MLK Center openingPresident Robert S. Nelsen, flanked by Tina Jordan-Brown, director of the Peer and Academic Resource Center, left, and Marcellene L. Watson-Derbigny, associate vice president, Student Retention and Academic Success, cuts the ribbon celebrating the grand opening. (Sacramento State/Jessica Vernone)

A packed house was on hand Tuesday, Nov. 3, as Sacramento State celebrated the grand opening of its Martin Luther King Jr. Center with live music, appetizers, and words of encouragement and welcome from University and local officials, as well as students and staff from the center.

Located in Lassen Hall Room 2200, the student-led center provides an oasis of support and cultural legacy experiences to foster student success. The center also promotes campus community through services such as student advocacy, leadership development, peer support, Sankofa talks, and coordinated educational equity services.

“This is a game-changer,” President Robert S. Nelsen said during welcome remarks. “This is an opportunity where students can get together, help each other, mentor each other, and be successful.”

To the students, he said, “Make this place your place, where you feel at home.”

Sacramento City Councilman Jeff Harris, who represents Sacramento State as part of District 3, also was at the celebration. “It’s so wonderful you have this space just to congregate, to share, to help each other along the road of learning,” Harris told the crowd. “It’s pretty awesome. This is great for Sac State. It’s great for the city.”

The center got a head start this semester before its official opening and already has launched a student journal, held its first Forum on African American Student Success, provided a student leadership retreat, and created an internship program for students.

Welcome receptions for students, faculty, and staff have been hosted by the Black Alumni Chapter in collaboration with Student Academic Success and Educational Equity Programs, the Peer and Academic Resource Center, the Cooper Woodson College Enhancement Program, and the Black Faculty and Staff Association.

Initiatives planned by the center include a focus on improving the success rates of African American students on the campus, creating a hub of cultural understanding and sharing, and outreach to the community to increase access and degree attainment rates for underserved students.

For more information on the Center, visit For media assistance, call the University’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156. – Craig Koscho

In the media:

"New resource center at Sacramento State," Fox 40

"New education hub at Sacramento State," KCRA 3