Campus: CSU Fresno -- August 19, 2005
President Sees Greatest Achievements for Fresno State in Near
President John D. Welty welcomed the faculty to the 2005 fall semester today
(Aug. 17) with optimism that California State University, Fresno can anticipate
some of its greatest achievements over the next few years.
Speaking at the fall Academic Assembly, Welty said he believes Fresno State can
become "one of the nation's best engaged universities - recognized for our ability
to engage a diverse group of students in learning and for the ability to become
actively involved in a region and contribute to its transformation."
In recent years the university has evolved from an institution that sought to
interact with this region to one that has become fully engaged in our region, Welty
said. Looking ahead to Fresno State's Centennial in 2011, Welty suggests the
university focus on five themes that highlight its distinctiveness. He said the
Welty also outlined several changes that have occurred in recent years which are
prompting a process to update the university's strategic plan.
- Helping to create a healthier Valley. Fresno State already produces the
majority of the medical and social service professionals in the region and is
working to expand the nursing program so that more top students can pursue
careers in nursing and other related health care professions. Planning has begun
for joint doctoral programs in nursing and physical therapy. Faculty and students
are conducting pioneering research to understand and address the special health
problems of Central California.
- Advancing world class agriculture. Noting that a recent study by the Center
for Strategic and International Studies points out that food production must be
doubled by 2025, Welty said Fresno State is finding the answers as it works to
sustain California agriculture and pioneers ways to increase production while
protecting the environment. Of note: Fresno State will become home to one of
the most innovative food institutes in the country with the creation of the
Institute of Food and Nutrition Innovation. The institute will study issues of
food safety, packaging and the development of new food products. It will evaluate
farm and ranch technology with a view toward improving overall food quality,
taste and nutritional value.
- Transforming the economy of Central California by helping to create new
businesses and new jobs. The university is leveraging its nationally recognized
expertise to fuel Central California's economy. Entrepreneur Magazine ranks
Fresno State's expertise in new business creation and entrepreneurship as the
eighth best in the entire United States. For perspective - the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology is ranked seventh and other campuses in the Top 10 along
with Fresno State are Boston College, the University of Arizona and SMU. Also,
the faculty in engineering and business have developed a plan for an advanced
manufacturing center which is another key program that must be in place to help
in the region's transformation.
- Treasuring the arts and culture of the New California, as evidenced by the
recent successful CSU Summer Arts Program and the university's inspiration for
a new generation of writers, artists, musicians and designers. Fresno State
treasures the art, music, literature and traditions that embody the genius,
spirit and aspirations of the people who call Central California home.
- Preparing those who are teaching our children. With nearly a century of
experience in preparing teachers for the classroom, Fresno State has a curriculum
that covers everything from teaching preschool to a doctoral program in educational
leadership. The faculty has already helped struggling schools resolve chronic
budget problems, deal with violence and promote family involvement. We're engaged
in solving key problems faced by Central California students - a lack of
educational opportunities, poor reading skills and a high drop-out rate. We're
also preparing the educational leaders this region needs through The Central
Valley Educational Leadership Institute.
One of the changes is that the region will add a new capability as the University
of California, Merced opens this fall. This presents new opportunities for
collaboration and also will generate some competition for students and private
support, he said, adding, "The Bulldogs are ready to take on the Bobcats!"
Another change is Fresno State's intercollegiate athletics program, which has
entered the national stage. "Unfortunately," Welty said, "mistakes have been made
which have had a negative impact on our university. We must take steps to restore
the integrity of the program and become a leader in student athlete academic
performance as well as on the field performance."
On the construction front, Welty noted that a "remarkable transformation" continues
on the campus with $150 million in new buildings. The new Science II Building and
the Downing Planetarium Museum were completed earlier this year and the West
Complex/Student Recreation Center will be ready for use early next year. In
addition to a fitness and recreation focus, it also will house important community
conference and educational facilities including the Lyles Center for Innovation
and Entrepreneurship and The Leon and Pete Peters Educational Center.
Soon Fresno State will begin a massive $91 million renovation of the Henry Madden
Library. The entire front wing of the Madden Library will be demolished and rebuilt
into what will be one of the finest and most modern university libraries in
California, Welty said. "This expansion will enable us to provide the latest
computer technologies, offer easier access to our rare and historical materials,
and provide much improved areas for our students and faculty to study, conduct
research and meet," he said.
Contact: Shirley Melikian Armbruster, (559) 278-5292 or