Update from the President

Feb. 5, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

Spring semester is well underway, and it’s been exciting to see and feel all the energy that each of you brings to our campus classrooms, offices and meeting spaces. This is a dynamic time for higher education in our state and in our country, and the exciting things that happen every day at Sonoma State have kept our campus right at the forefront of this changing landscape. 

Recently I’ve been honored to have the opportunity to provide keynote addresses and to engage with leadership, faculty and staff at other higher education institutions, including those of Solano Community College and those from around the country at a university presidents convening hosted by the College Board. These discussions have helped me reflect on how we can even better position Sonoma State to serve our students and community members. Likewise, Chancellor Timothy White recently appointed me to the Advisory Committee for the Selection of the new President of CSU East Bay. Together with my fellow committee members, we are looking to identify a new president to succeed Dr. Leroy M. Morishita when he retires from CSUEB in June. 

The opportunity to learn about what factors are helping other higher education institutions to succeed helps me better identify what unique factors Sonoma State needs to continue to succeed. I’m also grateful for the opportunity to see the hard work each one of you puts into making Sonoma State such a remarkable university. Your Seawolf pride and effort are irreplaceable and make our campus unlike any other. 

March 3 Election information

Election Day is fast approaching and mail-in ballots are going out this week. Remember that you can still register to vote and/or sign up for a mail-in ballot by going through the California Secretary of State web site.

We also have been receiving questions about Proposition 13, the Education Facilities Bond, on the March 3 ballot. The measure calls for a $15 billion bond, which would include $2 billion each for the California State University and University of California systems. For information about what this bond would mean for the CSU and Sonoma State in particular, visit this CSU web site.

Budget planning

As Laura Lupei, Senior Director of University Budget & Planning, communicated with you earlier this week, the Cabinet has begun the budget process for 2020-21.  

Additionally, we’re continuing to develop a Strategic Enrollment Management plan that will help guide our decisions concerning student recruitment, marketing, data analysis and budgeting. You will be hearing more about these initiatives in the weeks to come.

A new joint wine program 

I’m thrilled that Sonoma State has joined with Santa Rosa Junior College to offer a new bachelor’s degree transition program in wine production and management. 

This program will launch in the fall and will offer a four-year degree transition pathway for SJRC viticulture and enology students while also expanding our own campus’ wine business coursework to include a wine production track. It’s a truly innovative program that grants both SSU and SJRC students flexibility to fulfill their degree requirements and access to the curricular opportunities and industry expertise of our celebrated Wine Business Institute.

To learn more, please visit the School of Business & Economics web site.

Seawolves celebrate Black History Month

Earlier this week our campus commenced recognition of Black History Month. This is a time when our country comes together to celebrate and honor the experiences of African Americans and to engage in the reflection, dialogue and advocacy necessary to ensure greater equity and inclusion in our communities all year-round. I encourage you to join in – whether at one of the screenings or conversations, or at the closing ceremony.

Leap Day Events

Leap year only happens every four years, so join in the commemoration! There will be a special Leap Day Celebration featuring Las Cafeteras & Friends on Saturday, Feb. 29 at the Green Music Center. A family show is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. while a second show for all ages is planned for 7:30 p.m. Las Cafeteras offers an infectious combination of Afro-Mexican beats, rhythm and rhymes and delivers inspiring stories to build bridges between cultures and communities. The Leap Day program also will include performances and workshops with local school students, our SSU students/faculty and Play Marimba! For the full schedule of events, visit gmc.sonoma.edu 

Lobo’s literary roots

Have you ever been asked by a prospective Sonoma State student, a faculty or staff member why our campus mascot is Lobo the Seawolf? If so, and you weren’t sure, the answer can be found in a new exhibit at our campus Library Art Gallery: “The Man and the Myth: Exploring Jack London through the SSU Library Special Collections.” This wonderful exhibit displays some fascinating Jack London materials and memorabilia – including several first editions of London’s books – as well as stories about the Sonoma County author and the effort to preserve his legacy. And while you’re at the library, consider checking out a copy of London’s novel The Sea-Wolf  -- the literary roots of our very own Lobo!

Dates Ahead

  • Go Red Day: Friday, Feb. 7

Join the American Heart Association and your fellow students, faculty and staff in wearing red on Friday to bring awareness to heart health. Stop by Seawolf Plaza at 1 p.m. to be in our Sonoma State group photo.

  • Social Justice Week: Sunday, March 1 to Saturday, March 7

Sonoma State celebrates Social Justice with a full week of programming including “An Evening with Angela Davis” on March 3, which is already sold out, and “An Evening with Noam Chomsky” on March 23. Both are being offered as part of the The H. Andréa Neves and Barton Evans Social Justice Lecture Series. 

  • Spring Commencement: Saturday, May 16 and Sunday, May 17

Best wishes for a wonderful February! Happy Valentine’s Day! Happy Lunar New Year! Happy Black History Month! Happy Random Acts of Kindness Day! Happy Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday! and Happy Leap Day!

With gratitude,

Judy K. Sakaki signature

Judy K. Sakaki
President