California State University, Fresno

Coordinates: 36°48′48″N 119°45′00″W / 36.81333°N 119.75000°W / 36.81333; -119.75000
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California State University, Fresno
Former name
Fresno State Normal School (1911–1949)
Fresno State College (1949–1972)
MottoLucem Accipe Ut Reddas (Latin)
Motto in English
"Receive the light that you may give it forth"
TypePublic research university
Established1911; 113 years ago (1911)
Parent institution
California State University
Academic affiliation
Endowment$170.8 million (2020)[1]
Budget$286.5 million (2017)[2]
PresidentSaúl Jiménez-Sandoval
Academic staff
Students25,341 (Fall 2020)[3]
Undergraduates22,564 (Fall 2020)[3]
Postgraduates2,777 (Fall 2020)[3]
Location, ,
United States
CampusLarge city[5], 388 acres (157 ha) and 1,011 acres (409 ha) University Farm[4]
Other campusesVisalia
NewspaperThe Collegian
ColorsCardinal red and blue[6]
Sporting affiliations
MascotVictor E. Bulldog

California State University, Fresno (Fresno State) is a public university in Fresno, California, United States. It is part of the California State University system.[7] The university had a fall 2020 enrollment of 25,341 students.[3] It offers 60 bachelor's degree program, 45 master's degree programs, 3 doctoral degree programs, 12 certificates of advanced study, and 2 different teaching credentials.[8][9] The university is classified among "R2: Doctoral Universities – High research activity".[10][11] Fresno is a Hispanic-serving institution (HSI)[12] and is eligible to be designated as an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander serving institution (AANAPISI).[13]

The university's facilities include an on-campus planetarium, on-campus raisin and wine grape vineyards, and a commercial winery where student-made wines have won over 300 awards since 1997.[14][15] Members of Fresno State's nationally ranked equestrian team[16] have the option of housing their horses on campus, next to indoor and outdoor arenas. Fresno State has a 50,000-square-foot (4,600 m2) Student Recreation Center[17] and the third-largest library (by square footage) in the California State University system.[18]


California State University, Fresno was founded as the Fresno State Normal School in 1911 with Charles Lourie McLane as its first president.[19] It was one of about 180 "normal schools" founded by state governments to train teachers for the rapidly growing public common schools. Some closed but most steadily expanded their role and became state colleges in the early 20th century and state universities in the late 20th century.[20]

The Old Administration Building, Fresno State's first permanent building (now part of Fresno City College)

The original campus was what is now Fresno City College. In 1956, Fresno State moved its campus to its present location in the northeast part of the city; FCC bought the old campus and moved back in.[21] It became Fresno State College in 1949, when it was authorized to grant bachelor's degrees. It became a charter institution of the State College System of California, forerunner of the California State University System, in 1961. In 1972, the name was officially changed to California State University, Fresno.[19]

Even after changing its official name to "California State University, Fresno", the school has long been called "Fresno State" for short, particularly in athletics. The two names are officially interchangeable; both are accepted on first reference in news stories.[22]


The greater campus extends from Valley Children's Stadium on the west boundary to Highway 168 on the east side. The University Agricultural Laboratory designates the northern boundary of the campus, while Shaw Avenue designates the southern edge.

Fresno State Library[edit]

Fresno State Library
Fresno State Library

The Fresno State Library is a main resource for recorded knowledge and information supporting the teaching, research, and service functions of Fresno State.[23]

The library was opened in 2009. It houses 1,000,000 books in its 327,920 sq ft (30,465 m2).[24] The shelves amount to over 20 miles (32 km) in length.[24] It is currently the third largest library in the CSU system (in terms of square footage) and the largest academic building on the Fresno State campus.[24] The five-story building features seating areas for almost 4,000 people, group study rooms, wireless access and a Starbucks.[25]

The Fresno State Library features a number of special collections such as the Arne Nixon Center, a research center for the study of children's and young adult literature, and the Central Valley Political Archive.[26]

Michael Gorman, the former dean of the Library, was the President of the American Library Association in 2005–2006.[27]

Campus gallery[edit]


