Staking Our Claim Comes With Big Responsibility


Robert S. Nelsen

It’s easy to declare yourself something, but it is hard to walk the actual walk – to live up to the declaration.

Years ago, we declared ourselves “California’s capital university,” and Sacramento State Downtown at 304 S St. has cemented that legacy. During my Fall Address and in the Sacramento Bee, I declared that we are not only the capital’s University but that we are Sacramento’s University. To own that designation, we must become an “anchor university,” anchored solidly in the community, not just downtown, but in Meadowview, Del Paso Heights, Oak Park, Curtis Park—wherever we are needed in the Greater Sacramento Region.

An anchor university is more than just a place for a great education.  It is certainly not an ivory tower.  An anchor university deliberately and consciously applies its human and intellectual resources and its place-based economic power to better the long-term welfare of the community, thus transforming the lives not only of our students but also the lives of those who live in Sacramento and the region.

As an anchor university, we must be mission-driven to address the challenges our communities face and to build economic prosperity for every resident in the region. We are all in for Sacramento and for our students and for the creation and preservation of knowledge.

An anchor university reaches into communities and fosters engaged scholarship in the arts, social sciences, health and human services, business, engineering, and especially education. As we reach into the community, we will create pathways for stronger, healthier, better-educated students, while also creating a deep-rooted knowledge about how humans live, who humans are, what technology they need, what laws must be developed, and what it takes to have a healthy community. 

As you read this edition of Sac State Magazine, you will see that Sacramento State has always been destined to be an anchor university. This declaration is nothing new—it is who we are.

For example, Sac State’s sustainability initiatives to conserve, extend, save, and care for our environment are being noticed, accepted, and honored in Sacramento, across the state, and even nationally. Our programs to credential teachers at an even faster rate to meet the critical teacher shortage is a huge step forward in transforming our communities, in being an anchor university.

Our student leaders—the brilliant, and engaged Hornets who make up the next generation of creators and decision-makers—already are committed to transforming our region, our communities. Civic engagement is at the heart of who we are.

New leaders such as Yvonne Harris and Katherine Cota are coming on board to increase entrepreneurship and to further economic development in our region.

We are going to walk the walk. This edition of Sac State Magazine affirms our commitment and demonstrates who we are as Hornets. Stingers Up!


Robert S. Nelsen
President, Sacramento State 


Robert S. Nelsen, President

Dr. Robert S. Nelsen has been Sacramento State’s president since 2015. Under his leadership, the University’s role as a regional force and important partner for the community has grown, with Sac State proudly embracing its standing as Sacramento’s capital university.