For Lawrence Salinas, a Fresno State alumnus with 30 years of political and public affairs experience, coming home to serve as the University’s new executive director of governmental relations is an opportunity to advocate for his alma mater.
Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro announced Thursday the appointment of Salinas to the vacant cabinet position, effective Feb. 1.
The 54-year-old Salinas will leave his position as associate director of institutional relations and advocacy for the University of California that he has held since fall 2010 in the Office of the President, which is the systemwide headquarters of the UC. He has served as an adviser to numerous candidates and elected officials.
At Fresno State, Salinas’ primary role will be to develop and manage strategies to inform and influence public policy at the local, state and federal levels in areas of interest to Fresno State. He will report directly to the president and advise the campus on legislative matters that may affect the University.
Castro said he is “ecstatic” that Salinas, a 1986 Fresno State graduate with a bachelor’s degree in political science, is joining the Fresno State senior leadership team.
“He brings a long and successful track record in governmental relations and a passionate love for Fresno State that will serve our campus and region very well,” Castro said.
In his UC role, Salinas coordinated advocacy efforts and served as a liaison between the Office of the President, the UC’s 10 campuses, alumni affairs, Academic Senate and the Board of Regents.
He said his decision to leave his current job with “one of the premier university systems in the world is a result of my regard for Fresno State and the incredible promise it holds to make an even more significant impact on the thousands of people it serves.”
Governmental relations provides the opportunity “to share the amazing things that our higher education institutions do for students and the state,” Salinas said. “I get to come to work every day and be amazed by the dedication and talent of the people I work with. It’s so vital that elected officials know of these tremendous contributions.”
Salinas said he looks forward to working with Castro and “supporting his enlightened vision for advancing the entire University community.”
Salinas previously worked at UC Merced for 10 years as director of governmental relations and later as assistant vice chancellor of governmental relations.
From 1995-2000, Salinas was the public and governmental affairs manager for PG&E and prior to that served on the staff of a member of the state legislature, and three members of Congress: former Assembly member Cruz Bustamante (who later served as lieutenant governor) and former Congress members Tony Coelho, Cal Dooley and Gary Condit.
One career highlight he cherishes is helping to establish the UC’s 10th campus in Merced, working with the founding team that included Castro.
Through his governmental relations efforts for the new campus, Salinas highlighted the need and importance of greater access to higher education for students throughout the Central Valley.
“After 10 years we are seeing thousands of examples of student success,” Salinas said. “I will bring the same enthusiasm to Fresno State and do what I can to help increase its profile throughout the state and nation.”