Robert Nelson
CSUS President Nelsen Addresses
Forum in 2016; He's Back on Feb. 2!
Photo by Ruth-Marie Chambers


Friday, 3 to 4 p.m., Campus Locations

Following the afternoon seminars each Friday, an "open forum" is held from 3-4 p.m.

The Forum features invited speakers of note, usually from outside Renaissance, who share their views on varied topics with members, followed by lively question-and-answer sessions.

The locations vary depending on CSUS availability, so check below. The speakers and locations can change during the semester due to campus scheduling, so check here right before each Forum.

Robert Nelsen
Feb. 2: Robert Nelsen, President CSUS
Del Norte 1004
CSUS Update. Robert S. Nelsen is the eighth President of California State University, Sacramento. He assumed leadership of the university on July 1, 2015. Prior to becoming president of CSUS, he was serving as special adviser to the University of Texas System's Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Before that, he was President of the University of Texas–Pan American. Nelsen was born in Brigham City, Utah, and raised in Montana near Madison Valley. He earned bachelor and master's degrees in political science from Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, specializing in modern literature, modern philosophy and modern political theory.
Jack Ohman
Feb. 9: Jack Ohman, Editorial Cartoonist, Sacramento Bee
Redwood Room, University Union NOTE: Location change!
Worldwide Issues. Jack Ohman is the Editorial Cartoonist and Associate Editor at The Sacramento Bee. His work is syndicated nationwide to over 300 newspapers. Jack was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for a portfolio of drawings exploring worldwide issues that included gun violence, marriage equality, terrorism and the state of the American political system. Ohman is 57, born in Portland, Oregon, educated at the University of Minnesota and Portland State University. His lifelong aim is "Making the world unsafe for hypocrisy."
Ron Rohovit
Feb. 16: Ron Rohovit, Unity Center Program Director, California Museum.
Del Norte 1004
Dr. Ron Rohovit has been the California Museum’s Unity Center Program since September 2016. Ron oversees all aspects of the Unity Center's school, public and community education and cultural programs and associated materials. Ron establishes and maintains community relationships and partnerships with organizations to help define, promote and deliver relevant programming. He also is responsible for developing the strategic goals and community engagement strategies to ensure the Unity Center is accessible to the diverse communities of Sacramento and the surrounding area. Prior to coming to the California Museum, Ron was the Deputy Director of Education at the California Science Center in Los Angeles for 12 years. He has been in the science center/museum field for over 25 years, managing education departments; a charter school; researching learning experiences; and developing and delivering programs for educators, school groups, community groups, and the general public. Ron has a bachelor's degree in elementary education, a master's degree in secondary science education and museum studies, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership. He has served on several boards, including the Board for the Education Consortium of Central Los Angeles, the Community Guidance Body for Best Start Metro Los Angeles, and the national educational advisory board for the PBS children’s show Sid the Science Kid.
Dierdre Wolownick
Feb. 23: Dierdre Wolownick, Mother of an Ultra-Climber
Del Norte 1004
How I Sleep at Night: Conquering Every Parent's Worst Fears at 3,000 Feet. Time and again Dierdre Wolownick is asked, "What was it like to raise Alex Honnold, the most famous climber in the world?" Alex is the only person to climb El Capitan and other vertical granite walls without rope or protection. Raising Alex and climbing with him have taught Dierdre about managing fear and using it to strive to be better and accomplish more than she ever dreamed possible.   Many years ago Dierdre went to the climbing gym to see what Alex did all the time. She decided to join him so she could spend more time with him. Each year, they do a special climb together that takes her out of her comfort zone and into the world of high elevation and adventure. Because of Alex, Diedre is the oldest woman to climb El Capitan. Dierdre retired from college teaching in 2015 to climb and write. She's been steadily pushing her limits. Meanwhile, Alex is currently revising his book, Alone on the Wall. National Geographic, which featured him on its May 2011 cover, is making a documentary of him. Bring questions you’ve always wanted to ask about Alex, climbing at any age, managing a parent's fear, and raising a "different" child.
Joey Garcia
March 2: Joey Garcia, Columnist and Relationship Expert
Del Norte 1004
Three Things that Never Age: Love, Sex and Relationships. "I’m 69 years old, twice-divorced and still dreaming of the right man." So go the comments expressed to Joey Garcia, Sacramento's premiere relationship columnist. These challenges are exacerbated by online dating and other new modes of communication. After 21-plus years of pointing out red flags in her Ask Joey column, Joey has learned that love, sex, and relationships play a prominent role in the minds of men and women past age 50. Joey's column reaches 300,000 weekly readers in the Sacramento News and Review. Her book, Opening to Love: Healing and Finding Love after an Affair, Heartbreak or Divorce took her to a new level of acclaim She's been featured in the Huffington Post, Sacramento Magazine, Sacramento Bee, Good Day Sacramento, Capital Public Radio's Insight, KQED radio, KFBK radio, KCRA-TV, and ABC10-TV. Currently she's the Relationship Expert for Fox 40 News and fills in as host for The Pat Walsh Show on NewsRadio KFBK. In 2000, Joey became a spiritual health consultant for Sutter Center for Integrative Health. She has taught relationship education programs in schools, shelters, jails and the Learning Exchange. In addition, she launched a leadership skills programs for girls in Belize, her native country, and another program in Sacramento that has helped more than 100 Sacramento-area teen girls in skills that translate to workplace success.
