California State University, Fresno - University Journal
December 2013 Vol. 17 No. 4
Arts   |   FYI   |   Newsmakers   |   Service   |   Sports  




President Castro offers plans for future initiatives

President Castro spent his first 100 days in office listening and learning about the university and its relationship to Central California and said in a press conference on Nov. 8 that he’s now identified areas in which he wants to move ahead.

See the full story with video here.


chancellor with tia

CSU Chancellor White visits campus
California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White – one of Fresno State’s most prominent alumni – visited campus Wednesday, Nov. 13, to meet with students, faculty, staff and community members. He also pardoned Pepper, the turkey, (See video here) and met Tia, the camel, at the Alumni Association’s monthly Hump Day Hangout. This marks White’s first official visit to the campus since taking office as CSU chancellor in December 2012. See photo gallery.



dr. smitsVice President Smits announces retirement
Dr. Peter Smits, vice president for University Advancement, has announced he will retire on June 30, 2014, after 20 years at Fresno State and 44 years in higher education. Dr. Smits is the first-ever Vice President for University Advancement at Fresno State and is known nationally for his contributions to the profession. Dr. Smits provided leadership for the Campaign for Fresno State, our seven-year comprehensive fundraising effort that concluded in April 2013 and raised $214.2 million. See the full story.




dr. coon

Carolyn Coon named interim VP
Dean of Students, Dr. Carolyn V. Coon, will serve as Interim Vice President for Student Affairs until the search for a new vice president is complete. President Castro announced the appointment and said Dr. Coon will assume the duties on Dec. 15 and serve until a successor to retiring Vice President Paul Oliaro is named. The nationwide search is underway and is expected to be complete early in 2014.




castro'Helping Hams' campaign kicks off for families in need
The 2013 Helping Hams Campaign has began and replaces the popular Give a Gobbler drive because of a turkey shortage this year. This campaign runs through Dec. 18 with a goal of 150 hams ranging from $20 to $35 each. The Bulldog Pantry will distribute the hams on Dec. 20 to families in need who live near campus and in the El Dorado Park neighborhood. Hams also will be given to other local charities, as determined by Bulldog Pantry.

Donors may purchase a whole ham or give in increments of $5. Donations may be made at the Gibson Farm Market located. Checks should be made payable to the Agricultural Foundation (mailing address 2385 E. Barstow Ave., Mailstop AG 85, Fresno, CA 93740).

For more information, contact Ashleigh Rocker, programs and volunteer coordinator for ASI, at or 278.7703.


No University Journal in January

The University Journal will not be published in January. The next issue of the Journal will be available Feb. 3, 2014.




Diane Lifetime engagement as a Fulbright scholar
Being a Fulbright scholar is something you carry with you throughout your professional career, according to Dr. Diane Oliver, Educational Research and Administration (ERA) Department. See the full story with video here.





VincentFinding family ties in Wales
Being a Fulbright scholar to the United Kingdom in 2009 gave Dr. Vincent Biondo a chance to investigate his family ties in Wales. See the full story with video here.






GillisannArmenia visit was a life-changing experience
Immersing herself in Armenian culture changed her outlook on a lot of things, said Dr. Gillisann Harootunian, director of University Initiatives and Projects for Resource Development. See the full story with video here.








Memorial Sign will be moved
One of Fresno State’s most familiar landmarks, the Memorial Sign,has been perched on the corner of Shaw and Cedar avenues for decades dedicated to “Fresno State College students who died in service of our country.” At Fresno State’s Veterans Day observance in November the signuniversity unveiled plans to relocate the 17-foot California-shaped precast concrete monument to the middle of campus.

The move to the east end of the Rose Garden is expected to be complete by the end of December. The relocation will also include lighting and landscaping improvements. A rededication plaque will be placed near the monument.

A plaque formerly located in the Rose Garden honoring alumni who served in World War I will also be relocated adjacent to the monument. Other memorials nearby include the Submarine Memorial on the Maple Mall (in remembrance of U.S. subs lost during World War II and the Cold War) and Memorial Court (dedicated to Fresno State students who lost their lives in war).


Gifts to help children with autism develop social skills
Families for Effective Autism Treatment (FEAT) issued two gifts of $25,000 each to support autism treatment at Fresno State’s Central California Autism Center and Speech and Hearing Clinic. The gift to the autism center will support its Enrichment Program, which focuses on helping children with a diagnosis along the autism spectrum develop social skills through music, art and sports. See the full story.


tom vilsack

Ag Secretary Vilsack visits campus
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack visited Fresno State Nov. 19, informing students and faculty about the Food, Farm and Jobs Bill and comprehensive immigration reform to support a strong U.S. agriculture sector.

