Rush, a second-generation Irish-American and founding president of the 23rd and newest campus in the CSU system, said he’s honored that the parade’s committee selected him.
“I’m hoping we can show how integral this University is to the community and how delighted we are to be a part of it,” Rush said. “This is a great opportunity to demonstrate that everyone at CI works hard to bring the resources we have to the community, but at the same time, we have a lot of fun.”
Rush will have plenty of company. His wife, Jane, and several of his grandchildren will ride along with him in the honorary grand marshal convertible. He also will be joined by a proud contingent of CI students, alumni, faculty, staff and their families, who will walk, wave banners and ride in a flatbed truck with the CI Dolphin mascot, Ekho.
“Dr. Rush was an easy choice for grand marshal,” said Nan Drake, co-chair of the parade. “Both he and CSU Channel Islands have been caring, collaborative community partners and longstanding supporters of the parade. They actively participate in and contribute to the communities around the University.”
Inaugurated as President in 2001, Rush opened CI’s doors to the first students in 2002, launching a new era of educational opportunity, economic growth and partnership for Ventura County and the region. A recognized education and thought leader throughout California and the nation, he has built CI into a 21st Century University focused on creating an exceptional learning experience for students, enhancing workforce opportunities, and serving the community.
Rush works closely with education, business, community, government and industry leaders to achieve those shared goals. For example, he partnered with local hospitals to build a first-rate nursing program to meet the growing demand for nurses. He co-founded the Ventura County P-16 Regional Council, bringing together key players in the business and educational communities to narrow achievement gaps and improve academic preparation for all students in Ventura County. More recently, he aligned with the National Park Service to create the Santa Rosa Island Research Station – a California State University Channel Islands Undergraduate Research Campus, which will serve students and faculty as well as international researchers, other universities, governmental agencies, local schools and cultural institutions.
The CI campus, which is 12 years old this year, now has 5,100 students, more than 750 employees and offers 23 undergraduate degree programs and six graduate degree programs, with programs in engineering and intercollegiate athletics in the works. It contributes more than $114.4 million in impact on the regional economy and is poised to welcome 600 new students next year.
True to his roots as an English professor, Rush likes to keep one foot in the classroom and is a visible presence on campus, dining with students in the Student Union or speaking to visiting middle schoolers about the importance of attending college.
Though he’s served as a judge and participant in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade over the years, this will be his first time serving as a grand marshal.
“I’ve been practicing the wave of Queen Elizabeth,” he joked. “I don’t want a torn rotator cuff, so I’m working at it judiciously.”
“I love the Ventura St. Patrick’s Day Parade,” Rush added. “It’s a fun day that affirms the richness that all groups of people bring to our community.”
For more information on County Ventura St. Patrick’s Day Parade, visit www.venturastpatricksdayparade.com, or contact parade co-chairs Nan Drake at 805-701-9809 firstname.lastname@example.org or Jim Monahan at 805-340-1356 or email@example.com.
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About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI's strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master's degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more about CI by visiting CI's Social Media.