This fall, Sacramento State will welcome the largest new freshman class and the largest number of new transfer students in its history, President Alexander Gonzalez said Thursday during his Fall Address in the University Union Ballroom.
His half-hour address to more than 800 members of the campus community was mostly upbeat, emphasizing expansion and growth for the University in light of the passage last fall of Proposition 30. Sacramento State has increased its general operating budget fund by about 8 percent for 2013-14, following an increase from the state.
“For the first time in several years, I won’t be talking about budget and enrollment cuts for our campus,” Gonzalez said. “Of course, everything can change very quickly at the state level, but for now, it appears that both our budgets and enrollments will grow slowly – at least in the near future.”
He spoke of “the beginnings of a new Sacramento State,” with a student proposal to expand the University Union and The WELL. The state-of-the-art wellness and fitness facility opened three years ago and has more than 20,000 members. And with more students on campus, the Union has precious little space for them to study, dine or simply hang out with friends.
“If we are to grow our student body,” Gonzalez said, “overcrowding at our two most popular student facilities must be alleviated.”
And the good news kept coming in the President’s talk: Sacramento State has exceeded its philanthropic fundraising goal, with $10.2 million in gifts, pledges and commitments. “Thanks to University Advancement’s continued success in private fundraising, we are paying out 5 percent of our endowment for the third consecutive year. The lion’s share of that $730,000 is going for student scholarships,” he said.
The President announced the addition of 25 tenure-track faculty this fall; the creation of the Office of Analytics and Institutional Effectiveness to help with thoughtful, data-driven decisions in future planning; and the search for a new provost. In addition, the Department of Physical Therapy will join the School of Nursing in Folsom Hall to greatly increase teaching and lab space, and create a Center for Health Professions.
Gonzalez, who is serving as event chair for next year’s March for Babies in Sacramento sponsored by the March of Dimes, spoke of the University’s extensive community partnerships, including the College of Arts and Letters’ Family Funday Sunday, which brought more than 2,500 people to campus, and U-Nite at the Crocker Art Museum. Last weekend’s Es El Momento education fair, a bilingual initiative to help Latinos explore higher education options, drew about 6,500 prospective students and their families to campus.
Also, the CSU Chancellor’s Office awarded Sac State’s faculty and staff nearly $750,000 in competitive grant money for proposals that furthered the Graduation Initiative by redesigning courses and fostering student success. U Mentor, for example, pairs students with faculty and staff mentors.
The Office of Public Affairs and Advocacy has expanded its successful “Made at Sac State” marketing campaign to include a brand-new TV talk show. Made at Sac State – The Video Magazine will debut Sept. 5 on KQCA My58. Eight half-hour episodes, each spotlighting a different college, will air at 6:30 a.m. Thursdays through Oct. 24. For a preview: http://youtu.be/s43VaaccpdI.
Gonzalez also noted the success of Sac State alumnus and filmmaker Ryan Coogler, who wrote and directed the widely acclaimed Fruitvale Station. Public Affairs and Advocacy hosted a screening of the film at Century Stadium 14, followed by a discussion with Coogler and one of his mentors, Sacramento State film studies professor Roberto Pomo.
The President announced that actress Jane Fonda will narrate Becoming California, a two-hour documentary for public television. The documentary, along with short films for visitors centers at five California parks, was funded by a $3 million National Science Foundation grant to the California Environmental Legacy Project, led by biological sciences professor Jim Baxter. The documentary is slated to air early next year.
“I have always believed that as our reach expands, so does our family, and I want to thank everyone across campus who is helping us to tell our story,” Gonzalez said. “It matters at every level. It matters when we see applications for admission going up every year. It matters when more and more groups are engaging with us and bringing events and potential students to campus. And it matters when employers seek out our graduates, because they recognize the value of a Sacramento State degree.”
For media assistance, contact Sacramento State’s Office of Public Affairs at (916) 278-6156.
– Dixie Reid