Take a look back at some of the unique, memorable and meaningful moments from the 2022-23 academic year. Photographers from each of our 23 campuses shared their favorite shot from the school year—excluding commencement—and why it captures the CSU spirit.​

CSU Bakersfield

Bakersfield photo

EJ Medellin, multimedia student assistant

CSU Bakersfield freshmen, faculty and staff celebrate the beginning of the 2022-23 academic year, sparking their school spirit and community pride at the annual Rowdy Run celebration. This photo captures the joy, energy, sense of community and excitement these students experienced as they launched their university education at CSUB. ​



Whitney Howard, campus photographer/videographer

Jesus Avila, a recent graduate of CSU Channel Island's Martin V. Smith School of Business & Economics, is interviewed by KCLU reporter Lance Orozco about his participation in the university's Farmworker Immersion Project. This photo is representative of the important service-learning opportunities taking place at CSU Channel Islands, and in this case, places students in the community to learn about farmworker rights, housing and health resources.

Chico State

Chico photo 

Jason Halley, university photographer

Since professors Hyewon Pechkis and Joe Pechkis began working on their ultracold laboratory in 2016, we have tracked their progress with excitement and fascination. Now—after finally catching evidence of ultracold atoms in May—it’s truly the coolest place on campus, chilling atoms to a point near absolute zero so they display their true quantum nature. The completion of the magneto-optical trap, lasers and vacuum chamber would not have been possible without a team of students like Toni Grubesic, photographed through the viewport of the ultrahigh vacuum chamber. Student opportunities in the lab are made possible through the Chico STEM Connections Collaborative, the Physics Department’s summer research program and a $430,000 Early Career Award grant from the National Science Foundation. Heywon Pechkis said she hopes this work can serve as a blueprint for similar undergraduate institutions that serve historically marginalized and first-generation students to integrate research and education—a topic close to her heart as a first-generation student and Asian woman working in STEM.

CSU Dominguez Hills

Dominguez Hills photo

Matt Brown, university photographer

This photo shows the competitive side of sports from an angle we don’t get to see: A look down at tip off at the start of a CSUDH women’s basketball game. It was taken by a remote camera that was mounted to the ceiling the night before the game. This image features a unique perspective of the university and its students.

Cal State East Bay

Cal State East Bay photo

Garvin Tso, campus photographer/videographer

Recent Cal State East Bay graduate, Brittany Karki, has been many things in her career journey: a forklift driver, a beautician, an artist—and now a quantum physicist!

Fresno State

Fresno State photo

Cary Edmondson, university photographer

In October of 2022, Fresno State officially opened the new, state-of-the-art Lynda and Stewart Resnick Student Union in the heart of campus, offering a dynamic space for co-curricular life. In this photo, students are socializing outside of the new building during the fall semester.

Cal State Fullerton

Cal State Fullerton photo

Matt Gush, university photographer/assistant director, digital media

During the opening of the new CSUF Aquatics Center, Fram Virjee dives into action! President Emeritus Virjee, former D1 NCAA water polo athlete, wasted no time to practice his butterfly stroke​ in Cal State Fullerton's new Olympic-sized swimming pool. The center, completed in October 2022, is home to CSUF's new men and women's water polo teams. 

Cal Poly Humboldt

Cal Poly Humboldt photo

Kellie Jo Brown, campus photographer

This winter saw rare snowfall on coastal redwoods. In this photo, a student went outside to catch snowflakes at Fern Lake—used frequently by students to conduct research—at Cal Poly Humboldt. The snowstorm caused a flurry of excitement and activity on campus and in the region, given how unusual it was. This photo captures the magic of Cal Poly Humboldt, its beautiful location, and illustrates the hands-on opportunities for students in their own backyard.

Cal State Long Beach

Cal State Long Beach photo

Sean DuFrene, photographer

Juan Ayala, of the Chichimeca tribe, performs in front of a large crowd at the Walter Pyramid during the Chicano-Latino cultural celebration at Cal State Long Beach. Ayala was recognized as the Capitan of Danza Iztacuauhtli by the Mesas, one of the oldest groups of indigenous dancers in Mexico. This image is a visual celebration of diversity at Cal State Long Beach.

Cal State LA

Cal State Los Angeles photo

J. Emilio Flores, photo and video manager

Maurice Hastings, who was wrongfully imprisoned for 38 years and was freed through the work of the Los Angeles Innocence Project at Cal State LA, smiles in a courtroom after being declared factually innocent. The project is a groundbreaking partnership between post-conviction attorneys, the California Forensic Science Institute at Cal State LA, and the School of Criminal Justice and Criminalistics in the Rongxiang Xu College of Health and Human Services. This photograph appeared in national and international media outlets and demonstrates the CSU's powerful impact on some of the most pressing issues of our time.  

Cal Maritime

Cal Maritime photo

Nicole Stauffer, multimedia specialist

Ryan Okada, a Cal Maritime cadet and president of the Associated Students of California Maritime Academy, cuts the ribbon of the newly renovated Mayo Hall, marking the completion of the project that creates a new campus hub for cadet life and services. Originally built in 1945, Mayo Hall served as Cal Maritime's main athletics and recreation hub for over 50 years. It now serves to house a mix of cadet-oriented spaces for lounging, studying and meeting, featuring Cal Maritime community elements such as a veterans center, Wall of Honor and display spaces for campus history and achievement.

CSU Monterey Bay

CSU Monterey Bay photo

Brent Dundore-Arias, university photographer

CSUMB President Vanya Quiñones officially takes the Office of the President of California State University, Monterey Bay during her investiture ceremony. Brendan Marx​​ and her son Jason Jenab​ ​were among the friends and family who joined her on stage. This image captures a pivotal event that symbolizes our campus community's growth, progress and aspirations, and represents a new chapter in our institution's leadership. The image exudes a sense of hope, pride and unity, showcasing the strong bond between our campus community and its leaders.


