Robin Carter was a force at Sacramento State and continues to serve the community
October 19, 2023
Growing up in the Merced County town of Atwater, Robin Carter saw community service in action every day. Her parents fed homeless families, volunteered at their church, and emphasized the importance of helping people in need.
Carter’s call to service propelled her to a career in social work, with a focus on helping senior citizens. Later, having earned two degrees from Sacramento State and two from the University of Southern California, she returned to Sac State in the late 1980s as a professor of Social Work and discovered a love of teaching.
She served in several capacities on campus, including interim executive director for Diversity and Inclusion, interim vice provost for Faculty Affairs, and dean of the College of Health and Human Services.
Carter, who retired in 2021, continues to support the community. She serves on the board of directors for the Sacramento Regional Family Justice Center, which provides services to adults and children who have suffered abuse.
“I’m most proud of having the opportunity, in any small way that I could, to help shape people’s futures.” -- Robin Carter
Additionally, she volunteers with the Sacramento chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, an advocacy group to promote leadership development and gender equity for Black women and girls. And she chaired Sac State’s 75th Anniversary committee, bringing her back to campus for parts of the 2022-23 academic year.
For her commitment to the University and the community, Carter is the recipient of a Distinguished Service Award from its Alumni Association. She and six others will be honored at a reception and dinner on Oct. 19.
“Service was modeled to me as I was growing up,” said Carter. “It comes naturally to me.”
As a child, Carter dreamed of leaving Atwater one day and attending college.
“I wanted to move away from that small town and have a career,” she said.
No one in her immediate family had graduated college, however, and she had little guidance as she planned her future.
“It was intimidating,” she said. “I didn’t have a lot of people close to me that had college degrees or held professional positions. My parents hadn’t navigated college. So, this was a big deal.”
Carter’s academic journey began at Merced College and led to Sacramento State, where she took courses in Social Work, and in time her path became clear.
“I realized that I was smarter than I thought I was, and I met people who saw things in me that I didn’t see in myself,” she said. “I began to see a future beyond a small town.”
As a professor, she connected with many students and enjoyed helping them navigate college and careers. As she rose through the administrative ranks, she mentored faculty and staff.
“I’m most proud of having the opportunity, in any small way that I could, to help shape people’s futures,” Carter said. “I really believe that Sac State did that for me. Sac State was transformational.”
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