CSU Trustees Appoint Stephen Perez as President of Chico State

Perez currently serves as the university's interim provost and vice president of academic affairs and will assume the presidency July 1.
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Published on June 5, 2023
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  • Stephen Perez will be the next president of Chico State.
  • Perez has served as the university's interim provost since January.
  • He will assume the presidency July 1 after current university president ​​Gayle E. Hutchinson retires.

Stephen Perez will become the 13th president of California State University, Chico, the California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees announced May 24.

Perez was appointed as the university's interim provost in January and also currently serves as the vice president of academic affairs.

In a statement, Perez said it was an honor to be selected to serve as president of Chico State and called the university "the North State's educational center."

"In my time at the university, I have been taken by the 'Chico Experience' — a palpable climate of caring and belonging, as well as a deep respect for the culture and the natural environment," he said.

" … I will work energetically to strengthen partnerships across the university and region that will allow us to reach new heights as a student-centered, college-town institution that changes lives and connects us all."

Perez has deep ties to California and the CSU system.

Perez spent two decades in academic and administrative roles at the University of California, Sacramento, including interim dean, vice provost, and provost. In January 2022, he was appointed interim president at San José State University before joining Chico State in 2023.

He holds a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of California, San Diego and a master's and doctorate in economics from the University of California, Davis. Additionally, Perez has held faculty positions at Virginia Commonwealth University and Washington State University.

Perez was chosen by the CSU Board of Trustees, per CSU policy, along with two committees: the Trustees Committee for the Selection of the President, appointed by the chair of the CSU Trustees, and an Advisory Committee to the Trustees' Committee, made up of faculty, staff, students, and alumni representatives.

Both committees work together as one unified group in the search process, according to CSU.

CSU Trustee Lillian Kimbell served as chair of the Chico State Presidential Search Committee.

"Dr. Perez's progressive leadership experience and steadfast dedication to inclusive excellence and student success make him the right person to continue, indeed amplify, Chico State's strong legacy," she said in a statement.

"He has a proven track record of strong fiscal management, community building and advocacy for faculty and students."

Chico State began the search for a new president in 2022 when President Gayle E. Hutchinson announced that she would retire at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year after serving in the position since 2016. Perez will begin his appointment July 1.