Hosted by the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology in the Satellite Student Union, Vilsack also discussed the importance of agriculture exports to California’s economy. See the full story.



Professor Emeritus Dr. James Brownell passes away
Professor Emeritus of Soil Science Dr. James Brownell passed away on Nov. 4, 2013, at his Cambria home following a battle with cancer. Dr. Brownell taught from 1969 until his retirement in 1992 and touched the lives of many students, faculty and staff. He authored several books on soil, water and plants and was recognized worldwide as an expert in his field. After his retirement, he continued to educate people on soil and water conservation and was very active in his Cambria community. Contributions and remembrances can be sent to Dr. Brownell's favorite charities: Greenspace-Cambria Land Trust, P.O. Box 1505, Cambria, CA 93428, or Friends of the Elephant Seals at Piedras Blancas, 250 San Simeon Ave., San Simeon, CA 93452.


Dr. Benjamin Bakkegard, featured during Centennial, passes away
Dr. Bakkegard, a music retired emeritus professor passed away short of his 102 birthday. He proudly boasted that he shared his birthday year with that of the university—1911. Dr. Bakkegard taught from 1958 until his retirement in 1981 at the age of 70. After his retirement he continued to attend and support music programs. Dr. Bakkegard was a proud faculty. In an interview he said that teaching on campus was “one of the most pleasant experiences of my lifetime." His memorial service will be held at Hope Lutheran Church on Dec. 7 at 2 P.M.



Student Achievement

brittany beardHearst/CSU scholar overcomes learning disability
Brittany Beard, a Fresno State graduate student in Counseling, entered a world where social structure presented numerous challenges. But the adopted, multi-racial woman with a learning disability, who was raised in a single-parent home, met her challenges. She is Fresno State’s 2013 recipient of the William R. Hearst/California State University Trustees Award for Outstanding Achievement. The CSU’s highest recognition of student achievement is awarded to 23 students — one from each of the CSU campuses — who have demonstrated financial need, experienced personal hardship and model exemplary academic performance, community service and personal accomplishments. See the full story.



Three named as Paul P. Fidler Grant finalists
Fresno State students Diane Oliver, Kimberly Cole and Jennifer Whyte are among the five finalists for the 2013-14 Paul P. Fidler Research Grant for their study entitled “Student Veteran Transfer from Community Colleges to Universities: Building Bridges.” Christina Enquist of the College of the Sequoias and Monica Nolasco of the State Center Community College District were also colleagues on the proposed research project. The grant is designed to encourage and enable scholarly research on issues related to college student transitions.



What’s in a name?

While you may occasionally hear our campus referred to as CSU Fresno, CSUF, Fresno State University, Cal State Fresno, or other variations, keep in mind that there are only TWO correct names for our university:

  • California State University, Fresno is the formal name
  • Fresno State is the informal name.

You can use either name in your materials. By the way - CSUF refers to California State University, Fullerton!

Using the correct name ensures that we maintain the brand identity that we’ve worked so hard to establish for our campus. You can find details on the brand website.

Color us Fresno State

Fresno State’s distinctive cardinal red and blue are as much a part of our identity as our name and logo. Whenever possible, you are encouraged to use the full color logo in your printed materials, although variations of this are allowed to improve readability.

If you need assistance in determining how to appropriately use the university colors, refer to the color standards on the brand website or email with your questions.

If you need a logo, please contact University Communications at Please do not create the logo or any color variations yourself.



Holiday Gift Project fundraiser to promote literacy
The Richter Center for Community Engagement and First Book Fresno are calling on the generosity of the Fresno State community to give the gift of literacy this holiday season. A fundraising effort began Nov. 1 to raise funds that will be used to provide new educational books for children involved in the programs offered by Fresno PARCs at the Hinton Park and Romain Park Community Centers.

A $10 donation can provide up to four books! One hundred percent of all financial donations will be used to purchase books. All donations are tax-deductible and receipts will be provided. Checks should be made payable to: “First Book Fresno” and mailed to the Richter Center, M/S TA 120. Donations must be received by Dec. 20 to be used for this project.

For more information contact Renee Delport ( or Trisha Studt ( at 278.7079.

