Sonoma State University, in a full day of free activities was open to the public, celebrating the formal installation of Judy K. Sakaki as the University's seventh president at a campus-wide Investiture ceremony Thursday, April 20.
Beginning with the 9 a.m. Mini-Conference showcasing some of the university's most compelling academic accomplishments around the themes of sustainability, diversity, community engagement and global perspectives, Investiture Day culminated with a free, evening concert at the Green Music Center by the popular jazz fusion group, Hiroshima.
"It is the honor of a lifetime to lead Sonoma State," President Sakaki said. "Investiture is a wonderful opportunity for us to talk about the university's future and draw attention to some of the excellent and transformative work being done by our students, faculty and staff."
The Investiture theme was "Dance with Change," and President Sakaki touched on her new campus initiatives and vision for the University's future after being officially sworn in by California State University Chancellor Timothy White. That portion of the day's events took place in Weill Hall at the Green Music Center from 2 to 4 p.m. and was followed by a reception at the GMC's Trione Courtyard.
Michael Drake, a mentor of President Sakaki's who is a former chancellor at the University of California, Irvine and current president of The Ohio State University, delivered the keynote address. A number of dignitaries, including members of the CSU Board of Trustees and presidents from other CSU campuses, were expected to attend.
Most of the Mini-Conference's 50 presentations, performances and sessions were held in the Student Center between 9 a.m. and noon.
Contemporary jazz masters, Hiroshima, performed at 7:30 p.m. in Weill Hall at the Green Music Center.
Investiture, held during a president's first year in office, is a longstanding academic tradition where a new leader is vested with the official powers of the presidency. Dr. Sakaki began serving as Sonoma State president last July after a long career overseeing student affairs at Fresno State, UC Davis and the UC Office of the President. She is the first Japanese-American woman in the nation to lead a four-year university and has devoted her entire career to issues of inclusion, educational opportunities and achievement for all students.
The exhibit runs through the summer. It was curated by Dana Ogo Shew, a Sonoma State archeologist and oral historian. This year marks the 75th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's executive order leading to the internment of about 120,000 men, women and children of Japanese ancestry. Many of those interned, including Dr. Sakaki's mother and father, were born in the U.S. and were American citizens.
As a young girl growing up in a diverse neighborhood in East Oakland, Sakaki never imagined attending college, let alone making a career as an educator. But a chance meeting with a college outreach worker opened her eyes to the possibility and she went on to earn two degrees from what is now CSU East Bay. She later earned a Ph.D. in education from UC Berkeley and uses her story to underscore how a quality education can transform people's lives.