Fall Freshman Statistics[28][29][30][31]
  2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
Freshman Applicants 20,335 18,682 15,231 15,488 18,122 18,476 17,920 18,735 19,938 18,956 17,580 16,242
Admits 19,469 17,703 14,816 15,446 10,501 10,630 10,646 10,031 10,406 11,256 10,523 9,444
% Admitted 96 95 97 90 58 58 59.4 53.5 59.8 59.9 58.1 60.4
Enrolled 3,629 3,426 3,428 3,679 3,331 3,534 3,447 3,258 3,674 3,532 3,265 3,139
Average GPA[a] 3.45 3.52 3.49 3.48 3.57 3.53 3.46 3.46 3.34 3.35 3.31 3.30
Average SAT Composite[b] 1001 1023 1007 1007 1041 1028 949 915 905 915 928 930

Fresno State was the first of all 23 CSU campuses to offer an individual-campus doctorate.[32] At the graduate level, Fresno State also offers the following nationally ranked programs: part-time MBA, Physical Therapy, Nursing, Speech-Language Pathology, and Social Work.

A joint doctoral program in collaboration with San Jose State University for a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is administered through Fresno State.[33]

In May 2019, the university saw the largest graduating class in its history, with over 6,200 graduates.[34]


Science 2 Building

California State University, Fresno is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. The five engineering programs in the Lyles College of Engineering are each accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET. The Craig School of Business is AACSB accredited. The university is classified by the U.S. Federal government as an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI),[35] and a Hispanic-serving institution (HSI) because the Hispanic undergraduate full-time-equivalent student enrollment is greater than 25%.[36]

Schools and colleges[edit]

Student Union
  • Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology
  • College of Arts and Humanities
  • Craig School of Business
  • Kremen School of Education and Human Development
  • Lyles College of Engineering
  • College of Health and Human Services
  • College of Science and Mathematics
  • College of Social Sciences

Smittcamp Family Honors College[edit]

The Smittcamp Family Honors College is a program providing top high school graduates a fully paid President's Scholarship, which includes tuition and housing, as well as other amenities for the duration of their studies. Admission to the Smittcamp Family Honors College is highly competitive. Candidates must have a minimum 3.8 GPA, rank in the top 10% of their high school graduating class, or have a combined SAT score of 1200 or an average ACT English and Mathematics score of 27.[37]

Smittcamp Honors Scholars must also complete rigorous academic and community service requirements. Smittcamp Honors College students receive priority registration for all courses, regular interaction with the university president, and special honors recognition at commencement.[38]


  • In its 2022 rankings, Forbes ranked Fresno State the 170th best university in the nation in its America's Top Colleges rankings.[46]
  • In its 2022 rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked Fresno State 250th out of 443 U.S. national universities and tied for 124th in its ranking of 227 "Top Public Schools".[47]
  • In its 2022 rankings, U.S. News & World Report also ranked Fresno State tied for 30th in "Top Performers on Social Mobility" among national universities and tied for 49th in the nation in its "Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs" at schools where doctorates are not offered.[48]
  • Money magazine ranked Fresno State 62nd in the country out of 739 schools evaluated for its 2020 "Best Colleges for Your Money" edition[49] and 40th in its list of the 50 best public schools in the U.S.[50]
  • In 2022, Washington Monthly ranked Fresno State 36th out of 442 schools on its National Universities list. Washington Monthly assesses the quality of schools based on social mobility, research, and promoting public service.[51]
  • In 2022, Forbes magazine's "America's Top Colleges" list ranked Fresno State 170th out of 465 universities, liberal arts colleges, and service academies nationwide.[52]
  • In 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked Fresno State first in the nation in its list of best public universities in graduation rate performances.[53]

Student life[edit]

Undergraduate demographics as of Fall 2020
Race and ethnicity[54] Total
Hispanic 57% 57
White 17% 17
Asian 12% 12
Other[c] 6% 6
Foreign national 5% 5
Black 3% 3
Economic diversity
Low-income[d] 62% 62
Affluent[e] 38% 38

Student Involvement Center[edit]

The Student Involvement Center[55] provides services, programs and co-curricular educational activities that give student the opportunity to develop skills and expand their knowledge. Their core purpose is to promote engagement and cultivate student growth through support and teamwork, service, growth and learning, leadership and inclusion.[56] Some key events the Student Involvement Center plan are Convocation, Homecoming Week, Vintage Days, Commencement, and more.

Fraternity and sorority life[edit]

  • Fraternities and sororities has been part of Fresno State for nearly one hundred years and includes 42 single-sex fraternities and sororities consisting of over 1,420 men and women.[57] The Student Involvement Center is charged with advising the four Greek Councils at Fresno State: the Interfraternity Council (IFC), the Panhellenic Association (PHA), the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), and the United Sorority & Fraternity Council (USFC).

