Felix Zuñiga, California State University, EDUCAUSE’s DEI Leadership winner, shares his life’s purpose in his powerful acceptance speech

The 2023 EDUCAUSE DEI award went to Felix Zuñiga, ITS Campus Engagement Partner, California State University (CSU), Office of the Chancellor. Zuniga is a member of the UC tech community, providing the UC Tech news team with valuable insight as a leader working to support tech employees and tech communications for the CSU system. The team was moved by his EDUCAUSE acceptance piece. He shares how an MLK Jr. quote inspires him, and the gratitude he finds in serving others. This is a quality that is immediately apparent to those who have had the privilege of working with him as we have. Zuniga kindly shared his speech to allow others to savor the powerful words he delivered when he won the award on October 10. 

Background on Zuñiga’s commitment to DEI in higher education

Zuñiga is extensive, both during his last 5 years at CSU Office of the Chancellor, and throughout the course of his 18 years at CSU San Bernardino. Today, he chairs the DEI Advisory Committee at CSU, contributing to the development of DEI toolkits and resources. For EDUCASE’s description of  Zuñiga’s commitment to DEI, click here to read more.

Zuñiga’s acceptance speech:

I nearly died a few months ago; I received notice of this award as I lay in a hospital bed, not knowing if I was going to make it literally!
When in this situation, one cannot help but take account of our lives, what we have done or not done, what we have accomplished, and what we have yet to do.
Nine out of ten people say that at the end of their lives, they would rather be known for their contributions to society rather than the wealth they accumulated.
MLK Jr. told us: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”
When we serve others…it increases our sense of purpose. A sense of purpose gave me a reason to live! 
First and foremost, I would like to thank God for saving me, my wife Martha and my son Mateo for never giving up on me and all of my family, friends, colleagues and countless mentors who continue to show never-ending support for me each and every day.
Thank you to EDUCAUSE and the leadership of the California State University for the opportunity to engage and contribute to this important cause at a national level. Thank you Sowmya Shankar for nominating me for this award. This award belongs to all of my colleagues who champion DEI work every day in the CSU and across the EDUCAUSE community. And please remember… Life is not what you get out of it…it’s what you do for others that will count in the end, so let’s make each day count.

Felix Zuñiga, California State University, EDUCAUSE’s DEI Leadership winner
Felix Zuñiga sharing a moment with his son

Related reading

2023 DEI Leadership Award Recipient: Felix Zuñiga
October 9, 2023

Felix Zuñiga’s post on LinkedIn 
October 10, 2023



Felix Zuñiga
ITS Campus Engagement Partner
California State University, Office of the Chancellor