One of every 20 residents of the Sacramento region is a Sacramento State graduate, making the university indispensable for developing the homegrown innovative and entrepreneurial talent necessary for our prosperity.
Whether in the arts, business, education, health care, or in the corridors of City Hall and the state Capitol, Sacramento State graduates are leading the region’s private and public sectors. They also lead key nonprofit organizations, including the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, the Metro Chamber of Commerce and Valley Vision. You can even find two on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world: “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt and Hollywood filmmaker Ryan Coogler.
We know that Sacramento State must have a prominent downtown presence if we are to be the “Capital University.” So last week, we proudly announced that the university will have a visible presence at Third and S streets with the purchase of a three-story office building that will house a planned School of Public Affairs.
The school will fundamentally transform Sacramento State’s connection to downtown, becoming a highly visible focal point for addressing public policy challenges such as sustainability in water and energy, land use and economic development and California’s social and political climate.
By physically locating our many policy-related programs and resources closer to City Hall, Sacramento County government and the state Capitol, the university will be more accessible to policymakers and practitioners. At the same time, our students and faculty will have ready access to local and state government, which in turn will have greater access to our high-quality graduates and interns.
The move also will better serve our students by bringing together nationally ranked programs, such as the Capital Fellows Programs, the master’s degree program in public policy and administration, the Institute for Social Research and the Center for Collaborative Policy, which already is downtown.
The long-running Sacramento Semester internship program is proposed for the new location, as is the Project for an Informed Electorate. Programs beyond public policy and government that are expected to have a presence at the new school are the College of Continuing Education, the master’s of business administration for executives program, the Center for Small Business and the Education Insights Center. Some undergraduate government classes related to California politics might also move downtown.
By harnessing the power and synergies of these outstanding programs and the collective talent and expertise of our faculty and students, Sacramento State is planting a flag downtown. Moreover, it adds to the revitalization of downtown underway with the construction of the Golden 1 Center and the adjacent Downtown Commons, among other planned developments.
With this move, we are fulfilling our rightful role as the leading institution for the study and discourse of public policy, government and politics as the Capital University in the nation’s most populous state.
Robert S. Nelsen is president of California State University, Sacramento. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.