CSUSM Announces New VP of Student Affairs
Cal State San Marcos President Ellen Neufeldt has announced the appointment of Dr. Viridiana Diaz as the university’s next vice president of Student Affairs. The vice president oversees 32 departments and 190 employees dedicated to supporting student success across the student life cycle, from pre-matriculation to graduation and beyond.
Dr. Diaz currently serves as associate vice president for Strategic Student Support Programs at California State University, Sacramento, where she serves as one of the primary vehicles for leveraging student success initiatives, breaking down systemic barriers to success, tending to equity gaps and achieving goals set forth by the Graduation Initiative 2025 through program development, implementation, assessment, project management and fundraising. She is also responsible for the leadership of nine Student Affairs departments offering admissions and outreach, academic advising, financial advising, career counseling, experiential learning, leadership development, health and counseling services, tutoring, mentoring, peer-based support and population-specific interventions.
Her career at Sacramento State and in higher education has spanned 20 years, all of it dedicated to creating a more inclusive campus for first-generation, Pell Grant-eligible, migrant, immigrant, undocumented, LGBTQIA+ and out-of-school youth. Previously, she served at Sacramento State as assistant vice president for strategic diversity initiatives, special assistant to the president, co-director for the DEGREES (Dedicated to Educating, Graduating and Retaining Educational Equity Students) program, director of the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), career counselor/coordinator and admissions and outreach counselor.
“Dr. Diaz brings a strong commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion as well as cross-divisional campus partnerships and community engagement,” Dr. Neufeldt said. “Her impressive career is in perfect alignment with our collective dedication to student success here at CSUSM. She will be a champion for all our students.”
“Viridiana is a hero to our students, to her family and to all of Sacramento State,” said Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen. “She leads by example, dedicating her career to ensuring that others experience the transformational power of higher education. I will miss her tremendously, and I am so proud of the leader that she has become. She will do great things for CSU San Marcos students.”
As a first-generation college student, Dr. Diaz completed a bachelor's degree in communications studies, a master's degree in Latin American literature, a second master's degree in history and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy. She is also a graduate of UC Berkeley’s Executive Leadership Academy, Stanford University’s Executive Leadership Management Institute and the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education.
She is currently serving as a 2020-2021 Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Leadership Academy fellow and a 2021-2022 American Leadership Forum Mountain Valley Chapter Class of XXV fellow. Furthermore, she is a recipient of the Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Latina Star Award and was named by the Vida en el Valle newspaper as one of the “People Who Have Left a Mark in the Sacramento Area.”
“I’m honored to join CSUSM as the next vice president of Student Affairs and am eager to work alongside the leadership, staff, faculty, students, alumni and the community at large in moving this remarkable institution toward becoming the first-choice university for first-generation students and future generations in the area,” Diaz said.
“As a first-generation student myself and a four-time alumna of the CSU, I’m experiencing firsthand the transformative impact of higher education. My mission is to ensure that all students who dream of earning a college degree have that opportunity.”
Dr. Diaz will follow Dr. Lorena Checa, who is retiring after more than 27 years of service to CSUSM. Her appointment begins Jan. 13.