Torchlight | Fall 2015

Linking town with gown

The relationship between a university and its community is both essential and invaluable. And in the best ones, it’s a partnership where both sides reap the benefits. 

Here are five ways companies and organizations are connecting with the University:

1. Partnering with faculty and administration

Employers can bring a bit of the University to the workplace by sponsoring a campus tour. Businesses get the chance to connect with campus leaders to showcase their offerings—state of the art facilities, a groundbreaking product or service or an innovative use of personnel etc. It’s also a way to demonstrate the advantages of strong community ties and show campus leadership the results of a Sac State-educated regional workforce.

“University visitors gain excitement by seeing the interesting work going on at HP and that recent Sac State graduates are a part of it. Upon returning to campus, they relate this exciting information. I envision them advising students with statements like, ‘Wow! I was at HP Roseville last week and they are doing very interesting work in networking and cybersecurity. Those of you majoring in computer engineering and computer science should take specific courses, and look into an internship or job there.’” —Felipe Ortega, MBA ’95, R&D Section Manager, Automation Central Engineering, Hewlett-Packard

Sac State visitors, including the provost and the deans of the Colleges of Engineering and Computer Science and Business Administration, tour Hewlett-Packard’s Folsom headquarters.

2. Celebrating alumni 

Sacramento State students tend to stay in the area—in fact one in 20 Sacramento region residents is a Sac State alumnus. The Sac State Day @ program encourages organizations to spotlight their alumni connections through a workplace celebration held in concert with the University. Alumni employees are encouraged to gather for a lunch or after work get-together with campus and Alumni Association representatives to network and share workplace-University pride.

“We asked ourselves ‘Why haven’t we done Sac State Day @ City Hall before?’ It was amazing to see how many alumni came out to show their pride in both their alma mater and their employer. It just goes to show that Sac State grads are everywhere.” —Sacramento City Councilmember Eric Guerra ’03 (Electrical and Electronic Engineering), MPPA ’08

President Nelsen and Herky greet Sac State alumni who work for the City of Sacramento during Sac State Day @ City Hall.

3. Advancing hands-on learning

Numerous options allow organizations to augment the educational experience at Sac State. Support, ranging from in-kind donations of equipment for use in research projects to providing expertise to help students test their skills in competitions against peers, offers out-of-classroom learning that puts Sac State students ahead of the game. And helps make them job-ready after graduation.

“Partnering with Sac State is a strategic investment in the future. When we invest in the quality of education and research, the whole community wins. In addition to the sense of local pride we get from supporting the University, from a business perspective skilled labor is always needed. We need technical people who can do things. Sac State provides that practical education for the region.” —Alan Suleiman, Technology Manager, SMUD


When Sac State participated in the Solar Decathlon competition to build an energy-efficient home, SMUD was among the first to support the project: with funding, in-kind donations, equipment and expertise.

4. Engaging students

Among the traits that distinguish a Sac State education is the opportunity for real-world experience through internships and service learning. Of course, it’s not just the students who benefit. Companies and agencies gain enthusiastic workers with fresh knowledge of the latest trends in their area of study—students who may become their employees of the future. 

“Interns bring fresh, new ideas to our department and fill an important need. As a federal agency, we have a strong commitment to giving back to the community. Our goal is to train interns and potentially hire them when there is an opportunity to do so. We also want them to become park ambassadors. The Presidio is a very special place and we hope a little piece of the Presidio will stay with them throughout their lives.” —Andrea S. Parker, Venue Sales and Coordination Supervisor, The Presidio Trust


Recreation, Parks and Tourism major Liza Jimenez is interning this fall with the hospitality program at San Francisco’s Presidio, soon to be a national park.

5. Access to prepared future employees

Each semester, dozens of organizations take advantage of opportunities to meet and recruit soon-to-be Sac State graduates. Events, such as University-sponsored career fairs, offer employers invaluable one-on-one encounters to showcase their offerings to job seekers.

“When we come on campus to interview, we are not only looking for the top students, but students who can communicate well and work on teams, are interested in learning new things and enjoy working in a global high-tech environment. We have been very pleased with Sac State students.” —Suzanne Diers, ’83 (Management Information Systems and Accounting), MBA ’12, Information Technology Project Manager, Chevron


Sac State career fairs offer companies like Chevron access to freshly educated potential employees.

To learn how your organization can partner with Sac State, contact Suzette Riddle at (916) 278-3533.