Update from the President Oct. 3, 2019

Oct. 3, 2019

Dear Campus Community,                                      

Greetings! The colors of the trees, cool mornings and brisk winds can only mean one thing – fall has officially arrived at Sonoma State. And our campus has never looked more beautiful. SSU also has never looked more alive with all the activities and projects we have happening. Here are a few updates on what has been occurring on campus and what is ahead:

Outstanding Student honored

First, please join me in congratulating Sonoma State student Anthony Tercero for receiving a 2019 CSU Trustees' Award for Outstanding Achievement. Tercero was among 23 students recognized at the CSU Board of Trustees meeting last week for overcoming significant adversity while in pursuit of his academic goals. Anthony is a former San Bruno resident who lost all of his possessions in the PG&E gas explosion of 2010 and later enrolled at Sonoma State after serving two tours of duty in the U.S. Army. He was awarded the Wells Fargo Veteran Scholarship. Anthony earned his bachelor of science degree in molecular cellular biology and served as an undergraduate assistant on a National Science Foundation-funded project researching intertidal marine mussels. Anthony, whose faculty mentor is Dr. Sean Place, is working on his master’s degree in biology with plans to pursue his Ph.D. at UC Davis after graduating this coming spring. Anthony is truly an exceptional and inspirational student – and we are proud of him.  Congratulations to Anthony and Dr. Place.

Graton Rancheria gift

We are very pleased to announce that the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria have agreed to make a $2.85 million gift to the university to improve the facilities at Sonoma State’s Fairfield Osborn Preserve located just east of campus. These improvements will create a gathering place at the 450-acre preserve for Sonoma State students, faculty, staff, local K-12 students and community members. It also will enable the growth of programs that enhance connections to nature and encourage the discovery of new solutions for challenges facing the earth. The upgrade includes the creation of an outdoor talking circle at the preserve’s education and research center, a facility remodel to enhance connection with the lands on Sonoma Mountain, an enlarged parking area and other upgrades that will ensure the preserve is accessible for everyone. This is a tremendous gift to the university, and we applaud Dr. Greg Sarris, Tribal Chair, and the Tribal Council for their generosity and stewardship of the land.

A 50th anniversary celebration for EOP

The Educational Opportunity Program is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. In honor of this occasion, the university’s EOP staff along with six SSU EOP students traveled to the statewide EOP 50th Anniversary Conference in Long Beach early last month. Sonoma State University was well represented at the conference where I was honored to be the keynote speaker for the closing ceremony. The conference was a time to recognize the students who shaped California’s history through activism and social justice. It also was a time to honor those who made access to higher education a reality and an opportunity to recognize those who continue this movement today. This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience and an opportunity for EOP staff and students to connect and celebrate the roots of the program. Thank you to all who took part and to all who continue to make this program such a vital part of the Seawolf experience.

LoboConnect now available

LoboConnect, our student success management system, is up and running and is available for all academic leaders, faculty advisors, professional academic advisors and undergraduate students. LoboConnect links students, faculty and staff in a network of support focused on student success. It creates a centralized place for making advising and Career Center appointments, communicating with staff and accessing other support services.

Advising ReDesign

The Advising Redesign, which was endorsed by the Academic Senate in May, is intended to create a model of advising to support every lower-division student with the goal of increasing graduation rates and eliminating the achievement gap for Pell-eligible and underrepresented minority students. This new model, which is being implemented this semester, will provide each student under 60 units with a team of professional academic advisors.

Supporting our LGBTQ community

In recognition of the fact that this month marks the 25th Anniversary of LGBTQ History Month, I’m encouraging those on campus to recognize and show support for our LGBTQ+ community. One way to develop your understanding of and connections to the community is to tour the multimedia exhibit now on display at the Library Gallery commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and the following decades of the LGBTQ+ movement. The exhibit “Queeries: Queer Artists & Identity” will be on display until the end of the semester. Meanwhile, SSU’s HUB Cultural Center will be hosting National Coming Out Week next week, with several events designed to educate and advocate for our Queer students, staff and faculty. For a list of these events, visit the HUB’s Facebook page.

Important Dates Ahead: Family Weekend Oct. 11 to Oct. 13

The end of next week will be a perfect time for families to reconnect with their students and to see the campus through their student's eyes. Families will be able to meet roommates and their student’s new friends and learn more about SSU's curriculum, traditions, programs and services. Staff and faculty are encouraged to join the fun as well and to show our families that our culture of care extends throughout the year. Let’s show our families the warmth of our community. To learn more about SSU’s Family Weekend, visit the Family Weekend website.

Budget Forum Oct. 29

The President's Budget Advisory Committee will be hosting the fall 2019 Budget and Planning Forum on Tuesday, Oct. 29 in the Student Center, Ballroom A from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Everyone is invited to attend. If you are unable to take part, the presentations will be posted on the University Budget and Planning website immediately following the forum.

I’m so proud of all that we have accomplished already this year – and all that is still ahead this semester. As we move forward, let’s continue to reach out and take care of one another - to talk with, share and listen to one another. Let’s continue to show how we are a caring community. We are better together. We are Seawolf strong!

With hope and gratitude,

Judy K. Sakaki signature

Judy K. Sakaki