems here.”
But Dunn, a CSUF graduate herself, is optimistic that García is the right person for that challenge. García is scheduled to speak at a breakfast hosted by the OCBC.
“She seems terrific, and we look forward to getting to know her better,” Dunn says.
That is a goal of García’s: to get around to as many people as she can. A visitor to her office mentioned Jim Doti, president of Chapman University. García waved a finger around the room. “I’m speaking at a conference there next month; I’ve been dying to meet him,” she says.
García wants to meet everybody. And she seems to have the energy to do it. Her calendar appears to be booked solid – both day and night – well into the fall. She’s even taking office visits on weekends. There’s also the Obama national committee on Hispanic education that she’s deeply involved in.
“My schedule right now is just crazy,” she says. “But I’m loving it.”
She didn’t have far to go to reach this presidency. Cal State Dominguez Hills, where she was president for five years, is just 26 miles away in Carson. But as García sees it, she had a much longer route to CSUF. She points to the huge diamond-studded ring on her right hand that a visitor has admired.
“For my first college presidency, my family all pitched in on a money gift for me. I bought this ring with it. Every time I look at it, it reminds me that my career has always started with family.”

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