The Capital's University

Our partnerships in public policy, our future leaders, and our involved faculty and alumni give Sacramento State its proud distinction as California's Capital University, shaping the political and economic landscape of California.

A Message from President Nelsen

capital at night picture
portrait of President

At Sacramento State, we are committed to growing as a community and institution that influences and shapes public policy to advance and improve this region and the lives of all who live here. From our students' work at the Capitol, to research and community partnerships involving our excellent faculty and staff, to an administration dedicated to propelling the University into a new era, Sacramento State is the place to be for a future in politics. Take the next step with us and see for yourself.

Get to know President Robert S. Nelsen

Partnerships in Public Policy

Sacramento State is home to centers, programs, and institutes that analyze and shape public policy at the state, local, and federal levels. The University fosters ongoing partnerships with government agencies, elected officials, and community leaders to advance issues and policies that benefit the University and the region.

state Politics Conference

In May 2015, experts on state policy from around the country flocked to the University Union for the 15th annual State Politics and Policy Conference, a national forum on public policy put on by the University’s Center for California Studies. Learn more

  • The Center for California Studies at Sacramento State seeks to strengthen the state’s democratic governance through education, outreach, and administration of the nationally renowned Capitol Fellows internships programs. Learn More
  • EdInsights (formerly the Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Policy) is focused on research, policy analysis, and technical assistance and evaluation services across all levels of education. Learn More
  • The Center for Collaborative Policy provides services fostering public discourse at state, regional, and local levels to improve policy outcomes. Learn More
  • The Center for Practical and Professional Ethics brings scholars, community members, and professionals together to better understand the ethical implications of public policy. Learn More
  • The College of Continuing Education’s multifaceted training program called The Portfolio comprises the Leadership for Government Executive, Manager, and Supervisor certificate programs for established government leaders. Learn More

Developing Our Future Leaders

Future movers and shakers throughout the region get their start at Sacramento State, just a few miles from the State Capitol. The opportunities and internships – some of the very best in the country – are unlike those available anywhere else in the state, and students get hands-on experience to jump-start their careers in public service.

image of Capital Fellows

The Capital Fellows Programs boast more than 2,000 alumni of legislative, executive, and judicial fellowships and were ranked among the top 10 internships in the country four of the past five years.

  • The Sacramento Semester program offers internship opportunities to undergraduates from around the CSU system to work with members of the Legislature, the executive branch, and political associations and lobbyists. Learn More
  • Consistently ranked among the top 10 internship programs in the country, the Capital Fellows Programs give students the chance to work at the State Capitol in all branches of government. Learn More
  • The Master of Public Policy and Administration is one of the top programs in the country in equipping graduates with the knowledge and abilities needed for careers in public service, ranking 21st in the nation in 2015. Learn More
  • The Bachelor and Master of Government degrees are launching points for careers in regional politics and beyond. Learn More
  • Associated Students Inc.'s Lobby Corps is the advocacy branch of ASI and features students who work at the local, state, and federal levels on issues in higher education. Learn More
  • Through the Sac State City Ambassadors program, students attend community events to bring about greater awareness of issues facing higher education. Learn More

Faculty Involvement

The University is home to dedicated faculty who, in addition to shaping the minds of the capital’s next generation of leaders, play vital roles in regional and state issues and discourse. Our faculty members are leaders in their fields and engaged members of the community, fueling discussion of the ways public policy affects the lives of the electorate while addressing issues facing the region and the state. Here are a few examples:

  • Founded by Government Professor Kim Nalder, the Project for an Informed Electorate (PIE) helps foster a greater understanding of politics by identifying and disseminating accurate, nonpartisan information. Learn More
  • Professor Emeritus Barbara O’Connor founded the Institute for the Study of Politics and Media, led today by Communication Studies Professor Val Smith, to explore the impact of media and politics on society.
  • Founded by the late Dr. Ken Kerri in 1972, Sac State’s Office of Water Programs has been on the cutting edge of the development of cost-effective solutions for protecting and enhancing California’s water resources and is an internationally recognized training leader for the drinking water and wastewater industries. Learn More
  • The 65th Street Corridor Community Collaborative Project, led by Ethnic Studies Professors Greg Mark and Julie Figueroa, is a multi-platform outreach initiative serving seventh-to-12th-grade schools, aimed at building a healthier, more engaged, and more vibrant community in Sacramento’s low-income 65th Street Corridor. Learn more
  • Funded by the U.S. Department of Education and headed by Ethnic Studies Professor Timothy Fong, the Full Circle Project aims to improve graduation and retention rates among Asian American and Pacific Islander students through outreach, mentoring, and community service opportunities that enhance the college experience. Learn More
  • In May 2015, Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Professor Bernice Bass de Martinez, chair of the University’s Department of Foreign Languages, to the state Board of Nursing and Vocational Psychiatric Technicians. Learn More
  • Professor Pia Wong, chair of the College of Education’s teaching credentials program, has been elected as co-chair of the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing’s statewide Committee on Accreditation, helping to shape the future of education across California. Learn More
  • Led by Government Professor David Barker, the Institute for Social Research gathers data on the electorate in California, which helps inform policy in the state. Learn More

Alumni in Public Service

The capital region is powered by graduates of California’s capital university – indeed, one out of every 20 residents of the region is a Sac State grad. Our alumni hold top offices in government, business, and economic development and are dedicated to fostering vibrant, thriving communities throughout the city, county, and state. Our graduates are helping to usher in a new era in California.


Politics Policy Alumni Gala

The Hornets Policy & Politics Chapter of the Alumni Association has 240 members who work in politics, public policy, and state and local government. Learn More

Shaping the future of Sacramento and California: Sac State alumni serve as elected leaders who craft public policy that affects the lives of millions across local communities statewide. Some examples:

  • Kevin McCarty, MPPA '11, Assembly member
  • Cathleen Galgiani '98, state senator
  • Eric Guerra '03, Sacramento city councilmember
  • Jeff Harris '05, Sacramento city councilmember
  • Phil Serna '92, Sacramento County supervisor
  • Carol Garcia '80, mayor of Roseville
  • Jack Duran '98, Placer County supervisor
  • Christopher Cabaldon MPPA '94, mayor of West Sacramento
  • Oscar E. Villegas '89, Yolo County supervisor

Creating a better region through public and community service: Our graduates facilitate the community’s growth, prosperity, and safety from top positions throughout the region. They include:

  • Samuel Somers '88, Sacramento police chief
  • Scott Jones '91, Sacramento County sheriff
  • Michael Wiley '75, general manager and CEO, Sacramento Regional Transit
  • Rhonda Staley-Brooks '95, president and CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Sacramento
  • Mark Wells '88, Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District chief
  • Scott Owens '86, Placer County district attorney

Fostering business and facilitating enterprise: Hornet alumni are passionate about growing greater, thriving business communities in Sacramento and throughout California, and many are in key roles doing just that. Examples include:

  • Michael Ault '92, executive director, The Downtown Sacramento Partnership
  • Pat Fong Kushida '85, president and CEO, California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce
  • Bill Mueller '90, CEO and managing partner, Valley Vision
  • Michael Strech '86, president and CEO, North State Building Industry Association
  • Peter Tateishi '02, president and CEO, Sacramento Metro Chamber

Take the Next Step

Now that you know something about Sacramento State, we would love for you to visit and learn more about attending this outstanding university. Sac State has so much to offer beyond a beautiful, tree-filled campus in the heart of California's capital: a national-class education that prepares students for careers and success. Come see us … and be us!