Sonoma State, no more the ugly duckling
By Chris Smith/THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
I don’t remember much, but I do remember the first time I laid eyes on the college that would become Sonoma State University.
The years was 1972 and I was a freshman at one of the college’s older-sister schools, in San Jose. A friend whose brother was attending the 6-year-old campus invited me along on a drive up to Rohnert Park/Cotati for a weekend visit.
It was the first time I stepped foot in Sonoma County, which enchanted me. But Sonoma State, not so much.
I was becoming accustomed to the long-established, urban campus of San Jose State. And I do believe that as my friend and I first spied Sonoma State from East Cotati Avenue, I imagined I was looking at a pre-fabricated,concrete-gray prison that had been dropped by cranes in the middle of a great cow pasture.
All that was missing was a guard tower and razor-wire fence.
But look at it now. All grown up and boasting gorgeous architecture that includes the Jean & Charles Schulz Information Center and the Green Music Center, SSU has just made the list of the 50 most beautiful campuses, by thebestcolleges.org.
Specifically, the SSU campus placed 34th on the list, ahead of beauties such as UC Santa Cruz, University of San Diego, Bryn Mawr College, University of Colorado-Boulder, Wellesley College and Wake Forest.
The citation notes:
One of the top “green” campuses in the country, nearly every building on the Sonoma State campus has set the standard for small universities to give their students the best overall experience.
The nearly 59,000 square foot student center has been a model for colleges around the country, as it was built with sustainability in mind. The facility was constructed using UV ray reflective roofing, recycled rubber indoor track, recycled glass reinforced structural brick, recycled seat belts to upholster seating, and reclaimed water plumbing non-potable water systems.
The campus is not just environmentally friendly with its buildings, it also has a wonderfully close relationship to local nature, with miles of walking trails and fantastic access to redwood trees.
Congratulations, SSU. You really are beautiful.