President Alexander Gonzalez

Envisioning our Future

Milestones: 2003-2014


Dr. Alexander Gonzalez becomes Sacramento State's 11th president.


The President launches Destination 2010, focusing on excellent academic and student programs, a welcoming campus, a dynamic physical environment and strong community support.

Students pass a referendum to fund construction of The WELL, a campus recreation and wellness center.


The University begins offering the Executive Master's in Business Administration (EMBA).

Sacramento State holds its inaugural Green & Gold Gala fundraising event to honor community partnerships and their enduring impact on our students and programs.


The campus's first honors program for undergraduates is established.

The Guardian Scholars Program, an initiative to support emancipated foster youths in college, is established.


The University acquires Folsom Hall, future home of the Division of Nursing (renamed as the School of Nursing in 2011).

The new Hornet Bookstore opens.


Sacramento State and the City of Sacramento establish a formal Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate service learning, as well as internship and research opportunities for city management and University faculty and students.

The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Fieldhouse opens.

The One Book Program, promoting literacy on the campus and in the community, is established.

Sacramento State's first Doctorate in Educational Leadership is awarded.


American River Courtyard
The American River Courtyard suite-style residence hall opens, raising the number of students living on campus to 1,600.

The first cohort of the Professional Science Master's (PSM) degree program begins coursework. The program, a partnership between Sacramento State's Department of Biological Sciences and the UC Davis Stem Cell Program, prepares graduates for careers as stem-cell professionals.


The WELL opens, combining Sacramento State's recreation and health services under one roof in a state-of-the-art facility.

Sacramento State and the County of Sacramento sign an MOU to support former foster youth, to collaborate on positive transitions for them from high school to Sacramento State, and to seek joint funding opportunities.


The campus receives the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, recognizing the institutional culture and the many University-wide programs that embrace community service.

Sacramento State and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) sign an MOU formalizing their commitment to a Smart Grid/Smart Energy Initiative.

The President's Committee to Build Campus Unity is established to spur dialogue on how to strengthen the sense of community at Sacramento State, as well as to make the University a more welcoming and supportive learning environment.


In his Spring Address, the President launches the "Redefine the Possible" initiative for the future of Sacramento State.

The Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program is launched.

The International Business Master's program is established and becomes the first Sacramento State degree program to be delivered at an international site.

Fall applications to Sacramento State reach 34,397, setting a record for the campus.


Sacramento State unveils its cutting-edge molecular biology lab, known as CIMERA (Center for Interdisciplinary Molecular Biology Education, Research and Advancement).

President Gonzalez with Provost Frederika "Fraka" Harmsen and Herky at the March for Babies.
The President is appointed Event Chair for March of Dimes' annual March for Babies event in Sacramento.

Sacramento State celebrates the inaugural year of One World, an initiative to bring the campus together in a story of one theme of global importance.

At the Green & Gold Gala, the University celebrates President Alexander and Gloria Gonzalez for a Decade of Distinction, acknowledging more than $160 million in private fundraising during the President's first 10 years of leadership.

The President announces that Sacramento State will be tobacco-free beginning in fall 2015.


Sacramento State welcomes the largest freshman class in University history, a total of 3,700 first-year students.

The President is inducted into the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Hall of Champions.

The University's new Strategic Plan is finalized and presented to the campus community.


President Gonzalez to retire after 2014-15 academic year


Announcement from the California State University:

In 2008, Sacramento State awarded its first Doctorate in Educational Leadership.

August 28, 2014 - Sacramento State President Alexander Gonzalez announced today his intent to retire at the end of the 2014-15 academic year. Gonzalez made the announcement to the campus community during his annual Fall Address. A lifelong educator, campus administrator and president, his higher education career spans nearly 40 years. He is distinguished as one of the longest continuously serving presidents in the university system with 17 years of service - 11 years at Sacramento State and six at California State University, San Marcos (CSUSM).

"Public higher education, especially public higher education in the CSU, has been my lifelong passion. But after decades of service, it's time for me to find other ways that I can contribute to the lives of students in our communities," said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez was appointed president of Sacramento State in 2003 after having served as president at CSUSM. Additionally, he spent 18 years as a faculty member, department chair and provost at Fresno State.

"First through his service in the Central Valley and then at campuses both in Southern and Northern California, President Gonzalez has made an impact on many generations of college students across the state, especially those from underserved communities," said CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White. "He has dedicated his professional life to the CSU. His leadership has transformed the university into a vibrant, destination campus and ushered in signature academic programs and initiatives designed to boost student success and the Sacramento regional economy and workforce. On a personal note, I value his wealth of institutional knowledge and have appreciated his thoughtful counsel, as we have worked together to fulfill the university's mission."

Under his leadership, Sacramento State established two new doctoral programs, the campus's first honors program for undergraduates, an international business master's program and a state-of-the-art facility for what is now the Sacramento State School of Nursing. Programs such as the Veterans Success Center, the Capital Fellows Programs of the Center for California Studies, the Construction Management Program and the campus office of the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation have earned nationwide acclaim. The campus also earned the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, an honor given to campuses that provide strong evidence of a commitment to community engagement.

The Division of Nursing was renamed the School of Nursing when it moved to its new home, Folsom Hall, in 2011.

Gonzalez' pursuit of partnerships with regional and national communities resulted in numerous benefits for the campus. The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Fieldhouse, the Hornet Bookstore and the new state-of-the-art track surface at Hornet Stadium were all constructed without using state funds.

Gonzalez also has fostered higher education initiatives in the Sacramento region, and the University today is working with community partners to develop a center and offer classes in Placer County, Sacramento State's second-largest source of students.

He also partnered with students to pass a referendum for The WELL, a modern recreation and wellness center, which opened in 2010. The WELL and the American River Courtyard residence hall are the greenest buildings in the history of the Sacramento State campus, both earning LEED Gold status. Furthermore, over the last nine years, the campus has benefited from $160 million in gifts to the University, including cash, pledges, in-kind contributions and testamentary commitments, which the President has helped to cultivate. The generosity of donors has supported initiatives such as the Honors Program, Guardian Scholars for emancipated foster youth, and new student scholarships.

Both on campus and in educational circles, Gonzalez has been recognized for his leadership and vision. The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) has announced that in October, he will be inducted into its Hall of Champions for his contributions to advance educational opportunities for Hispanic students. Gonzalez previously served as chairman of HACU's Governing Board.

In 2012, the Mexican government gave him an Ohtli Award, its highest honor for leaders of Mexican descent. It recognized his efforts to pave the way for and improve the well-being of new generations of Mexicans in California.

The WELL, the University's state-of-the-art recreation and wellness center, opened in 2010.

He was appointed by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to the California Student Aid Commission and served 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 appointed by then-President George W. Bush to the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans.

In addition, he formerly served on the Pomona College Board of Directors and the governing board of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.

Gonzalez currently serves as the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Endowment for Financial Education. He is a former member of the American Council on Education Commission on Effective Leadership and served on the board of directors.

His prior service to the community also includes the boards of directors for Sutter Health and the Crocker Art Museum.

Gonzalez is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He earned his bachelor's degree from Pomona College and his master's and doctorate in psychology from UC Santa Cruz. In addition, 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.