May 4, 2021
Dear Campus Community,
Spring is the season of new beginnings, transformation and growth. We are seeing it in the blossoms that have been plentiful on campus and the wildflowers and greenery that are blanketing the surrounding hills. I hope you have had a chance to get out and revel in the beauty of our region. There is so much happening on campus that I want to take this opportunity to provide an update.
COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement
Last week Chancellor Joseph Castro announced that COVID-19 vaccines would be required for all members of our CSU campus communities. Vaccination will be required at Sonoma State for Fall 2021, provided that one or more of the vaccines receives full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Details about the policy and implementation are being developed with appropriate consultation. I encourage all students, staff, faculty and administrators to get vaccinated now, if you haven't already. Help us to repopulate our campus safely. Stay updated on this and other COVID related information by visiting our vaccine information website.
This is a very exciting time as we prepare to celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates with the Commencement ceremony. Of our over 4,900 graduates from the Classes of 2020 and 2021, approximately 1,500 graduates and their families will be participating in our hybrid drive thru and virtual ceremonies. On Saturday, May 15, we will celebrate the Class of 2020 and the following weekend on May 22-23 the Class of 2021. The Commencement Logistics Committee has planned a beautiful safe celebratory event. I look forward to congratulating each graduate as they walk across a special outdoor stage. Faculty and staff will line the walkway to the stage to share and congratulate our graduates. Each graduate will have loved ones witness this special milestone moment from their car.
Leading up to the Commencement ceremonies, there are various virtual celebrations planned, including our annual Toast of the Town event on Wednesday, May 19 and other cultural and affinity celebrations. I look forward to celebrating with our graduates at these special virtual events.
Campus Climate Survey
I am pleased to report that our first ever Campus Climate Survey has come to a close. I appreciate the participation of so many members of our campus community, including our students who shared their perspectives and experiences. I am pleased that over 54% of our faculty, staff, and administrators completed the survey. Thank you to all! Survey results will be used to identify and celebrate our strengths and to recognize opportunities for improvement. As part of our long-term strategic plan, taking the pulse of our community is key to learning where we may need to do more work.
Giving Day was held last week, with thousands of alumni, friends, faculty, staff, and students participating in this online 24-hour fundraising event. Funds could be designated for a particular program or cause to support student success and academic excellence. If you missed it, don't worry...there is still time to participate. Your help in whatever amount you can give, will be put to great use. Our students benefit from your generosity. I encourage you to visit the Giving Day webstite for more information about SSU’s Giving Day or watch the short video the Alumni Association put together. #TogetherWeCan
I am pleased that Seawolf Decision Day earlier in the month was a success. I had the opportunity to open the event by speaking live to about 1,000 prospective students and their families. Many participated in the virtual workshops, demonstrations, and lectures previewing what it will be like to be a Seawolf. Enrollment will continue to be a top priority for our campus, and I want to say thank you to all those who planned, implemented and participated in this important day. Thank you to our teams in Admissions, Student Affairs and Academic Affairs. I look forward to being back on campus in the fall alongside our many new, first year and transfer students, that will be joining us.
The national recruitment to fill the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs position is in the final phase. As a reminder, an integral component of this final phase is engagement of the finalists with our campus community. As part of their interview, each candidate is meeting with students, faculty, academic senate, staff, administration and the search advisory committee. All members of the campus community are also invited to learn more about the finalists by attending the zoom open forums. Your feedback matters. Following participation, please be sure to take a moment to complete the feedback form linked to the website.
Asian American and Pacific Islander History and Heritage Month
Last month we began celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander History and Heritage. From mid-April through May 15, SSU will be celebrating the achievements and heritage of Asian Americans, a broad term that encompasses the continent of Asia and the many islands that surround it, including the Pacific Islands of Melanesia and Polynesia. I hope you will check out a short video I participated in alongside some students and staff members celebrating Asian Americans on campus. Additionally, Vice Chair Wenda Fong of the CSU Board of Trustees produced this entertaining and joyful public service announcement video celebrating API Month. The PSA features an all-star cast of Asian Pacific Americans and will air at all AMC theaters, and provide millions of moviegoers across the country with a positive and entertaining message to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and our community.
As we close out an unprecedented academic year, I want to express my heartfelt thanks for your patience, care, compassion and hard work. We are better as a community because of you. Get vaccinated, continue to wear your masks and stay well. All the best with finals and end of the semester tasks. Congrats graduates!
Judy K. Sakaki