Dear Warrior Family,
December always is such a magical time on college campuses, with the concurrent holiday season and end of semester bringing us simultaneous feelings of joy and accomplishment. I want to express the happiness and pride I feel during this season as we reflect on such a transformative year in the history of Stan State — serving and enriching the lives of our students and the people of our region.
There are so many accomplishments we can look upon with gratitude that I can’t hope to name them all. Here are a few things — some of them ongoing — that we can look upon as successes in the context of Stan State’s greater mission.
Foremost in my mind is the success thus far of the First-Generation Presidential Scholars initiative as a new fundraising priority to create unique scholarships for students from California’s Central Valley. This not only is the first initiative of its kind at Stan State, but the first in the California State University system to directly impact and attract students from this specific geographic footprint. In September, we held a very successful Gala to raise funds for this initiative, and the response from the community has been generous and continues to grow.
Also in September, we announced the formation of the Joint Taskforce on Diversity and Inclusion, a unique partnership between Stan State and the City of Turlock to address issues of inclusion and diversity, with the goal of making the city and the campus feel safe and welcoming for all residents by fostering belonging and acceptance. The commitment to work with the city to address these issues is an expansion of the work already in progress on our campus and is a natural extension of our Diversity Center, which we established last year.
And speaking of our partnership with the City of Turlock, I’d like to offer congratulations to two Stan State alumnae who are so deeply invested and involved in our community that they ran — both successfully — for city office. We can’t wait to keep working closely with new mayor Amy Bublak, as well as with new city council member Nicole Larson and the entire council.
This semester, I had the privilege and joy of co-teaching our Designing Your Tomorrow (based on Stanford’s successful Design Your Life course) with Provost Kim Greer. Our group of students, along with faculty and staff teaching this section led by Dr. Bruce Hesse, Dr. Ellen Bell, Julie Sedlemeyer, director of the Career and Professional Development Center. Together, our students are discovering new methods of spurring problem-solving, design thinking and innovation, while taking a proactive approach to visualizing their own paths to real-world success in life after college.
I also want to say a few words about the campus closure. Yes, it was difficult to lose days on our campus. However, as I’ve said before, we consulted with and considered many entities to conclude it was the best interest of our students, faculty and staff to close the campus while the air quality was severely compromised. Thank you again to all the faculty and employees who have had to make adjustments as a result. We realize that our closure was a very minor hardship compared to what so many of our brothers and sisters are experiencing in Butte County and at Chico State. Even with the impact felt on our campus, we raised more than $7,000 through our Campus Cares fund for the “Warriors Helping Wildcats” campaign, a display of generosity that should warm all of our hearts.
I’m very proud of what we’re doing to better serve the needs of San Joaquin County through our enhanced and ongoing commitment to the Stanislaus State Stockton Campus and the development of partnerships with business and civic leaders in Stockton. Enrollment in Stockton programs grew 17 percent in the last year, and the Stockton Campus’ roughly 800 students represent about 8 percent of Stan State’s total enrollment. To further strengthen programs at the Stockton Campus, Provost Greer was authorized to add four tenure-track faculty positions as part of a five-year Stockton Campus strategic plan. The strategic plan also includes a memorandum of understanding with San Joaquin Delta College to pave a pathway for piloting our four-year bachelor’s degrees for transfer students in the top three undergraduate majors (business administration, liberal studies and psychology) through the Warriors on the Way (WOW) program. Additional MOUs to help transfer students from Modesto Junior College and Merced College are planned for the future.
This time of year is especially scenic on our gorgeous campus with the trees displaying their seasonal colors. So, it is with pleasure that I announce our University's first photographic coffee table book, “Seasons at Stanislaus State.” This beautiful book was created by Dean DeCocker, director of the University Art Gallery; Brad Peatross, graphic specialist in the College of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Steve Caballero, senior graphic designer in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs; and Kristina Stamper, director for communications and creative services in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs. Copies will be available for order online in the New Year.
As I reflect on everything students, faculty and staff have accomplished in 2018, "wow" is the word that comes to mind. And our successes this year are certain to make 2019 another banner year in Stan State’s history.
To all of you, I wish a wonderful and restful holiday season.