Press Release Education

Sonoma State University President Ruben Armiñana to Retire




President Ruben Armiñana of Sonoma State University announced today his decision to retire at the end of the 2015-16 academic year. The announcement was made during the annual university convocation on campus. Armiñana is the longest seated president in the CSU system, who will have served 24 years by his retirement.

In his convocation address, Armiñana said, “It has been a privilege to have stewarded Sonoma State University for these years. I believe with the assistance and leadership of many of you here and some who have previously retired, SSU has been transformed and is a jewel not only in the California State University but in higher education. The physical transformation is evident, but more important and significant has been the strengthening of the academic quality and its recognition in the community. We impact the lives of our students and graduates and nothing gives me more pride than when I am approached locally and nationally, even abroad, by an alum who happily and proudly tells me that he or she went to Sonoma State University and how great that experience was. My eternal wish is that expression continues for our present and future students.”

President Armiñana came to Sonoma State on the cusp of one of California’s crippling budget crises. At the time, the university was relatively isolated from the local community, and was primarily a commuter and re-entry student campus. Today, Sonoma State attracts not only high caliber students, but also world-class faculty who excel in research, teaching, community service and creativity. The alumni of Sonoma State, through Armiñana’s leadership and connection to them, remain committed to helping to grow the reputation of the campus and give back by investing their time and resources.

“Through President Armiñana’s dedication, leadership and vision, Sonoma State has become a high-demand destination campus boasting an array of signature programs and iconic facilities including the renowned Green Music Center,” said CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White. “President Armiñana has left an indelible mark on the campus and greater community. His focus on respect, civility and collaboration—coupled with his unwavering commitment to students—has fostered an intimate caring culture at Sonoma State where the entire campus community works together to create a positive learning experience for students.”

Under his leadership, the university has experienced an increase in private donor investment, the number of students who apply, academic reputation, and partnerships with businesses and public institutions in the North Bay region and beyond. He also renewed the campus’ commitment to diversity through the creation of the President’s Diversity Council and multiple other initiatives.

During his tenure, Sonoma State became a major contributor to the North Bay workforce. The campus launched the Wine Business Institute, a unique program focusing on the business side of the region’s lucrative wine industry; the Engineering Science program to meet the needs of the burgeoning telecom industry that had transplanted from the Silicon Valley; the Environmental Studies and Planning Department, which incorporates sustainability and alternative energies into its curriculum and is renowned for its faculty’s expertise in sustainability; and the Executive MBA program, which supports the surrounding community’s need for highly-skilled currently-employed executives.

Armiñana also led campus expansion efforts to include: the opening of the Jean and Charles Schulz Information Center, the Environmental Technology Center, Student Center, Recreation Center and Darwin Hall, housing the campus’ growing science programs. In addition, the campus renovated Salazar Hall (to offer a central location for all student services) and doubled the size of residential housing to accommodate 3,100 students. Through his vision and perseverance, the Donald & Maureen Green Music Center and Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall opened in 2012 to world-wide acclaim and provided the campus with a new focus on the performing arts.

He serves on many local and regional boards including the North Bay Leadership Council and the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California. He is a member of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and the Santa Rosa Chamber Business Education Leaders Committee. His work at the CSU system level includes leadership roles in technology and finance.

Armiñana came to Sonoma State from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where he served as vice president for finance and development. He holds associate’s degrees in economics and political science from Hill Junior College in Hillsboro, Texas, bachelor’s degrees in economics, political science and Spanish from the University of Texas at Austin, and master’s degrees in Latin American economics and political science from the University of Texas at Austin. He holds a Ph.D. in political science (public administration, international relations, and comparative politics) from the University of New Orleans.

In the coming months, the CSU Board of Trustees will begin a national search to select a new campus president.

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About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, 47,000 faculty and staff and more than 460,000 students. Half of the CSU’s students transfer from California Community Colleges. Created in 1960, the mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever changing needs of California. With its commitment to quality, opportunity, and student success, the CSU is renowned for superb teaching, innovative research and for producing job-ready graduates. Each year, the CSU awards more than 100,000 degrees. One in every 20 Americans holding a college degree is a graduate of the CSU and our alumni are 3 million strong. Connect with and learn more about the CSU at CSU Social Media.

Board of Trustees; Leadership