SONOMA, Calif. (June 8, 2016) - Sonoma State president Ruben Armiñana, who will retire as the longest-tenured president of the California State University system on June 30, has been named Grand Marshal of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Sonoma Raceway.

Armiñana will be honored on Friday, June 24, at the Children's Champions Grand Marshal's Banquet at beautiful Cline Cellars in Sonoma. The gala is a fundraiser for the Sonoma Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities. He will also take part in pre-race activities on Sunday, June 26, and participate in the official command of, "Drivers, Start Your Engines."

Armiñana, who left Communist Cuba as a child, became the sixth president of Sonoma State University in 1992. During his tenure, he has been successful in furthering the academic and co-curricular programs of the University, making Sonoma State University one of the most popular campuses in the California State University system.

"I have been to Sonoma Raceway several times, but I am excited to attend my first NASCAR event," said Armiñana, who was named to the list of the "100 Most Influential Hispanics" by Hispanic Business Magazine in 2005. “To be named Grand Marshal is a great honor, and now I can add 'Start Your Engines' to my resume.”

In his 24 years at Sonoma State, Armiñana has helped transform the campus from a part-time commuter college on the brink of closure to a residential campus bustling with activity. In addition to doubling the amount of student housing on campus, he oversaw the construction of more than $400 million in new facilities, including the Jean and Charles Schulz Information Center and University Library, 130,000-square-foot Student Center and adjacent Recreation Center, and the world-class Green Music Center and acoustically perfect Weill Hall, among others. As a capstone to his SSU career, Armiñana recently participated in the groundbreaking for the new home of the University's Wine Business Institute, slated to open in 2017.

“Ruben Armiñana is one of our region's true visionary leaders and his impact in education, the arts and economic opportunity will be felt for generations to come,” said Steve Page, Sonoma Raceway president and general manager. “We are honored to have Ruben join us as this year’s Grand Marshal.”

Armiñana has also served on numerous boards and committees in the North Bay, including the Community Foundation of Sonoma County, the North Bay Leadership Council, Sonoma County Business Education Roundtable and many others.

For more information or to purchase a seat or table for the Grand Marshal’s Banquet, contact Cheri Plattner at 707-933-3950 or [email protected]. Great ticket options are also available for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend in Sonoma. Visit or call 800-870-7223 for details.