SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Dr. Robert Corrigan is retiring as president of San Francisco State University after serving for 24 years. He will be replaced by Leslie E. Wong, who has headed Northern Michigan University since 2004, on August 1.

Corrigan has seen a little bit of everything during his time at San Francisco State and leaves at a time when the state university system in California is seemingly facing increasing budget cuts with each passing year.

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KCBS Interviews Dr. Robert Corrigan:

“As demoralizing as it can be, I’ve never run from a fight. But I’m not as young as I used to be,” Corrigan said. “And the question is how long will it take to get out of the situation we’re in.”

Competition is growing as enrollment increases and classes are cut at all campuses and Corrigan said that he is concerned about where the next generation of the workforce will be coming from.

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“Every generation before this generation has seen public higher education as a public good. There used to be a president of the University of California that would actually talk about how 50 percent of the growth of the economy of California since World War II could be directly attributable to the quality of public higher education,” he said. “We are a knowledge-based economy. So when we don’t pay the taxes or don’t provide the support for higher education, we’re cutting our own throats.”

Corrigan said at San Francisco State University, he’s proud of the fact that the faculty is so diverse, matching the student population. “We don’t have a large out-of-state enrollment, maybe 500-600 students actually are non-residents. What is exciting are the international students we get,” he said. “About 2,500 of our students are international. It makes us a much more sophisticated educational institution.”

Along with serving on a number of national and local committees, Dr. Corrigan also found the Afro-American Studies program at the University of Iowa, one of the nation’s first.

You can hear KCBS In Depth, a weekly half-hour news interview, Saturdays at 5:30a.m. and Sundays at 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

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