As the summer comes to a close, we take a look back at meaningful moments from the 2021-22 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. Enjoy the photos, then vote for you​r favorite. The winning photo and ​photographer will be recognized at an upcoming CSU Board of Trustees meeting.

CSU Bakersfield

Bakersfield photo

Photographer: EJ Medellin, multimedia student assistant

Medellin captured this photo of Ricco Reynolds, recipient of the 2022 President's Medal for Outstanding Graduate Student, and his children: Lyla, 7, and Rory, 5. Reynolds enrolled in the nurse practitioner program at CSU Bakersfield, despite his demanding work schedule and family duties of raising two children with his wife.



Photographer: Whitney Howard, campus photographer/videographer

CSUCI's three-day First-Generation Week celebration in November 2021 featured in-person and online options to participate, along with a virtual keynote from Estrella Serrato of the Latinx podcast Cafecito con Estrellita, which guides first-generation scholars through the path of education. The photo celebrates events and activities that provide an opportunity to build community with fellow first-gen students, faculty and staff, as well as the in-person return to the CSUCI campus.

Chico State

Chico photo

Photographer: Jason Halley, university photographer

This magnified detail shows a student building a small circuit in a September 2021 Chico State Linear Circuits class. Students often need to create physical device prototypes for senior capstone design projects, so learning to solder by hand is an important skill. When capturing fine details of small electronic parts, it's challenging to also see the students tasked with building them at the same time. This captivating image allows the viewer to feel a part of the scene by showing the minutiae of the tiny circuits, as well as the broader environment of the classroom.

CSU Dominguez Hills

Dominguez Hills photo

Photographer: Jeff Farsai, former university photographer

This photo was taken on the first day back on the CSU Dominguez Hills campus in spring 2022. The image represents the year in which CSUDH returned to a mostly in-person campus despite the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. It also showcases the campus's newest building, the Innovation and Instruction Building, which houses the College of Business Administration and Public Policy and is quickly becoming a CSUDH landmark.

Cal State East Bay

Cal State East Bay photo

Photographer: Garvin Tso, campus photographer/videographer

As the Cal State East Bay campus reopened in spring 2022, the Japanese Zen Garden was in full bloom. Students began populating their favorite campus spaces.

Fresno State

Fresno State photo

Photographer: Cary Edmondson, university photographer

Fresno State Bulldogs senior running back Ronnie Rivers finished his career as the Bulldogs' leader in touchdowns scored (52), rushing touchdowns (40), receiving touchdowns by a running back (12), receiving yards by a running back (1,417) and pass receptions by a running back (150). For this feature photograph, Rivers held a pose for more than 5 seconds as Edmondson painted the background with a light tube using a long exposure setting on the camera.

Cal State Fullerton

Cal State Fullerton photo

Photographer: Matt Gush, university photographer

Mariia Nikitash, a freshman tennis player from Ukraine whose family remains in the country during the ongoing conflict, embodies what CSUF stands for. With the help of faculty and staff, she is empowered to thrive despite the harsh realities she faces. She is the epitome of resilience and celebrates her heritage, knowing it makes the CSUF community even more vibrant.

Cal Poly Humboldt

Cal Poly Humboldt photo

Photographer: Kellie Jo Brown, campus photographer

In the hills of Honeydew, California, forestry major Ehny Patterson joined multiple agencies for a prescribed burn. The goal was to enhance fire resilience, increase native plant biodiversity and reduce fire encroachment. This image is a powerful representation of the Cal Poly Humboldt experience—hands-on learning using the surrounding environment of the North Coast as a living lab, which includes hundreds of miles of local, state and national forests. The student's sooty smile against the backdrop of a controlled burn is a glimpse of a new, more diverse generation of wildland firefighters, educated and inspired at Humboldt.

Cal State Long Beach

Cal State Long Beach photo

Photographer: Sean DuFrene, campus photographer

Cal State Long Beach track and field athlete T​iana Prince runs in front of the iconic Walter Pyramid, kicking up water that's reflected in the morning sunlight. The photograph encapsulates the talent and determination of CSULB's student-athletes, even in the midst of a global pandemic. The Walter Pyramid, where volleyball and basketball games are played and other ceremonies and conferences are held, has also become a symbol of the university.

Cal State Los Angeles

Cal State Los Angeles photo

Photographer: J. Emilio Flores, photo/video manager

Student-athletes from Cal State LA men's soccer team celebrate their first ever NCAA DII national championship after defeating University of Charleston in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Cal Maritime

Cal Maritime photo

Photographer: Rizal V. Aliga, web/media specialist

One of Cal Maritime's unique features is the Training Ship Golden Bear (TSGB) docked along the campus shoreline within the San Francisco Bay. The TSGB is an extension of the campus's learning and living laboratory. In the photo, a cadet is wearing a “boiler suit" walking from either a hands-on class aboard the vessel or just completing their required watch standing shift.

CSU Monterey Bay

CSU Monterey Bay photo

Photographer: Brent Dundore-Arias, university photographer

During his first year as university photographer, Dundore-Arias had the unique assignment of documenting the retirement of CSUMB President Eduardo Ochoa, including farewell events honoring his decade of service to the school. This image was taken at Ochoa's retirement dinner. It encompasses both the vast honor he receives publicly from the CSUMB community at large, as well as the personal side as he shares a proud smile with his wife Holly.


