Update from the President May 19, 2021

May 19, 2021

Dear Campus Community,

So many wonderful celebrations are happening this month. Last weekend we celebrated the Commencement ceremony of the Class of 2020, and this coming weekend we expect to celebrate more than 1,500 graduates from the Class of 2021. 

These ceremonies could not have happened without your efforts. I wish that each of you could have experienced the excitement, pride, and joy as the graduates crossed the outdoor stage at the Green Music Center. 

The ceremonies required months of planning. I sincerely want to thank the Commencement Logistics Team, the faculty participants, and everyone who has helped create these beautiful celebrations for our graduates and their families. To our faculty and staff, I am forever grateful for your dedication to our students and the well-being of our Seawolf community this past year. Without you, we would not be able to celebrate two different graduating classes during this unique commencement season.   

What you do day in and day out plays a role in each of our student’s success. After an incredibly challenging year, I appreciate how we came together to make our Commencement and graduation celebrations a huge success. Thank you for your support, hard work, and resilience. I could not be prouder of our campus community for helping our graduates make their academic dreams a reality. Together, we did it!

Cultural Graduation Celebrations

One of my favorite commencement events is the many cultural celebrations. For many students participating, these celebrations are a chance to reflect on their time at SSU with the mentors, peers, and families who were very instrumental in getting them to graduation. The various departments on campus put these events together with thoughtfulness and tireless effort. For many staff who coordinate these celebrations, they have done so due to their passion for these communities. I have attended some of these celebrations this past week, including Military and Veterans, EOP, and Seawolf Scholars. They have all been beautiful and touching, and I know when I attend RAZA, Black Grad, and LGBTQ ceremonies this week, they will be just as moving. Once again, thank you to all the faculty and staff on campus who have worked hard to create ceremonies that are an inviting and memorable experience. I appreciate each of you and am deeply grateful for all that you do everyday to make our Seawolf values come alive.

Honorary Doctorate – Irwin Rothenberg

I’m excited to announce that we are recognizing one of the most loyal ambassadors to Sonoma State during the Class of 2021 School of Business and Economics ceremony on Saturday, May 22. Irwin S. Rothenberg, a respected community leader and contributor to SSU for more than 20 years, will receive an honorary doctorate for his generosity and service throughout the North Bay community. With more than 40 years in financial advising, Mr. Rothenberg’s clientele spans decades, serving generations of North Bay families. He has served on the Green Music Center Board of Advisors, where he played an integral role in the planning and fundraising efforts to build a premier music venue in Sonoma County. Mr. Rothenberg currently serves on the SSU Foundation Board and the California State University Investment Advisory Committee. Join me in congratulating Irv on this outstanding recognition. 

Closing thoughts

I want again to congratulate our graduates for all of their accomplishments. To our continuing students, good luck on all your finals this week, and enjoy the summer. We look forward to transitioning back to a more in-person campus environment in the fall. I also want to recognize the Repopulation and Continuity Planning committees for their efforts to guidance and stewardship in our COVID response and our return to campus. Through planning, creativity, and innovation, we navigated through the challenges of this year, and we’ve come out the other side. That spirit is exemplified in the excitement of this coming weekend's commencement celebrations. I’m genuinely proud of all that we’ve accomplished. 

With gratitude,

Judy K. Sakaki signature

Judy K. Sakaki