California State University Fresno

Welcome to California State University, Fresno.

With 100 years of excellence already, California State University, Fresno starts its second century on the cusp of new beginnings and opportunities. Today, Fresno State is leading the way in Central California through innovation and by inspiring our students to think on higher levels and pursue their dreams.

The story of our university is a fascinating one as we look back to its beginnings. With a population in the early 1900s of about 15,000, Fresno was growing as people from throughout the state, the country and the world were coming here to put down roots. Community leaders saw a bright future. But one problem was apparent – a teacher shortage because there was no local institution to train residents to become teachers.

Fresno's leaders began a campaign to convince the state Legislature that a school to train teachers was needed. In April 1911, a state appropriation of $10,000 launched Fresno State Normal School, whose doors opened with 150 students on September 11, 1911.

Fresno State Normal School expanded and grew, progressing from a teaching college to today's California State University, Fresno, where more than 20,000 students are seeking to expand their knowledge and horizons.

With majors in 64 bachelor's, 44 master's and three doctoral subject areas, Fresno State has come a long way from its humble beginning.

Now, as we celebrate Fresno State's Centennial and move into our second century, we are entering a new era. We are facing challenges that are both frightening in their magnitude, and exciting in the opportunities they present for new thinking and positive change. This is exactly the type of environment in which strong leadership and creativity – hallmarks of our university – are essential elements of success.

Dramatically changing economic trends throughout the world are forcing a complete re-thinking of the future and the ability of the United States to sustain its quality of life. At the same time, public higher education faces increasing competition from the for-profit sector and strong public pressure to control costs. In addition, reductions in the California budget call into question the ability of the state to provide adequate support to assure access to a public higher education for all who are qualified to attend. It is a watershed moment for the future of public higher education and an opportunity for Fresno State to refocus its efforts in Central California.

As these explosive forces buffet higher education, Central California must cope with their impact on the state and national economy while addressing dramatic changes in the region's population. At the same time, there is significant transformation of the regional economy, which is essential if systemic poverty is to be addressed. The future of this region, which we call the “New California,” is dependent upon increasing the educational level of the population and developing an innovative culture led by social entrepreneurs committed to the stewardship of the region, its resources, and the people who live here.

It is a daunting challenge, and we at Fresno State are committed to helping meet it by working collaboratively toward an alignment of major institutions and citizen leaders who are committed to transformation. We believe Fresno State is the university best-positioned to lead New California into the future.

Our university enjoys six huge strategic advantages:

  • Fresno State has the faculty expertise and community linkages already in place to bring university resources to bear on key regional issues.
  • Fresno State, one of the most diverse major universities in the United States, is integral to the New California.
  • Fresno State does a better job than most of the nation's major universities of retaining students of many cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Like many universities of our size and scope, Fresno State promotes basic research goals, but we focus especially on studies with direct impact on Central California.
  • Fresno State is located in the San Joaquin Valley's largest city, California's fifth largest, in the heart of Central California.
  • Fresno State alumni have gone on to some of the most prominent leadership positions in the world.

Technology will continue to transform how we educate our students as more and more will use Web-based instruction. We will compete vigorously to attract the top scholars and teachers to enhance the quality of our university.

At Fresno State, we strive to be the best. The demands of the 21st century – resulting from the surprising growth and change in Central California – signal the need for Fresno State to continue its never-ending quest for excellence. We have a responsibility to Central California to live up to our growing status as a nationally acclaimed university.

The difference between adequacy and excellence is private support. A quick look around our campus reveals that most new academic initiatives have been funded through the generosity of private donors. Much of Fresno State's growing national recognition and academic renown is fueled by the investment of private donors. The result of that investment has produced incredibly positive outcomes both on the campus and in the development of the New California. Just think about what we are contributing to the region in fields such as business , education , the sciences , winemaking , criminology , literature , communications, agriculture, entertainment, community service and more. We literally add to the list every day.

