One of Fresno State’s most familiar landmarks, the Memorial Sign, has been perched on the corner of Shaw and Cedar avenues for decades dedicated to “Fresno State College students who died in service of our country.”
At Fresno State’s Veterans Day observance Wednesday, Nov. 6, the university will unveil plans to relocate the 17-foot California-shaped precast concrete monument from the busy intersection to the middle of campus near other veterans monuments, a short walk from the Memorial Court and Fountain.
The ceremony is from 11 a.m.-noon at the Rose Garden (southeast of the Thomas Administration Building).
Sponsored by the Fresno State Student Veterans Organization and the Veterans Services Office, the campus event Wednesday will also kick off the U.S. Marines annual campus Toys for Tots Drive. Congressman Jim Costa (D-Fresno) will deliver Veterans Day remarks.
The campus is closed on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, when the Fresno State Bulldog Marching Band will lead the Fresno Veterans Parade in downtown Fresno.
Fresno State’s veterans/military student population is approximately 380, said Robyn Gutiérrez, coordinator of the Veterans Services office. The university participates in the CSU Troops to College program, a project designed to attract more veterans to California’s public universities and colleges by making campuses more veteran-friendly.
The Fresno State chapter of the National Student Veterans of America was created in 2009 and now has 32 members, said President Miguel Saldana, a senior Business Management major from Porterville who served in Iraq with the U.S. Marines and is now with the California Air National Guard 144th Fighter Wing based in Fresno.
Colors will be posted and retired by the Marine Corps League. Saldana will lead the Pledge of Allegiance and Lorilynn Alamano from the Fresno State Police Department will sing the National Anthem. Mark Little of the Fresno Stag & Thistle Pipe Band will pipe for posting of the colors. Chaplain (Maj.) Karl D. Funk of the California State Military Reserve will provide the invocation and a benediction.
Bernard Vinovrski, associate vice president for Enrollment Services and a veteran of the U.S. Marines, will deliver opening remarks. Fresno City Councilmember Blong Xiong also will talk. Virginia Cardinal, Toys for Tots warehouse coordinator, will announce the annual drive.
The ceremony will close with “Taps,” performed by bugler Jason Cruz, a Music major who will enter Fresno State as a transfer student next fall and is currently a member of the Bulldog Marching Band.
Blueprints of the Veterans Memorial Monument’s new home will be unveiled by Thomas Gaffery of the Facilities Planning Office.
The relocation will also include lighting and landscaping improvements. A rededication plaque will be placed near the monument, which was originally a large, upright rectangular block with “Fresno State College” in large metal letters on its surface erected in 1960.
When Fresno State’s official name changed to California State University, Fresno in 1972, the name on the Memorial Sign was updated and in 1991, private donations paid for a new modern design depicting a vertical structure as the state of California with a dot in the center identifying Fresno that is the existing monument.
The move to the east end of the Rose Garden, expected to be complete by the end of December Gaffery said, is part of Fresno State’s upcoming wayfinding signage project that will result in new signs at the entrances of the campus.
A plaque formerly located in the Rose Garden honoring alumni who served in World War I will also be relocated adjacent to the monument. Other memorials nearby include the Submarine Memorial on the Maple Mall (in remembrance of U.S. subs lost during World War II and the Cold War) and Memorial Court (dedicated to Fresno State students who lost their lives in war).
At the Nov. 11 Fresno Veterans Day Parade downtown, the Student Veterans Organization and another student veterans club, the Omega Delta Sigma fraternity, also will be marching along with Fresno State’s mascot TimeOut and the Spirit Squad.
For more information about the Nov. 6 Veterans Day observance on campus, contact the Fresno State Veterans Services Office, 559.278.7030.