Dr. Alexander Gonzalez has served more than three decades as a professor and education leader, including the last 11 years as the seventh permanent president of California State University, Sacramento, one of the largest universities in the California State University 23-campus system. A native Californian and the first person in his family to graduate from college, Dr. Gonzalez has devoted his career to ensuring greater opportunities for students.
Dr. Gonzalez holds a doctorate and master's degree in psychology from UC Santa Cruz. He received his bachelor's degree in history from Pomona College, where he graduated with honors and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He spent a year at Stanford University as a postdoctoral fellow of the Ford Foundation and the National Research Council conducting research on the psychology of time. He also attended Harvard Law School and served in the United States Air Force.
Prior to his appointment to California State University, Sacramento, Dr. Gonzalez served from 1997 to 2003 as president of California State University, San Marcos, where he made sweeping changes. These included establishing an athletics program, managing a period of rapid growth and directing successful fundraising campaigns. Before leading San Marcos, he served 18 years at Fresno State, starting as a faculty member in the Psychology Department, which he later chaired. From 1991 to 1997, he was the university's provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.
At Sacramento State, Dr. Gonzalez implemented his Destination 2010 initiative to transform the campus into a premier metropolitan university. The initiative created new academic and student programs, garnered unprecedented support from the community and led to the construction of the two greenest buildings in the history of the campus. In January 2012, he launched Redefine the Possible, a new initiative to make Sacramento State a university for the 21st century.
Following his belief that universities and communities must work together to improve lives and opportunities, Dr. Gonzalez serves as a board member of Valley Vision, an organization committed to improving the Sacramento Region. His previous service to the community includes the boards of directors for Sutter Health and the Crocker Art Museum. Dr. Gonzalez also currently serves as a Director of the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE).
Additional past service includes an appointment by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to the California Student Aid Commission and six years as a commissioner for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges – the accrediting agency for higher education institutions in California and Hawaii. He also was chair of the Governing Board of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and was a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans.