President Joseph I. Castro reviewed his first year in office at Fresno State and found “a stellar year of achievements” by students, faculty and staff.
In his State of Fresno State address at the annual faculty-staff Fall Assembly, Castro called the university strong, innovative, successful] and bold. And looking ahead to Fresno State’s 104th year, he said, “I am confident we have in store new and impressive achievements as a campus.”
Classes begin Thursday, with an expected enrollment of more than 23,000 and a record-setting freshman class of 3,500.
Aug. 1 was the one-year anniversary of Castro taking office, and he acknowledged it was a year of transition for the university. Another transitional year is ahead, he said, following changes in three of the four vice presidencies this summer. In addition, a search will begin shortly for a new athletics director, another cabinet-level position.
Castro reviewed the priorities he set when he assumed the presidency and reported progress on all, as well as updates in other areas of the university:
- A $30 million electrical infrastructure project is underway to replace aged underground wiring.
- DISCOVERe tablet program launches this week with 1,200 students and 33 faculty members using tablets as a primary teaching and learning tool in their classes.
- There are increased faculty and staff professional development opportunities.
- $1 million in new funds for agricultural programs will support recommendations from the President’s Commission on the Future of Agriculture.
- Two new building projects are underway — The Jordan Research Center and the Physical Therapy and Intercollegiate Athletics Building — plus new signage on exterior streets, in parking lots, on the campus interior and at “gateway” entrances.
- Enhancing student success is a thread that runs through all academic and administrative efforts. A revamp of work groups will maximize innovation.
- A diverse and accomplished group of 44 new faculty members start this fall.
- Athletic success has been achieved in competition and in the classroom: three conference championships and 11 NCAA postseason tournament bids with student-athlete GPAs of 3.11 last fall and 3.02 in the spring.
- The university received philanthropic gifts totaling more than $43 million in 2013-14, a nearly 64 percent increase from the previous year.
“In the past year, you have heard me say many times that academics and athletics will rise together at Fresno State,” Castro said. “From this report, I hope you can see that this is happening. We must and we will remain focused on continuing this progress.”