Update from the President

July 12, 2018

Dear Sonoma State Community,

Greetings. I hope you are enjoying these warm days and balmy nights as much as I am. Although campus is calmer these days, the peace and quiet belies the hard work that continues in many areas of University life. I just wanted to give you a quick update on what has been happening on some of these fronts:

CSU Budget 2018-19

I am pleased to say that final 2018-19 budget recently approved by the state Legislature and signed by the governor ended up including historic investments in higher education in California. The California State University system will receive an ongoing funding increase of $197.1 million as well as other funding to expand enrollment, catch up on deferred maintenance and support a wide range of campus programs, including the Graduation Initiative 2025. While we are still waiting to hear more about the $161 million in one-time funding that was included in the package, I want to express my appreciation to all those who spoke out in support of funding for the CSU system, including our faculty, staff, students and local legislators.

Strategic Plan: Building our Future

Speaking of our future, thank you again to the more than 4,000 people who participated in our Strategic Planning process during the 2017-18 academic year. After some final input from faculty and others, I endorsed the plan on June 1, 2018. I will talk more about our next steps in the process during Convocation on Aug. 17, 2018. Mark your calendars.

Thicker Than Smoke

Sonoma State will be hosting a unique two-day “Thicker than Smoke” event on Aug. 3 and 4 at the Green Music Center, which will include a Saturday concert with country singer Brad Paisley and his co-host, actress Bonnie Hunt. Friday night will include a unique story-telling event featuring inspiring tales about what transpired during those days of the October fires. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to help first-responders who lost their homes. This is the latest example of how the University has sought to be a partner in the healing and rebuilding that is occurring in Sonoma County. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to support one another and to share our stories. I hope you will join us.

Advancement news

Interim Vice President: Please join me in welcoming Gordon A. McDougall, our interim Vice President for Advancement. Gordon brings to us a wealth of experience in fund development, including, most recently, overseeing strategic campaign initiatives at Virginia Commonwealth University. Prior to that, he served as Associate Vice President of Alumni Relations at VCU for eight years. Gordon has already hit the ground running, and we are happy to have him on board.

SSU Fund-raising: On that note, I’m pleased to announce that our campus, led by our Advancement Team with the support of many on campus, surpassed its fund-raising goal for the 2017-18 fiscal year. Overall, the University received nearly $13 million in gifts this past year, which is particularly impressive given the multiple challenges our region has faced in recent months. Congratulations to our team and to all of those who understand that private giving to Sonoma State University is a lasting investment in the future of our students and our community.

New Campus Policies: Syllabus policy

I hope you are finding some time this summer to rest and reflect. I look forward to seeing you around campus and at some of our upcoming events.

With Gratitude,

Judy K. Sakaki signature

Judy K. Sakaki
President