Judy Sakaki became Sonoma State University’s president in July 2016.
ROHNERT PARK — The investiture of Judy Sakaki, Ph.D., as the seventh president of Sonoma State University will be held on Thursday, April 20, at Weill Hall, Green Music Center on the SSU campus, 1801 E. Cotati Ave. in Rohnert Park.
A reception will immediately follow in the Green Music Center’s Trione Courtyard.
Defined as the “act or ceremony of conferring the authority and symbols of a high office,” an investiture is an academic ceremony in which a new leader is “vested” with the official powers of office. Held during a president’s first year in office, an investiture provides an opportunity to welcome a new chapter in a university’s history and celebrate as a community.
The day’s events are as follows:
All day — Exhibit: “I Am Because… Dr. Judy K. Sakaki’s Journey to the SSU Presidency” at University Library Gallery
9 a.m. to 12 p.m. — Mini-conference in Student Center Ballroom, Seawolf Plaza, Library and Art Gallery. A campus-wide event, open to the public, that will feature presentations, discussions, and performances born of campus thinkers and creators around themes of community engagement, sustainability, globalization and diversity.
2 to 4 p.m. — Investiture ceremony at Green Music Center, Weill Hall
4 to 5 p.m. — Campus reception in Trione Courtyard, Green Music Center
7:30 p.m. — Hiroshima Concert at Green Music Center, Weill Hall. Hiroshima, a Los Angeles-based group whose music falls between R&B, pop, world music, and jazz, has long had its own niche. The band — June Kuramoto (koto), Dan Kuramoto (woodwinds, keyboards, shakuhachi), Kimo Cornwell (piano, keyboards), Danny Yamamoto (drums, percussion, taiko) and Dean Cortez (bass) — integrates traditional Japanese instruments into their musical blend.
Free, but tickets are required and can be obtained by visiting the GMC website, http://gmc.sonoma.edu/event/3498374-a-celebration-of-the-investiture-of.
Hiroshima (from left): Danny Yamamoto, June Kuramoto, Dan Kuramoto Kimo Cornwell, Dean Cortez
For more information on the day’s activities, visit www.sonoma.edu/investiture/.
Details of Investiture
Video: “Dr. Judy Sakaki: A Change for Sonoma State” by Brennan Chin, videographer, Sonoma State graduate student
Processional: Sonoma State University Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Alexander Kahn, conductor, Symphony No. 6, “Pastoral” by Ludwig van Beethoven
Welcome and introduction of platform party by Dr. Jeri Echeverria, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs
Coast Miwok blessing by Joanne Campbell, elder, Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria
Buddhist offering of gratitude: “Kokoro” by Dr. Satsuki Ina, professor emeritus, CSU Sacramento
Taiko performance: “Hachijo,” arrangement by PJ and Roy Hirabayashi, NEA National Heritage Fellows
Greetings from the Sonoma State community by Dr. Ben Ford, chair of the faculty (Academic Senate); Katie Musick, staff representative; Joseph Huang, president, SSU Alumni Association; Emily Hinton, president, Associated Students
Poem: “Sonoma State Rising” by Dr. Kim D. Hester Williams, professor of English and American multicultural studies, Sonoma State University
Greeting from our community by Willie Tamayo, president, La Tortilla Factory
Keynote address: “The Power and Promise of Higher Education” by Dr. Michael V. Drake, president, Ohio State University
Student dance performance: “Surrounded” by Caitlin Colangel, choreographer; James DeSoto, Kyle Her, Anjelica Martinez, Carrissa Pinnix, Katy Waechter, dancers
Investiture and presentation of the Presidential Medallion by Dr. Timothy P. White, chancellor, the California State University
Presidential address: “Dance with Change” by Dr. Judy K. Sakaki, president, Sonoma State University
Sonoma State Alma Mater by Sonoma State University Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Alexander Kahn, conductor, with Sonoma State University Chamber Singers, Dr. Jenny Bent, director. Music by Dr. Brian S. Wilson, professor of music, SSU; words by Dr. Brantley Bryant, professor of English, SSU
Recessional by Sonoma State University Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Alexander Kahn, conductor. “Happy,” words by Pharrell Williams
About Judy Sakaki
Dr. Judy K. Sakaki became Sonoma State University’s seventh president on July 1, 2016. She is the second female president on the campus and the first Japanese American woman president in the nation to lead a four-year college or university. She is a first-generation college student, a product of public education and a graduate of both the California State University and the University of California. She has devoted her entire career to issues of access, affordability, inclusive excellence, educational opportunities and achievement for all students.
Dr. Judy Sakaki
Since her arrival at Sonoma State, Sakaki has reprioritized the academic mission of the university and has focused on student success. She helped SSU achieve eligibility as an Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and is developing an Undocumented Student Center as well as a transition center to better support transfer students.
In keeping with her focus on inclusion and opportunity, during her first weeks as president she hosted the largest group of young people in the university’s history when nearly 500 elementary and middle school students visited Sonoma State to experience a taste of college life. The students were from an ethnically diverse, economically challenged area of Sacramento.
Prior to Sonoma State, Sakaki served as vice president for student affairs for the University of California, Office of the President. There she worked on admissions, financial aid and student success initiatives. Before that, she was vice chancellor for student affairs at UC Davis, vice president and dean of students at Fresno State and executive director of Student Academic Services, including the Educational Opportunity Program, at CSU East Bay.
She has taught university classes; managed departments and divisions ranging from 45 to 1,000 employees; and has testified before Senate and Assembly committees regarding financial aid, academic preparation programs, gender equity in athletics and student mental health. She has a strong commitment to vulnerable populations including underrepresented students, undocumented students, veterans and LGBTQI students, faculty and staff communities.
In 2009, Sakaki co-chaired a system-wide faculty and administrative task force to award honorary degrees to approximately 700 Japanese American University of California students who were unable to complete their degree due to their incarceration during World War II. Her maternal grandparents, mother and uncle were held in the Topaz camp in Utah