Dr. Robert S. Nelsen became Sacramento State’s eighth permanent president on July 1, succeeding Alexander Gonzalez, who retired after 12 years of leading California’s capital university.
“It is an honor to be the president of Sacramento State, a true honor. It’s a blessing to be here,” Nelsen says. “This is a great university.”
Among Nelsen’s goals for Sacramento State are to improve graduation and retention rates, and to reduce students’ time to degree. He has committed to raising private funds for a new science building and events center, as well as for rehabilitating older buildings on campus. He also plans to work with the Sacramento region’s leaders and employers to increase the number of internships and service-learning opportunities for students.
Nelsen’s experience in public higher education spans nearly three decades, most of it spent in the University of Texas system. He was president of UT-Pan American from 2010 to 2014 and most recently served as special advisor to UT’s executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. His career also includes service as a professor of English, and literary and aesthetic studies; a vice provost; and a director of creative writing.
Nelsen earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science from Brigham Young University, and his doctorate from the University of Chicago's Committee on Social Thought.
For an illustrated profile of President Nelsen, as well as downloadable, hi-res photos and a video, please visit www.csus.edu/president. – Dixie Reid
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