We have been able to support expanded graduate and doctoral programs, sustain visiting professors from other premiere universities, fund research exploring regional issues, develop the Smittcamp Family Honors College , renovate and expand the Henry Madden Library, explore further how students can make a difference in agriculture and engineering and spark the creation of new businesses in the region. Our initial successes hint at the true potential of the university.

Generous gifts to the university are creating a new Fresno State for a New California, which is building a richer and more dynamic academic experience for both students and faculty.

We welcome you to explore our website at and discover for yourself what Fresno State has to offer in undergraduate, graduate and doctoral studies. Our homepage has links to information on our campus programs and provides access to all of our major administrative offices, financial aid and many other student services. In addition, we provide an online catalog for your use in making educational plans.

I hope you will consider California State University, Fresno, as you plan for the future!

Vision for California State University, Fresno

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.


To realize this vision, the university will adopt the following priorities:

  • Develop an engaged and diverse student learning community with graduates who value lifelong learning, possess a broad general education, communicate effectively, are mathematically literate, appreciate the fine arts, are committed to the principles of tolerance and freedom, and are concerned about the welfare of others and society.
  • Recruit and retain high quality, diverse faculty , dedicated to teaching, research, creative activity and service, and are recognized for their active involvement in the application of knowledge.
  • Recruit and retain high quality, diverse staff and administrators dedicated to the support of the academic mission of the university.
  • Engage in high quality research , with particular emphasis on applications that support the region.
  • Build upon existing academic programs and create new academic programs to help transform and develop the region.
  • Support and develop high quality graduate programs appropriate to the needs of the region, and achieve the Carnegie classification of "Doctoral/Research University-Intensive" (for Carnegie classification information see ).
  • Play a major role in transforming our region by employing the university's resources for the solution of problems and improvement of the lives and livelihoods of its citizens.
  • Establish partnerships and alliances that serve the region and work with educational institutions to improve the commitment, quality and value of education.
  • Establish a positive and productive working environment for the entire university community, which values the individual; supports teamwork and cooperation; requires honesty, integrity and civility; and inspires enthusiasm and pride.
  • Commit to continuous improvement by planning, implementing, and evaluating new strategies and improving the university's operational and technological infrastructure to enhance instruction; support scholarship, research, creative activity and service; and facilitate the delivery of support services for students, staff, faculty and alumni.
  • Search effectively for resources from a wide range of sources to support all members of the university community in their quest for innovation and excellence.
  • Demonstrate and communicate the quality of the university's programs , students, faculty, staff and alumni and its many and diverse centers of excellence.

Pride Points

Central California is the "New California." Our dramatic population growth and economic opportunity define California's present and future.

Much of Fresno State's growing national recognition and academic renown is fueled by the investment of private donors. The result of that investment has produced incredibly positive outcomes both on the campus and in the development of the Central Valley. Just think about what we are contributing to the region in field such as business, education, the sciences, winemaking, criminology, literature, and public policy ... the list goes on and on.

Campus Projects

President's Remarks to the Fall 2006 Faculty and Staff


"The transformation of Fresno State is happening here … and now. Not by accident or coincidence … but by plan and commitment. All of us here have made a great investment in Fresno State's future. That future is inspiring and challenging.

These are times of great change at our university … a point in time where our future comes into sharp focus.

Our centennial is now just five years away. Imagine what California State University, Fresno will be at our 100th anniversary …”

Take a look at some of the ways our university will grow through construction in the years approaching this momentous occasion.

Visit for a complete copy of the President's address.

Support Fresno State

At California State University, Fresno we have never been more engaged in fulfilling our academic potential than we are today. Our students and faculty are advancing the academic reputation and distinctiveness of our university every day. The success of our university community is having a positive impact on our region, state, nation and the world.

Yet, there is much more that we can achieve in the future. With your support, Fresno State can become one of the nation's best engaged universities, recognized for our ability to become actively involved in a region and contribute to its transformation.

Find out more at the Support Fresno State Web site.


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