With a tip of the hat to the accomplishments of the last year and a firm grasp on what Stanislaus State needs to build for the future, University President Ellen Junn welcomed back the campus community on Monday, Aug. 19, during her annual Fall Welcome Address.
“What continues to excite me every day when I drive to campus is that I know we’ve become an incredible, talented and collaborative team,” Junn said. “Whether you are on the front lines, working directly with our students, or behind the scenes, I know that each one of you cares deeply about our campus.”
In Junn’s Fall Welcome, her fourth since becoming Stan State’s 11th president, she spoke about some of the national accolades the University has received, especially for the way it serves its underserved students, making a point to mention that 79 percent of the incoming freshman class self-identifies as being first-generation college students.
And with the University continuing to serve a region in great need of college graduates, she introduced three plans — two involving physical campus construction and a third dealing with the development of an integrated co-curricular program to help students be successful after college.
Junn introduced plans to construct a new Classroom II building on campus, which – once open – will allow for the renovation of Bizzini Hall, the oldest instruction building on campus and one of two buildings that date back to the opening of the current campus in 1965. As planned, the concept for the Classroom II building includes 33 general classrooms with more than 1,400 seats, 138 faculty offices, six lecture classrooms and six specialized labs. If the project is funded, Junn said, it could open for the fall 2024 semester.
She also announced plans to build a much-needed building to replace Acacia Hall on the Stockton Campus. The new Stockton building is planned to be a three-story building of roughly 188,000 square feet that will serve as an all-in-one academic and student services facility, located visibly along Harding Way at University Park. Depending on funding, the building could open as early as the 2025-26 academic year.
Junn’s vision for helping Stan State graduates to be competitive in the regional workforce immediately upon graduation is manifested in the CareerReadyU initiative, which will have students thinking about and preparing themselves for lives after college — while still in college.
The University already is speaking with external public- and private-sector employers to enlist their help identifying specific career skills they’d like to see in Stan State grads, while developing mentorship and internship opportunities to connect students with employers. Internally, the University will begin the CareerReadyU initiative by identifying and creating an inventory of all Stan State programs and practices already in place that can become part of the initiative.
“Under CareerReadyU, the region’s businesses and organizations will become key partners with Stan State, creating a symbiotic relationship that will transform the labor market, with the ultimate goal of harnessing the talent of Stan State graduates as the building blocks of a vibrant local and regional economy,” she said.