(KTXL) — Sacramento State announced on Wednesday that J. Luke Wood will be the university’s ninth president following the retirement of the university’s current president, Robert S. Nelsen.

The university said that Wood is scheduled to start the role on July 16.

“President Nelsen has done an incredible job in increasing graduation rates and creating a sense of community at Sac State,” Wood said. “So, it’s really about furthering the good work that’s been done around student success, diversity and inclusion, and seeing how we can further continue those trajectories to continue to be even better every day.”

Wood, 41, previously served as the vice president of Student Affairs and Campus Diversity at San Diego State University and is an alum of Sacramento State where he received his master’s in higher education leadership and a bachelor’s in black history and politics.

He also holds a master’s degree in education and a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from Arizona State.

“It’s about investing back in the community that invested in me,” Wood said. “I know what Sac State is capable of doing. I was a Black male, former foster child, first-generation college student who struggled with food insecurity and housing insecurity, and was able to graduate because of the incredible people and systems of support that were in place.”

While working as a professor at San Diego State he became the first Black faculty member named a Distinguished Professor in 2017.

Woods was appointed to the California Racial Equality Commission by the California State Senate earlier in 2023.

“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,” Sacramento State interim provost and vice president of Academic Affairs Carlos Nevarez said.

With deep ties to Sacramento, Woods said taking up this role as president is like “coming home.”