Posted: May 1, 2000
A new plaza for public gatherings at California State University, Sacramento will be named in honor of Joe Serna Jr., President Donald R. Gerth announced today. Serna, who passed away Nov. 7, 1999, was a former government professor at the campus and the mayor of Sacramento.
A campus and community committee will direct the development of the Joe Serna Jr. Plaza over the summer and a formal dedication will be scheduled for September.
Plans call for the Plaza to be developed adjacent to the newly expanded University Union. It will incorporate an area known as the South Lawn, a long-time student gathering spot and setting for campus and community events. The new Plaza will include a tree-shaded amphitheater, water feature and arcade of trees. It is part of an evolving pedestrian area connecting the campus and the American River Parkway.
The site was selected in consultation with the Serna family. Isabel Hernandez-Serna said that her husband Joe would be pleased with the choice. "As a place for public dialogue on civic matters, the Plaza embraces the values that Joe was associated with," she said.
Serna taught at CSUS for 29 years. Long before he became known for his leadership as the mayor of Sacramento, he had inspired generations of students to enter government service. Hundreds of his University colleagues admired him and knew him as a friend. His colleague and friend in the government department, William Dorman said, "The part of him that was a teacher was just as clearly remarkable, just as fundamentally significant, just as unmistakably valuable as the part of him that the larger community knew."
Shortly after his death, the campus established its first endowed professorship in his name to encourage scholarship in region-oriented public policy, administration and politics. He was also honored with the University's first Lifetime Achievement Award.
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