Sonoma State University President Judy Sakaki was recognized by the California State Student Association last week as president of the year at a ceremony in Long Beach.

“This is a fantastic honor coming from the CSSA representing the 425,000 CSU students from across the system,” Sakaki said in a prepared statement. “I care deeply about the students and their success and I reflect this student-centered value in my leadership at Sonoma State.”

The Robert C. Maxson award, which capped off Sakaki’s first year at the school, came on the nomination of Emily Hinton, president of Sonoma State’s Associated Students organization.

“Most importantly, Dr. Sakaki has begun to change the culture at Sonoma State University to be more community and student driven,” Hinton said in a news release. “She has focused on diversity and inclusivity to ensure that every student at SSU has an equal opportunity.”

The award, which is bestowed annually, is handed out to a CSU president who has “demonstrated exceptional inclusion of students within the context of shared governance and has assisted the CSSA in advancing its statewide policy agenda,” according to the release.

Sakaki is the seventh president of SSU and the first woman to hold the office in 40 years.

She also is the first Japanese-American woman in the nation to head a four-year university.

You can reach Staff Writer Christi Warren at 707-521-5205 or christi.warren@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @SeaWarren.