FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – The CSU Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval on Wednesday to serve as the next president of Fresno State University.
Jiménez-Sandoval has been serving as interim president for more than five months after Dr. Joseph Castro became CSU chancellor.
“I feel truly honored and I meant what I say, this I dedicate to all of you because we collectively did it together,” Jiménez-Sandoval said.
While serving as interim president, Jiménez-Sandoval was navigating through some of the tougher times for students and faculty because of the pandemic. He discussed wanting to bring as many students as possible back on campus while prioritizing safety and mental health.
“I remember being a professor and saying to my students ‘how’s it going with your math class,’ or ‘how’s it going with your other essays, what about your daughter?’ These important conversations provide us with these human bonds that are so necessary for us,” he said.
Those types of human interactions were lost for more than a year for students and faculty.
“That mental health task force is going to focus on this. So that our students know that we are here for them and after they graduate with a degree, they will be empowered to go out to the workforce,” he said.
Jiménez-Sandoval said he immigrated from México with his family to Fowler when he was around 10 years old.
“I did not speak a drop of English,” he said.
He earned his degrees and Ph.D. in California and has been working at Fresno State for more than two decades.
For Dr. Ricardo Castillo, he was a mentor.
“A lot of my success has to do with him. As a Latino male myself, knowing that he came to the Valley when I think he was 10, that to me is also what students would definitely connect with,” said Castillo, who had him as a professor in 2003 and who recently earned his doctorate and is also an educator.
“It’s a mentor. It’s someone that I really loved as a professor, and when I think about teaching, when I think about best teaching practices, he had them all,” Castillo added.
When it comes to long-term goals, Jiménez-Sandoval said he has three main ones: showcase the master’s and doctoral degrees of the university, launch a capital campaign and innovate the university’s fields.
“To that next level where we become the leaders in agriculture, engineering, business, the health sciences,” he said.
He said he couldn’t provide many details on the capital campaign yet, but he said it’s going to up resources in order to bring forth academics and athletics together.
“I feel incredibly honored and blessed to be able to take on this position and to be able to really say I’m proud of Fresno State, I’m proud of Fresno, there is nowhere else in the planet I would rather be but here,” Jiménez-Sandoval said.