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Dr. Alexander Gonzalez
2014 Inductee
HACU Hall of Champions

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) established the HACU Hall of Champions to honor those who embody the mission of the Association through exemplary efforts “To Champion Hispanic Success in Higher Education.” The fifth and sixth inductees into the HACU Hall of Champions are Alexander Gonzalez, Ph.D, and Chancellor Agnes Mojica, who were honored on October 6, 2014 during HACU's 28th Annual Conference.

Dr. Alexander Gonzalez has served more than three decades as a professor and education leader, including the last 11 years as the 11th president of California State University, Sacramento, one of the largest universities in the California State University 23-campus system. A native Californian and the first person in his family to graduate from college, Dr. Gonzalez has devoted his career to ensuring greater opportunities for students.

Dr. Gonzalez holds a doctorate and master’s degree in psychology from UC Santa Cruz. He received his bachelor’s degree in history from Pomona College, where he graduated with honors and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He spent a year at Stanford University as a postdoctoral fellow of the Ford Foundation and the National Research Council conducting research on the psychology of time. He also attended Harvard Law School and served in the United States Air Force.

Prior to his appointment to California State University, Sacramento, Dr.  Gonzalez served from 1997 to 2003 as president of California State University, San Marcos, where he made sweeping changes. These included establishing an athletics program, managing a period of rapid growth and directing successful fundraising campaigns. Before leading San Marcos, he served 18 years at Fresno State, starting as a faculty member in the Psychology Department, which he later chaired. From 1991 to 1997, he was the university’s provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

At Sacramento State, Dr. Gonzalez implemented his Destination 2010 initiative to transform the campus into a premier metropolitan university. The initiative created new academic and student programs, garnered unprecedented support from the community and led to the construction for the two greenest buildings in the history of the campus. In January 2012, he launched Redefine the Possible, a new initiative to make Sacramento State a university for the 21st century.

Following his belief that universities and communities must work together to improve lives and opportunities, Dr. Gonzalez serves as a board member of Valley Vision, an organization committed to improving the Sacramento Region. His previous service to the community includes the boards of directors for Sutter Health and the Crocker Art Museum.  Dr. Gonzalez also currently serves as a board chair for the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE).

Additional past service includes chairing the Governing Board of the Hispanic Association for Colleges and Universities (HACU) and an appointment by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to the California Student Aid Commission. He spent six years as a commissioner for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges – the accrediting agency for higher education institutions in California and Hawaii – and was a member of the President’s Advisory Commission of Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans.

The Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce honored Dr. Gonzalez as 2009 Business Man of the Year. The award is presented to an extraordinary individual who has attained or contributed to business excellence, through “consistent leadership qualities and service to the Hispanic community and model best practices in programs or services that promote the growth of Hispanic businesses.” In 2012, he won the Ohtli Award, the Mexican government’s highest honor for leaders of Mexican descent. “Ohtli” is a Nahuat/Aztec word meaning “path.” The award recognized his efforts to pave the way for and improve the well-being of new generations of Mexicans in California.

For guidelines on how to nominate someone for the HACU Hall of Champions, click here.