Update from the President March 6, 2019

March 6, 2019

Dear Campus Community,

This has been a month of record-setting rain in Sonoma County, and our hearts go out to all of those who have been affected by the recent floods. Indeed, this has been another challenge for our region. But we know that soon the fields and hillsides of our beautiful North Bay community will come alive with new plants and greenery. The weeks of late winter and early spring mark a transitional time of hope and renewal – a season of new beginnings. As Northern California poet Jane Hirshfield conveys in her poem “February 29,” this special time feels to many of us “not unlike the space / between a door and its frame / when one room is lit and another is not.”

Expanding our commitment to Seawolf sustainability

As many of you know, Sonoma State has long strived to be a model for sustainability. But I’m proud to say that on April 5, we will be taking that commitment to a new level. Please save the date, because on that morning I will be signing the Presidents’ Climate Leadership Commitment, which will commit our campus not just to lowering our carbon footprint but achieving many other goals for mitigating and adapting to a changing climate. The signing will take place as part of the Sustainable Enterprise Conference that we will be hosting on campus that day. More information will be coming in the weeks ahead, but I hope you will plan on joining us for the signing and, more important, joining us in recognizing the importance of Sonoma State being a leader in shaping a more sustainable and resilient world.

Opening the doors of our Seawolf community

Each spring semester, we open the doors of our campus community to our broader community by welcoming new Seawolves, new family and new friends to Sonoma State.

On Feb. 23 and 24, we celebrated Sibling Weekend. Seawolves who live on campus invited their siblings to spend a couple of days on campus. The weekend gave these brothers and sisters a wonderful opportunity to experience university life.

On April 13, we will celebrate our newly admitted students with Seawolf Decision Day. This is an energetic day filled with programming for prospective Sonoma State students and their families. I’m grateful to the many current students, faculty and staff members who work so hard to make this day a success for our future Seawolves.

I’m also delighted to announce that since my last monthly update, Sonoma State officially has expanded its housing capacity for our faculty and staff. Our university is now the proud owner of the Petaluma Apartments. While the contractor still needs to complete a few remaining items, we anticipate that construction soon will be complete. We look forward to setting an opening date – and to sharing more information about the apartments – after the additional regulatory approvals have been obtained. If you are interested in exploring the possibility of living here, contact Jill Crenshaw at crenshaj@sonoma.edu and include your name, department, contact email, phone number and your preferred unit size.

Celebrating our Seawolf achievements

I’m thrilled to congratulate Sonoma State’s Mock Trial Team for its success at the regionals in February. Our team won its first ever round victory, and our student Erin Charlton won Sonoma State’s first ever award as the top scoring witness at the meet. Our Mock Trial Team began four years ago. Thanks to the student leadership of President Jenny Bluestein and Team Captain Becca DeMont; to the incredible support of our Criminal Justice Department Chair Dr. Eric Williams, who has served as the team’s faculty advisor since its inception; and to North Bay community member Scott Fishman, a local attorney, who has coached team members for the last two years, the team has made amazing strides in a very short time. Congrats to our Mock Trial Team!

It’s also my great pleasure to share the news that Wine.com has awarded $20,000 to Sonoma State’s Wine Industry Scholars Program. WISP is a scholarship fund that provides financial support for Sonoma State students who are the children and family members of vineyard and winery workers. Thirty-eight Seawolves make up the current cohort of WISP scholars, and this new award recognizes the truly transformational work that WISP undertakes on behalf of our students.

Dates Ahead

•     March 12: All students, faculty and staff are invited to attend the Spring 2019 Budget Forum on Tuesday, March 12, in Ballroom A of the Student Center from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

•     May 18 – 19: The commencement countdown has begun. Our Sonoma State Commencement ceremonies begin 73 days from today.


As I have the opportunity to meet and chat with students, staff and faculty, I continue to be encouraged and hopeful. These chats remind me that each one of us has a role to play in strengthening our Seawolf community. When we learn together, when we listen together and when we reaffirm our values together – our values of integrity, respect, excellence and responsibility – we each help make Sonoma State better. We become a more thoughtful, excellent and inclusive university.

I shared additional reflections on the strengths of our campus community with the broader CSU community earlier this month. If you would like to learn more, I encourage you to visit the essay I wrote via the following link: https://www2.calstate.edu/women-and-leadership/Pages/judy-sakaki.aspx

With Gratitude,

Judy K. Sakaki signature

Judy K. Sakaki