It’s a great time to be Bulldogs! Like many of you, I am excited for a new school year on the Fresno State campus, and I am humbled and honored to be your new president.
I emphasize the word “your” because from the first day I was announced as the eighth president of this wonderful university, I pledged to be a president who represents every student, faculty and staff member on our campus.
I am thrilled to have so many students on campus now – a record 22,710 enrollment – and I welcome the opportunity to personally meet as many of you as I can.
It’s no secret, my No. 1 priority – and Fresno State’s No. 1 priority – in this era will be student success.
That means timely completion of coursework and graduation. As a university, we promise to do everything we can to support our students in their goals and increase our university’s graduation rate.
We will continue to recruit and retain the most talented and diverse students, faculty and staff, and we will work to provide students with the resources they need.
This year, as many of you noticed, there was no tuition increase from the California State University for the first time in recent years.
While this may not always be possible based on the CSU funding model, we are very aware of the challenges students face with rising costs and will do our best to ease that burden as often as we can.
I urge all students to be proactive in seeking out scholarships or other sources of financial aid when necessary.
Take advantage of your opportunities, and make the most of the programs available to help you.
Since my arrival, I have shared an important message that I hope resonates with all Central California youth: Whether your family has a lot of money or a little money (mine had little), whether you live in a large house or a small house (mine was small) or if you would be the first in your family to graduate from college (I was the first), your future is bright. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
My journey to Fresno State began just 40 miles away in Hanford and took me to five University of California campuses and the UC Office of the President.
Now, I am the first native Californian, first Valley native and first Latino to serve as president in Fresno State’s history.
I’m very proud of all three distinctions, and I hope all of us together can share in that passion for making this great Valley an even better place.
Let’s get involved on campus, try new things and build new relationships. By supporting each other in activities now, we’ll develop a network of support for the future.
Will you join me in continuing Fresno State’s great legacy of community service and attending athletic events, theater productions, art exhibits, lectures and more on campus – such as our unique Vintage Days celebration?
The future of our university and our Valley relies on our youth. You, and the students walking beside you on campus today, are the future researchers, farmers, teachers, health care professionals and leaders of our region and beyond.
Your responsibility is to find where you fit in and develop a plan to become one of those leaders yourself – in whatever field you choose.
When you need help or advice along the way, let us know. Seek advice from a faculty or staff member on campus.
And when you have ideas of how we can better serve you, please share them with us on our new feedback website or send me a note on Twitter (yes, I’m an active Twitter user). I welcome your input and look forward to a successful semester for us all!
President Castro welcomes Twitter followers at @JosephICastro and anonymous feedback about Fresno State at www.fresnostate.edu/president/feedback