Public Affairs & Advocacy

Welcome to the Office of Public Affairs and Advocacy. The office serves as the official voice of Sacramento State through an integrated, multifaceted communications and marketing program, and fosters governmental relations at the local, state, and federal levels. Our mission is to promote the University and cultivate public support for its teaching, learning, and service.

The Public Affairs unit develops and disseminates stories of academic excellence, student success, innovation, civic engagement, and Sac State's welcoming campus environment, telling the Sac State story through University-wide marketing, the University's website, social media, e-newsletters, and media relations. The Advocacy team engages in efforts to secure resources and support for the University – from California's Capitol to the nation's Capitol. PAA also works in concert with the Office of the President on official presidential communications.

Phil Garcia, Vice President for Public Affairs and Advocacy

Phil Garcia, Vice President for Public Affairs and Advocacy

Phil Garcia came to Sacramento State in 2004, when he established the Office of Governmental and Civic Affairs, and served as its executive director. With the creation of the Office of Public Affairs and Advocacy in 2010, he became its vice president.

Prior to his arrival at Sacramento State, Garcia was communications director for then-Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante and deputy executive director of the State Board of Education. Earlier in his career, he was a journalist, working at the Arizona Daily Star, the San Diego Union and in the Washington, D.C., bureau of United Press International. His last newspaper job was with the Sacramento Bee, where he was a reporter and editor.

Garcia holds a bachelor of science degree in journalism from the University of Kansas. He is a former Congressional Fellow for the American Political Science Association.

Public Affairs

Public Affairs oversees all of Sacramento State's communications and marketing efforts. The unit produces materials for external and internal audiences across multiple platforms – news releases, print publications, e-newsletters, social media, videos, the University's website, and digital signs including the Highway 50 billboard – that promote and enhance Sacramento State's identity.

Additional Public Affairs responsibilities include:

  • Managing the popular "Made at Sac State" campaign
  • Identifying and showcasing compelling stories about the University
  • Designing, publishing, and consulting on University websites
  • Assisting other University departments with special projects and presentations
  • Managing crisis communications
  • Producing the Sacramento State Leader, an e-magazine for community leaders, faculty, and staff
  • Assisting in producing reports for the Office of the President
  • Managing key University events

Recent Public Affairs highlights:

  • The Made at Sac State campaign highlights the value of the University by celebrating alumni who are accomplished professionals or emerging stars, and in 2014 the campaign won a CASE District VII Gold Award of Excellence. Recent profiles include retired five-term Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully, Capital Public Radio anchor Steve Milne, downtown Sacramento innovators Michael and Christine Ault, and student leader Lauren Lombardo.
  • The unit won two Telly awards for the videos "Made at Sac State – Sasha Asghari" and "Happy Holidays from Sacramento State".
  • In Spring 2015, PAA developed and rolled out its sweeping brand and identity enhancement project and accompanying toolkit to help define the essence of Sacramento State and better establish the University's visual identity.
  • In June 2015, PAA partnered with Information Resources and Technology to unveil a new design for the University's website.
  • PAA oversaw production of two institutional television commercials that aired on the Pac-12 and Comcast SportsNet networks during Hornet football games.
  • In 2015, Sacramento State's social media reached record audiences: More than 29,000 Facebook fans, 18,000 Twitter followers, 5,400 Instagram followers and 250,000 YouTube video views.


The Advocacy team manages and fosters relationships with governmental agencies and elected officials while facilitating many of Sacramento State’s community engagement efforts. The unit works to build civic partnerships that further the development of Sacramento State, the regional economy, and workforce.

Among the Advocacy unit's responsibilities:

  • Working with members of the Sacramento-area legislative and congressional delegations to secure state and federal funding that will benefit the University
  • Forging civic and community partnerships to advance the development of both Sacramento State and the capital region
  • Collaborating with the CSU's Office of Advocacy and Institutional Relations, as well as the CSU Office of Federal Relations, on budget and legislative issues
  • Contributing regularly to the CSU's online e-mail advocacy system, reaching more than 65,000 Sacramento State alumni and community leaders

Recent Advocacy highlights:

  • Congresswoman Doris Matsui and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi held a highly successful and well-attended Women's Forum at Sacramento State that drew statewide media coverage.
  • Matsui returned to campus in February 2013 to help unveil Sac State's cutting-edge molecular biology lab, the Center for Interdisciplinary Molecular Biology Education, Research and Advancement (CIMERA).
  • The unit launched partnerships with government agencies and local organizations to address urban core challenges in concert with the Downtown Entertainment and Sports Complex project.
  • In spring 2015, the advocacy unit joined a delegation of Sacramento's top business, civic, and government leaders in Washington D.C. to lobby for and advance priorities critical to the University and the region as part of the Sacramento Metro Chamber Cap-to-Cap Program.
  • Advocacy facilitated partnerships with Sacramento City and Elk Grove unified school districts, Sacramento City College, and Cosumnes River College to launch Pathways to Success, an initiative to help Sacramento students across all grade levels prepare for, transition to, and succeed in college.

Public Affairs and Advocacy Staff

Phil Garcia Vice President for Public Affairs and Advocacy (916) 278-8758
Judi Brenner Executive Assistant (916) 278-8758
Jeannie Wong Associate Vice President of University Communications (916) 278-2067
Nathan Dietrich Director of State and Federal Relations (916) 278-3725
Robert Dugan Director of Governmental and Civic Affairs (916) 278-2736
Elisa Smith Interim Director of News and Communications (916) 278-4016
Steve McKay Director of Multimedia (916) 278-3915
Gloria Moraga Executive Producer (916) 278-2806
Becky Repka Director of Marketing (916) 278-3829
Jack Vaughn Director of Web Communications (916) 278-3674
Phillip Altstatt Graphic Designer (916) 278-3765
Angela Andrews Office Manager (916) 278-3822
John Blomster Writer (916) 278-3817
Karen Booth Assistant Marketing Director/Graphic Designer (916) 278-4381
Craig Koscho Assistant News Director/Senior Writer (916) 278-2970
Sam Macapagal Graphic Designer (916) 278-3493
Rob Neep Visual Communications Coordinator (916) 278-4385
Jessica Vernone Media Production Specialist (916) 278-3853
Ahmed Ortiz Leader Editor/Web Content Manager (916) 278-2388
Dixie Reid Writer (916) 278-3820
Public Affairs Main Office (916) 278-6156
Briefing   (916) 278-6156
Fax   (916) 278-5290  

Keep Up With Sac State – And Tell Us Your Stories

The Office of Public Affairs and Advocacy shares news and information about the University. You can subscribe to our news releases and to the Sacramento State Leader, our biweekly e-newsletter. And we invite you to be our partners in telling the Sac State story. Public Affairs depends on students, faculty, and staff to alert us about campus events, projects, studies, and accomplishments.