J. Luke Wood smiling in a profile photo.
Press Release Leadership

J. Luke Wood Appointed President of California State University, Sacramento



J. Luke Wood smiling in a profile photo.

The California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees has appointed J. Luke Wood to serve as president of California State University, Sacramento. Wood is currently vice president for Student Affairs and Campus Diversity and chief diversity officer at San Diego State University.

“Sacramento State is California's capital university, providing world-class, life-changing education and a shining example of community engagement and partnership in the heart of the Golden State," said Wood. “As a double alumnus of Sac State, I am eager to work with its talented faculty and staff to steward the university into its next chapter of advancing equity and student success and further strengthening its vital role in the region."

Wood becomes the university's ninth leader to serve in the role in a permanent capacity. He succeeds Robert S. Nelsen, who will be retiring on July 15.

“Throughout his career in higher education, Dr. Wood has been a champion for access, educational excellence and student success," said CSU Trustee Diego Arambula, chair of the Sacramento State Presidential Search Committee. “He is an equity-driven leader with a demonstrated history of innovation, who will continue to elevate Sacramento State's vision during its period of continued, transformational growth."

Wood has served as SDSU's chief diversity officer since 2018 and as vice president for Student Affairs and Campus Diversity since 2020, in which capacity he serves as a key leader in transformational change in the areas of student success, enrollment and campus diversity.

Wood joined SDSU in 2011 as a professor and in 2012 was named co-director of the Community College Equity Assessment Lab (CCEAL), a research and practice center focused on reducing equity gaps between students of color and their peers. In 2017, he became the first Black faculty member to be named a Distinguished Professor at San Diego State, while serving as a professor in the Department of Administration, Rehabilitation and Postsecondary Education.

In 2023, Wood was appointed by the California State Senate to serve on the newly established California Racial Equity Commission. The Commission works to promote racial equity and address structural racism across the state.

Wood earned a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy studies with an emphasis in higher education, and a master's degree in curriculum and instruction in early childhood education from Arizona State University. He is also “made in the CSU" with a master's degree in higher education leadership in student affairs, and a bachelor's degree in Black history and politics from Sacramento State.

Wood will assume the Sacramento State presidency on July 16, 2023.

About the California State University

The California State University is the largest system of four-year higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, nearly 460,000 students, and 56,000 faculty and staff. Nearly 40 percent of the CSU's undergraduate students transfer from California Community Colleges. The CSU was created in 1960 with a mission of providing 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 nearly 130,000 degrees. One in every 20 Americans holding a college degree is a graduate of the CSU and our alumni are 4 million strong. Connect with and learn more about the CSU in the CSU NewsCenter.​