CSUN photo

David J. Hawkins, university photographer 

Dr. Nyssa Silbiger, a marine biology associate professor at CSUN, uses a quadrat to count tidepool organisms in the Leo Carrillo State Park with a curious sea lion in the background. Back at the CSUN laboratory in Magnolia Hall, Dr. Silbiger and student researchers will conduct experiments with the organisms collected in the field to observe how they are impacted by ocean warming and acidification—two major effects of climate change. This image represents the critical research taking place at CSUN to find ways to mitigate marine habitat loss. As a photographer, achieving the exposure and contrast between the foreground and background was a technical challenge in this coastal environment with high winds and tidal swells. 

Cal Poly Pomona

Cal Poly Pomona photo

Tom Zasadzinski, university photographer

A crowd of jubilant students hold up their phone flashlights in support of hip hop artist Ty Dolla $ign's performance at the BroncoFusion concert during Cal Poly Pomona Welcome Week at the start of the fall 2022 term. The concert—organized by Cal Poly's Associated Student Inc.—was highly anticipated as it was the first live BroncoFusion event since the pandemic. 

Sacramento State

Sacramento State photo

Andrea Price, staff photographer​

Sac State's stunning canopy of trees and shrubberies offer busy students a sanctuary for relaxing and studying.

Cal State San Bernardino

Cal State San Bernardino photo

Paige Wynne, digital media production specialist 

The message on Cristal Vasquez's mortarboard and kiss on her son's cheek tell the story: How she faced the challenge of being a first-generation college student and a teen mom to not only earning a college degree, but going one step further by earning her master's in social work through CSUSB's School of Social Work. Her college career not only defines her future, but also shows her son that he can achieve the same. Cal State San Bernardino is proud to change the lives of students and their families by helping them climb the socioeconomic ladder.

San Diego State

San Diego State photo

Scott Hargrove, multimedia production coordinator

SDSU student athlete Keshad Johnson shoots a three-point shot in the NCAA Final Four game against Florida Atlantic University as head coach Brian Dutcher looks on. The Aztecs would go on to win 72-71 in the final seconds of the game, sending them to their first Men's Basketball National Championship game appearance.

San Francisco State

SF State photo

Paul Asper, graphic designer

Mechanical engineering undergraduate Lauren Gan is wearing her exoskeleton glove intended to help people with limited mobility. She started working on this project as a community college summer intern who was unsure about her academic trajectory. With support from her research mentor and lab mates, she’s transferred to SF State, attended a science conference, won an award and is now pursuing her master’s degree. Gan is one of SF State’s many Gators finding their path and applying their education to real-world problems via hands-on experiences like research.

San José State

San José State photo

Robert C. Bain, university photographer

One student can make a huge impact on our state and the world. This is the Canyon Fire Experiment in collaboration with Cal Fire and researchers from other international universities and private-sector companies who develop wildfire technologies. First-year graduate student Maritza Arreola Amaya in the Department of Meteorology and Climate Science is inspecting data-collection instruments for the experiment. This image represents the ground-breaking fire weather research taking place at San José State that is helping to protect California. 

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo photo  

Joe Johnston, university photographer

Cal Poly third-year biology student and field botany teaching assistant Caitlin Robertson explores the recent superbloom during a field trip to the Carrizo Plain National Monument with the BOT 433 - Field Botany - California Plant Diversity class. This photo captures an example of Cal Poly's Learn by Doing philosophy in a setting unique to the San Luis Obispo area. The stunning spring superbloom painted the surrounding fields and mountains in a vibrant spring palette, providing an incredible “classroom." 

CSU San Marcos

CSU San Marcos photo

Alicia Lores, digital communications coordinator

This photo was taken during the CSU San Marcos annual Giving Day campaign in November 2022. The blue heart represents the spirit of the heart of a Cougar, symbolizing the CSUSM and San Marcos communities coming together to strengthen the heartbeat of the campus. This image not only represents CSUSM's commitment to its students, but the growth of the university. The 2022 Giving Day campaign resulted in a record-breaking number of donations which will directly impact student success.

Sonoma State

Sonoma State photo

Brennan Spark, photographer 

Sonoma State welcomed a lot of new faces to campus at the start of the 2022-23 academic year at the Big Nite event. One was newly appointed interim president Ming-Tung “Mike” Lee, standing to the left of SSU’s mascot, Lobo. The festive, carnival atmosphere of Big Nite attracts the entire student body, making it the largest student event of the year. This photo celebrates all Sonoma State students and the promise of the coming academic year with Seawolf spirit.

Stanislaus State

Stanislaus State photo

Merri Hansen, media production specialist

Nao​mi Carrera, student marketing assistant, immerses herself in an interactive virtual reality application in The Dr. Allan Greenberg & Dr. Ellen Junn Warrior Fab Lab. The Fab Lab not only serves as a creative hub for the beautiful Stan State campus, it also was proudly named with a generous gift from Dr. Greenburg and retiring Stan State President Junn. The photo captures Naomi adapting to a simulated world by using a handheld joystick system and HTC VIVE PRO 2 virtual reality glasses. The image serves as a testament to the powerful possibilities that arise when innovation and learning converge. It represents a story of progress, inspiration and the pursuit of excellence through technological innovation and the limitless potential of Stan State’s Warrior Spirit.

Voting for Photo of the Year is now closed.

Submit Your Vote

Cast your vote below for Photo of the Year by Friday, August 18. The winner will be recognized at an upcoming CSU Board of Trustees meeting.