Public Affairs, The California State University

Sacramento State President Alexander Gonzalez to Retire

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Sacramento State President Alexander Gonzalez announced today his intent to retire at the end of the 2014-15 academic year. Gonzalez made the announcement to the campus community during his annual Fall Address. A life-long educator, campus administrator and president, his higher education career spans nearly 40 years.  He is distinguished as one of the longest continuously serving presidents in the university system with 17 years of service – 11 years at Sacramento State and six at California State University, San Marcos (CSUSM).

“Public higher education, especially public higher education in the CSU, has been my life-long passion.  But after decades of service, it’s time for me to find other ways that I can contribute to the lives of students in our communities,” said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez was appointed president of Sacramento State in 2003 after having served as president at CSUSM.  Additionally, he spent 18 years as a faculty member, department chair and provost at Fresno State.

“First through his service in the Central Valley and then at campuses both in southern and northern California, President Gonzalez has made an impact on many generations of college students across the state, especially those from under-served communities,” said CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White.  “He has dedicated his professional life to the CSU.  His leadership has transformed the university into a vibrant, destination campus, and ushered in signature academic programs and initiatives designed to boost student success and the Sacramento regional economy and workforce.  On a personal note, I value his wealth of institutional knowledge and have appreciated his thoughtful counsel, as we have worked together to fulfill the university’s mission.”

Under his leadership, Sacramento State established two new doctoral programs, the campus’s first honors program for undergraduates, an international business master’s program and a state-of-the-art facility for what is now the Sacramento State School of Nursing. Programs such as the Veterans Success Center, the Capital Fellows Programs of the Center for California Studies, the Construction Management Program and the campus office of the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation have earned nationwide acclaim.  The campus also earned the Carnegie Community Engagement classification, an honor given to campuses that provide strong evidence of a commitment to community engagement.

Gonzalez’ pursuit of partnerships with regional and national communities resulted in numerous benefits for the campus.  The Eli and Edythe L. Broad Fieldhouse, the University Bookstore, and the new state-of-the-art track surface at Hornet Stadium were all constructed without using state funds.

Gonzalez also has fostered higher education initiatives in the Sacramento region, and the University today is working with community partners to develop a center and offer classes in Placer County, Sacramento State’s second-largest source of students.

He also partnered with students to pass a referendum for The WELL, a modern recreation and wellness center, which opened in 2010.  The WELL and the American River Courtyard residence hall are the greenest buildings in the history of the Sacramento State campus, both earning LEED Gold status.  Furthermore, over the last nine years, the campus has benefitted from $160 million in gifts to the university, including cash, pledges, in-kind contributions and testamentary commitments, which the president has helped to cultivate.  The generosity of donors has supported initiatives such as the Honors Program, Guardian Scholars for emancipated foster youth, and new student scholarships.

Both on campus and in educational circles, Gonzalez has been recognized for his leadership and vision. The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) has announced that in October, he will be inducted into its Hall of Champions for his contributions to advance educational opportunities for Hispanic students.  Gonzalez previously served as chairman of HACU’s Governing Board.

In 2012, the Mexican government gave him an Ohtli Award, its highest honor for leaders of Mexican descent.  It recognized his efforts to pave the way for and improve the well-being of new generations of Mexicans in California.

He was appointed by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to the California Student Aid Commission, and served six years as a commissioner for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges – the accrediting agency for higher education institutions in California and Hawaii.  He also was appointed by former President George W. Bush to the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans.

In addition, he formerly served on the Pomona College Board of Directors and the governing board of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.

Gonzalez currently serves as the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Endowment for Financial Education, and is a former member of the American Council on Education Commission on Effective Leadership, and served on the board of directors.

His prior service to the community also includes the boards of directors for Sutter Health and the Crocker Art Museum.

Gonzalez is a U.S. Air Force veteran.  He earned his bachelor’s degree from Pomona College and his master’s and doctorate in psychology from UC Santa Cruz.  In addition, he spent a year at Stanford University as a postdoctoral fellow of the Ford Foundation and the National Research Council conducting research on the psychology of time. He also attended Harvard Law School.

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