Update from the President June 21, 2017

June 21, 2017

Dear Sonoma State Community,

We have so many talented students, faculty and staff doing excellent work at Sonoma State and I wanted to write and share some wonderful recognition a few of them have received recently. 

Emily Hinton Appointed to CSU Board

It was gratifying to learn Tuesday that Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed Emily Hinton, past president of Associated Students at Sonoma State, to a two-year term on the California State University Board of Trustees. According to records kept in the Office of the Chancellor, Emily is the first Sonoma State student appointed to the board in three decades and she is the first woman from SSU.   

What a tremendous honor for our campus and for Emily, who I know will serve with diligence and distinction. As one of the board’s student trustees, Emily’s first year in the position will be as a non-voting member, followed by full voting privileges during her second year. In the year I’ve been SSU president and have gotten to know and work with Emily, I can attest to the quality of her heart and her mind. She works hard, cares deeply about students and the issues that affect them and is always looking for ways to offer constructive ideas and solutions to problems. She is a wonderful and devoted young woman. I can’t wait to see the good work I know she will do for the board and for all the students in the CSU system. I am very happy for her and just as proud about her appointment. 

WWPA Coach of the Year

The campus received some more good news this week when the Western Water Polo Association, WWPA, announced that Chelsea Hennan, interim coach of our Women’s Water Polo team, was named the association’s 2017 Coach of the Year. The award is voted on by the league’s coaches, so it is a real testament to how Chelsea is viewed by her peers.

The highlight of the team’s season was its strong second-place finish in the league’s Women Championship in April, which was the best finish for the Seawolves in their 14-year history. Chelsea played for SSU back in 2005-6 and was the program’s first All-American. She is also a member of the SSU Athletics Hall of Fame and the first WWPA Women’s Coach of the Year for an SSU coach since we joined the conference in its first season in 2004. Congratulations Coach Hennan and Congratulations Seawolves!

The Don Romesburg Prize 
Don Romesburg, chair and associate professor in our Women’s and Gender Studies Department, is a consistent and strong voice on our campus for inclusion and diversity. A recent example was his work in helping the California State Board of Education craft a new history and social science curriculum framework that will now include “a study of the role of contributions” of minority groups, including “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans.”

Professor Romesburg has been such a devoted and skilled advocate for the expanded curriculum required under state law that the Committee on LGBT History, an affiliated organization of the American Historical Society, has established a new award, the Don Romesburg Prize for outstanding K-12 curriculum in LGBT history.

As the co-committee chairs wrote in their newsletter, "We are thrilled to honor and to extend his work to bring intersectional and research-driven LGBT history content to K- 12 students. The prize will be announced in 2018 and awarded at AHA 2019 and then on subsequent odd numbered years. It will be open to K-12 educators in all content areas and educational institutions."

Professor Romesburg said he was “deeply touched to receive this recognition and delighted at the new visibility it will bring to Sonoma State, our School of Social Sciences, and the Women's and Gender Studies Department.”

New York Times showcases SSU Artist
Aurore Simonnet is a talented scientific illustrator in Professor Lynn Cominsky’s Education and Public Outreach group and has been creating brilliant scientific illustrations with Dr. Cominsky’s team since the group was established in 1999.

So it was exciting to look in the New York Times earlier this month and see one of her latest creations featured with a news story on gravitational waves and black holes, the very complex astrophysics that Dr. Cominsky has been researching as part of an elite team of scientists working with NASA. The illustration was also highlighted as NASA's astronomy picture of the day and was published in numerous other places as well. 

So many members of our campus community are making such wonderful differences both on and off campus.  I am so proud and grateful.  Happy Summer!


Judy K. Sakaki signature

Judy K. Sakaki