Gregory J. Saks Joins Cal State Fullerton
New Vice President for University Advancement
Jan. 10, 2013
Gregory J. Saks
“What drew me to Fullerton was the size of the campus, the diversity of the student body, and the impact that the university has in the community,” said Greg Saks, the new vice president for university advancement at Cal State Fullerton, who assumes his new responsibilities Jan. 10. “A place like Cal State Fullerton is in a unique position to create a strong footprint — not just regionally, but nationally.
“I am also very impressed by how proud the faculty and staff are of the university. They are invested in the leadership of the campus and there is a sense of optimism and high regard for the direction in which the campus is moving,” he said.
Saks, who assumes his new position after almost seven years at Cal State Dominquez Hills as vice president for university advancement, has more than 15 years of experience in developing and implementing comprehensive fundraising programs for both public and private universities.
"His wide range of experience and advanced skill set will help us continue advancing the University for many years to come,” President Mildred García said in late December, when she announced Saks’s appointment. "I know that he will be a strong colleague for all of us at Cal State Fullerton, as he is deeply committed to the mission, student success, and supporting faculty and staff."
In addition to leading the division of University Advancement, which is responsible for alumni relations, communications, fundraising, government and community relations, and major events, Saks will serve as executive director of the Cal State Fullerton Philanthropic Foundation.
“I am passionate about the mission of the California State University system and committed to providing access to excellent higher education to a diverse student body. The Public Policy Institute of California has reported that California will need more than a million more college graduates by 2025. Cal State Fullerton is poised to serve as a leader in helping meet these workforce needs.
“Because of these needs, we in University Advancement have both a responsibility and an opportunity to serve as a bridge between the university and industry so we can make sure the workforce needs of Orange County and southern California are met."
Saks will spend his first weeks on campus meeting with various members of the university staff and faculty, as well as with community leaders.
“During the first month, I will be consulting with administrative vice presidents and leaders, deans, numerous faculty members, the chair of the Academic Senate, members of the university’s foundation board, and, of course, my own staff. It is important that I spend a lot of time listening so I can learn campus leaders’ perceptions and priorities. It is important for me to conduct extensive outreach, both on and off campus, as part of my own planning and decision-making process.”
He speaks enthusiastically about the University's planning process and the unifying importance that the strategic plan, now being finalized, will have for the division’s work.
“More than anything, we’ll be moving in a direction that will support the work of the University’s strategic plan. Our divisional goals will be aligned with that plan, as will those of the Cal State Fullerton Philanthropic Foundation. If we can get everyone pulling in the same direction, I'm certain that we can develop a pipeline that will grow private resources for the institution.
“I believe that under President García’s leadership, we will see a high level of engagement. As the strategic plan becomes more solidified, we may need to change direction in some areas to align with the goals of the plan. That’s the fun part of my job — being able to work with all constituents to build an advancement division that will support the strategic direction of the entire university.”
A CSU alum himself from Cal State San Bernardino, where he earned a bachelor's degree in history, Saks has firsthand knowledge of what the CSU and, by extension, Cal State Fullerton, can accomplish.
“I’m an alumnus, my mother was a CSU alumna and my four siblings are CSU alumni. We all deeply bought into the mission of the CSU as a place that provides access and a high quality education. That mission is critical for me.
“My role as vice president for university advancement requires that I understand the dynamics of the institution, the significant attributes of the system and the unique opportunities that lie ahead. I’m looking forward to building on a great work already done so we can continue to raise Cal State Fullerton's visibility as a national model.”
Saks also holds a master’s degree in higher education administration from Miami University. He and his wife, Ann, reside in Orange County with their children, Dean and Audrey.