Campus: Fresno State --August 24, 2006

Fresno State's Confident Year Includes Building The Largest Academic Building In Its History

California State University, Fresno President John D. Welty said 2006-07 will be a year of tremendous action with construction of a $95 million library, efforts to gain national Carnegie Foundation recognition and accelerated momentum in the fundraising campaign to support academic programs.

At the annual Faculty-Staff Fall Assembly on Monday, Welty also announced that respected Fresno civic leaders Bud and Jan Richter will co-chair the fundraising campaign. Bud Richter, retired businessman who was head of Pepsi Bottling and Distributing Co., and his wife, Jan, have been active supporters of Fresno State since the 1950s. In 2005, they received the Alumni Association's service award.

"We are very enthused that by 2011 Fresno State can be recognized as one of the Top 10 most community-engaged universities in the United States," said Bud Richter. "The long-term benefits to the quality of life in Central California will be very substantial."

The north wing of Fresno State's existing Madden Library is currently being demolished and will be replaced by a dramatically designed glass and textured metal library in the heart of the campus, next to the University Student Union. The university library will merge the most advanced technology available with Fresno State's already massive 1-plus million volume library - the largest collection of books, research materials and historical documents in Central California.

Welty also said Fresno State would seek a new recognition from the Carnegie Foundation as an "engaged" university. The newly created university classification by the noted higher education group would underscore Fresno State's unique partnerships throughout Central California, Welty said. Fresno State is recognized as a national leader in entrepreneurship, new business development and job creation.

In a semester-opening speech to a first-ever joint assembly of the university's faculty and staff, Welty invited the university community to dream with him about the Fresno State of 2011 - the year of its 100th anniversary. More than 1,000 faculty and staff attended the event in the university's new Student Recreation Center, completed in February as part of Fresno State's rapidly progressing building program.

Welty said he foresees a university in 2011 that will be academically excellent and technologically advanced, fulfilling its mission to assist Central California in becoming a place of optimism, invention and creativity.

Fresno State will be the link for Central California to the economies and cultures of the world and will be a university focused on inspiring students of character who lead in community service at home. And undoubtedly, he said, Fresno State in 2011 will possess a superior faculty recognized for their teaching, research and public service.

To get to the positive picture of the future university, Welty said, a transformation now under way must continue.

"The transformation of Fresno State is happening here …and now. Not by accident or coincidence … but by plan and commitment. All of us here have made a great investment in Fresno State's future. That future is inspiring and challenging."

Welty, who this summer marked his 15th anniversary at Fresno State, said he has been honored to serve as president and looks forward to the Centennial celebration in 2011.

Key to fulfilling the university's potential and accomplishing its goals in the next five years, Welty, said, is implementation of the new strategic plan, "Plan for Excellence III." It will serve as a blueprint for the transformation of the university.

"We will align Fresno State's human and physical resources to meet the goals identified in this plan to be recognized as one of the top 10 comprehensive engaged universities in the United States," Welty said.

To read the president's entire Fall Assembly speech, please go to speech.

Contact: Shirley Melikian Armbruster, (559) 278-5292 or (559) 593-1815


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