The California State University Board of Trustees will vote Wednesday to honor Fresno State President Emeritus John D. Welty and former baseball coach Bob Bennett by naming a leadership center and athletic facility, respectively, after them. The CSU Committee on Institutional Advancement approved the naming Tuesday and sent the item to the full board for action.
With this vote, the Central Valley Educational Leadership Institute at Fresno State will become the John D. Welty Center for Educational Policy and Leadership. The Center was established in 2002 under Welty’s leadership to elevate educational leadership and eliminate the achievement gap for students in the Central Valley.
“Dr. Welty championed the role of higher education as a catalyst for educational and economic growth in the San Joaquin Valley,” Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro said during today’s meeting in Long Beach. “The Welty Center for Educational Policy and Leadership at Fresno State will honor his decades of work and continue to improve the San Joaquin Valley region.”
The naming recognizes the contributions of several donors in the amount of $1.1 million to Fresno State’s Central Valley Educational Leadership Institute in honor of Welty. These funds will be used to establish a permanent endowment to build the Center into a national model for policy, leadership training and professional development.
Welty is the seventh president in Fresno State’s 105-year history. He championed the role of higher education as a catalyst for educational and economic growth. Under his leadership, the University doubled its graduation rate and tripled the number of Hispanic students who earned a college diploma.
The board of trustees will also vote to add the name of Bob Bennett, two-time Fresno State alumnus, student-athlete and coach, to Fresno State’s baseball stadium. The facility is now known as Pete Beiden Field at Bob Bennett Stadium.
“Bob Bennett has made many extraordinary contributions to Fresno State baseball,” said Castro. “He is a true Bulldog, someone who boldly dedicated his life to this University. We are pleased to show our appreciation for his years of service to Fresno State and the entire San Joaquin Valley through the naming of Bob Bennett Stadium.”
Bennett, a Fresno native, became the winningest baseball coach in the University’s history, leading the Bulldogs to a 1,302-759-4 record over his 34 seasons. Under his leadership, Fresno State was consistently a national leader in college baseball attendance. As a community leader, Bennett helped spearhead the campaign to raise $2.2 million to refurbish Beiden Field in 1983.
New signage at the stadium will be revealed during the official ceremony celebrating the new name on May 7.