Cathie Anderson: A UCD Aggie is sold on Drexel U.

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 - 8:01 am

As associate vice provost at Drexel University, Sandra Kirschenmann is telling the Philadelphia-based institution's story with a Sacramento voice.

Kirschenmann grew up in east Sacramento, attended Sacramento High School and then studied at University of California, Davis. She worked 32 years at Los Rios Community College District, rising to vice chancellor before Drexel recruited her to run its satellite center at One Capitol Mall in Sacramento. She recently celebrated her one- year anniversary of taking over from Carl "Tobey" Oxholm III, who left to become the 20th president of Arcadia University.

"We moved from the pioneer to the homesteader," Kirschenmann said. "Tobey brought the Drexel culture. He did that well, and yet somehow this story has to be told in a Sacramento voice."

Yet when the 59-year-old Aggie was asked to consider the post, she paused: "My sweet spot for retirement was July 1, 2013 at 5 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time. I thought, 'Do you really want to walk away from that?' "

Then she visited Drexel, saw how committed university leaders were to restoring vitality to Philadelphia and discovered faculty trying to instill students with civic responsibility.

"When you get that education from Drexel, you're making a commitment in your region, wherever you go to work, that you're going to be a civic-minded business leader," Kirschenmann said. "It's not just about making revenue. I just got so excited about bringing some of this to Sacramento."

Drexel University Sacramento began as only a graduate studies program, offering master's degrees in business administration, education and other fields. Kirschenmann is leading it into the next phase, launching an undergraduate program in business administration for juniors looking to transfer from other colleges. Classes launch this fall.

Kirschenmann brims with excitement over the 1,500 co-op opportunities for undergraduates.

"How would you like to go for a six-month co-op in Shanghai?" she asked. "How'd you like to go to a six-month co-op to the biggest bank in your hometown? How'd you like to go to a six-month co-op with CalPERS in Sacramento, which has one of the biggest investment portfolios in the world. C'mon, that just sets the tone for your career."

Drexel is looking to expand the number of undergrad degrees being offered, Kirschenmann added.

"The region has many … programs at the baccalaureate level, in particular, where students try to gain access for transfer or to go for the first time to college, and they can't," she said.

Don't lose this

The security team at Arden Fair mall in Sacramento is extending its offer of free wristbands that can help to reunite parents with lost children. Inside the band is a space for parents' names and phone numbers.

The wristband giveaway, instituted during last year's holiday shopping season, proved so popular that mall security chief Steve Reed brought it back. This time around, Reed said, he ordered more durable bands, thinking they might come in handy for summer vacation.

The bands come in bright colors – blues, greens, yellows and pinks – and they solve a problem for Reed's security staff.

"A parent will come up to us, and they're frantic," he said. "They've lost their child and they want us to look for them, but then they run off to look for their child and fail to give us a cellphone number. … This really alleviates that for us."

Arden Fair shoppers can pick up the wristbands at the guest services kiosk near JCPenney, and security officers also may be carrying them. Reed said he plans to continue restocking the bands as they run out.

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