November 23, 2021
Dear Campus Community,
As I walk around campus this month, I notice many signs of resilience — the welcome scenes of students greeting friends, faculty and staff with colleagues, the resumption of concerts and athletic events, and other everyday pleasures of being back in shared spaces on campus. The autumn rains have at last arrived and I appreciate watching the grasslands turn green and come back to life, as the leaves change color and the days grow shorter.
Our community has persevered, together. Our extraordinary students, faculty, and staff have transitioned back to campus amidst the lingering complications of the pandemic. We've encountered new and increasingly nuanced challenges, and have continued to face uncertainty as the pandemic has evolved. I am humbled by the collective resiliency shown throughout the last semester and am inspired by your fortitude and dedication to Sonoma State.
November is Native American Heritage Month, and as we appreciate the beautiful land on which Sonoma State stands, we recognize the people of the Southern Pomo and Coast Miwok Nations, whose descendants are members of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. We are fortunate to live, grow, and learn here and share responsibility for gaining knowledge about our campus’ history.
I’d like to share these words by Joy Harjo, the first Native American poet laureate of the United States, and a member of the Muscogee Nation, from her collection “Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings”:
Recognize whose lands these are on which we stand
Ask the deer, turtle, and the crane.
Make sure the spirits of these lands are respected and treated with goodwill.
The land is a being who remembers everything.
We also commemorate Veterans Day in November, and I want to express appreciation to all of our SSU veterans and members of our active-duty military. We are so grateful for your service and to have you as members of our Seawolf community. You enrich our campus and we support you!
I am deeply grateful to our Budgetary Advisory Committee (PBAC) for their stewardship of the budgetary process. On November 15, the PBAC hosted a Budget Forum open to the entire campus community. Our goal has always been to have transparency and active participation in our budgetary process. If you were unable to attend, here is a link to a recording of the Fall 2021 Budget Forum.
Finally, we celebrate the generosity of our community in November through Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving. This coming Tuesday, November 30, please join us in support of The Fund for Sonoma State. A gift to The Fund for Sonoma State allows us to meet the greatest needs of our students and programs. It supports initiatives such as student success, housing, food insecurity, and technology support. Now more than ever, our students need your support. You can donate to The Fund for Sonoma State here. Thank you for your continued care and support of our students.
And a reminder that November 30 is the end of the priority enrollment period for next year’s class! If you have friends or family members who are interested in attending Sonoma State, please share our admissions website with anyone who would like to apply to become a Seawolf.
I must also pause to express my deep thanks for Jeffrey Langley, a gifted composer and one of the creative founders of the Green Music Center, who passed away earlier this month. Born in Ukiah, Jeff studied music and composition at the University of California, Berkeley, and The Juilliard School before joining the Sonoma State University faculty in 1997 as director and chair of the Department of Performing Arts. From 1999 until his retirement in 2014, Jeff served the SSU community as the artistic director of the Green Music Center. We will all continue to benefit from Jeff's brilliant vision and passion, and will forever be grateful for his love of SSU and devotion to the arts.
Some of you are getting ready to head home for Thanksgiving with family and friends, others are eagerly awaiting loved ones or looking to have some special days of quiet reflection. After all we have been through this past year and a half, spending time with the people we love feels especially meaningful. As I sit down with my family this holiday, we recite together a prayer of thankfulness, “Thank you for this food and all the things that make it good, and for my health and wisdom, too … we are deeply grateful.”
I am thankful to be part of our caring Seawolf community and appreciate each and every one of you. Have a wonderful holiday!
Judy K. Sakaki