Update from the President Jan. 22, 2020

Jan. 22, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

Welcome back! I hope you had a wonderful winter break. An exciting new semester has just begun, and I look forward to all that we will accomplish at Sonoma State in the months ahead.

Seawolves across the pond

I was delighted to meet with many of our Sonoma State alumni in London in late November for the second annual CSU alumni gathering in the United Kingdom. I was surprised and so pleased that we had the third largest group of CSU alums at the event. Prior to the CSU event, we met with our alums as well as our current students who are studying abroad in London. This was a wonderful chance for me to meet with those whose Sonoma State degrees have helped them build careers abroad, and it was a fantastic networking opportunity for everyone. We talked about the different ways in which our alumni can stay connected to Sonoma State and can help current students – whether they live five or 5,000 miles away from campus. 

Sustainability on our campus

I’m pleased to share that our expanded commitment to sustainability in Sonoma State’s research, teaching and operations includes the development of more sustainable practices on our beautiful campus. 

We recently took two new steps toward achieving the goals outlined in the President's Climate Leadership Commitment that I signed in April. First, we banned the use of all glyphosate-based chemicals – including those used in products such as Roundup – at SSU. Going forward, Landscape Services will use organic-based herbicides. Second, as part of Sonoma State’s Pro-Active Tree Care Program, we committed to a “one-for-one” tree program on campus. This means that every time a tree at Sonoma State must be removed, we will replace it with a new one – either in the same spot or in another campus location. Every day we are committing to do our part to make the North Bay stronger and more resilient in the face of climate change.  

Seawolf recognition

A big congratulations to Laura Lupei, Sonoma State’s senior director of University Budget and Planning, for her selection as the 2020 staff recipient of the Wang Family Excellence Award. This prestigious honor recognizes the achievements and contributions of one staff member from across the entire CSU system. We’re so fortunate to have Laura’s leadership and expertise here at Sonoma State, especially as our campus moves toward strategic budgeting. Congratulations, Laura! We are so proud.

I’m also thrilled to recognize our University Police Department, which has earned the well-deserved Unit Meritorious Medal for its outstanding service to our community. As our Vice President for Administration and Finance Joyce Lopes said, “Our UPD department rose to the call during the 2017 fires to support our campus and community. Many of our officers were evacuated and their homes were threatened. Nonetheless, they reported for duty, provided campus patrols, monitored the community and even apprehended a known arsonist during that difficult time. I couldn’t be prouder of our dedicated University Police Department.” Police Chief Dave Dougherty will receive the medal on behalf of the Sonoma State UPD at a ceremony on Jan. 28 at the CSU Chancellor’s Office in Long Beach. Please join me in congratulating – and thanking – our hardworking police department.

New VP for Advancement

On Feb. 10, the newest member of Sonoma State’s leadership team, Dr. Mario A. Perez, will be joining our campus community. I’m delighted that Mario will serve as Sonoma State’s new vice president for advancement and look forward to working with him. Mario most recently served as the associate vice president of advancement at CSU Los Angeles, and he has more than 25 years of experience in both higher education and the corporate sector. Thanks to the search advisory committee and all who provided feedback during the selection process. Welcome VP Perez! 

CSU Chancellor search update

I want to let you all know that the search for the university's next chancellor to succeed Timothy P. White is continuing. Based on feedback and suggestions submitted following a series of open forums statewide, the CSU Trustees have come up with an opportunity and challenge profile as well as a final position description, which are available on the CSU Chancellor's Recruitment website

Meanwhile, the Special Committee to Consider the Selection of the Chancellor and the Stakeholder Advisory Committee are continuing to seek feedback. Please share your thoughts about the search by completing a fact-finding questionnaire or by making a nomination. These can be done through the Chancellor’s Recruitment website. This is an important search, and your input is encouraged.

SSU in the News

Finally, I’ve included links to some news stories concerning Sonoma State that ran over winter break. They offer such great snapshots of the good work that takes place on our campus every day. Just click on the links

1. North Bay Business Journal: Sonoma State plans to offer 4-year wine business degrees that start at Santa Rosa Junior College

2. San Jose Mercury News: San Francisco Bay could triple threatened otter population, SSU-led study says

3. Food Management: Blendid smoothie-making robot debuts at Sonoma State University dining services

4. North Bay Business Journal: Meet Sonoma State University's new business school dean Jean-Francois Coget

5. Patch: Sonoma State Bans Use Of Glyphosate Products

Save the date: 

  • Spring commencement is just four months away. Commencement ceremonies this year are scheduled for Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17. Dates and times for the various school ceremonies and other important information is already posted on the SSU Commencement web page.

Sending best wishes of strength, perseverance and goodwill as we begin a new semester, a new year and a new decade! Happy 2020!

With gratitude,

Judy K. Sakaki signature

Judy K. Sakaki