I am truly honored to begin my journey today as interim president of Sonoma State University.
As a first-generation college graduate, I know firsthand how the value of a college degree can transform the life trajectory of a student, their family, and the extended community – oftentimes for generations.
I grew up in an economically-deprived area of Taiwan. My father had three years of schooling in mainland China, and my mother was never provided an opportunity to learn how to read. Despite these obstacles, and with the humblest of income, my parents invested all of their energy, focus, and savings to ensure that I would have a chance to go to school. It was through their sacrifices that I was able to become the first in my family to earn a bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degree.
As you may know, I come to Sonoma State from Sacramento State, where I began as an Associate Professor of Marketing in 1990, moving up the ranks to Professor in 1997; then Department Chair; Dean; Vice President of Business Affairs & Chief Financial Officer; and Interim Provost. My extensive experience as a faculty member and administrator, informed by my own background, reflects my preparedness for the role ahead. I am humbled by the opportunity to lead this campus toward even greater success, while working closely with our faculty, students, staff, alumni, philanthropic supporters, and community partners.
I feel very fortunate to be at Sonoma State, where the world-class educational opportunities are inspiring, and where the campus is so beautiful and welcoming. My wife, Fei, and I are excited to be living in campus housing, where we will be a part of this dynamic Seawolf community.
I thank each of you for your commitment and dedication to SSU and for continuing to advance the mission of student success. I look forward to all of the progress that we will accomplish together as a campus community. Sonoma State is truly a jewel of the CSU, and I look forward to being an active champion of this very special place.
Mike Lee, Ph.D., Interim President