Fresno State Interim President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval delivered his first address to faculty and staff on Jan. 19, inviting them to join him in showcasing “the greatest story in the Valley” by sharing with others the University’s impact on students.

At the annual Spring Assembly, which was conducted virtually, Jiménez-Sandoval shared with faculty and staff some aspects of his early life, including his arrival in Fowler from Mexico, along with his recent professional experiences and his love for the Valley and Fresno State.

“I am passionate about Fresno State. It is the intellectual and cultural keystone of the Central Valley with a demonstrated power to transform individuals and improve the quality of life in our region,” he said. “I take great pride in participating in this standard for excellence that guides our students to reach their fullest potential.”

Looking ahead, Jiménez-Sandoval said that his primary goal is to elevate Fresno State’s four-year graduation rates. While 33% of 25-year-olds in California have a bachelor’s degree or higher, only 20% do in Fresno County. One of the keys to improving graduation rates is “intentional advising and tutoring in specific, challenging classes,” he said.

Jiménez-Sandoval said he is also focused on:

  • Highlighting the graduate degrees Fresno State offers, as they are instrumental in empowering more leaders in the Valley. 
  • Strengthening the University’s ties with partners in industry to increase experiential learning, so that students graduate with degrees that will readily promote innovation and growth.
  • Maintaining a safe environment for the small but higher number of students, faculty and staff who will be physically on campus during the spring semester.
  • Working closely with the Department of Athletics to provide as many opportunities as possible for student-athletes to practice and compete in their respective sports, and with the performing arts departments for student-artists to display their talents.

Jiménez-Sandoval urged faculty and staff to continue to work hard, and to “celebrate the sweet harvest of our success … higher graduation rates of engaged graduates who will become agents of positive change in our communities.”

Jiménez-Sandoval became Fresno State’s interim president on Jan. 4, when former President Joseph I. Castro left to become chancellor of the California State University system.

You can read his speech here.