Biography & Accomplishments

Richard R. Rush became president of California State University Channel Islands in June 2001. As head of the 23rd and newest campus in the California State University system, President Rush hired the faculty and senior administrative staff and overseen the creation and development of the University’s strategic, academic and physical master plans, the budget and financial structure, infrastructure and road improvements, the acquisition of adjacent land, as well as successfully leading the University’s efforts to achieve initial Accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), as well as re-accreditation in 2015.

Before arriving at CI, President Rush spent nine years as president of Minnesota State University (MSU), Mankato, where he created ties between MSU and regional industry, the local community, and civic leaders.

Prior to that, President Rush played a key role in the founding of CSU San Marcos while serving as Vice President in Charge and, subsequently, as Executive Vice President.

President Rush serves on the boards of the Economic Development Cooperative – Ventura County, Camarillo Chamber of Commerce, Community Memorial Hospital, Casa Pacifica, California Campus Compact, and American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) Council of State Representatives, among others. In addition, he serves as Chair of the P-20 Regional Council for the Improvement of College Attendance and Success which focuses on improving the college-going rates of students, particularly from communities with historically low participation. President Rush lives in Camarillo with his wife, Jane.

President Rush holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in English Renaissance Literature and Master of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Significant Accomplishments

  • Established the vision and direction of CSU Channel Islands with a clear, stated focus on students and their success, articulated in the University Mission Statement
  • Strongly encouraged a campus culture of civility and collegiality, underpinned by an active shared governance model
  • Cumulatively helped the campus garner nearly $49 million in contributions to support student scholarships, micro-grants for research and scholarly activity for faculty, and academic programs.
  • CI has received $16.4 million in Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) grants from the U.S. Department of Education
  • Doubled CSU Channel Islands’ acreage from 673 to 1200 acres.
  • CSU Channel Islands was granted Initial Accreditation for the maximum amount of time of seven years at the earliest possible date and received re-accreditation in 2015.
  • Interviewed and hired all tenure track faculty and senior administration totaling over 800 current employees.
  • Established a broad array of public private partners
    • Developed a partnership with the Ventura County Harbor Department and established the Channel Islands Boating Center (CIBC) at Channel Islands Harbor
    • Developed a partnership with Channel Islands National Park and established the Santa Rosa Island Research Station – a California State University Channel Islands Undergraduate Research Campus, launched by CI
    • Developed partnership with Cottage Hospital as Santa Barbara county’s first Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing
    • Established the California Institute for Social Business in partnership with Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus

Honors & Awards

  • Statewide President of the Year from the California State Students Association (twice)
  • President’s Award from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators
  • Educator of the Year from the Camarillo Chamber of Commerce
  • President’s Award from the NAACP
  • Distinguished Community Leader Award from the Ventura County Leadership Academy
  • Class of 25 over 50 from the Ventura County Star
  • Honorary member of CI’s Gamma Beta Phi academic honor society
  • Honorary Base Commander for Naval Base Ventura County
  • Dr. James F. Cowan Award of Excellence in Education from the Ventura County Economic Development Association