Freshmen won’t be the only ones who are new to Fresno State when fall instruction begins on Aug. 23. This will also be the first time most second-year students set foot on the 388-acre main campus, due to instruction being primarily virtual in the 2020-21 academic year because of COVID-19.

With that in mind, the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management has put together a week of exciting and safe events and activities to kick off the semester and help orient the almost 9,000 new-to-campus students to a memorable college experience.

Dr. Colin Stewart, associate dean of Student Involvement, explained considerations that went into planning for students’ return:

“It’s important to welcome our students in a significant way by creating a progressive and sequential week that focuses on building a sense of pride, connections with the University, new relationships with peers and educating students on University traditions and what it means to be a Bulldog.”

Welcome Week will kick off with welcome stations from 8 to 10 a.m. Monday and Tuesday at the Speaker’s Platform and at Maple Mall (campus map). A DJ in the Pit will provide music each day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the University Student Union South Patio. 

Each evening of Welcome Week features a themed event, including a sunset picnic, an esports tournament, an outdoor movie, a Fresno State Night at Campus Pointe and a Powder Paradise Party. The week culminates with the Run to Victory, a tradition in which new students run across the football field prior to the home opener at Bulldog Stadium when Fresno State hosts UConn at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 28. Find a full list online.

Fresno State anticipates an incoming class of about 6,145 new undergraduate students — 3,460 freshmen and 2,685 transfer students. More than 86% of continuing undergraduate students have registered for the fall semester. Total enrollment for the 111th academic year is projected to be about 24,610. (Enrollment numbers are not final until the campus census is conducted in early fall.) 

”We’re excited to welcome back the Bulldog family, including those who will be coming to our beautiful campus for classes for the first time,” said Dr. Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, who was appointed to serve as the ninth president of Fresno State in May. “A degree from Fresno State is valuable because it offers an experience that is foundational for life. Being on campus is an essential element of that experience.”

The California State University announced in December that the 23 campuses in the system would return to delivering courses primarily in-person this semester. Last month, the CSU announced a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all faculty, staff and students who are accessing campus facilities for fall.

Fresno State is offering a number of on-campus vaccine clinics to facilitate access for its campus community to obtain the vaccine before the Sept. 30 deadline.

To reduce possible exposure to COVID-19 and to help prevent the spread of the virus, masks must be worn indoors at all times and outdoors where social distancing cannot be maintained.

Many facilities that had been closed (or open in a limited way) since March 2020 will reopen, including the following: University Student Union (except for the Bulldog Bowl, which will remain closed for the fall semester), Student Recreation Center, USU Food Court, Taco Bell, The Bucket, Starbucks in the Henry Madden Library and the Residence Dining Hall. 

The most up-to-date information can be found on the Fall 2021 Repopulation/COVID-19 website 


Fresno State is one of eight CSU campuses taking part in CSUCCESS (pronounced See-success), a bold California State University initiative to enhance student achievement and create more equitable opportunities for students at CSU campuses by providing industry-leading technology. 

Fresno State will provide an iPad Air and Apple Smart Keyboard Folio to all incoming first-year and new transfer students who register to participate. Students will be provided with this iPad and keyboard for the entirety of their undergraduate experience. Fresno State began distribution of the iPads and keyboards to students on Aug. 16. 

Dorm move-in

About 1,100 students will move back into the residence halls on Thursday, Aug. 19. Not only is that significantly higher than the 190 residents who moved in last fall, it is also the largest number who have lived in on-campus student housing in the past several years. 

Madden Library

Beginning Aug. 23, the Madden Library returns to full services and regular hours for students, faculty, staff and the community. See the library’s Services Overview page for complete information on fall 2021 services. Please visit for complete information.

New deans

Two of Fresno State’s eight colleges and schools will be under new leadership this fall, with new deans. 

Dr. Julie Olson-Buchanan, a veteran Fresno State faculty member and administrator, was named dean of the Craig School of Business. Previously, she served as interim associate dean for the Kremen School of Education and Human Development and then for the Craig School of Business. Olson-Buchanan is the first female dean in the Craig School, which dates back to its formation in 1927 as the Department of Commerce. 

Dr. Honora Chapman, an accomplished professor and administrator, was named dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. Chapman has been leading the college as interim dean since July 2019. She previously served as associate dean for over three years.

New majors, options added

The Department of Food Science and Nutrition in the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology will now offer an undergraduate degree in human nutritional sciences that includes two pathways: registered dietitian nutritionist and nutritional sciences. Students will have extra opportunities in the newly-created, latter option to gain more science-focused and research-based training that can be applied toward a wider variety of health-related careers and professions.

The Kremen School now has a master’s in early childhood education. This area of study was previously an option within a master’s in education, but it is now a standalone degree.

The Division of Research and Graduate Studies will expand its services to include a Graduate Student Success Center, an 1,100-square-foot study space on the second floor of the Madden Library.

Graduate Student Orientation

The Division of Research and Graduate Studies is offering an asynchronous orientation video and website for new graduate students, listing resources available and financial opportunities.