Kim Nalder
March 9: Kim Nalder, Director of Project for an Informed Electorate
Del Norte 1004
Fake News: How to Tell What's True and How It Is Disrupting Our Country. Kim Nalder is a Professor of Political Science at California State University, Sacramento, and the founding director of the Project for an Informed Electorate. She also serves as the Executive Director of California Speaks Opinion Research at the Institute for Social Research. Professor Nalder studies public opinion, political psychology, mass media and politics and California politics.
Daniel Hahn
March 16: Daniel Hahn, Sacramento Police Chief
Del Norte 1004
Daniel Hahn became Sacramento's 45th police chief, and its first African-American one, last August. He is a Sacramento native, growing up in Oak Park and graduating from Sacramento High School. He lives in south Sacramento with his wife and two children. He had served with the Sacramento Police Department for 23 years, starting as a Community Service Officer at 19 in 1987 while attending Sacramento City College. He became an officer while still in community college, and later graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1995. He also has a Master in Public Administration degree from National University, which he earned in 2001. Before becoming Sacramento's police chief he served as chief for the city of Roseville for six years.
March 23:
Spring Break; No Forum.
March 30:
Cesar Chavez Holiday; No Forum
Cheryl Osborne
April 6: Cheryl Osborne, Professor of Nursing and Gerontology and Director of Gerontology
Redwood Room, University Union
Osborne, a nurse and gerontologist, has been recognized for her local, state and national work in both disciplines. The award acknowledges her leadership in Sacramento State's Gerontology Program: curriculum development, maintenance, and growth; and her coordination and development of national nursing gerontology/geriatric standards and curricula.
April 13: Doug Elmets, President Elmets Communications
Redwood Room, University Union
A Republicans Dilemma: Party Over Country, or Country Over Party? Doug is President of Elmets Communications and began his career in communications and strategy in the Reagan White House. He began his own company in 1996, helping manage government and public relations for major companies and organizations here in Sacramento. You may remember him as the Republican speaker at the 2016 Democratic Convention.
Jody Nelsen
April 20: Jody Nelsen, Wife of CSUS President Nelsen
Del Norte 1004
Food for Needy Students. Jody Nelsen is a practical-minded woman with an infectious laugh, a master's degree in business administration and a passion for helping people in need. She grew up in Ann Arbor, Mich., but her father, a law professor, later moved the family to Utah, where he was a founding professor of the new law school at his alma mater, Brigham Young University. There she met Robert Nelsen, a BYU student. They were married in 1975; they both quit college and moved to Southern California, where Robert managed a western wear store. They returned to Utah, where he finished his bachelor's and master's degrees at BYU. They moved to Chicago for his doctorate and Jody returned to school at Loyola University for her bachelor's in business administration. When Robert moved to University of Texas-Dallas, Jody worked as a manager in the university's physical plant while she worked on an MBA from UT-Dallas in 1997, then became the university's associate vice president for Business Affairs. He became president of UT-Pan American; she took a leading role in combating hunger in a three-county, low-income region of South Texas. The Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley served 42,000 meals a week through its partner agencies, one of which was UTPA's food pantry that fed 150 students each week. The Nelsens established the Robert Seth Nelsen Emergency Assistance Endowment at UTPA to cover emergency expenses that might prevent a student from graduating. Because a similar fund exists at Sac State, the Nelsens are considering another project that will benefit students and bear the name of their only child, who was 25 when he took his life in 2001 (he had suffered from left temporal lobe epilipsy and depression).
April 27: Richard Shek, CSUS Asian Studies Vice-Director
Del Norte 1004
Chinese President Xi. Dr. Shek's areas of specialty include Southeast Asian Art history, SEA history, the mainland SEA (i.e., Thailand, Cambodia and Burma), Indian Art and Philosophy and Buddhist art. His research interests are on the political uses of religious icons and the interpretation of religious practices from art works.
Phil Serna
May 4: Phil Serna, Sacramento County Supervisor
Del Norte 1004
Homelessness and Other Key County Issues. Phil Serna is the County Supervisor for District 1, which includes the airport, McClellan Business Park, Downtown, Oak Park, Woodlake and River Park. He completed his undergraduate studies at Sacramento State University and earned a master's degree in city and regional planning from Cal Poly San Louis Obispo. He will address the Forum on homelessness in Sacramento County and other key county issues, such as mental and indigent health care, protective services for children and the elderly, public safety, enhancing the environment, and improving the American River Parkway.