BREAKING: Sac State President Robert Nelsen announced July retirement

The president is stepping down after seven years as head of the university


Sac State President Robert Nelsen announced his retirement Wednesday morning. His retirement will begin July 1, 2023. (Photo courtesy of Sac State. Graphic made on Canva by Chris Woodard)

Chris Woodard

Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen announced his retirement Wednesday morning through a video in a campus-wide email.

According to his announcement, his retirement will go into effect July 1, 2023.

Nelsen made the announcement with his wife, Jody Nelsen. A transcript of the video can be found here

“Well, it’s been a great ride. It’s been a great ride because of you,” Nelsen said in the video. “But now, really July 1, it’s time to ‘hang ‘em up,’ it’s time to move on.”

Nelsen became Sacramento State’s eighth president on July 1, 2015, and will retire after serving the position for seven years, according to the Sac State website.

“Retirement is not easy. I’m not looking forward to July,” Nelsen said. “But, change is good. We need new blood; we need new ideas. These are times when we must move forward.”

In the release, Nelsen thanked faculty, students, groundskeepers and more. He also gave a shout out to the Sac State Football team for beating a university from his home state of Montana. The team is currently undefeated.

Nelsen said during his tenure,  four-year graduation rates have risen 187% and the Antiracism and Inclusive Campus Plan is fulfilling its actions.

“A nationwide search will be done to find Nelsen’s replacement,” Public Information Officer Anita Fitzhugh said in an email. “The Nelsens plan to return to Texas and continue working on initiatives they have led and supported for years.”

Nelsen held back tears as he raised his pinky for a “stingers up” salute, serving as a distant farewell to the green and gold.

“We love Sac State and Sacramento,” Jody said. “Everyone was so welcoming, and then so supportive through thick and thin. I can’t begin to express my gratitude enough.”