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Campus party kicks off year of celebrations for Sac State’s 75th Anniversary

Members of the Hornet community, including students, staff, faculty, Herky Hornet, and President Robert S. Nelsen, gather in 2019 for the annual Swarm photo. Nelsen is predicting this year's 75th Anniversary edition will be "the largest Swarm photo ever." (Sacramento State/Jessica Vernone)

Sacramento State welcomed its first students to campus 75 years ago, 

It was 1947, and most of the 235 scholars were soldiers returning from World War II. On its first day of classes, the institution, then known as Sacramento State College, had five full-time faculty members.

Since then, Sac State has become a powerful force in the region and beyond, with more than 31,000 current students and a vast alumni network. One in 20 adults in the Greater Sacramento area are Sac State graduates. U.S. News & World Report this year ranked the University No. 14 in the western United States for helping its students achieve social mobility.

On Thursday, Sac State will mark the start of its 75th Anniversary year with an event that will highlight its dynamic growth and significant accomplishments. Beginning at 10 a.m., members of the Hornet Family will gather on the Main Quad for a birthday party that will feature music and other entertainment, speakers, information booths, and cake and cookies.

“What has not changed in 75 years is our focus on being a student-centered University, and on being Sacramento’s University." -- President Robert S. Nelsen

Following those festivities, the campus community will gather for the yearly “Swarm” photo, an image that annually includes hundreds of students, faculty and staff.

President Robert S. Nelsen predicts this year’s version will be “the largest Swarm photo ever done.”

The celebration will kick off a series of events, culminating with a gala in the spring.

Robin Carter, special assistant to Nelsen, is leading 75th Anniversary planning.

“I couldn’t be prouder to take part in this special celebration of our 75th Anniversary,” said Carter, a retired professor and former dean of Sac State’s College of Health and Human Services. “I’m a living example of how an education at Sacramento State transforms the lives of students and those that they serve.”

A record 9,435 students earned their degrees from Sac State last year. Thanks to the University’s Finish in Four and Through in Two campaigns, more Sac State students than ever are graduating on time and starting careers in the region.

“Our growth over the past 75 years has been tremendous, not just in the size of our campus or the number of students that we serve, but also in the diversity of our student body,” Nelsen said.

Last year, U.S. News named Sac State the fourth-most diverse campus in the Western U.S. The University has been designated a Hispanic Serving Institution and an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution, based on the percentage of students who identify as members of those groups.

“What has not changed in 75 years is our focus on being a student-centered University, and on being Sacramento’s University,” said Nelsen.

“Sacramento State has not just endured; we have thrived. And we will continue to thrive as we transform lives.”

The University carries special significance for Sacramento Mayor Pro Tem Eric Guerra, who took part in the Senate Fellowship Program and earned two degrees from Sac State.

“Sacramento State has not only educated but significantly transformed the lives of generations of families like my own,” Guerra said. “Without the educational opportunities and skill sets that my brother, sister, and I acquired at this institution we would not have been able to change the course of or lives and economic situations in just one generation.”

“Like my family, I have seen generations of students benefit from their educations at Sacramento State. These alumni go on to become change agents in every industry, public service, local government, and community.”

The University continues to expand its influence through climbing graduation rates, wide-reaching community engagement, work toward equity, social and racial justice, and in-progress projects such as the joint Sacramento State/Sierra College/Placer County college center near Roseville, and the California Mobility Center, for which the University was a founding member.

Holly Tiche, an alum who chairs the University Foundation at Sac State, said it is important to mark milestones such as the 75th Anniversary.

“Milestones allow us to look back with pride on where we started, and where we are today, and they also allow us to look ahead to the future,” Tiche said. “I look forward to celebrating the Sac State of today, and all of the history that has happened in our 75 years. We have much to be proud of.”

On Thursday evening, Sac State will host the Northern California edition of CSU College Night for anyone interested in learning more about the University or any of the CSU’s 23 campuses. Information will be available about applications, financial aid, and much more. The event is scheduled for 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Student Union.

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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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