Stepping Away from the Presidency

Monday, June 6, 2022, 3:00pm

"The storm is not as important as the path it opens..." -- Mark Nepo, "The Instruments of Change."

Dear Campus Community,

I write today to let you know of an important decision that I have made.  After thoughtful reflection and discussions with my family, I made the decision to step away as president of Sonoma State University effective July 31, 2022.  This will enable a new interim president to be in place for the 2022-23 academic year.  I truly love our campus and want the very best for Sonoma State and all of you going forward.  This choice will allow the future focus of the university to be on our talented, diverse and excellent students, staff, faculty, alums and campus community.

It has truly been an honor for me to serve as your president for the past 6 years.  I have enjoyed working with you and leading our campus during these challenging and unprecedented times.  At my Investiture, I referenced a Pew Education Policy Perspectives article on university transformation entitled, “To Dance with Change.”  The policy paper emphasized the need for institutions to change, to be more flexible and to enter into a future that is still unfolding. I said, “It’s been quite a dance and a time of change for the campus and for me.  I am thankful for everything that everyone has done to embrace the dance and to work together –to stretch, to question, to engage, to contribute, to trust, and to re-imagine a student-centered university.”  I was so pleased when the external WASC accreditation team later noted how quickly our student-centered values took hold on campus and how the “spirit” of the campus was so positive.

Sonoma State is unique and special because of the dedicated faculty, staff, and administrative leaders who care so deeply about academic excellence, inclusion and service.  We truly do have a campus community of care.  Thank you for your commitment to the educational aspirations of our extraordinary students and for helping them to achieve their dreams. You are helping to improve the world, by lifting one student at a time.  You are making a difference.

As for me, beginning in August, I look forward to continuing my work with the various higher education boards and commissions on which I currently serve, and engaging with projects that focus on educational equity, access and inclusion.

I leave behind an extremely capable leadership team and all of you.  It has been the opportunity of my life to work with, lead and learn from all of you. You inspire me.  I will continue to cheer and root for the very best for you, your families, your departments and Sonoma State in the time ahead.

With gratitude and appreciation,

Judy K. Sakaki