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Across Campus

Campus Comes Together After September 11 Tragedy
How to Grow a CEO
Outside the Books
With Gratitude
Mountain Air, Closer Than You Think
Students Energize Yale Medical Project
Retiring Minds Want to Know
Calaveras Station Gets Student Writers on Track
Your Gifts—A Lasting Legacy

Campus Comes Together After September 11 Tragedy

Photo of student signing  in condolence bookLike the rest of the world, the campus community at Sac State was shocked and saddened by the deaths of thousands in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania on Sept. 11.

Following the tragedy about 2,000 students, faculty and staff joined in a convocation to honor those who had lost their lives and to reiterate the campus’ commitment to tolerance. Representatives of the University’s administration, student government, staff and faculty organizations, and Sacramento’s religious community addressed a standing-room-only crowd united in grief.

Many took advantage of the opportunity to write messages to the families of the victims. The messages were heartfelt and echoed the emotions of the day:

“I cannot begin to comprehend the amount of grief that this horrible tragedy has caused so many of you. My heart and my prayers go out to you and those you love and lost. May life bring you peace and closure.”

“Although I am not an American, I feel so much affected by this tragedy. I just hope all Americans will stay strong.”

“Your strength and courage during this crisis gives hope for our nation.”

“Dear Friend, Your pain is deep. No words can ease the agony. Or erase your loss. But take solace in knowing that it is shared, perhaps in a less painful way, but shared by civilized people everywhere.”

“We grieve for your loss, and the loss we all share.”

“Perhaps I walked by victims of this hatred one day, not knowing Sept. 11 would be their last day. But on that day, I stood in disbelief as people died, and
I cried when they could no longer.”

Many of those unable to attend the convocation also expressed their sentiments. The pages were compiled in condolence books and sent to the cities affected.


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How to Grow a CEO

Graphic image depicting a CEO
It’s a three-letter title that carries a lot of clout—CEO. But what does it take to be a chief executive officer? The developers of a popular Sac State leadership program decided to take the matter to the top—those at the helm of area businesses.

“When we were developing the curriculum, we asked 25 CEOs, ‘What skills or attributes will be necessary in your replacement?’” says Jerry Estenson, faculty coordinator for the Regional and Continuing Education course “Leadership for the New Millennium” and a Sac State professor of business administration.

And they continue to gather input from the heads of local companies like Blue Shield and Aerojet. The program is re-evaluated each semester and revamped when necessary to meet the changing needs of both the businesses and the participants, says program director Elizabeth Hough.

Topics during the eight-week sessions cover such areas as “Future Role of Leaders” and “The Technology of Change.” Presenters possess a mix of academic credentials and applied knowledge, and have ranged from business faculty and representatives from local industry to an Army brigadier general. There is also an opportunity during each session to interview a local CEO, often a graduate of the program.

The selection criterion is strict. Each participant must be in line to become a senior executive in a company, or a senior non-elected government official, within five years and must be sponsored by his or her organization.

“It’s one of the most challenging things I’ve ever been involved with,” Estenson says. “You have 25 ‘Type As’ in one room—superstars all.”

It’s also “networking personified,” Estenson adds. “Each participant leaves with a support group of 24 fellow participants and knows nine business scholars and nine CEOs by name.”

Details: Regional and Continuing Education,

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Outside the Books

Photo of William Warfield and unidentified femaleSometimes there are questions textbooks can’t answer. And every year experts from myriad disciplines, businesses and backgrounds come to Sac State to provide answers.

In “master classes” these experts discuss their lifetime achievements and their experiences on the road to success.

The special sessions are a great way for students and the community to gain access to successful professionals from across the globe, including Sac State instructors. Topics range from music to metaphysics to mechanical engineering. And they’re not only about specific subject matter—
they’re also about how to achieve goals within various professions. Students and others who attend the classes benefit from 20/20 hindsight.

Just one of the highlights of last semester’s master classes was an evening with William Warfield (shown), the Grammy award-winning American baritone. Warfield has been performing since 1936 and is legendary for his rendition of “Ol’ Man River,” which he sang in the 1951 MGM film version of Show Boat. During his class, Warfield talked about being a professional performer and gave students advice on vocal techniques.