Daniel Ward receives inaugural Welty Award for Excellence in Community Service daniel ward
The inaugural John D. Welty Award for Excellence in Community Service will be presented to Fresno State senior Daniel Ward. The award, which includes a $2,500 scholarship, will be given each year to a single student who exemplifies the commitment to service that Dr. Welty championed during his 22 years as President of California State University, Fresno.

Over the last year, Ward provided well over 300 hours of community service to local and international organizations. In many cases, he helped lead service projects and engaged many of his fellow students as volunteers in those community efforts. Ward’s community commitments include service with Community Regional Medical Center, Bulldog Pantry, Sierra Foothill Conservancy and Quigley Park and its surrounding neighborhood.

During the summer of 2013, Ward helped lead a number of his fraternity brothers from across the nation in an international service project in El Salvador. While there, he spent a week helping to construct a home for a family.

Ward is majoring in chemistry and is pursuing minors in mathematics, astronomy and biology. He is a member of the Smittcamp Family Honors Program and plans to attend medical school after he graduates in May 2014.

The John D. Welty Award for Excellence in Community Service is sponsored by Fresno State’s Community Service Scholarship Program, in memory of Marc and Marjorie Radin, who shared Dr. Welty’s dedication for engaging students in service and making our region a better place to live. The Welty Award project is administered by Fresno State Career Services and the Jan & Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning.

Spring Community Service Opportunities Fair is Jan. 29
Mark your calendars now for the 10th annual Spring Community Service Opportunities Fair, Jan. 29, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Satellite Student Union. The event is sponsored by The Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning. During the fair, students will have the opportunity to learn about volunteer, service-learning, internship and career opportunities offered through area nonprofits. Faculty and staff are encouraged to attend this event and send students who are interested in community service or who are required to do service as part of a class assignment. Information: Renee Delport at 278.7079.



volunteersOne-day service events provide positive impact
Two one-day service events coordinated by the Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning provided Fresno State volunteers with an opportunity to give back to the community. The events, Make A Difference Day in October and Serving Fresno Day in November, provided more than 175 volunteers the opportunity to refurbish parks within the City of Fresno or build hiking trails with Sierra Foothill Conservancy. 




theatre students'Clybourne Park' explores race relations then and now
University Theatre will stage “Clybourne Park” from Dec. 6 to Dec. 14 in the John Wright Theatre.

The play by Bruce Norris and directed by Kathleen McKinley explodes in two outrageous acts set 50 years apart. Act One takes place in 1959, as nervous community leaders anxiously try to stop the sale of a home to an African-American family. Act Two is set in the same house in the present day, as the now predominantly African-American neighborhood battles to hold its ground in the face of gentrification. Adult language.

Tickets are $17 for adults; $15 for Fresno State faculty/staff, alumni, seniors and military; and $10 for students. Tickets can be purchased noon-4 p.m. Monday-Friday at the University Theatre Box Office at the north entrance of the Speech Arts Building, 278.2216. Ticket order forms and more information are available at the website.





Men's Basketball
Sunday, Dec. 1, 2 p.m. vs. Northern Arizona - Social Media Madness.
Saturday, Dec. 28, 4 p.m. vs. UC Merced - Scouts Night/Mascot Night.

Women's Basketball
Thursday, Dec. 5, 7 p.m. vs. San Diego Christian - Football Fan Appreciation Night.
Sunday, Dec. 8, 2 p.m. vs. Santa Clara - Winter Sports Day.
Saturday, Dec. 14, 2 p.m. vs. Portland - Holiday Food Drive.
Friday, Dec. 20, 7 p.m. vs. San Francisco - Toy Drive to benefit Kids Casa Foster Care of Fresno.
Saturday, Dec. 28, 6 p.m. vs. Stanford - Championship Day/ Scout Day. Double header. Free admission with ticket from the earlier men’s game.


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, PDFs, faxes, and printed hard copies will not be accepted.
President, Joseph I. Castro
Vice President for University Advancement, Peter N. Smits
Associate Vice President for University Communications, Shirley Melikian Armbruster
Director of University Web Communications and Publications, Bruce Whitworth
Editor, April Schulthies • Editorial Coordinator, Margarita Adona • Photographer, Cary Edmondson • Videographer, Randy Haar
Web Coordinator, Kevin Medeiros • Editorial Adviser, Angel Langridge
Production Assistant, Leilani Esqueda