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Chancellor appoints Sac State Provost Steve Perez interim president for San Jose State; Carlos Nevarez will become interim provost

Steve Perez, Sac State's provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, is preparing for the professional challenge of leading San Jose State University as interim president, beginning Jan. 3, 2022.

Provost Steve Perez, whose long career at Sacramento State has spanned positions from the classroom to top administrative and leadership posts, has been appointed interim president of San Joses State University. 

Carlos Nevarez, a longtime Sacramento State faculty member and acting chair of Graduate and Professional Studies in the College of Education, will become the University’s interim provost.

Steve Perez
Steve Perez. (File photo)

California State University Chancellor Joseph I. Castro announced his appointment of Perez to the San Jose State position Monday morning, characterizing him as a "bold leader." Sac State President Robert S. Nelsen announced Nevarez's appoint in a SacSend to campus.

Nelsen said his announcement about Perez’s departure came with mixed emotions. He credits Perez with helping improve Sac State student retention and graduation rates, among other accomplishments.

“Academic Affairs has thrived under Provost Perez’s leadership, and the Hornet Family is grateful,” Nelsen said.

“We are at a moment of change, a moment of progress,” he said. “I am proud of Steve and am pleased that he will stay in the CSU system, and I look forward to working with Carlos as we move forward as a Hornet Family.”

Perez, an Economics professor who, along with being provost, serves as vice president for Academic Affairs, spoke fondly of his association with Sac State.

“I have been so fortunate to have been able to spend over two decades working with such great students, faculty, staff, and administrators that come to work every day to support the success of our students and community," he said. "It has been a true privilege, and I am grateful to have been able to experience it.”

He joined Sacramento State as an assistant professor in the Department of Economics in 2001. Over his two decades of service to the University he has also served as associate professor, professor, assistant to the president for special projects, faculty athletics representative and interim provost before being appointed to his current role in the fall of 2019. His previous experience includes service as a member of the faculty at Washington State University and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Perez earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of California, San Diego, and his master’s and Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Davis.

He said he embraces the challenges ahead.

“From providing a transformational education to tens of thousands of students to serving as a cultural hub and an incubator for innovation, SJSU is driving the Silicon Valley and makes an impact that reverberates throughout the state and the world,” Perez said. “I enthusiastically welcome and appreciate the opportunity to work collaboratively with the dedicated students, faculty, staff, president’s cabinet and community to further increase the achievement of our talented and diverse students.”

Carlos Nevarez
Carlos Nevarez.

Nevarez, who has been at Sac State for 21 years, has a strong background in higher education research, policy, and academic administration. He has written three books on community college leadership and is working on a fourth about institutional change.

“I look forward to the opportunity to continue to bring to scale Sacramento State’s role in advancing innovation across all we do as California’s capital university,” he said.

Nevarez replaces Perez, who will become acting president of SJSU following the departure of current President Mary A. Papazian, who is resigning at the conclusion of the fall semester. He is expected to serve in the interim capacity for one year.

Nelsen called Nevarez, who received his doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Arizona State University, “an experienced campus administrator” who “knows the University inside and out” and brings an impressive background to his new role.

“He is passionate about studying leadership and organizational behavior and the role leaders play in advancing success,” Nelsen said. “His productivity with this line of scholarship has afforded him opportunities to regularly share his research with a regional, state, national, and international audience.”

Both men are scheduled to assume their new reasponsibilites on Jan. 3, 2022. CSU will conduct a nationwide search for a permanent replacement at San Jose state.


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About Cynthia Hubert

Cynthia Hubert came to Sacramento State in November 2018 after an award-winning career writing for the Sacramento Bee. Cynthia believes everyone has a good story. She lives in East Sacramento with her two cats, who enjoy bird-watching from their perch next to the living-room window.

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