Sonoma State University’s President-Elect, Judy K. Sakaki, attended a reception in her honor on Friday, allowing students and faculty to gain insight on the future of Sonoma State. The meet-and-greet took place in the Student Center Ballroom anddoors openedat 3 p.m., allowing a flood of students, staff, faculty, alums and community leaders to fill in every seat and occupy standing space. Plenty of students represented various group and organization on campus such as members of greek life, residential life, Associated Students, Culinary Services and many more.
Contrary to previous receptions held on campus, students weren’t presentfor the free food and drinks, nor the live, three-person band playing upbeat mood music—students showed up to usher in a new era. After the crowd settled in and spectators took their respective place, the current President of Sonoma State and host of the banquet Ruben Armiñana took to the podium..
“Class has begun,” said Armiñana in attempts to quiet the crowd and begin the event.
Armiñana gave a brief speech introducing the incoming president, noting that Sakaki is the seventh president of Sonoma State. Sakaki is a first-generation college student and alum of the California State University system.
“I think she comes at this position really really prepared and eager to meet the challenges of this institution,” said Armiñana
Sakaki has already taken steps to familiarize herself with her future coworkers by meeting with cabinet and extended cabinet members, as well as faculty members. Sakaki has also expressed interest in listening to the seawolf community voice as to better serve the needs of Sonoma State come July 1, when she takes over Armiñana’s position.
“It’s not my vision,” said Sakaki, “I am listening and learning from all of you and we will work to create our vision.”
Student interest in Sakaki has been widespread and consistent, and evidenced by the number of emails Sakaki has gotten from students regarding what they want to see from the administration in the future.
“The openness she has with the students already has surprised me,” said Freshman Grant Peters. “I’m looking forward to see how this school progresses over [my] next three years here.”
Students knew Sakaki wouldvisit Sonoma State since Feb. 4 when an invitation to the reception was dispersed via email. After her speech, Sakaki walked the ballroom and talked to students, staff, faculty, alums and supporters of Sonoma State University.
“It is so amazing, it’s awesome, it’s exciting, it’s fun,” said Sakakiwhile walking the room, “It just shows the love that people have with this institution or they wouldn’t be here, and that makes me even more excited to be here.”
While holding her current position as Vice President of Student Affairs at the University of California, Office of the President, Sakaki has been at the forefront of initiatives and policies involving student access and affordability for all UC students across 10 campuses. Sakaki will be leading the 9,400 students and 1,300 staff and faculty members that make up Sonoma State University.
“I feel like since she was in charge of way more students in a sense with the UC, she can definitely handle the student body of Sonoma State,” said Christain Casillas, sophomore communication studies major.
The campus of Sonoma has extended its hand to Sakaki and looks toward a new age of leadership.
“I got my pin this morning ‘I am a Sonoma State’, as all of you are.” said Sakaki to end her speech.