Fresno philanthropist Marion Kremen has presented California State University, Fresno with its second-largest gift to support an academic program, valued at $4 million, to the university’s School of Education and Human Development.

The gift honors her late husband, Dr. Benjamin Kremen, a pioneer of Fresno State’s counselor education programs, and expresses her support of the doctoral-level education program.

Mrs. Kremen said the gift is intended to create a doctoral program in education and to strengthen the school’s graduate program.

President John D. Welty announced today that he will request that the CSU Board of Trustees rename the education school The Benjamin and Marion Kremen School of Education and Human Development at its May 16 meeting in Long Beach. If approved, it will be the first named school of education in the CSU system and one of only a few in the nation. It also will be the second school at Fresno State bearing a donor’s name. The Craig School of Business was named in 1992.

“Fresno State has a long and rich tradition in teacher and counselor education and this gift will allow us to assume leadership in doctoral work in education in the California State University system,” said President John D. Welty.

“Mrs. Kremen’s generous gift will help us produce the best teachers and educational leaders in the state,” Dr. Welty said.

Specifically, Mrs. Kremen has created a living trust in addition to an annual gift commitment.

Fresno State currently has a doctoral program in Educational Leadership, offered jointly with the University of California at Davis. The California State University system, citing an unfilled need throughout the state for doctoral-level education, is seeking legislative approval to allow Fresno State and other campuses to grant independent education doctorates.

While on the faculty at California State University, Fresno, Benjamin Kremen was a pioneer in counselor education and was nationally known for his work in K-12 guidance programs.

He is credited with establishing the Master of Arts degree in education at Fresno State, and with the development and coordination of pupil personnel guidance programs in Fresno and Madera counties.

Fresno State now offers four master’s degrees: special education, counseling, rehabilitation counseling and education, with a variety of options.

Over the years, literally hundreds of Dr. Kremen’s former students have had an impact on guidance and counseling programs throughout California.

A native of Maryland, Dr. Kremen received his baccalaureate degree at Towson State College in Maryland, his master’s degree at the University of Maryland and his doctorate at Michigan State University. He was a national officer for the National Vocational Guidance Association and was the founder of the first NVGA chapter in the San Joaquin Valley.

He began his teaching career in elementary and secondary schools, later becoming principal at Baltimore’s Patterson Park High School and then placement counselor for the Baltimore city school system. He then served as director of guidance for the state of West Virginia, and left West Virginia to pursue doctoral studies at Michigan State University. He was a member of the faculty of the Department of Guidance and Counseling at MSU until he joined the faculty at then-Fresno State College in 1950.

Dr. Kremen taught courses at Fresno State in techniques of guidance, counseling techniques, and organization and administration of guidance programs. He served as coordinator of the Guidance and Special Education programs and was later the first coordinator of graduate studies in the School of Education.

Dr. Kremen retired in 1976 and passed away in 1995.

Mrs. Kremen, 91, is a graduate of the Peabody Institute of Music in Baltimore and a classical pianist. She has been an elementary school teacher and coordinator, served as a principal and at various times on the faculty at Goucher College in Maryland, Johns Hopkins, Marshall University, Michigan State University and Fresno State. As an educator and philanthropist, she has dedicated her life to education.


Fresno State’s School of Education and Human Development, with an enrollment of 2,500 students, is nationally respected for its programs in education and counseling. In addition to being one of the most prolific sources of California teachers (producing approximately 750 per year), the school each year confers nearly 200 master’s degrees and advanced specialist and services credentials.

The school is the only institution in our area accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. The school is also a charter member of The Renaissance Group, a national consortium of colleges and universities that have made a major commitment to educating teachers. Fresno State President John D. Welty is the group’s chair.

The School of Education and Human Development is housed in a new, state-of-the-art facility and has been recognized by Apple Computer, The Smithsonian Institute and the U.S. Department of Education for its innovations in educational technology. Grant support is over $4 million this year.

Cutting-edge programs are supported in Character Education, the Reggio Emilia Preschool, Reading Recovery®, ALADIN (academic language instruction),

Interprofessional Collaboration, PreTeacher Assessment and principals’ assessment. Fresno State’s Rehabilitation Counseling program is ranked nationally by U.S. News & World Report.

The School of Education and Human Development is a leader in breaking down barriers to teacher credentialing through aggressive outreach to minority, bilingual, and other exceptional candidates through the unit’s own Office of Teacher Recruitment and the Office of Career Services. The school also delivers programs of instruction via intern, distance, distributed (Open Learning), and cohort approaches. The school’s graduates are 40 percent minority and the faculty (112 full-time equivalent positions) is 30 percent minority. The corporate community and the university faculty have provided extensive donor support for the school’s programs.