The diamond anniversary: Sac State celebrates 75 years

The campus community gathers for the milestone


Justine Chahal

Sacramento State students, staff and faculty gather in the main quad on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the university’s founding. The campus community convenes in the grass to take the annual Swarm photo.

Justine Chahal

Sacramento State celebrated its 75th anniversary in the main quad on Thursday with cake cutting, live music and the capturing of the annual Swarm photo.  

Free food and drink was also provided alongside support and entertainment by the Marching Band and Sac State Cheer. Informational booths for on-campus programs including the Associated Students Inc. (ASI) and The WELL were set up around the stage.

The Sac State Marching Band performs at the 75th anniversary celebration of the university on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. The band was accompanied by the Sac State Cheerleaders and performed in the main quad. (Justine Chahal

After recently testing positive for COVID-19, President Robert Nelsen could not be present at the event, but did speak over Zoom, discussing the history of Sac State and more.

“A lot has changed, but the history is real,” Nelsen said. “It’s legendary. The true history is new. It is our students. It is our graduates. It is our faculty. It is our staff. The people who have made this university.”

Sac State was established in 1947 with only 235 students and five faculty members, according to the Sac State website. Now, there are 31,003 students enrolled this semester, Nelsen said. 

The university was eventually turned into a CSU-recognized institution in 1972, according to the Sac State website.

“As California’s capitol university, we transform lives by preparing students for leadership, service and success,” Nelsen said. “We have been doing this for years and we will continue to do it.”

Ethnic studies graduate student Jose Gallegos poses at Sac State’s birthday celebration on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. He says the 75th-anniversary event allows students and faculty to reflect on the university’s history. (Justine Chahal

Students like graduate ethnic studies major Jose Gallegos says the event serves as a reminder of how the university positively impacts the Sacramento area. 

“I think this is a good opportunity for us and for the Sac State community to reflect back and see that type of work that we do and how that changes lives and eventually the Sacramento State area as well,” Gallegos said. 

Students said they anticipate Sac State to become more diverse as the years go on. 

Fourth-year kinesiology major Isaac Gomez (left) and fourth-year criminal justice major Chau Nguyen (right) are sitting in the main quad during the 75th anniversary of Sac State on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022. The university celebrated this birthday with a cake cutting, live music by the Sacramento State Marching Band and free food. (Justine Chahal)

Fourth-year kinesiology major Isaac Gomez said he expects more inclusivity and diversity in the campus community. 

“There’s a huge culture in this campus and it’s something that really everybody should be aspiring towards,” Gomez said. 

In the fall of 1967, eight Black students, the first on-campus, were admitted and 14 percent of students were a racial minority by the mid-1970s, according to the Sac State website. 

Sacramento City Councilmember Eric Guerra spoke of his experience attending Sac State as an engineering major. 

“Watching Sac State create opportunities,” Guerra said. “That’s what we’re celebrating here today is all about. Seventy five years of creating hope, creating opportunity, building the future.” 

Students said they want to see certain services offered by the university expanded and made better. Second-year child and adolescent development major Guadalupe Tinoco said she hopes to see an expansion of mental health services.

“I think the president is doing a great job about mental health, so I would love to see that developing,” Tinoco said. 

Sac State has a long history and while neither Nelsen nor students may know what lies in store for the future, the college will continue to change as time goes on. 

Fourth-year kinesiology major Hanaa Alnassiry thinks any change that Sac State goes through will be for the better. 

“Sac State’s becoming a school that people want to go to,” Alnassiry said.