Dr. Albert Karnig was president of California State University, San Bernardino from 1997 to 2012 -- only its third president. He served as Provost at the University of Wyoming and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Arizona State University. He also directed ASU's School of Public Affairs, which at the time was ranked among the nation's ten leading public policy and administration programs.

His scholarly contributions as a faculty member include books published by the University of Chicago Press and Greenwood Press, more than 60 refereed articles, numerous monographs, and membership on various editorial boards.

While serving as CSUSB president, he counted among the university's major achievements:

  • records in enrollment, diversity of faculty and students, grant and contract funding, fundraising, and international program development;
  • raising over $40 million toward a four-building, non-state funded campus in Palm Desert;
  • ranking in the 96th percentile in the degree of learning students acquire while in college, as measured by the Collegiate Learning Assessment protocol employed by 300-400 universities and colleges across the nation;
  • creation of the President's Academic Excellence Scholars Program, with more than 300 scholars who graduated in the top 1 percent of their high school classes
  • service to a profoundly diverse student body, in which African American and Latino enrollments were each the second highest of any California public university -- and in which 70% of graduates are the first in their families to complete college;
  • highest or second highest African American and Latino retention rates among the 23 CSU campuses;
  • improvement from 75% to 89.1% for overall first-to-second year student retention – third best in 2012 among the 23 CSU campuses;
  • development of more than a dozen highly active research and service centers, positioning the institution as a powerful resource on a wide range of regional and national issues;
  • recognition by the Carnegie Foundation and placement on the U.S. Presidential Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for six consecutive years;
  • one of five universities and colleges in the U.S. to receive the Washington Center for Higher Education Engagement Award for excellence in community contributions;
  • addition of more than 1.5 million square feet in facilities, including a new astronomy observatory built in 2012 without state funding;
  • ranking in 2012 as the second safest among all 31 public universities in California;
  • introduction of a $2.5 million Student Success Initiative for continued improvement in student retention, graduation and career placement rates;
  • election by the Chronicle for Higher Education in 2012 as a Great College to Work For;
  • placement by Princeton and Forbes among the 25 percent best colleges and universities in the nation, and by U.S. News and World Report among the top tier of the West's best;
  • ranking by European CEO Magazine as one of the four most innovative business schools in the U.S. and among the 18 most innovative in the world;
  • launch of the university's first doctoral, MFA and engineering programs;
  • leadership in campus sustainability and green initiatives, as demonstrated by national awards from the American Association of Physical Plant Administrators and the National Association of Energy Engineers; and
  • recognition by the International Information Systems Organization as the 2012 Organization of the Year in Cyber Security.

President Karnig's personal recognitions as president include:

  • "El Sol Azteca Award" from La Prensa (2001)
  • "Keeper of the Light Award" from the CSUSB Black Faculty and Staff (2002)
  • NAACP "Pioneer Award" (2003)
  • Diocese of San Bernardino's "Vision of Hope Award" (2003)
  • Congressman Joe Baca's "Community Leadership Award for Outstanding Service and Dedication to the Community" (2004)
  • Business Press' "Public Sector Leader of Distinction for the entire Inland Empire" (2004)
  • "Community Leadership Award" by the Baldy View Chapter of the Building Industry Association of Southern California (2004)
  • "Citizen of Achievement Award" by the San Bernardino Chapter of the League of Women Voters (2005)
  • "Community Service Award," from the Central City Lutheran Mission of San Bernardino (2005)
  • With his wife, Marilyn, chosen by the San Bernardino YWCA as "Humanitarians of the Year" (2006)
  • "Commitment to Diversity Award" from Minority Access Association, Inc. (2007)
  • "College Opportunity Champion" from the Campaign for College Opportunity (2007)
  • "Honorary Black Rose Award" from the San Bernardino Black Culture Foundation (2007)
  • "Living Legend Award, San Bernardino City Unified School District (2008)
  • "Amar es Entregarse Award" from the Diocese of San Bernardino (2008)
  • "African American Health Initiative Contribution Award" (2009)
  • "Outstanding Educator Award" from the Inland Empire Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration (2011)
  • Libreria del Pueblo Lifetime Legacy Award (2012)
  • "Excellence in Education" Award, from Inland Empire Young Visionaries (2012)
  • "Educator of the Year Award" from the Inland Empire Economic Partnership (2012, 2007)
  • "Distinguished Service Award" from the San Bernardino County School Boards' Association (2012)

As President of CSUSB, Dr. Karnig served as a member of various external boards:

  • California Council on Economic Education (CCEE)
  • Children's Fund Board
  • Community Foundation Board of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties
  • Community Hospital of San Bernardino
  • Economic Development Agency: CEDS Steering Committee
  • FACE
  • Inland Action
  • Inland Empire Economic Partnership (IEEP)
  • KVCR Educational Foundation, Inc.
  • P-16 Council, San Bernardino County Schools
  • San Bernardino County Alliance for Education Steering Committee

As an academic, Dr. Karnig consulted with the Brookings Institution, International City Managers' Association, and various other national and regional organizations. He also received academic grants from both state and national agencies, including NSF, NIH, and the U.S. Department of Labor.

President Karnig earned a bachelor's degree from Augustana College and while there became a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He also became a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, an N.D.E.A. Fellow and a Kendric Babcock Fellow at the University of Illinois, where he received a Master's and Ph.D. degree in Political Science in 1972.

Born in New York, he and his wife, Marilyn, have three sons and live in San Bernardino.