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Starting Sac State’s 75th anniversary year, President Nelsen’s Fall Address looks to the University’s future while celebrating its accomplishments

Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen delivered his Fall Address Thursday, Aug. 25, in the University Union Ballroom, as he highlighted the University's successes and looked to the future ahead of its 75th Anniversary celebration academic year. (Sacramento State/Andrea Price)

As Sacramento State prepares to celebrate its 75th anniversary, President Robert S. Nelsen reminded the campus community during his Fall Address on Thursday, Aug. 25, how far the University has come, and outlined plans for the future.

Since 1947, when it welcomed its first class of 235 students, Sac State has “lifted generations out of poverty and created the middle class in our region,” Nelsen said during his speech.

This semester, a strong enrollment of more than 31,000 students will populate the campus. Graduation rates continue to rise. The University is developing an increasingly diverse and inclusive culture. Further, it is emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic that challenged students, faculty, and staff members in ways they never could have imagined.

“We never went away, and we were never beat down,” Nelsen told an audience in the University Union Ballroom and people watching via live stream.

Looking ahead, “I am here to call you to action” in helping to implement Sac State’s strategic plans and goals, he said.

Nelsen identified six University imperatives: Learning and Student Success; Teaching, Scholarship, and Creative Activity; Justice, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging; Resource Development and Sustainability; Intentional, Dedicated Community Involvement; and Wellness.

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What President Nelsen wants you to know

The president asked the audience to assess where they and their departments might fit into the University’s goals, and “how you will contribute to making these goals a reality.”

Sac State is making progress on each of its imperatives, Nelsen said. For example, the University has hired 62 new faculty members this year, 53% of whom identify as a member of an underrepresented minority group. Sac State’s student body is one of the most diverse in the country, yet the University needs to continue to attract and graduate more students from those groups, he said.

“We have not just endured, we have thrived, and we will continue to thrive." -- President Robert S. Nelsen

To that end, Sac State this fall is opening the ’Esaḱtima Center for Native American students, as well as anyone who wants to learn about the culture, and is building a new APIDA Center for Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Desi American students.

The University’s new budget includes funding for Employee Affinity Groups and for its Antiracism initiatives.

Nelsen recited a list of the University’s key accomplishments during the past two years, including the completing of the On the Rise comprehensive fundraising campaign, which raised $238 million; awarding more than $100,000 in Anchor University Grants; experiencing a dramatic increase in summer session enrollment; and, through the budgeting process, providing significant raises and COVID-19 service awards for faculty and staff.

“We have not just endured, we have thrived, and we will continue to thrive,” Nelsen said.

Beginning this fall, and continuing throughout the year, Sac State will celebrate its growth and accomplishments since its founding.

“I ask that during our 75th Diamond Anniversary, you help us create our future for the next 75 years and for all the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of lives we will transform during those 75 years,” Nelsen said. “Let’s make it happen at Sac State.”

Read a full transcript of President Nelsen's Fall Address

Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen salutes "Stingers Up" to the crowd as they salute back during the Fall Address.
An optimistic audience of faculty, staff, and administrators collectively saluted "Stingers Up" Thursday, Aug. 25, in the Sacramento State University Union Ballroom to cap off President Robert S. Nelsen's Fall Address. (Sacramento State/Andrea Price)


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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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