Nelsen and Miller CSSA awardsTop photo, from left: Sac State Associated Students Inc. President Melissa Bardo, CSSA President Taylor Herren, President Robert S. Nelsen, and CSSA Chair (and former ASI president) Lauren Lombardo. Bottom photo: Herren, Bardo, Lombardo, and Professor Christine Miller. (Photos courtesy of CSSA)

Sacramento State has been doubly honored by the California State Student Association (CSSA), which has named President Robert S. Nelsen the university president of the year, and Professor Christine Miller the faculty member of the year in the Innovation category.

The announcement was made May 25 at the California State University Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach.

The CSSA comprises Associated Student representatives from the CSU’s 23 campuses. Each year, members nominate administrators and faculty who empower students to be leaders and who serve as the strongest allies of the students on their respective campuses.

Nelsen took charge at Sacramento State on July 1, 2015, coming to California’s Capital University from Texas, where he served as president of the University of Texas-Pan American. Among his accomplishments during his first year at Sac State: the University hired a “graduation czar,” Dr. James Dragna, to improve graduation rates; hired an interim executive director of diversity, Dr. Robin Carter, who will work to create the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to further enhance the campus’s welcoming culture; and won approval for the construction of a much-needed $91 million science building.

“I admire the passion and spirit of the students in the CSU system,” Nelsen says. “It is an astonishing privilege to serve them, and I look forward to what we can achieve together.”

Miller has been with the Department of Communication Studies for almost 30 years, during which time she has served as vice chair of the CSU Statewide Academic Senate and received an Outstanding University Service Award. She also was the recipient of Sac State’s prestigious John C. Livingston Award for the 2015-16 academic year.

“I’m truly honored and humbled to receive this award,” Miller says. “CSSA represents the nearly 475,000 students in the CSU, and the fact that this recognition comes from the students marks it as the pinnacle of my career.”

Other CSSA awards announced at the Board of Trustees’ meeting:

  • Faculty of the Year/Advising – Dany Doueiri, CSU San Bernardino
  • Bob Linscheid Trustee of the Year – Lupe Garcia and Larry Norton, CSU Office of the Chancellor
  • Administrator of the Year – Steve Relyea, CSU Office of the Chancellor

“CSSA acknowledges these extraordinary leaders for their commitment to CSU students and knows that their service will have a lasting impact on the students they serve,” says CSSA Interim Executive Director Meredith V. Turner.

For more information, visit CSSA at csustudents.org. – Craig Koscho