Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the new Ernest E. Tschannen Science Complex as it gets the finishing touches in time for the fall semester. (Sacramento State/Rob Neep)
By Dixie Reid
Fall 2019 at Sacramento State will be a semester to remember.
The University is set to welcome a record number of students – approximately 31,500 – and the largest first-year class (4,300 students) in school history when instruction begins Monday, Aug. 26.
Enrollment is up 1 percent over this time last year, with a 14 percent increase in the number of first-year students and a 10 percent increase in transfer students.
Sac State received a record 44,733 applications for fall admission.
“Why all the new students? As Sacramento State continues to make substantial gains on its graduation rate, more students are graduating and creating room for more first-year and transfer students,” said Ed Mills, vice president for Student Affairs.
Meanwhile, Sac State continues to improve its graduation rates.
The University’s “graduation czar,” Jim Dragna, projects that 20.8 percent of the 2019 graduates will have completed their course work in four years, which is up 12 percentage points – a 130 percent gain – from 2016.
Dragna also forecasts a 44.6 percent increase in the number of transfer students who will have finished in two years. That’s a 17.5 percentage point increase – an overall gain of 65 percent – in three years.
Incoming first-year and transfer students may pledge to take 15 units per semester, which puts them on course to “finish in four” or be “through in two,” respectively. Along the way, Sac State offers them academic and financial support.
“Sacramento State is all about accessibility and attainment for our students,” Dragna says. “They continue to progress toward their degree in greater numbers.”
Fall 2019 also marks the debut of the $91 million, state-of-the-art Ernest E. Tschannen Science Complex. The grand opening celebration will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18.
“I’m excited for the start of another academic year at Sacramento State,” said University President Robert S. Nelsen. “With the opening of the Science Complex and the expanded University Union, it’s a great time to be a Hornet.”
The Science Complex, with its planetarium, observatory, glass-walled labs, and stunning views of the campus and beyond, is home to the Chemistry and Biology departments.
However, the building will be a beacon to all Sac State students, no matter their major, as well as local schoolchildren and residents.
“The planetarium will allow us to reach out into the Sacramento community, providing field trips for schools and public showings that are affordable and open to all,” says Lisa Hammersley, interim dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
Even returning Hornets will find the University Union’s 71,000-square-foot expansion a new experience. The project wrapped in May, just before the end of the spring semester. Among the attractions are a Peak Adventures store, a big games room, a Starbucks, and several spacious study nooks.
The new wing opened in May after two years of construction. It joins the Science Complex just across Jed Smith Drive to create the newest quad for the campus.
Also on tap for the first days of the semester:
- President Nelsen’s Fall Address – 9 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 22, in the University Union Ballroom. Refreshments at 10 a.m. in the Redwood Room.
- Move-In Day – Friday, Aug. 23. Hundreds of students make the residence halls their home away from home.
- Hornet football – 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, at Hornet Stadium. Sac State faces Southern Oregon in the first game under new head coach Troy Taylor.
- Phlagleblast – 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 4, in the University Union. This party has welcomed Sac State students annually since 2000.
Anticipation is high as thousands of new and returning students descend on campus. The new leadership of Associated Students Inc. (ASI) is ready to make its mark on the University.
“What I am most looking forward to is getting our students engaged on the campus and in the community, and helping them to understand the power they have as voters,” said Christian Landaverde, ASI president and CEO. “Among my priorities is having ASI collaborate with campus partners to bring the Vote Center back to campus and educating students about the importance of the 2020 census.”
Jennifer Gross, ASI’s executive vice president, is “most excited to get students involved in campus activities and our amazing events. I’m also looking forward to supporting and advocating for sustainability efforts on campus.”
Nelsen, who begins his fourth year as Sac State’s President, said:
“I look forward to welcoming back our students and faculty, and to seeing everyone at our first football game.”