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In Fall Address, President will welcome back campus community and tout successes amid trying times

Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen delivers his 2020 Fall Address, which was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year's Fall Address will take place both in-person and via livestream, as the campus prepares to welcome students back for the first time since March 2020. (Sacramento State/Andrea Price)

Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen will welcome the campus community back to the University on Wednesday in a Fall Address that promises to be unlike any he has delivered.

Assessing the previous year and looking toward the coming one, Nelsen will mine themes that continue to emerge from unprecedented times: progress and setbacks, achievement and challenges, joy and sadness, celebration and contemplation – and, ultimately, resilience, determination and hope.

Watch the livestream

Students, faculty and staff who for more than a year had to study, teach, and work from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic finally are returning to Sac State in significant numbers. They will find a University clearly commited to the community’s health and safety.

“We have accomplished so much while we were alone,” Nelsen said in a message to the campus community earlier this month. “We will accomplish even more in the coming year together.”

The address begins at 9 a.m. in the University Union Ballroom. Attendees are asked to RSVP online. The address also will be streamed online. Following his remarks, Nelsen will answer questions about “how we will move forward as a Hornet Family” for an hour.

Sac State classrooms closed their doors and the campus emptied in March 2020 to help curb the spread of the surging coronavirus. The University plunged into uncertainty, but today can claim many successes despite difficult circumstances.

Enrollment remains robust, and few students have dropped out despite the pivot to mostly virtual learning. The University continues to improve its graduation rates.

During its unprecedented transition to the online world, Sac State helped secure laptops and internet hotspots for students, offered support to employees forced to work remotely, and assisted faculty with virtual teaching.

Sac State is taking steps toward normalcy, Nelsen said. The campus, normally home to more than 30,000 students, will operate this fall at about 50% capacity.

Strict safety measures are in place, including mandated face coverings for indoor gatherings and mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations.  Nelsen also will share details about safety upgrades made to classrooms and elsewhere throughout the University.

There will also be plenty of financial information, including a breakdown of this year’s budget and federal support that came to students. Nelsen will also talk about the success of the University’s comprehensive fundraising effort, On The Rise: The Campaign for Sacramento State, and the importance of ongoing robust philanthropic support.

In addition, Nelsen will spend time discussing important initiatives in support of antiracism and Sac State’s push to further establish itself as the region’s “anchor university.”

The themes of student success and support will underpin Nelsen’s presentation.

“I acknowledge that we do not have all the answers,” he said. “But I look forward to being a family again.”

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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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