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Ishaq Ali cuts a ribbon in honor of the new social science quad on Feb. 14, 2017. Construction on the quad began before the fall semester of 2016, and reopened up in December of last year. (Khone Saysamongdy/The Collegian)

Pride in a new quad

About 100 people gathered, along with Victor E. III, as Fresno State formally dedicated the newly renovated quad Tuesday afternoon by cutting a red ribbon.

“I am ecstatic to have such an aesthetically pleasing common area for students to study, collaborate and enjoy the outdoors,” said Ishaq Ali, ASI senator for the College of Social Sciences.

While sage burned, the grounds were blessed by the tribal chairman of the North Fork Mono Tribe, Hon. Ron Goode, as he performed a traditional Native American blessing song.

Tobacco, native to the hills of the San Joaquin Valley, was handed out to the ceremony’s honorees as part of Native American tradition.

The university’s dance company, Los Danzantes de Aztlan, also performed.

Interim dean Dr. Michelle DenBeste said that although there was noise and fencing for the duration of construction it was “worth it.”

DenBeste said she found it funny to look out of her office window to the newly-revitalized area surrounded by the Social Science Building, McKee Fisk building, Psychology and Human Services building, and Family and Food Science building, to see benches being installed and students quickly flocking to them.

She said there are various factors that go into having a successful college experience, such as engagement, community building and making connections, and said the quad will further those interactions.

“It will be a space where we can showcase the achievements of our students,” DenBeste said. “We can have activities for faculty, staff, students and alumni.”

She announced that a mural will be added to the quad in coming months and that she wants to see more tables for students to sit.

Fresno State President Dr. Joseph Castro said the renovated quad “is a symbol of our rebirth.”

“Here we are in our 106th year, and there are a lot of positive things happening because of each and everyone of you – our talented students, passionate faculty and staff, our alumni, our family and friends,” Castro said.

He said the university has many things to be thankful for and the quad is just one of those things.

Sticking with the Valentine’s Day tradition, Castro did not leave out the theme of love. He said he hopes people fall in love with the quad and also fall in love with someone they meet in the quad.

The renovation of the quad was a part of Castro’s $20 million deferred maintenance allocation. The total cost of the quad was $761,000.