SSU names new AVP of Strategic Communications

September 3, 2020
Julia Gonzalez

Julia Gonzalez will begin her new position on Sept. 14, 2020.

(Rohnert Park) — Julia Gonzalez, who currently serves as the communications and marketing manager for the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District (SMART), has been named Assistant Vice President of Strategic Communications at Sonoma State University. 

Gonzalez comes to Sonoma State with more than 20 years of experience in the communications and marketing fields. In her current role as director of SMART’s Communications and Marketing Department, Gonzalez oversees their communications, branding, marketing and advertising programs. Gonzalez also has experience working in higher education, including at Sonoma State where she served as an outreach coordinator and EOP advisor and program specialist early in her career. 

Chief of Staff Dr. Jerlena Griffin-Desta, to whom this position reports, notes that President Sakaki and the entire Cabinet are excited to welcome Gonzalez back to Sonoma State. “Her talent, enthusiasm and commitment to access to public higher education make her an ideal choice for this position. Julia’s communication, marketing, and public affairs expertise and proven record of success are needed and valued as unexpected challenges and opportunities emerge during these unprecedented times. I thank the search committee, led by Executive Director of the Green Music Center, Jacob Yarrow, for their excellent work toward filling this very important position and invite the campus to give Julia a warm and sincere Seawolf welcome.”

Before assuming her current position in 2019, Gonzalez served in a number of roles including as communications coordinator for the City of Santa Rosa’s Transit, City Bus and ParaTransit Division, as well as the city’s Transportation and Public Works Department. Her work in higher education traces back to 1996 where she was the assistant director for the University of San Francisco’s North Bay campus for five years before joining Sonoma State in 2002. Gonzalez earned her undergraduate degree from UCLA in Anthropology and her master’s from the University of San Francisco in International and Multicultural Education. 

A lifelong California resident originally from the Los Angeles area, Gonzalez has called Sonoma County home for almost 30 years. In her spare time she said she enjoys dabbling in various art media and attending her children's sporting events. 

“I'm very pleased to be joining the team at Sonoma State University,” said Gonzalez. “This is an opportunity for me to return to my professional roots, working to promote and advance higher education. SSU is integral to the North Bay and I am honored to steer the communications and branding, especially as the region emerges from the pandemic.”

Gonzalez will begin her new position on Sept. 14, 2020.

ABOUT US: With a student population of 9,200, Sonoma State is a regionally serving public university committed to educational access and excellence. Guided by our core values and driven by a commitment to the liberal arts and sciences, Sonoma State delivers high-quality education through innovative programs that leverage the economic, cultural and natural resources of the North Bay. See more news from SSU at

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Robert Eyler