Details: Upcoming master classes are listed at

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With Gratitude

Photo of Serna Plaza FountainSac State’s Serna Plaza was completed this fall with the
dedication of this new fountain. The plaza and fountain memorialize Joe Serna, who was mayor of Sacramento and a Sac State professor, and his wife Isabel Hernandez-Serna, who was a Sac State professor and administrator.

The 10- by 12-foot fountain features two pillars reminiscent of the eagles on the flag of the United Farm Workers, an organization dear to both the Sernas. Water pours from the top of the two pillars to a vivid, hand-painted tile base depicting farms and farmworkers. Two poems about Joe and Isabel are cast in bronze and adorn the fountain’s brick ledge. They were written by retired CSUS professor Jose Montoya and CSUS professor Olivia Castellano.

The fountain was designed by Montoya, Castellano, retired CSUS professor Esteban Villa, and CSUS professors Ricardo Favela and Larry Ortiz.

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Mountain Air, Closer Than You Think

Be it Mexico City or Mile High Stadium, high elevation affects athletes. But two Sac State researchers say declines in exercise performance can hit even closer to home—as low as 1,900 feet.

Kinesiology and health science professor Daryl Parker, who conducted the study with colleague Roberto Quintana as part of an ongoing study on high-altitude exercise, says, “Decreases in exercise performance happen at much lower levels than had been thought. Previously, endurance experts believed there was no change in endurance until 5,000 feet or higher. The lowest altitude where we saw change was 1,900 feet.”

Their discovery, published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, was a first for American researchers and confirmed a finding by an Australian who came up with similar data, using different methodology.

It also has applications beyond the athletic arena. Parker says the decrease in blood oxygen experienced by people at high elevations is similar to what pulmonary patients and people with heart disease experience. By studying how people respond to altitude, it may be possible to better understand how these disease processes work.

Parker and Quintana are even challenging theories about fitness level and high altitude performance which could change the way athletes train. Surprisingly, studies show that the more fit a person is, the more performance they lose at high elevation.

But another factor may be involved. Generally, Parker says, the more oxygen that a person consumes, the larger the decrease in their exercise capacity at high altitude. But people who can maintain a high steady-state intensity for a long time seem to have less decline.

The types of training that might protect capacity vary by fitness and activity type, Parker says, but could include intense intervals of hard exercise, long periods of easy exercise or both.

Details: Department of kinesiology and health science, (916) 278-6441.

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Students Energize Yale Medical Project

Sac State engineering students have stepped in to help a Yale University team working to provide specialized medical care in the world’s most remote regions.

The students, who were working on their senior project, developed new and efficient approaches for sending wireless video transmission.

Their work will help Dr. James Rosser, director of the Yale’s Endo-Laparoscopic Surgery Center, improve the reach of medical experts using laparoscopic surgery techniques, which are minimally invasive and use small cameras so surgeons can watch what they’re doing on a video screen.

Rosser wants to beam the surgical camera images from one or more sites to medical specialists nearby, who would provide real-time advice. He envisions specialists in a medical van supporting surgeons who reach patients using small all-terrain vehicles.

But video was a stumbling block. The Yale team planned to send video from surgery sites to a weather balloon and a small, remote-controlled plane, but the plane was unable to carry enough equipment.

The Sac State students tackled the problem, not by trying to improve the plane or its batteries, but by creating better video compression techniques.

Details: Yale’s Endo-Laparoscopic Surgery Center website at

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  • Sac State keeps attracting top track and field events. This summer, more than 6,000 youngsters competed in the Junior Olympic National Track & Field Championships at Hornet Stadium, the site of last year’s U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.

  • Nearly 4,500 students enjoyed lower fees (and air conditioning) in Sac State’s fledgling summer session—four times as many as enrolled in last year’s first official summer offering. Administrators hope students will eventually embrace a full academic program offered year-round.

  • Sac State reached record enrollment this fall, when almost 27,000 students signed up for classes. Campus planners are bracing for as many as 32,000 students by the end of the decade.

