CSU Voices and Views

Life’s Transitions

By Ian Ruddell
Chico State 2013 Graduate
CSU Student Trustee, 2011-2013
Hearst/CSU Trustees’ Scholar, 2010

Commencement at Chico State – from left to right: CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White, CSU Student Trustee Ian Ruddell and CSU Board of Trustees Chair Bob Linscheid

Commencement at Chico State – from left to right: CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White, CSU Student Trustee Ian Ruddell and CSU Board of Trustees Chair Bob Linscheid

Embracing Tim White and Bob Linscheid after receiving my bachelor’s degree, it hit me that this commencement at Chico State was my last official event as a California State University student and as a trustee. This was the end of an extraordinary experience and the beginning of a new journey.

Transitions always involve emotional reflection on growth, change, relationships lost and friends gained. My time at Chico State and in the CSU captured a period of personal realization, growth and change. I am leaving a lot of who I once was behind, including an identity and name.

Coming out to the CSU Board of Trustees as transgender, undergoing transition from female to male, was nerve-racking. In retrospect, their embracing support was a natural extension of the welcome they had extended me since my appointment. I also knew I had an ally in Chancellor White.

As an activist advocating for gender and sexual equity at Chico State and in systemwide student government, publicly sharing this life-changing moment was the logical decision as well as an educational opportunity for those around me.

In addition to advocacy and activist work relating to these poignant issues, I was entrusted with a seat at the policy table.

During my two-year term as student trustee, I was given an unobstructed view into the thinking and inner workings of the university’s policymakers. My first take away was how much the board members and administration cared about students and the university. My second take away was the incredible difficultly of the choices made during the more financially and politically tense times for the university system.

This isn’t to say that I agreed with every decision. In fact, I spoke strongly against the majority position at times. Yet, these debates taught me to appreciate both sides and led to a better understanding of the work needed in order to affect change throughout society.

The CSU is a crucible of change. Those of us who participate in this confluence of forces are richer for the experience and far better prepared for a lifetime of challenges and opportunities. No two paths are the same and the value comes from bringing these experiences together and learning from each other’s journey.

Thank you to the faculty, staff, administration, trustees and my student peers. I carry the experiences we shared into everything I do and in the person I am becoming.

On the commencement platform – from left to right: CSU Student Trustee Ian Ruddell, CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White and Chico State President Paul J. Zingg

On the commencement platform – from left to right: CSU Student Trustee Ian Ruddell, CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White and Chico State President Paul J. Zingg

Editor’s Note: For a profile on Trustee Ruddell, please see Chico Statements “Agent of Change.”

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10 Comments to “Life’s Transitions”

  1. Erik Fallis Says:

    Best wishes my friend on your new journey!

  2. Pablo Villalpando, Student from Chico, Says:

    Honored to have known you at Chico Ian! You’re an inspiration to us all.

  3. Grammie, Other  Says:

    Sooooo proud of Ian and all of his accomplishments.

  4. Raye Capra, Other  Says:

    Congradulations Ian. The person you were and you have become is absolutely incredible! This is just the beginning kiddo. Love you, Aunty Raye

  5. Aunt Debbie, Other  Says:

    Proud of you – your strength and determination.

  6. Great Aunt Nancy, Other  Says:

    So sorry Uncle Lou & I just got to see you once…it was love at first sight. Good luck in whatever you choose to do.

  7. Steve Glazer, Other  Says:

    Ian-

    I wish you well on life’s journey ahead. You have accomplished so much already with courage, grace and intelligence. I look forward to hearing about your many new adventures and good deeds in the years ahead. Stay in touch! Best wishes,

    Steve

  8. Aaron Moore, Staff  Says:

    Congratulations, Ian, on your graduation and thank you for the courageous way you live your life. You improve the lives of those around you and I feel fortunate to have known you. Best wishes on your next steps!

  9. Meredith Vivian, Staff  Says:

    Such a beautifully written and insightful article, Ian! I am so proud of you!

  10. Grammie, Other  Says:

    Hi …. again, soooooo proud of you Ian.

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