CSUN photo

Photographer: Lee Choo, campus photographer

This photo shows the power and character of a group of essential campus workers who kept the university up and running throughout the pandemic lockdown. They continued to work on campus full time without the protection of working from home. This group is also seldom seen or recognized for their important role. This image captures their humble yet powerful spirit—one that allows the university to run flawlessly regardless of obstacles.

Cal Poly Pomona

Cal Poly Pomona photo

Photographer: Tom Zasadzinski, university photographer

This photo represents the essence of Cal Poly Pomona. Arabian horses are the reason the university is here as it was originally WK Kellogg's horse ranch before he donated the property to the state of California. But more importantly, the power and grace of these animals mirror ​the strength and perseverance of CPP students.

Sacramento State

Sacramento State photo

Photographer: Andrea Price, media production specialist

The COVID-19 pandemic heightened mental health issues for many students. After two years of hosting its annual Out of the Darkness Walk virtually, Sacramento State resumed the on-campus event—one of the nation's largest walks in support of suicide prevention. Despite persistent rain, hundreds turned out to listen to the stories of those who have suffered from mental health issues and to march together in the fight against suicide. The vibrant colors of the “Sacramento" mural, uplifting messages on poster boards and the kind smiles of the passing students illustrate the resiliency, compassion and commitment of the Hornet Family.

Cal State San Bernardino

Cal State San Bernardino photo

Photographer: Robert Whitehead, former campus photographer

Nicholas Bratcher is a CSUSB assistant professor of music, director of bands and author of “Rainbow Jukebox: A Concise Companion for LGBTQ+ Music Studies," which explores LGBTQ+ influences in music history. This image is a snapshot of Cal State San Bernardino's continuing commitment to diversity of people from different races, creeds, ethnicities and gender identities in academics, college life and society. The key is CSUSB's ongoing efforts to help communities on campus and off campus who are fighting for freedom and acceptance and bring awareness to those efforts.

San Diego State

San Diego State photo

Photographer: Scott Hargrove, Strategic Communications photographer

This aerial photo is from a two-week field research trip with Professor David L. Kimbrough's geology class. It was taken of his students conducting field work and creating geologic maps of the Poleta Folds in the White​ Mountains of California. This photo depicts SDSU's adventurous and ambitious spirit through its students who are captured here. They continue to reach for the mountain tops with globally renowned field research that is quickly helping SDSU become a Tier 1 research institution.

San Francisco State​

SF State photo

Photographer: Paul Asper, graphic designer

Two state-of-the-art, multistory television production studios are the centerpiece of San Francisco State University's new George and Judy Marcus Hall for the Liberal and Creative Arts. The 75,000-square-foot, four-floor building—which began hosting classes in the fall of 2021—is also home to an audio recording studio, video editing classrooms, a media presentation room and the university's radio station, KSFS. Marcus Hall is San Francisco State's first new academic building in 25 years.

San José State

San José State photo

Photographer: Robert C. Bain, university photographer

The image of these student-violinists playing in front of the Victory Salute (Olympic Black Power) statue of SJSU alumni Tommie Smith, '69 Social Science, '05 Honorary Doctorate, and John Carlos, '05 Honorary Doctorate, captures a sight seen daily on campus—students collaborating and sharing their gifts and talents in the midst of alumni who inspire them to reach for their goals and not be afraid to stand for something they believe in. It conveys a moment of deep appreciation for those who paved the way before them and a melodic reminder that we are connected and have a responsibility to stand against intolerance and bigotry.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo photo

Photographer: Joe Johnston, university photographer

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has always been fascinated by the boundless potential of space. This year, the on-campus observatory reopened after a pandemic hiatus to empower students leading Learn by Doing projects. Johnston captured an evening with physics student Kailei Gallup in December when the observatory was aglow with curious researchers. Gallup angled the observatory's telescopes toward a shimmering night sky to gather data on exoplanet transits for her senior project. She is one of many Mustangs—from alumni astronauts to students launching miniature satellites—who are shaping the future of space exploration.

CSU San Marcos

CSU San Marcos photo

Photographer: Ryan Wolf, University Communications student photography intern

The César Chávez statue, the first outdoor public art piece at CSUSM, stands at the center of the campus as a symbol of resilience and empowerment. The words, “Sí, Se Puede. It Can Be Done," reflect the persistent spirit of the students and university.

Sonoma State

Sonoma State photo

Photographer: Alexis Perez, student worker

The photo is a glimpse of the library clock tower between a few trees at Sonoma State University, providing a different and unique perspective. It's symbolic because the campus is now in a better time and state since the pandemic and recovering from time lost when CSU campuses were closed during COVID-19.

Stanislaus State

Stanislaus State photo

Photographer: Justin Souza, media production specialist

Stan State students sit outside the new University ​Student Center, which opened January 2020, right before the pandemic shutdown in March 2020. This photo is hopeful. Seeing students together after going through the challenges of a pandemic provides a sense of overcoming and perseverance through a variety of obstacles over the past two years. 

Voting for Photo of the Year is now closed.

Submit Your Vote

Cast your vote below for Photo of the Year by Tuesday, September 6. The winner will be recognized at an upcoming CSU Board of Trustees meeting.