Sharing Fresno State’s stories is a way to connect with alumni, friends, students, prospective students and other community members. On a campus of about 25,000 students and thousands more faculty and staff, narrowing it down to the top 20 stories of the year was no simple task — especially during a year unlike any other because of the global pandemic. Here’s a glimpse, in no particular order, at some of the best news, most touching stories and most well-done storytelling from the University over the past year.

Campus Life in 2020: A Photo Essay

campus-lifeMany things about college life at Fresno State have temporarily changed during the past eight months — but one thing remains the same: The Bulldog spirit carries on, whether it’s virtual, in person or during a drive-through celebration like this one pictured for New Student Convocation. As University President Joseph I. Castro made clear, Fresno State faculty and staff remain as committed as ever to boldly empowering students for success — while making sure safety continues to be a top priority. Here is a look at how the University has adapted to the times. Read more.

A Degree Lasts a Lifetime

looking-forwardWhat is the value of a college degree? It’s not a new question, but it is one many are considering as they help loved ones map out college and career choices in today’s uncertain climate. While the decision about where to attend college may be difficult, experts say the choice about whether to attend should be easy — even during a global pandemic. There is perhaps no greater driver of social mobility — the movement of individuals or families between social classes — than a college degree.  For those who grow up poor, earning a degree provides a 90% chance of escaping poverty. Gina Avalos, Vivica Thomas and Barry Maas decided college – and Fresno State – was the right choice.  Read more. See video.

Groundbreaking for Resnick Student Union

Groundbreaking Resnick Student UnionA $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 a new student union.  It 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. “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.” Read more.

Coming home: Paul George

paul-georgePaul George spent two years as a Fresno State student-athlete before being drafted No. 10 overall in the 2010 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers. As a Fresno State freshman, George received national attention with the No. 1 play of the day on ESPN’s Sportscenter after a memorable dunk during a game against Saint Mary’s. He finished the season as one of the top 15 freshmen scorers in the country. During his years at the University, he averaged 15.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 63 games. “Fresno State is a big chapter in my story,” George says. “And when I look back at things I cherish, I embrace what made me who I am today and I value that.” Read more. See video.

COVID-19 PUBLIC TRANSIT STUDYA team of researchers and industry professionals led by the Fresno State Transportation Institute found ways to reduce the spread of airborne viruses, such as COVID-19, on modes of public transportation. The preliminary findings of this study identify several efficient and economically viable solutions that can enhance passenger safety and help the public transportation industry rebound from the challenges presented by a global pandemic. Read more.

Entrepreneurial business alum creates luxury footwear

Sebastian FootwearScott Peters, who graduated from Fresno State in May, has always been interested in fashion and owns a collection of boots, but he found his traditional cowboy boots were incredibly ill-fitting. Seeking  a solution, he took his knowledge from an apprenticeship at a local leather and footwear repair shop and set out to make the nicest pair of boots possible. After a year and a half of trial and error and bouncing through multiple manufacturers, Peters was finally satisfied with the final sample design. He now has a team in Italy that produces his footwear, and he runs his Sebastian Boot Company from Fresno. Read more.

The Castro Presidency: 2013-2020

Joseph CastroFrom his first day in 2013 through this year of COVID-19 challenges, President Joseph I. Castro has demonstrated how deeply he cares about the success of students of all ages. On Jan. 4, 2021, Dr. Castro will take that commitment to Long Beach, where he will begin his new role as the chancellor of the 23-campus California State University system.