Karen Haynes Announces Her Retirement As President of California State University, San Marcos

Karen Haynes, the first woman president of California State University, San Marcos, has announced her retirement, effective in June 2019. The university enrolls just under 16,000 students. Some 63 percent of the undergraduate students are women.

Dr. Haynes became president in 2004. At the time, the university only enrolled 7,000 students, but under her leadership she more than doubled that number. During her tenure, Dr. Haynes grew the university’s alumni base from 13,000 to 45,000, oversaw the construction of 15 new buildings on campus, helped launch over 100 new programs, and led the university’s first major philanthropic campaign.

During her presidency, Dr. Haynes made many strides in enhancing diversity. In 2008, California State University, San Marcos became one of the first institutions in the nation recognized as an Asian American and Pacific Islander-Serving Institution. In 2010, the university was recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. Forty-five percent of the university’s student body comes from underrepresented groups. The university is the only school in the California State University system that has increased its number of American Indian students in recent years.

President Haynes started her career in administration in 1985 as the dean of the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Houston. In 1995, she became president of the University of Houston-Victoria making her the first university leader in the country to have a background in social work.

When announcing her retirement, Haynes stated, “Thanks to all of our collective work, we’ve seen the growth of the campus – with new buildings, academic programs, faculty and staff, students and alumni. We’ve also cultivated the less visible yet still very tangible aspects of our university’s development, including the growth of traditions and pride, the solidifying of our campus’ unique culture, and the increased visibility and impact of CSUSM in our region and beyond. Today, CSUSM stands as a beacon of inspiration to students of all backgrounds – a welcoming place that values community building, open dialogue, diversity, inclusion and respect.”

Dr. Haynes holds a master’s degree in social work from McGill University in Montreal and a Ph.D. in social work from the University of Texas at Austin.


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