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President's Bio

Dr. Ellen J. Neufeldt began her tenure as California State University San Marcos’ fourth president on July 1, 2019.

Dr. Neufeldt’s career has centered on student success and student social mobility, and she is firmly committed to ensuring that any student who dreams of earning a college degree has that opportunity.

In her role as president, Dr. Neufeldt is focused on engaging, interacting, listening and building relationships with students as well as faculty, staff, alumni and community constituents.

Dr. Neufeldt came to CSUSM from Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, Virginia, where she served as vice president of Student Engagement and Enrollment Services from 2011 until her appointment at CSUSM.

During Dr. Neufeldt’s tenure at ODU, the university achieved its highest retention and graduation rates in campus history and was ranked by EdTrust as one of the top 15 universities nationally for African American student success. Dr. Neufeldt led the creation of a national center for social mobility at ODU and co-led the creation of a new university strategic plan that emphasizes student achievement, academic and research excellence, and community outreach. She also taught in ODU’s Higher Education graduate program.

Before joining ODU, Dr. Neufeldt served as vice president of Student Affairs at Salisbury University, where she oversaw 15 offices and programs, including admissions, athletics and campus recreation, career services and student activities. Her higher education experience also includes serving as assistant vice chancellor for Student Development and dean of Student Life at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Dr. Neufeldt has been recognized with numerous awards, including in recent years:

  • The 2018 Melvene Hardee Award, awarded by the Southern Association of College Student Affairs, recognizing her contributions to the student affairs profession for national work in social mobility and student success.
  • The 2017 Pillar of the Profession, awarded by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, for sustained professional distinction in higher education.
  • The 2016 Howard Davis Senior Award, awarded by the Southern Association of College Student Affairs, for outstanding service.
  • The 2014 Scott Goodnight Award for Outstanding Performance as a Senior Student Affairs Officer, awarded by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, presented to a lead student affairs officer who has demonstrated sustained professional achievement in student affairs work, innovative response in meeting students’ varied and emerging needs, effectiveness in developing staff, and leadership in community and college or university affairs.
  • The 2014 John Jones Award for Outstanding Performance as a Senior Student Affairs Officer, awarded by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Region III, based on criteria of outstanding administrative competency, respect of colleagues and students, innovative programming, leadership on campus and in the community, staff development, and significant contribution to the field.
  • Named in 2010 to The Daily Record’s “Maryland’s Top 100 Women” list, awarded annually to women in the state of Maryland who have made significant contributions to their organization, profession and community.

Dr. Neufeldt received her Doctor of Education from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, her Master of Arts in Educational Psychology and Counselor Education from Tennessee Technological University, and her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Tennessee Technological University.