Sonoma State University - Game Changers 2013

screenshots.pngWhen Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang concluded the first of his three Mozart sonatas to thunderous applause at the opening of the Green Music Center on the campus of Sonoma State University last September, Dr. Ruben Armiñana had once again proven the adage: "If you build it, they will come."

In the 21 years he's been at the helm as president of SSU, Armiñana has embarked on an aggressive, nonstop campaign to transform a small, rural college with a handful of academic programs into a robust, progressive institution of higher learning with far-reaching influence.

And even if you're an Armiñana detractor-- and there are a few--you have to admit he's succeeded in executing his vision. "There's no doubt that Ruben brought the university into a wider, more active role in the community," says Ben Stone, director of the Sonoma County Economic Development Board.

The rise of SSU as a relevant and dominant force in the North Bay--not only in regard to education, but also pertaining to economic growth--has been a critical component in shaping the region's business infrastructure.

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