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Oct 05, 2012 08:15 AM EDT

California State University Names New Chancellor

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California State University has appointed a new chancellor to steer the largest senior higher education system in the country as the institution faces grim financial situation.

Timothy P. White has been named the chancellor of the CSU system that boasts of 23 campuses and more than 400,000 students. White, 63, who has served the University of California, Riverside, since 2008 will be the seventh chancellor of the CSU system succeeding Charles B. Reed who announced his retirement after 14 years at the helm.

"Tim White's background and experience reflect the institutional values and mission of the CSU," CSU Board Chair Bob Linscheid, said in a statement Thursday.

"His demonstrated leadership and commitment to student success are the right combination for the university's future," he said.

White, who was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, migrated to Northern California and is a first generation college student. He served as the eighth chancellor of UC Riverside and is an expert in muscle plasticity and aging.

Expressing happiness over his appointment, White said, "I am humbled to have been chosen to lead the California State University system at such a transformative time."

"As Chancellor, I look forward to engaging with faculty, students, staff, campus presidents and CSU trustees, along with the communities we serve, as we advance this vital system of higher education for California's future," he said.

According to a report from the university, White is likely to get his compensation of an annual salary of $421,500 plus a $30,000 supplement from CSU Foundation sources and also a standard benefits package for CSU employees.

CSU has been facing financial strains in the last three years after sustaining cuts in state funding. This has led to steep increase in tuition fees and reduction in student enrolments, staff and course, according to a report in the Associated Press.

The AP report also stated that the CSU system could face a cut in funding in case the California Governor Jerry Brown's tax initiative, Proposition 30, gets rejected by the voters during the ballot on Nov.6.

"There's a lot at stake. It's really about the future of California's ability to remain competitive in the global economy," AP quoted White as saying.

He is expected to assume his post by the end of December.

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