13:49 PM

Neufeldt Named a CEO of the Year by Business Journal

Cal State San Marcos President Ellen Neufeldt has been named a San Diego CEO of the Year by the San Diego Business Journal. 

Neufeldt was selected as one of 20 winners of the annual award by the SDBJ out of 118 finalists. She received the award June 30 during a ceremony in downtown San Diego. 

In its 17th year, the CEO of the Year Awards recognize contributions to company growth, leadership and community involvement by top executives in the San Diego area. 

“I am grateful and humbled to receive this award,” Neufeldt said. “It is an honor to serve as CSUSM’s president, and I give so much credit to all our faculty and staff who are so dedicated to the lifelong success of our students. CSUSM proudly partners across San Diego to ensure we continue to be this region’s elevator of social mobility and an engine of inclusive growth – a beacon of where the future of higher education is going.” 

Hired in 2019 as CSUSM’s fourth president, Neufeldt just completed her third year at the university. Some highlights of her tenure include: 

  • Navigating the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2020, CSUSM turned on a dime to provide students with remote access to classes and services, ensuring that technology got in the hands of those who needed it, while raising significant funds for scholarships and students’ basic needs. 
  • Drawing on CSUSM’s commitment to student success, a new student success coaching program was created in 2020, allowing the campus to reallocate personnel impacted by the pandemic while also providing more support to students. The initiative was recognized by the American Association for State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) with its Excellence in Innovation Award for Student Success in November 2021. 
  • CSUSM was the recipient of a five-year Hispanic-Serving Institutions STEM grant worth nearly $5 million to help expand engineering program offerings to include computer engineering. Meanwhile, with the design phase fully funded by the California State University system, momentum continues to build for CSUSM’s next academic structure, an integrated sciences and engineering building that will further cement CSUSM as the next frontier for life sciences growth in the university’s expansive region. 
  • In spring 2022, the CSUSM Innovation Hub formally opened after operating virtually since 2020. The hub is a part of CSUSM’s innovation ecosystem, serving as a gateway for faculty, students, industry and the community to connect and brainstorm ideas, incubate new concepts and accelerate novel startups. A unique aspect of the initiative is its focus on social innovation, providing fertile ground for students and faculty of all disciplines to engage in a process of bringing novel ideas forward to solve pressing social issues. 
  • In February 2022, Neufeldt signed an agreement partnering with Black community leaders and groups to cultivate a stronger college-going culture across the region. As a Hispanic-Serving Institution, the university hosted a summit in March focused on enhancing its capacity to serve Latinx students. And in June, the campus partnered with Old Dominion University to co-host the National Social Mobility Symposium, bringing together higher education experts and leaders across the region to share strategies and best practices on student success and social mobility. 
  • In 2020, a campuswide institutional strategic plan process was launched, the first in more than 15 years. The new plan was published this spring, placing at the heart of CSUSM’s new mission and vision a commitment to student success and social mobility. New strategic goals focus on dismantling barriers to educational access, nurturing a culture of service, adapting to meet the needs of the community, building socially minded partnerships and entrepreneurial efforts that advance the San Diego region, and launching an ambitious philanthropic campaign to fuel this transformation.