Under dazzling sunshine, Stanislaus State leaders painted a bright picture of the future for students, faculty and staff at Thursday’s (March 24) Stockton Campus Open Forum.
From physical renovations of the buildings to seeking suggestions for additional degree options, campus leaders offered an overview of plans that are in motion during a presentation held outdoors at the Stockton Campus, the only public four-year university in San Joaquin County.
Stan State’s Stockton Campus, began in 1974 with night classes in empty offices in the state building, recounted former State Senator Patrick Johnston. It moved to space at San Joaquin Delta College, and in the 1990s, when the Stockton Development Center closed, the Stockton Campus found a new home. Renamed University Park, it was largely underused.
The arrival of President Ellen Junn and Stockton Campus Dean Faimous Harrison has changed that.
“With Ellen Junn’s team, there’s been unrelenting commitment to do what was promised in many, many planning reports,” Johnson said, holding a stack of them. “All of those reports saw this campus going to a scale that would accommodate the public college needs of this community.”
Junn understood the goal for a Stanislaus State Stockton Campus to support broader access to programs to drive ever-increasing levels of college degree achievement, professional opportunities, and overall economic growth for Stockton and the broader San Joaquin Valley. Since the Stockton Campus’s inception, city of Stockton’s population has grown to nearly 316,000 residents with San Joaquin County at 789,000 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. “Consequently, when I arrived at Stan State, I knew we would need to develop an intentional, incremental strategy to focus on and launch a comprehensive plan to support and build our vital and vibrant Stockton Campus, which would be challenging without additional new funding,” Junn said.
Those funds arrived from Gov. Gavin Newsom, the state legislature and the California State University Chancellor’s Office, making improvements to the campus possible with $54 million committed to expanding and renovating existing facilities and buildings, Junn said, and an additional $6 million to restore the historic Magnolia Mansion, future home of the Community Equity Research Center.
Vice President for Student Affairs Christine Erickson showed off the upgraded courtyard with its Stockton Pride Mural, plans for a food pantry and two renovated study areas, one with a kitchen and the other with moveable furniture.
“When I arrived at Stan State, I knew we would need to develop an
intentional, incremental strategy to focus on and launch a
comprehensive plan to support and build our vital and vibrant
Stockton Campus, which would be challenging without
additional new funding.”
– President Ellen Junn
An Acacia replacement building is in its initial stages, with a goal of opening in fall 2025 with classrooms, some student services and faculty and staff offices, according to Associate Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities Management Julia Reynoso.
Further enhancements to the 102-acre property are envisioned.
Changes to the Stockton Campus are more than physical or cosmetic. They make the facility more inviting, as does state-of-the art technology.
The campus offers upper-division courses in business administration, psychology, communications studies, history, criminal justice, liberal studies and health services, based on stated student interest, said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Richard Ogle.
Existing programs have been strengthened with additional hires, as attention is turned toward possibly adding more undergraduate and graduate opportunities, Ogle said.
Outreach to potential students is largely through Stan State’s signature program, Warriors on the Way (WOW).
The bedrock of Stan State’s Stockton Campus link with Delta College, WOW provides early counseling for students and waives application fees. Lead admissions counselor Joy Vickers is now working on the Delta Campus to more easily initiate contact with prospective Stan State students.
The Stockton Campus, once limited to night courses in vacant offices, is creating a comprehensive student experience.
There are clubs, activities and Associated Students Inc. representation. Their concerns are being addressed, according to ASI Director for the Stockton Campus Angelina Jasmine Narciso, who noted requests for on-site psychological counseling and food services are being addressed.
“I’ve really enjoyed my experience, from the technology in the classroom .. to the sense of community I’ve had here with my fellow students as we go through this journey together,” said student Jesse Covarrubias. “Stan State has been very much a part of my family. Upon my completion, hopefully next May, I’ll be the fifth member of my family to graduate.”
As he listened to the story of the Stockton Campus and the proposed improvements and reflected on family members who earned their degrees, including advanced degrees, Covarrubias said finally knew how to answer the question about how he would use his degree.
“What I want to do is advocate for students, help them find their way,” he said. “It’s taken me 20 years since I graduated high school, and I finally feel I’ve been given a roadmap to get my degree.”
Stan State alumnus Paul Gardley is using his degree, and master’s in education in part, to fulfill a desire to “revolutionize the education gap and enhance student success” as an academic advisor to the Stockton Campus College of Business Administration.
The first member of his family to graduate from college, Gardley said he is working toward earning a Ph.D. in education for his wife and their seven children and to serve as an example of what is possible for the students he advises.
He learned the traits of being a Warrior as he worked his way toward a bachelor’s degree in communications studies, he said. He found out Warriors take a stand, are willing to sacrifice and suffer for the innocent, have a tenacious work ethic, defend, protect and advocate for the betterment of humankind, overcome their own fears, learn to follow effectively and become transformative leaders.
“It unleashed my potential and helped me to obtain success,” Gardley said. “Stanislaus (State) made my dreams become a reality.”
There will be opportunities for people to be engaged in building the Stockton Campus together, so keep an eye out for dates and times on how to get involved.