CSU Leader

  • BY Cal State East Bay
  • June 1, 2016

The California State University Board of Trustees has appointed Judy K. Sakaki, Ph.D. — a double alumna of Cal State East Bay — as president of Sonoma State University.

Sakaki currently serves as vice president, Student Affairs, at the University of California, Office of the President. Sakaki earned a bachelor's degree in Human Development and master's degree in Educational Psychology.

“I remember many of the excellent and caring faculty that I had when I was an undergraduate student at Cal State East Bay,” Sakaki said. “They took an extra interest in me and pushed me. They helped me to grow and develop as a student and person.”

Sakaki also held a number of positions with CSUEB beginning in 1976, including outreach counselor; associate director, Educational Opportunity Program; lecturer and adjunct faculty member, Department of Educational Psychology; special assistant to the president on educational equity; and executive director, Student Academic Services. She credits former CSUEB President Norma Rees with encouraging her to go into university administration.

As President of Sonoma State, Sakaki succeeds Ruben Armiñana, who is retiring in June. Sakaki will be the campus' seventh president and the second female president in its 55-year history. She is expected to begin her new position on July 1.

“Dr. Sakaki's combination of demonstrated achievements, leadership skills and academic credentials make her the ideal person to serve as the president of Sonoma State,” said CSU Trustee Lupe Garcia, chair of the Trustees' Committee for the Selection of the President. “Her commitment to academic excellence and her knowledge and experience in California public higher education make her a tremendous asset to Sonoma State, the community, and the CSU. Her extensive and stellar work in student affairs complements the university's mission of improving student retention and graduation rates.”

For the last nine years, Sakaki has been responsible for policies, services and initiatives relating to student access, affordability and success for all 238,000 UC students on 10 campuses. The division includes undergraduate admissions, student financial support and student services. She served on the President's cabinet and Academic Affairs cabinet and collaborated with UC Regents, Academic Senate, Staff Assembly, UC Student Association and Federal and State Governmental Relations. She led fundraising efforts for scholarships, programs and initiatives, and represented the university in community and alumni relations efforts.

Sakaki previously served as vice chancellor of Student Affairs at UC Davis. Prior to that, she was vice president and dean of student affairs at Fresno State.

Sakaki said her experiences at Cal State East Bay will help her going forward. “I learned to be open to new people, ideas, and ways of thinking,” Sakaki said. “I learned to actively listen to others. I learned to communicate clearly and to think analytically. I learned to lead and to work in teams. I learned to respect and appreciate differing backgrounds, views and opinions. All that I learned at CSUEB will serve me well in my new role as president at Sonoma State.”