June 29, 2021
I cannot believe it has been almost a month since we celebrated commencements for the Classes of 2020 and 2021. I’m still glowing from how wonderful both commencement weekends were. I cannot say thank you enough to the Commencement Logistics Committee for their efforts in making the hybrid drive-thru format such a success. They worked tirelessly for months to plan every detail to ensure the ceremonies went off without a hitch. I speak for so many when I say I could not be happier with the results. Please join me in congratulating and thanking them for their work. I also want to thank the staff and faculty who helped make both weekends so memorable for our graduates and their families. As we already knew, it truly takes a village, or a tight-knit Seawolf community like ours, to successfully hold an event of this scale. But celebrating two different classes on back-to-back weekends and in a new format was new for all of us. Without the selfless individuals who showed up to honor our graduates, the ceremonies wouldn't have been possible.
Summer is here, and I hope you are finding time to enjoy the outdoors and to reengage safely with family and friends. Throughout the summer, staff is returning to campus, and buildings are reopening. Like many of you, I too am looking forward to seeing our campus buzzing with the vibrancy of campus life.
As we return to campus, there will be adjustments and changes in our routines. Many of us have not commuted to work in over a year or been inside our campus offices for many months. As we begin utilizing office spaces again, let’s remember that COVID has affected individuals and their families in many different ways, and let’s be understanding and respectful of each other’s comfort level and desire for personal space.
Now, as we gear up to celebrate Independence Day, I am so pleased that our SSU community joyously observed several June Celebrations, with Pride and with an eye toward Freedom and Citizenship!!
SSU is a welcoming community where students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends all belong and feel affirmed. This month I was honored to help raise the new, more inclusive LGBTQ+ Pride Flag for the first time on our campus. Members of our campus community came together for this momentous event to celebrate the Pride flag now flying beautifully as you enter campus. The flag symbolizes our diverse and inclusive campus community and reminds us of the values we strive to embody in our daily interactions with one another. The raising of the Pride Flag at SSU was a joyous occasion.
With the recognition of June 19 – Juneteenth – as a federal holiday, the narrative of the United States is a little more inclusive. Black Americans and allies have celebrated the actual end of U.S. slavery for decades. But, this actually occurred two years after Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation – and two months after his death. Currently, the State and CSU are reviewing plans for the recognition of this important date and holiday. It is important for us to keep working towards a more fair, just, equitable, and inclusive society. Happy Juneteenth!
At the beginning of the month, President Biden and Vice President Harris signed a proclamation making June 2021 national immigrant heritage month in the United States. Below is an excerpt from the Proclamation
Across each generation throughout our history, wave after wave of immigrants have enriched our Nation and made us better, stronger, more innovative, and more prosperous. The American story includes the story of courageous families who ventured here — be it centuries ago or just this year — from every part of the world to seek new possibilities and help to forge our Nation. In every era, immigrant innovators, workers, entrepreneurs, and community leaders have fortified and defended us, fed us and cared for us, advanced the limits of our thinking, and broken new ground.
After an especially difficult period marked by both the COVID-19 pandemic and the all-too-frequent demonization of immigrants, it is vital that our Nation reflect on the leadership, resilience, and courage shown by generations of immigrant communities and recommit ourselves to our values as a welcoming Nation. We recognize all of the workers, many of whom are immigrants, who have contributed to the food security, health, and safety of all Americans during this challenging year — and every year. And we honor the sacrifices made by immigrants who serve on the front lines of the pandemic as health care providers, first responders, teachers, grocers, farm workers, and other essential workers. It was these same immigrant families and communities of color who were disproportionately struck by the virus. In honor of those we’ve lost, let us dedicate ourselves as a ation to protecting one another and doing our part to put an end to this pandemic for good.
New Campus Leadership
There is more good news regarding two new appointments to vital leadership positions. I am pleased that we have named Dr. Karen Moranski as our Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dr. Nicole Annaloro as our Director of Athletics. After national searches, both were selected for their positions. My sincere thanks to the search committee members and all who provided feedback and participated in the process. Congratulations to Provost Moranski and AD Annaloro! We look forward to your leadership in the years ahead.
Fun at the Green
Mark your calendars for a free Sonoma State movie night at the Green Music Center on Saturday, July 10 at 5:00 p.m. It will be a double-feature of Disney’s Frozen and Frozen 2. The event is for all SSU students, faculty, staff, and your family members. Advance ticket reservations will be available beginning on July 8. It will be a wonderful opportunity to return to campus. Please join us as we “let it go” for a fun summer evening at the Green.
I wish you all a happy, joyful, and restful summer. I continue to be grateful to lead our SSU community of exceptional faculty, first-rate staff, outstanding students, successful alumni, and generous community members. You inspire me!
Judy K. Sakaki