A new Fresno State campus in Visalia will be directed by Dr. Luz Gonzalez, a Fresno State alumna with 30 years of experience in teaching, student success, community and regional engagement and development.

Provost Lynnette Zelezny announced that Gonzalez will be the inaugural dean of the Fresno State Visalia Campus. Zelezny said Gonzalez is “one of our most successful and seasoned deans at Fresno State and a perfect fit for this important leadership role.”

The Fresno State Visalia Campus is a newly remodeled 10,000-square-foot, four-classroom building at College of the Sequoias. Located on the southeast side of the COS campus at Shady and Meadow streets, the Fresno State Visalia Campus will deliver both state-funded and self-support programs.

A ribbon-cutting will be held Oct. 26 and the first offerings this fall will be non-credit professional development courses. Future plans will explore degree and certificate programs targeted at working professionals.

Gonzalez returns to Fresno State after a year of extensive leadership development as participant in the American Council on Education Fellows Program, which focuses on identifying and preparing the next generation of senior leadership for the nation’s colleges and universities.

She previously was dean of the College of Social Sciences and coordinated Fresno State’s Latino Commencement Celebration, the largest event of its kind in the country.

She joined the Fresno State faculty in the Department of Chicano and Latin American Studies in 1989 and was elected chair in 1992. She was named associate dean of the College of Social Sciences in 2001, interim dean in 2003 and dean in 2005.

A former migrant farmworker, Gonzalez is passionate about helping students from traditionally underserved and underrepresented groups earn a college degree.

Gonzalez earned a Ph.D. in Elementary Education with a minor in Educational Administration from the University of Arizona. She holds a master’s degree in educational administration and supervision, a bachelor’s in liberal studies and a multiple subjects/bilingual emphasis teaching credential from Fresno State.

Fresno State has had a presence in Visalia since the 1990s when it began offering upper division courses on the COS campuses through onsite and distance learning technology. The new Visalia Campus will enhance Fresno State’s presence and serve residents in Visalia and other South Valley communities, Zelezny said.