On July 1, Judy K. Sakaki began her tenure as the seventh president of Sonoma State University. She is the first Asian-American woman to lead a four-year higher education institution in California.
"I am impressed with the dedication and excellence of the staff and faculty and the love that students have of Sonoma State," said Sakaki. "I am looking forward to listening, learning, and working together with students, staff, faculty, alumni and the community."
Sakaki is the first Japanese-American woman in the nation to become president of a four-year college or university. She becomes the second female president in Sonoma State University's 55-year history.
Sakaki has devoted her entire career to issues of inclusion, educational opportunities and achievement for all students. Prior to coming to Sonoma State, Sakaki served as Vice President, Student Affairs in the University of California Office of the President. There, she was responsible for policies, services and initiatives relating to student access, affordability and success for all 238,000 UC students on 10 campuses.
Sakaki has also served as Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs at UC Davis and Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs at Fresno State. She earned a Ph.D. in Education from UC Berkeley, and an M.A. in Educational Psychology and B.A. in Human Development from California State University, East Bay. She has taught university classes and managed departments ranging from 45 to 1,000 employees.
Her work in addressing sexual violence and sexual harassment is in consonance with the requirements of the Violence Against Women Act. She has a strong commitment to undocumented students, veterans, and the LGBT+ students, faculty, and staff communities.
Sakaki is the proud mother of two sons, one a high school English teacher and the other a medical doctor.