California State University, Fresno - University Journal
May 2009 Vol. 12 No. 9


Commencement traditions at Fresno State

In May, many universities watch their students embark on a new phase of life at commencement ceremonies. Graduation signals a new time in life, a time to acknowledge achievements and to set new goals. At Fresno State, commencement is a time for the entire community to come together and celebrate.

“That celebration usually attracts up to 10,000 participants,” says Dr. Paul Oliaro, Vice President for Student Affairs. “It is really a celebration of the Central Valley.”

Since its beginnings as Fresno State Normal School on September 11, 1911, at Stanislaus and O streets in downtown Fresno, the number of students graduating from the school has grown. On June 7, 1912, the school’s first graduating class had 31 women and two men. The number went up to 109 graduates the next year, and in 1914, the school moved to the University and Van Ness avenues, the current location of Fresno City College. The graduation ceremony was then held at the Normal Court over five days, which became a tradition thereafter.

Over the years, Fresno State has developed special graduation traditions that are cherished today, such as carrying the mace.

See the full story with video here.



Charles Boyer & Dee Jordan
Dean Charles Boyer and Dee Jordan

Fresno State receives largest cash gift in its history
When a retired Fresno State agriculture professor shared his enthusiasm for his college’s programs at a social gathering years ago, he never suspected that the result would be a $29,442,516 million cash gift to the Fresno State College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology – the largest single cash gift ever received by the university or in the California State University system The gift is on behalf of the Jordan family: Hanabul “Bud” Jordan, his wife, Dee and his brother, Lowell. The Jordan family is from the East Bay, where Bud owned and operated a construction business headquartered in Hayward and where Lowell lived on the family ranch in Dublin, tending to the family’s cattle. Bud Jordan died April 29, 2002, at the age of 83, and Lowell Jordan passed away in July 2005 at the age of 81. Dee Jordan still lives in Hayward. The Jordan family gift will be used for research and facilities for the College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (CAST). Fresno State President John D. Welty will consult with the campus Academic Senate Executive Committee and then ask the California State University Board of Trustees to name the college the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at the trustees’ meeting this May. See the full story here.


Earth DayEarth Day brings crowds for discussions, Sustainability Fair
The biggest Earth Day effort at Fresno State attracted hundreds of students, staff and faculty to discussions of key environmental issues and to a Sustainability Fair, where nearly 20 businesses and organizations offered information. The event in the newly renovated Peace Garden was chaired by Dr. Chris Pluhar (Earth and Environmental Sciences) and presented by the campus Planning Committee’s subcommittee on sustainability. Faculty participated in a teach-in composed of panel discussions about water, transportation and air quality. See the full story here.




Swine flu updates available
Campus administrators are concerned about the spread of the swine flu virus and are closely following information from county, state and federal officials. Regular updates are being provided to the university community via e-mail and on the Fresno State news site, and the home page,
Fresno State officials in the Environmental Health and Safety office and the University Health and Psychological Services (Student Health Center) are monitoring the situation. In addition, Assistant Vice President Dave Moll (Risk Management & Sustainability) is reviewing the campus Business Continuity Plan with the appropriate university personnel.

No employees or students have reported symptoms or concern at this time. Please take common sense measures to avoid transmission of the flu. Wash your hands and cover your coughs. If you have flu symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend you stay home and contact your health care provider.

The symptoms of swine flu are very similar to regular seasonal flu symptoms. These include fever, coughing, runny nose, sore throat, head and body aches, lack of appetite and lethargy. With swine flu there may be additional gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

While Fresno State students raise swine on the campus farm, there are no reports of problems in the pigs or the students, faculty or staff who work with them.

For more information, please visit the following sites.


Read FresnoState Magazine online
Now you can page through the latest online issue of FresnoState Magazine with the click of a mouse or by virtually flipping pages as you would a printed publication. A new format provides fast access to whatever section you want to read and allows you to zoom in and pan across any page. See the magazine here.

Recipes for graduation
Have a hungry crowd to feed at graduation? Click here for some easy recipes.



The Journal is published online by the Office of University Communications the first day of each month – or the weekday closest to the first – from September through May. The deadline for submissions to Journal is 10 days prior to the first of each month. Please e-mail submissions to You may include digital photos, video clips or audio clips that are publishable online. Phone messages, faxes or printed hard copies will not be accepted.
President, John D. Welty
Vice President for University Advancement, Peter N. Smits
Interim Assistant Vice President for University Communications, Shirley Melikian Armbruster
Director of Publications and Web Services, Bruce Whitworth
Managing Editor, Lanny Larson • Assistant Editor, April Schulthies
Web Coordinator, Kevin Medeiros • Editorial Assistant, Angel Langridge