As Fresno State welcomes students and faculty back to campus this fall, it’s impossible not to notice the construction across campus related to the Central Utility Plant Replacement project. In the largest public-private partnership for utility infrastructure in the California State University system, the project will modernize  Fresno State’s central utilities. 

The project includes major energy conservation measures, with a target to provide more than 30% energy savings to Fresno State during the 33-year contract.

Through the end of 2023, safety fencing will occupy two large areas of campus (seen on this map) — along the Jackson Avenue pathway from lots P30-31 north to the McKee Fisk building and along the Maple Avenue pathway from the roundabout in front of University High School to San Ramon Avenue by the Satellite Student Union. Additional fencing will be added as the project progresses.

As a result, access to some buildings will be limited, and the campus community should allow extra time to walk across campus. Signage will be in place to direct pedestrians to accessible entries and safe paths of travel. Facilities Management is sending regular communications to the campus community to keep them informed. 

SCOUT, an on-campus transportation service for students with permanent or temporary mobility disabilities, will be expanded to support those who need help getting around campus. The Fresno State mobile app features an interactive map that will reflect construction updates.

“This project will ensure that we have a reliable, energy-efficient infrastructure to support the heating and cooling for our campus for the next 40 years and to support future campus growth,” said Tinnah Medina, associate vice president of Facilities Management. “We recognize this project is a major (short-term) disruption to our campus for a long-term benefit.  Please know that we are working closely with the developer to minimize the inconvenience  and to ensure the safety of our campus community.”

Serving Valley students

Fresno State anticipates an incoming class of about 6,120 new undergraduate students — 3,620 freshmen and 2,500 transfer students. More than 86% of continuing undergraduate students have registered for the fall semester. Total enrollment for the 112th academic year is projected to be about 24,050. (Enrollment numbers are not final until the campus census is conducted in early fall.) 

Fifty-six percent of Fresno State’s students come from Fresno County, while 82% come from the broader six-county region of the Valley (Fresno, Madera, Kings, Tulare, Merced and Mariposa).

“When our students graduate with a Fresno State degree, they contribute directly to strengthening our Valley economy and enriching our communities,” said Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval. “Just take education as an example: When almost 80% of our K-12 teachers hold a degree from Fresno State, our fundamental importance to our communities is clear. So much happens in the region because our alumni are deeply dedicated leaders.” 

Welcome Week celebrates the start of the fall semester with entertainment, giveaways and resources for new and returning students. The festivities will kick off with welcome stations from 7:30 to 10 a.m. Aug. 22 and 23 across campus to provide information and directions. A DJ in the Pit will provide music from noon to 1 p.m. Aug. 23 through 26 on the University Student Union South Patio. 

Big Bulldog Welcome from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 22 at the Memorial Gardens (in front of the Kennel Bookstore) will kick off the fall semester with free food, giveaways and a campus resource fair.

Welcome Week also features several themed evening events, including free glow-in-the-dark bowling for students during the back-to-school bowl bash in Bulldog Bowl on Aug. 24, Fresno State Night at Campus Pointe on Aug. 25 and a sunset picnic featuring a screening of “Lightyear” on Aug. 26 on the lawn in front of the Satellite Student Union.

New students will be invited to run across Jim Sweeney Field at Valley Children’s Stadium before kickoff at the first home football game at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 1 as a part of the campus tradition called the Run to Victory.

Students can network with student organizations during traditions day, the annual club and organization fair, and discover volunteer opportunities at the community service opportunities fair on Aug. 31 at the Memorial Gardens. Find a full list of Welcome Week activities online.

Resnick Student Union opens

One highlight of the 2022-23 academic year will be the much-anticipated opening of the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Student Union in the center of campus. The Resnick Student Union will have a soft opening for student use after the beginning of the semester, with a ribbon-cutting celebration planned for early October (details to come). 

This new 84,000-square-foot building will enhance co-curricular life at Fresno State. Students voted to approve the new facility in March 2018, and a groundbreaking ceremony was held in February 2020. In honor of a transformational gift, the building is named for philanthropists, entrepreneurs and co-owners of The Wonderful Company, Lynda and Stewart Resnick, who pledged $10 million to help make this facility a reality.

Supply chain disruptions have delayed the opening of the new food concepts planned for the Resnick Student Union. They should be on track to open in the spring.

Dorm move-in

Students will move back into the residence halls on Thursday, Aug. 18. This year, 1,100 will be living in the campus dorms. With the highest demand for on-campus housing in recent years, another 100 students will be housed at the Towneplace Suites, a Marriott property, for the fall semester or until space opens up in the on-campus housing.

Students will have appointments for their check-in times, beginning at 9 a.m. Moving in to the dorms on Thursday will give students a few days to settle in and meet other students before classes begin on Monday, Aug. 22.

Investiture

As Jiménez-Sandoval enters his second full academic year as Fresno State president, the community will have an opportunity to celebrate with him at his formal investiture ceremony, scheduled for 1 to 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9, at the Save Mart Center. This formal ceremony confers the authority and symbols of high office. It is California State University protocol to hold the investiture during the new president’s first year in office or at the conclusion of the first year. 

New provost and deans

In June, Dr. Xuanning Fu was named Fresno State’s new provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, a role he had filled in an interim capacity since January 2021. The provost is the University’s chief academic officer and serves as its leader when the president is away from campus.

Two colleges will have new deans this academic year. 

Dr. Elizabeth A. Lowham, a public policy scholar with expertise in leadership and management, analysis and organizational development, is the new dean of the College of Social Sciences. From 2007 through 2022, while teaching political science at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Lowham held various administrative leadership positions. 

Dr. Rolston St. Hilaire — known for his urban water conservation background, research, community and industry support — has been named the new dean of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at Fresno State, effective Sept. 15. St. Hilaire previously spent 24 years in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at New Mexico State University.

New director of medical services

The Student Health and Counseling Center has a new director of medical services. Dr. Robert Mitchell joined Fresno State earlier this year. Previously he was with the state of California as the chief medical executive at the California Correctional Women’s Facility for 13-plus years. He looks forward to supporting the medical needs of Fresno State students who visit the center. 

Milestone anniversaries

The Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology and Lyles College of Engineering each celebrate 100-year anniversaries since classes in these fields were first offered at Fresno State.. The Craig School of Business celebrates the 30th anniversary of the naming of the business school after businessman Sid Craig, the president and CEO of Jenny Craig International. The college will hold an anniversary celebration gala on Sept. 30. 

Study abroad/Continuing and Global Education updates

The Division of Continuing and Global Education will offer a wide array of study abroad opportunities in the 2022-23 academic year. Study abroad is a transformative experience that is considered high-impact learning, conducive to success in an increasingly diversified and global economy. The division offers faculty-led programs taught by Fresno State faculty, as well as opportunities to study abroad in programs with students from around the world. Short-term, semester-long and year-long programs can be explored by visiting the study abroad website. Deadlines for application vary by program.  

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute will host an array of non-credit seminars for community members age 50 and better. Fresno State’s OLLI is a vibrant learning community offering a variety of lectures, short courses and adventures of particular interest to retired or semi-retired adults. The institute will offer both in-person and online classes.  

Continuing and Global Education’s International Office welcomes close to 600 international students from around the world. International Coffee Hour brings presenters to speak about their culture, study abroad, or international service-learning experiences. Events are free and open to the public.

New bachelor of music options

Fresno State’s College of Arts and Humanities will offer several new bachelor of music degrees this academic year, featuring options in composition, instrumental performance, jazz studies and vocal performance. Previously these options had been offered as bachelor of arts degrees. Now they meet the more rigorous standards required by the Nat