Sonoma State University President Judy K. Sakaki has received the Pillars of the Profession award from NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. The award is given to distinguished individuals who have served as leaders, teachers, and scholars in student affairs and higher education.
"It is always gratifying to be recognized by your peers for something you work on and believe in," Sakaki said. "At Sonoma State, we are very focused on student success and well-being. I was pleased to see that three other CSU administrators were similarly honored by NASPA this year, which underscores the CSU's commitment to students."
President Sakaki was honored at NASPA's 99th annual conference held in San Antonio, Texas, March 11-15, which was attended by 7,000 student affairs professionals.
Sakaki became Sonoma State's seventh president in July 2016. She is the first Japanese-American woman in the nation to lead a four-year college or university. Her Investiture, where she is formally installed as President, will be held on campus April 20 as part of a series of special activities to celebrate the occasion and the university. The day's activities are free and open to the public.
Dr. Sakaki's career in higher education has been devoted to developing, leading and implementing best practices in access, affordability, inclusion and diversity, and student success. Prior to Sonoma State, she served as Vice President for Student Affairs for the University of California Office of the President; Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at UC Davis; and Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students at Fresno State.
Dr. Sakaki is a double alumna of the CSU, having earned both a Bachelor's degree in human development and Master's degree in educational psychology from CSU East Bay. She holds a Ph.D. in education from UC Berkeley.
Pillars of the Profession recipients are "individuals of sustained professional distinction in the higher education field, as defined by donors and supporters," according to NASPA. Twelve student affairs champions were honored in this year's Pillars of the Profession class, including university presidents, vice presidents and other senior administrators.