I read your recent articles "Shirvani buyout proposed" (Feb. 7, Local News) and "Shirvani makes friends, influences folks in N.D. (not)" (Feb. 9, Opinion). The public deserves accurate information about the buildings at California State University, Stanislaus, including the Science Building which was in question.
In fall 2005, shortly after his arrival, I received several calls indicating that Hamid Shirvani was promulgating false information and alleging he was responsible for funding and construction of the Science Building.
Before I departed in July 2005, the following had occurred:
Funds for the Science Building were granted by the state in 2003-04. The CSU board of trustees approved the plans in 2004. The science faculty worked diligently collaborating with architects to design their building. They desired to present the first Gold LEED Certified building in the CSU system, but this would have required considerable private funding. We settled for the Silver LEED certification, signaling our commitment to environmental standards.
In early spring 2005, we scheduled two celebrations on the same day: the naming of the Bill and Dorothy Bizzini Hall and the groundbreaking ceremony for the Science Building. Construction of the Science Building began in spring 2005.
I began cultivating the Naraghi family to name the Science Building in honor of their father. The son believed the Science Building was an appropriate memorial to honor their father and agreed to provide funding.
Ham Shirvani had nothing to do with raising funds for the structure, selecting the architects and coordinating the science faculty. It was probably necessary for him to continue to cultivate the Naraghi family.
When we celebrated the commencement in May 2005, the frame of the Science Building loomed over the other buildings. Shirvani only observed the construction of that building.
Briefly, I will highlight other buildings constructed during my presidency:
The Professional Schools Building was the first new building initiated under my presidency. Concurrently, because of the creative use of soil needed for the Professional Schools Building, we acquired soil by digging a refined amphitheater in lieu of purchasing soil. This created many beautiful lakes around campus extending past the Music Building and Recital Hall.
The next building was the Mary Stuart Rogers Building, funded by the state and named for a deeply admired community leader, Mary Stuart Rogers, the mother of John Stuart Rogers.
An additional building that followed was the John Stuart Rogers Faculty Development Center, funded fully by the Mary Stuart Rogers Foundation.
The last building constructed, the Flora and Bernell Snider Recital Hall, was funded by Flora and Bernell Snider and inaugurated by the late renowned pianist, Van Cliburn.
Finally, we remodeled the sports recreational facilities for baseball, softball, track and field, and the gymnasium.
This chronology is offered particularly in response to numerous requests and inquiries from Foundation and Advisory Board members, faculty, students, staff and members of the community who were disturbed by the unfortunate misrepresentation regarding the buildings. I was consumed by demands created by Hurricane Katrina that destroyed the Dillard campus in New Orleans and could not respond sooner.
The lack of ethics, honesty and integrity exhibited by Shirvani was disappointing in these transactions.
Hughes was president of California State University, Stanislaus, from 1994-2005 and president of Dillard University from 2005-2011. She has returned to live in Modesto.
SHIRVANI STILL HAS HIS JOB
To bring readers up to date on Ham Shirvani's status in North Dakota: In late February, the state Senate rejected a proposal to buy out his contract as chancellor of the state university system, which has 48,000 students on six four-year universities and five two-year colleges, according to The Associated Press.
Also, the North Dakota Student Association expressed a vote of "no confidence" in Shirvani. The Board of Higher Education which hired Shirvani issued a statement expressing disappointment in the students' action and saying "the board remains in full support of the policies adopted by the board and implemented by Chancellor Shirvani."