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California State University, Fresno (2011)

Brief Description:

California State University, Fresno has evolved from modest beginnings as a teachers college early in the 20th century into an acclaimed, culturally diverse, 21st century university offering educational opportunities through eight schools and colleges. Our students have applied what they’ve learned at Fresno State throughout California, around the world and into space, benefitting literally millions of people.

Throughout this evolution, the university has established itself as an integral part of the region. Fresno State has prepared thousands of individuals for careers, leadership and community service and forged community bonds that have helped conquer a broad spectrum of challenges, led innovative change and encourage positive thinking as the foundation for accomplishment.


Mission Statement:

We will become New California’s premier engaged university, nationally recognized for our teaching, learning, transformational scholarship, and dynamic leadership which engages faculty, students, staff, and community in mutually beneficial and respectful collaboration benefiting the region and society as a whole.

President's Quote:

“Being Fresno State’s president as our university celebrates its Centennial is a great privilege. The celebration is a reminder of how successfully we’ve worked together to overcome challenges and help thousands of individuals thrive to the benefit of others.

We have stayed true to the four Latin words on our university seal:
"Lucem accipe ut reddas" ("Receive the light that you may give it forth”). 

As Bulldogs, we’re determined to continue taking those few powerful words to heart in our next 100 years, building on the accomplishments of Fresno State’s first century of excellence.”
– President John D. Welty 


Major Accomplishments:

  • We are a campus of opportunity, especially for first-generation students. Our student body closely mirrors the ethnic diversity of the Valley. We not only attract minority students, but help them graduate. We created a project – The First Generation Stories (see it at – to encourage students.
  • The largest single cash gift ever received by Fresno State or in the California State University system was given to Fresno State's College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology. The Jordan family, from the East Bay, believed in the importance of education as a way to preserve California agriculture. Their $29.4 million gift to Fresno State resulted in the renaming of the college to the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.
  • The Craig School of Business, its graduate program and the Entrepreneurship program consistently garner national attention and rankings.
  • The Smittcamp Family Honors College is a competitive, highly sought-after program that accepts 50 high-school seniors from throughout the state each year from the 500-600 who apply.
  • Nursing program/Health Policy Institute – We produce the majority of the medical and health care professionals in the region and are working to expand the nursing program. Faculty and students are conducting pioneering research to understand and address the special health problems of Central California through several university-sponsored health-related institutes.
  • We offer two doctoral degrees, an independent educational leadership degree and a joint physical therapy degree with UC San Francisco.
  • Fresno State is one of 72 universities among the over 3,000 in the country awarded the University Community Engagement certification by the Carnegie Foundation.  
  • The International Center for Water Technology and the Claude Laval Water Energy Technology (WET) Incubator at Fresno State are in the forefront of efforts to meet the needs of a thirsty world.
  • Community service, coordinated by the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning, is a hallmark at Fresno State. In the 2009-10 academic year, faculty, staff and students provided over 1 million hours of service for the good of the region. The economic impact of their efforts is an estimated $28 million, measured by national philanthropic standards.
  • Fresno State is designated as an Hispanic-serving Institution for reaching out to students who are traditionally underrepresented and for providing an environment where students thrive and persist. More than 30% of Fresno State students are Hispanic and over 50% are the first in their families to attend college.


Fun Facts:

  •  We’ve had four names: Fresno State Normal School (1911), Fresno State Teachers' College (1922), Fresno State College (1935), and California State University, Fresno (1972).
  • The Fresno State Winery is the nation’s first commercially bonded vintner on a university campus, where student-produced vintages have won hundreds of medals in competition with the world’s best wines.
  • Our 388-acre main campus was officially designated arboretum in 1979 because of the hundreds of species of trees and plants.
  • The main campus and adjacent 1,011-acre University Farm are located at the northeast edge of Fresno, at the foot of the majestic Sierra Nevada mountain range. Three national parks – Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, are within a two-hour drive from the campus.
  • The university is within a three- or four-hour drive of both Los Angeles and
    San Francisco.
  • The surrounding San Joaquin Valley is one of the richest agricultural areas in the world. The green “V” that is represented on athletic uniforms symbolizes the agricultural community of the San Joaquin Valley, from which we draw the majority of our students and fans.
  • Our mascot, the bulldog, dates back to 1921 when student body president Warren Moody and friends were continually greeted outside the main campus building by a white bulldog. The dog adopted the group and they decided to make him the mascot.


