Update from the President Archive - December 8, 2022

December 8, 2022

Dear Campus Community,

It is that time of year again, where we stand on the precipice between old and new, completed and imagined, past and future. Where we stand in the presence of so much anticipation that even our fears for what is to come are temporarily eclipsed by the bright, popping energy of hope for the new year. Indeed, this spirit of renewal energizes us with the promise that we can be the best version of ourselves. Renewing relationships, physical spaces, academic visions, and idealism of what could be. But there is still much to acknowledge and remember about this past year, as our future accomplishments are built on the foundations of time and teamwork, of hope kept alive with committed effort.

In my four months at Sonoma State (remind me to take up the subject ‘time flies’ in a future update), I have seen and experienced the incredibly hard work it takes to keep the university moving forward. In the last thirty days, I served as one of the ribbon-cutters for the Stevenson Hall re-opening; gave a welcome at spring 2023 Orientation; provided introductory remarks at the 44th Annual Association for Interdisciplinary Studies Conference; presented Faculty and Staff Service Awards; co-authored with Dr. Robert Eyler, Interim Associate Vice President for Government and Regional Relations an editorial in the North Bay Business Journal; hosted the Minnesota State University President for the big basketball game, and Solano Community College leadership for outreach and strategic enrollment goals; and attended myriad events and meetings, including the 40th Anniversary of the Veteran’s Memorial Grove, the 2022 CelebrateFirstGen student recognition event, a joint Cabinet meeting with Santa Rosa Junior College, and a tour of SSU faculty and staff housing at Marina Crossing, among others.

While every meeting, conversation, and event is important, I am periodically struck by how monumental our collective efforts often are. The ribbon-cutting ceremony at Stevenson Hall, for example, is a powerful reminder of Sonoma State’s tenacity. Here is the very first academic building on our campus joining a new generation of environmentally conscientious and intelligently designed facilities that people want to use because the space is so beautiful and inviting. Stevenson Hall 2.0 reflects the collaborative, innovative, and engaging vision of SSU academic life we are building across campus and beyond. From the cutting-edge interactive campus map we just launched; to the incredible ideas shared at the recent conferenceWicked Problems and Interdisciplinarity: Sustainability, Resilience, and Designing the Future; to the $4M legacy estate gift from Sonoma County musician Melody Ann Palmer for the benefit of our School of Education and the Center for Performing Arts, we can see and feel our rise.

And right now, as we look straight into the promise of next year, we see application and admission numbers that promise the exuberant hope so redolent this time of year. Because we began sending acceptance letters for fall 2023 in October, we have already admitted more than 7,000 students from an application pool that is already notably higher this year than last. All of which lends optimism to our ongoing enrollment planning. But let us not rely too much on these good feelings. As you can see from this newsletter, there is an incredible amount of effort behind these good-news opportunities, and an incredible amount of effort still required for us to convert this momentum into deep and lasting growth. So, by all means, enjoy and share the happiness and hope for the new year, and I look forward to seeing you all, ready to go and ready to grow.



Mike Lee, Ph.D.