50th Anniversary Flyover Takes SSU Spirit to All New Heights

flyover5.jpgGiant Aerial Photo Opportunity for Campus Community: Thursday, Sept. 29 at Noon

Calling all Seawolves: The whole campus is posing for a huge aerial photograph next week, and the picture wouldn't be complete without YOU! Head out to the Commencement Lawn (by the Lakes) at noon on the 29th, and don't forget to bring your school spirit!

A Facebook event page has been created for the event, and RSVPs are encouraged (but not required!) at http://tinyurl.com/SSU-flyover.

This kickoff event is the first in a series of activities that celebrates the University's 50th anniversary throughout the year. See the other activities, photos, memories, timelines, videos and much more at the 50th Anniversary website, www.sonoma.edu/50th.


logo_color_large.jpgSonoma State University celebrates its 50th anniversary this year with a deep appreciation for the powers of transformation.

"Proud of our Past. Focused on Our Future" is the theme of the many events planned for this golden anniversary to highlight the University's significant achievements and explore the challenges ahead.

Once serving as a humble commuter college whose 1970s moniker was Granola U, SSU has matured into a comprehensive university that offers vigorous academic opportunities in liberal arts and the sciences as well as a broad-based professional program curriculum.

"Five decades of accomplishments has transformed SSU into one of the most requested campuses in the California State University system," says SSU President Ruben Armiñana. "Despite the challenges ahead, we are well positioned to continue our mission to educate students to have fulfilling careers in a changing world."

Commemorating the 50th anniversary, Sonoma State University has produced a first-ever history book, highlighting memories of more than 60 of the University's pioneering faculty, staff and community members. Some of the early years described were indicative of the times.

regpanelist.pngDr. John Palmer, Dean of Students in 1967-1972, wrote:

"Many in the greater community felt SSU was infested with 'hippie students' and 'radical professors' and there were no restraints by the administration. Many members ...expected the president to 'control' the behavior of some students who wore no shoes and little clothing."

Founded on a seed farm in Rohnert Park, the 269-acre campus has adapted quickly through the years to become the intellectual and cultural hub of the region and a diverse seat of learning for 21st century students of all ages.

In 1961, Sonoma State College's first graduating class numbered 261; today some 2,000 students joyfully accept their diplomas each May.

Its many alliances and partnerships with businesses like Agilent, Medtronic and local school districts have allowed the campus to deepen its impact on the North Bay.

A 2010 study by the California State University system showed that SSU had an overall local economic impact of $330 million and generates more than $19 million in local tax revenue. The University's various disciplines, particularly accounting, nursing, education, engineering, science and wine business -- feed employees into important sectors of the local economy. 70 percent of the students who graduate with a master's degree in engineering science take jobs in the North Bay's technology industry.

Within the CSU family, Sonoma State originated as a small liberal arts campus with close student-faculty relationships. Over time, the campus has recruited an increasingly traditional-age student body drawn from across the state.

This new student population has driven its transition from a commuter campus to one with a strong residential character. The largest freshman class of 1,800 was admitted this fall and almost 40% of the entire student population now lives on campus.

The transformation has also come in the form of renovations of the Darwin and Salazar halls, the building of the unique Jean and Charles Schulz Information Center and the sustainability-driven Student Recreation Center.

On the horizon is the opening of the $110 million Green Music Center that will lead the campus to a world-class reputation for performing arts and musical education.

Not far behind is the building of a new Student Center that will bring together important services for students. Ground breaking is planned for Oct. 10, 2011.

"We will continue to impact the community and future students in the next 50 years and beyond," says President Armiñana. "It is only a matter of commitment and imagination and we have plenty of that in supply."

registration80s.png Class registration in the 1980s


A yearlong series of activities is planned through the 2011-12 semester to acknowledge the University's history and recognize significant contributions by alumni, faculty and staff.

Special opportunities for digital memories to be collected via YouTube and Facebook will allow visitors to contemplate SSU's future as a model of academic excellence and as a catalyst for economic, social and cultural prosperity for its community.

The kickoff event is a 50th "fly-over" at noon on Thursday, Sept. 29 when the campus community will pose for an aerial photograph. Students, faculty and staff -- current and alumni -- are invited to form the number '50" on Commencement Lawn near the lakes. Everyone is invited.

The largest celebration in the fall semester is on Saturday, Oct. 29 when many different events are planned.

They include:

50th Anniversary Celebration Day
Saturday, October 29

9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Darwin Hall

Explore art, science and nature hands-on through exhibits and panel discussions about bees, bats, bugs, and more. Admission: Admission: Children $2 (or free with an illustrated 'one-breath' insect poem on the theme 'metamorphosis.); students with ID, seniors, alumni, faculty, and SSU staff $5; all others $10. Check or cash only.

Honoring SSU's Golden Graduates and Ambrose and Barbara Nichols Founders Society members
10:30 a.m. - noon

Showcasing the recently published history of SSU, Sonoma State University Memories and Historical Highlights with the authors present for a special book signing. RSVP by Oct. 12 to university.affairs@sonoma.edu or by calling (707) 664-3203

University Library Tours
Noon - 2 p.m., Library, second floor entrance lobby

A general tour that highlights the features of the University Library in the Jean and Charles Schulz Information Center, including 21st century teaching and learning spaces and the robotic system that retrieves books from our vast storage of materials. Free.

Sips, Bites & Bids - Wine and Cheese Tasting
2 - 4 p.m., Campus Lakes

Enjoy the best wines and cheeses that Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino Counties have to offer during this annual Wine and Cheese Tasting. Sniff, swirl and taste fantastic local wines. Alumni, Parents or Friends $25; SSU Alumni Association Members $20; SSU Alumni Association Life Members $10.

"The Kids Are Alright"
Music Department sampler concert
4 p.m., Green Music Center, Music Education Hall 1028

Current music students perform in a variety of musical genres. (Green Music Center 1028 is in the Music Education building adjacent to the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall.) For information, call (707) 664-2324. Free.

Spring semester events include an historical lecture series, art gallery exhibits and the 50th Commencement ceremonies.

For complete details, visit, www.sonoma.edu/50th.

For further information, contact Susan Kashack, (707) 664-2122 or susan.kashack@sonoma.edu.

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