Notable Alumni:

  •  Ghassan F. AbulGhanam, Director of M.I.S. for His Majesty King Abdullah II of the Royal Hasemite Court in Amman, Jordan
  • Theresa Alvillar-Speake, former Director of the Office of Minority Economic Impact, U.S. Department of Energy
  • Leslie Bassett, Composer, Recipient of the 1966 Pulitzer Prize in Music
  • Marvin Baxter, California Supreme Court Justice
  • Robert Beltran, actor, played the role of Chakotay, first officer on Star Trek: Voyager
  • Laura Berg, Three-time Olympic Gold Medalist in softball
  • Lee P. Brown, Former Mayor of Houston and Former Atlanta Police Commissioner
  • Cruz Bustamante, Former California Lieutenant Governor
  • David Carr, Quarterback, San Francisco 49ers
  • Malinda Chouinard, Co-owner of Patagonia, one of the world's most successful designers of outdoor clothing and gear
  • Roy Christopher, Emmy Award-winning set designer
  • Jim Costa, Member, U.S. Congress
  • Joy Covey, Former Chief Strategy Officer,
  • Sid Craig, Co-founder, CEO and Chairman of the Board, Jenny Craig, Inc.
  • Trent Dilfer, 2001 Super Bowl winning quarterback
  • Paul Dolan, partner, Mendocino Wine Company
  • Kenny Guinn, Former Governor of Nevada
  • Robert Hanashiro, Photographer, USA Today
  • Colonel Rick Husband, Mission Commander, Space Shuttle Columbia STS107, 2003
  • Sam Iacobellis Retired CEO, Rockwell International who led the development of the B1 Bomber
  • Emily Kuroda, Award-winning actress
  • Brad Lewis, Academy Award-winning producer of “Ratatouille”
  • Manny Mashouf, Chairman and CEO, Bebe Fashions
  • Colonel Steven Nagel, NASA astronaut
  • Paul H. O'Neill, Former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, CEO of Alcoa Corporation
  • Sam Peckinpah, Academy Award nominee and Director of The Wild Bunch
  • Phillip V. Sanchez, Former U.S. Ambassador to Colombia and Honduras
  • Daniel Silva, Best-selling author of thrillers
  • Ashley Swearengin, Mayor, city of Fresno
  • Gary Soto, Acclaimed poet, essayist and fiction writer
  • Jeff Tedford, Head football coach, University of California at Berkeley
  • Sherley Anne Williams, Author, National Book Award nominee and Emmy Award winner
  • Jan Yanehiro, broadcast journalist and author



Sergio Lara
“I wouldn't change those years at Fresno State for anything. Had a wonderful experience going there not to mention created long lasting relationships.”

Eddie Hughes
“I grew up seeing the way the whole community unites and rallies around Fresno State sports and have always viewed the university as an asset and bragging point for Fresno and the Valley. Getting my acceptance letter was a lifelong dream, and I hope I can join thousands of young alumni in giving back to Fresno State in the future.”

Justin Romeri
“Fresno State has an excellent ag program it’s close to my family and a family tradition. I am glad that I chose Fresno State!”

Glorybelle Lillie
“I knew I wanted to end up in law enforcement when I took a Criminology class with Dr. Eric Hickey. I was Journalism major at Fresno State at the time and thought studying crime would help me be a better reporter. Turns out it made me want to become a Police Officer. Eight years after I got my Journalism degree (and after marriage and two kids), I became a police officer for large city in the SF Bay Area. Best career ever!”


  • Kellee Edmonds
    Vice President of Communications and Public Relations
    (202) 478-4662