Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval and his family emigrated from Zacatecas to the United States when he was 9 years old in 1980. In 2000 he earned a Ph.D. and returned to Fresno State to teach Spanish and Portuguese.  He rose through the ranks, and became dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Fresno State in January 2016.

Dr. Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, who graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a Ph.D. in Spanish and Portuguese, will be the keynote speaker for Fresno State’s 46th annual Chicano/a Youth Conference from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Satellite Student Union.

The conference features 20 workshops for high school and middle school students and includes information about access to higher education, careers, leadership, cultural awareness and social justice as well as live performances, prizes and free food. A capacity crowd of 800 students registered for the conference.

Jimenez-Sandoval will speak from 9:15 to 9:45 a.m. Entertainment will be provided by the University’s Aztec Dance Club and the Los Danzantes de Aztlan dance troupe.

Passionate about the history of his background and culture, Jimenez-Sandoval will provide insight on his experience growing up as an immigrant from Mexico in hopes of inspiring youth to be proud of who they are and where they come from.

“Being the keynote speaker of such an important event opens up a golden opportunity for me to give students an insight of my experiences, to help them find that key that opens opportunities, that key being self-knowledge,” Jimenez-Sandoval said.

The conference is a collaborative effort by Fresno State Outreach and Special Programs, the College of Arts and Humanities, Lyles College of Engineering Pathways, College Assistance Migrant Program, Latino/a Programs and Services and student club MEChA.

For more information, contact Angie Iribe at 559.278.5374 or Follow coverage on Twitter at @Fresnostateosp and on Facebook at Fresno State Outreach and Special Programs.

(Jennifer Madrigal contributed to this report.)