Fresno State students, leaders and community members celebrated the construction of the new Lynda and Stewart Resnick Student Union with a ceremonial groundbreaking on Feb. 20.

A $10 million investment from philanthropists and entrepreneurs Lynda and Stewart Resnick, owners of The Wonderful Company, will help to support the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the new building, which will embrace the tenets of sustainability and achieve LEED Gold-equivalent certification, incorporating energy efficiencies including solar panels.

“Fresno State is a vital institution and an integral part of the fabric of the Central Valley, deserving of a world-class student union,” said Lynda Resnick, vice chair and co-owner of The Wonderful Company. “Stewart and I are gratified to support this central hub that will enrich the student experience on campus while serving as a place where students can connect with each other and feel a greater sense of belonging.”

The Bulldog Beat scholarship band kicked off the event with a performance. Live mascot Victor E. Bulldog III and Fresno State cheerleaders were also on hand for the festivities.

“The Resnick Student Union will forever represent the power of the student voice,” said Lauryn Florez, University Student Union board chair and student emcee for the event. “Students identified a need and took a bold step to make change. They worked tirelessly to ensure that future generations would have access to the resources they deserve and that is exactly what this building will provide.”

The University gained final approval for the naming of the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Student Union from the California State University Board of Trustees in September 2019.

An additional major gift was announced during the event. Bank of America is giving $250,000 in support of the Bank of America Welcome Center.

“Like Bank of America, Fresno State has served the region for over 100 years and is a draw for students from all walks of life,” said Mark Riley, Bank of America Fresno-Visalia market president. “Our $250,000 investment into the campus and its transformative new Student Union Welcome Center helps bring the student body’s vision to life for future generations of Bulldogs.  As an alum myself, I am particularly proud that this new hub of student life will be the first thing people see at the main entrance and will greet first-time visitors and students to campus.”

The 84,000-square-foot Lynda and Stewart Resnick Student Union will include dynamic and flexible meeting spaces, dedicated spaces for clubs and student organizations and a relaxing outdoor terrace. A portion of the Resnicks’ investment will be used to create The Wonderful Scholar Center within the new student union, a dedicated space where the 200-plus Wonderful Scholars scholarship recipients attending Fresno State will receive tutoring and counseling from their college-success specialists.

“The Resnick Student Union will add to the vibrancy of our campus for the decades ahead,” said Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro. “By aligning our mission of student success with our generous donors’ passions, we are demonstrating the power and importance of private philanthropy in supporting public higher education.”

At the conclusion of the ceremony, students had an opportunity to document their participation in the groundbreaking at a photo station with construction-related props. Attendees also received a commemorative shovel keychain with the building name and date of the groundbreaking.

The existing University Student Union will continue to provide key programs and services that will complement the new facility.

Construction of the Resnick Student Union is expected to be completed in fall 2021. The general contractor, McCarthy Building Companies, began work at the project site in late November.

The students took bold action in a historic vote in March 2018, with 67% of those who voted approving student funding through fees for the new $60 million facility. The students will begin paying the fee when the facility opens.

Several other naming gifts have been secured to support various spaces in the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Student Union:

  • The Leon S. Peters Foundation is giving $1 million in support of the Leon S. Peters Outdoor Event Plaza.
  • The Honorable Marvin and Jane Baxter are giving $250,000 in support of the Justice Marvin and Jane Baxter ASI Executive Suite.
  • Ryan and Ashley Jacobsen are giving $25,000 in support of the Ryan and Ashley Jacobsen Associated Students, Inc. President’s Office.

Additional gifts large and small are still needed. Those interested in investing in this signature facility can contact David Hembree at dhembree@csufresno.edu or Richard Verducci at richardverducci@mail.fresnostate.edu.

(Photo courtesy of  The Wonderful Company)