Associated Students, Inc. (ASI)[edit]

ASI is the recognized student body government at Fresno State.[58] Twenty students are elected each year and serve annual terms from June 1 to May 31.[59] ASI provides funding for student-related projects on campus. Sponsored Activities Funding provides supplemental event funding for recognized student clubs and organizations. Grants provide financial support for graduate and undergraduate student research, projects, and other scholarly endeavors in all academic disciplines.[58]

Student Recreation Center[edit]

Downing Planetarium
The campus on a foggy morning

In February 2006, the Student Recreation Center opened. Construction costs were paid for and operating funds are derived from a semester student-use fee. While an Association entity, the Student Recreation Center is under the direction of the Division of Student Affairs. The Student Recreation Center is adjacent to the Save Mart Center arena.[60]

Any student who has paid the USU student-use fee in the current semester is eligible to use the Recreation Center. Faculty and staff may join at a monthly rate. This facility is not available to the general public.

The center has four full-size basketball courts, a dance studio, a 18 mile (200 m) indoor running track, locker rooms, 2 racquetball courts, aerobic equipment, and weight-lifting machines. Services include personal training, group fitness classes, towel service and personal lockers.[60]

University Student Union[edit]

The original student union was constructed on November 11, 1968, and was built to accommodate a campus of 10,000 students. The building is 52,000 square feet and has three levels, one of which is underground.[61]


Save Mart Center, home to the Fresno State basketball team
Bulldog Stadium, home to the Fresno State football team

Fresno State is a member of the NCAA Division I Mountain West Conference. The university's 22 varsity sports teams are known as the Bulldogs, and the school's colors are cardinal red and blue. Fresno State has made several runs at NCAA tournaments in basketball, football, soccer, tennis, baseball, softball, and volleyball.

In 2017, Fresno State resurrected its wrestling program after an 11-year hiatus.[62] Fresno State wrestling competes in the Big 12 Conference.[63]

The Fresno State–San Diego State football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Fresno State Bulldogs football team of Fresno and San Diego State Aztecs football team of San Diego State University. The winner of the game receives the "Old Oil Can" trophy.

The Bulldogs have earned the following NCAA Division I National Championships:

  • NCAA Division I National Champions, baseball, in 2008
  • NCAA Division I National Champions, softball, in 1998.


FresnoStateNews is an online source of information about current events affecting Fresno State students, faculty and staff. The site provides an archive of news articles, videos and photos, as well as links to major resources on campus.[64]

The FresnoState Magazine is published twice per year from the Office of University Communications. It is both a print and online publication that features current events at Fresno State, Alumni Association events and alumni achievements.[65]

The Collegian is the campus student-run newspaper. It is published during the fall and spring semesters on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The online edition features video, podcasts and photo galleries.[66]

KFSR Radio is the campus radio station. KFSR's broadcast license is owned by California State University, Fresno. KFSR is a listener-supported, non-profit, public radio station. It broadcasts at 90.7 FM and streams online at It operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and plays jazz, blues and a wide range of specialty shows.

Fresno State Focus is the campus student-run, weekly broadcast put on by the Media, Communications, and Journalism department. The news team changes each semester, and has been involved in several projects that extend beyond the campus.[67]


Two branches of the military are represented on campus at Fresno State: Army and Air Force. The Army unit on campus is known as the Bulldog Battalion.[68] The Air Force ROTC Detachment on campus, Detachment 35, is one of the oldest in the nation. Founded in 1948, only one year after the signing of the National Defense Act of 1947 which established the U.S. Air Force as a separate branch of the military, Detachment 35 has won numerous awards.[69] In July 2008, Detachment 35 was awarded the "High Flight" award, naming it the top mid-sized detachment in the entire southwest region of the United States. Just a few months later, Detachment 35 was named best mid-sized detachment in the nation and awarded the "Right of Line" award, the highest honor for a detachment.[70]


A number of notable Fresno State alumni have served in state and federal positions, become major athletes, or found their mark in business and media, including Paul George, basketball athlete and Joy Covey, the original CFO of[71]


  1. ^ Average High School GPA of Applicants
  2. ^ On a 1600 Scale
  3. ^ Other consists of Multiracial Americans & those who prefer to not say.
  4. ^ The percentage of students who received an income-based federal Pell grant intended for low-income students.
  5. ^ The percentage of students who are a part of the American middle class at the bare minimum.


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External links[edit]

36°48′48″N 119°45′00″W / 36.81333°N 119.75000°W / 36.81333; -119.75000