  • Fifteen high school and community college instructors got a lesson on the Asian economy this summer during a trip to Singapore, led by Sac State history professor Richard Kornweibel and retired economics professor Bob Curry. The trip was funded by a Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad Program grant.

  • Sac State hosted the 16th annual Native American Conference and gathering in October, the first time the statewide event has been in the Sacramento Valley. It featured academic presentations, as well as workshops on Native American artifacts, basketry, ceremonies, storytelling and more.

  • Sac State President Donald R. Gerth received a special citation for Outstanding Contributions to the Arts from the Arts and Business Council. Among his many contributions, Gerth has overseen the creation of the University’s School of the Arts, the growth of Capital Public Radio and the establishment of the 10-year-old Festival of the Arts.

  • Yuba Community College District students should be finding it easier to transfer to Sac State. A new agreement offers qualified Yuba students guaranteed admission to Sac State, pre-admission advising, on-the-spot admission and other services.

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Retiring Minds Want to Know

The average age on campus peaks Fridays, when hundreds of members of the Renaissance Society, a learning-in-retirement organization, gather for educational forums. Nearly 700 seniors attend various programs each semester, including member-led seminars, writers’ workshops and discussion groups.

“No college degree is required for membership, just the wisdom that comes with experience, and the curiosity that sustains interest in learning,” says Eleanor Hoffman, a retired registered nurse and community activist who is the group’s president.

The Renaissance Society is sponsored by the University and is affiliated with the Association for Learning in Retirement Organizations West and the Elderhostel Information Network.

The organization started in 1986, the brainchild of Bob Heilman, a Sac State professor of social work; Leah Burdman; the late Ermyl Schwartz; and the late Peg McKoane, a retired Sac State adult students program director.

This fall’s seminars and special programs included a computer workshop, sessions on the U.S. Civil War and ancient Greece, writers’ workshops, bridge, Tai Chi exercise, a current events discussion group and conversational language classes. There were also excursions throughout the area. These are in addition to the Friday forums, which this year feature topics such as the CNN effect in foreign policy, advancements in forensic science, autism, human-trafficking in China and vanishing red-legged frogs.

The organization also awards scholarships for academic excellence and interest in topics related to the aging process. Membership is $60.

Details: (916) 278-7834.

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Calaveras Station Gets Student Writers on Track

As a writer, the process of publishing your work is a tremendous undertaking of time and patience. But the reward of seeing your name and ideas in print is worth a thousand words.

Sac State students have the opportunity to learn the process right here on campus with the English department’s literary journal Calaveras Station. Students from all disciplines and departments submit their poetry, critical analysis, prose, fiction and plays to be reviewed for publication.

“The submission procedure is no different than that of The New Yorker. Of course, there are many more submissions to The New Yorker but the process is the same,” says Joshua McKinney, an English professor and oft-published writer. He and fellow English professor Doug Rice provide guidance to the student editorial staff, which often works on a shoestring budget. They are always looking for funding.

“Students learn about layout and design, and get editorial experience, which is hard to come by. They have to impartially read each submission, which hopefully teaches them to take great care with words,” McKinney says.

Founded five years ago, Calaveras Station gives students a glimpse into the professional writer’s world.

“It gives students a necessary venue for their work and a window into the real world of professional writers. It also prepares them for the competitive process of getting published,” McKinney says.

Aside from the pride of seeing their names in print, students whose work is published in the journal also become part of the English department’s teaching curriculum.

“I use some of the text in my classes and it motivates my students,” McKinney says. “It encourages them to think, ‘I can write something like that.’ ”

Details: Department of English, (916) 278-6586.

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Your Gifts—A Lasting Legacy

For more than half a century, Sac State has opened the doors of higher education to new generations of students. This tradition of affordable excellence is continues today with both state funding and, increasingly, private funding. In fact, the state now provides less than half the University’s operating budget each year. The quality of a Sac State education would not be the same without the generous support of donors committed to educational opportunity.

A bequest to Sac State through your will or living trust will provide a legacy to benefit the students of future generations. Whether a bequest is unrestricted or designated for scholarships, equipment, curriculum enhancement or other purposes, your bequest can make a real and lasting difference in the lives of the students it touches.

Details: Call University Advancement at (916) 278-4079 or visit

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