Fresno State News Briefs

By Eddie Hughes

Top 25

Again and Again

fs-rankingsThe newest national ranking of the top universities in the United States shows Fresno State is delivering on its mission to boldly educate and empower students for success. For the third consecutive year, Fresno State is among the nation’s best at combining academic excellence with economic opportunity.

Washington Monthly, a D.C.-based magazine known for its annual rankings of American colleges and universities, announced that Fresno State placed No. 24 on its list of the top national universities.

Fresno State was selected alongside seven Ivy League institutions, including top-ranked Harvard University; six University of California campuses; and MIT on the list. Fresno State ranks 12th among the 17 public institutions included in the rankings.

“Fresno State is proud to once again represent the California State University system in the top 30,” says University President Joseph I. Castro. Among more than 400 American Association of State Colleges and Universities members, Fresno State is the only to make Washington Monthly’s top 30. Fresno State and Utah State University (No. 12) are the only Mountain West Conference schools to make the list.

Washington Monthly has been ranking colleges and universities for 13 years with what it calls “a different kind of college ranking” focusing on three equally-weighted criteria: social mobility, research and public service. The rankings are “not based on what colleges do for themselves, but on what they do for their country,” recognizing universities that “push the boundaries of scientific discovery and provide paths to opportunity for the next generation of low-income students.”

“These types of national distinctions are possible when we choose to be bold in all that we do at Fresno State,” Castro says. “Every day on campus and in the community, we encounter students and alumni who are using the opportunities provided at Fresno State as a launching point to advance in their lives and achieve their goals. That happens with thousands of graduates each year and the result is a more prosperous region.”

In May, Fresno State celebrated its largest graduating class ever with more than 6,000 students earning degrees. Enrollment at Fresno State this fall is at an all-time high of more than 25,200 students, and more than 87 percent of those students are from the Central Valley.


8 Tips

for Identifying Fake News

Jim BorenJim Boren, executive director of the new Institute for Media and Public Trust at Fresno State, shared insights gleaned from his 48-year journalism career in a blog post where he lists tips for identifying fake news. Boren, the former executive editor of The Fresno Bee, also recently hosted a First Amendment forum to explore free-speech issues on university campuses nationwide.

Boren’s tips include:

  1. Look past your own biases.We often believe the worst about people or politicians we despise. Those biases can temporarily blind us to what we are sharing.
  2. Do you recognize the source of the news item?Take extra time to confirm the facts on sites you may not recognize.
  3. Use search engines to see if anyone else is reporting the story.If it’s as big a story as is being promoted, surely some other outlet will have a version of the story.
  4. Check the link in your browser.Many fake news sites try to mimic actual news sites. The link might have a slight variation from the legitimate news site.
  5. Are there other stories on that particular website, and what is their tone?Do they pass the “smell test”? Does the writing style have excessive capital letters, exclamation points or grammatical errors?
  6. Google the author to see if the byline is from an actual person.Check the “Contact Us” or “About Us” links to see if they are working.
  7. There are many good fact-checking sites.Use them to see what they say about the story before you post it on social media. Try,, or other nonpartisan sites.
  8. Always be skeptical.It will help make you a smart news consumer.


Bold gives back

Energizing a Fraternity House

sigma-chiThe Sigma Chi fraternity at Fresno State is well positioned for the future thanks to some forward-thinking alumni who donated $177,388 for a 135-panel solar energy system that is expected to power the house for the next 30 years.

According to Sigma Chi’s national headquarters, the Fresno State chapter house is the first known to have a solar system that offsets the majority of its energy costs.

The system, installed by Sol-Tek, is mounted on a structure over the fraternity’s parking lot on Bulldog Lane to provide shade and it includes additional security lighting underneath and two electric vehicle charging stations.

Mike Patton, who joined Sigma Chi in 1963 and retired five years ago after selling his Patton Air Conditioning business, says this solar system will offset 97 percent of the house’s $17,700 electrical costs each year, allowing the Sigma Chi House Corporation to provide amenities to give students in the house the best experience possible.

“We’re in for the long haul to serve this community and this University,” says Brad Fischer, president of Sigma Chi’s Fresno State alumni chapter and a senior vice president for Premier Valley Bank. “It puts a challenge on others to take pride in the property and for alumni to reinvest. The Sigma Chi alumni have really stepped forward in investing their treasure.”

The solar project was dedicated on Aug. 4 to Steve Heinrichs, who died in 2016. Heinrichs earned a bachelor’s degree from Fresno State in 1968 and went on to earn the Fresno State Alumni Association’s Top Dog Award for the Craig School of Business in 2008.

The Sigma Chi fraternity is involved in several community projects, and raised $10,000 for Valley Children’s Healthcare in 2017.


Bold gives back

Classy Classrooms

news-classroomsThe Ruiz Foods Executive Classrooms will be constructed by summer 2019 as the result of a $1 million pledge made by Ruiz Food Products, Inc., a Dinuba-based food manufacturing company. The gift will help finance construction of an annex to the existing University Business Center and house two new executive classrooms with innovative education technology.

“With two new executive-style classrooms, the Craig School of Business vastly improves its ability to offer transformative educational experiences,” says Dr. Robert Harper, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “While the classrooms will be used for our executive MBA program and accelerated bachelor’s program, they will also serve as vital spaces for other students within the University as well. We remain grateful to Ruiz Foods for its gift to fund a large portion of the project.”

The Ruiz family has a history of supporting business education at Fresno State. Fred Ruiz is a founder of the Institute for Family Business, a community resource that promotes family businesses as a catalyst for economic growth.

Kim Ruiz Beck, chairperson of Ruiz Foods, is an alumna of the Craig School and serves on the Foundation Board of Governors for the California State University, Fresno Foundation. In 2017, she earned the Top Dog Distinguished Alumna Award from the Fresno State Alumni Association.

The classrooms will be designed to replicate what executives would expect, allowing for faculty to fully use technology to improve learning outcomes for undergraduate, MBA and executive MBA students.


Student Spotlight

Constructing a Concrete Canoe

news-academicsEach year, Fresno State engineering students build a canoe to compete against other universities from around the nation and globe. It’s active learning at its finest — where students benefit from collaboration, hands-on experience and exhibiting their skills. What happened at the competition this year was a shock to everyone — but the way students reacted showed that Bulldogs don’t break that easily.


Club hopping

Men’s Rugby Club

Fresno State club men’s rugby player Isaia Kruse (pictured)was one of 14 rugby players in the country chosen to represent Team USA at the Youth Olympic Games of 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The U.S. team competed for gold against Argentina, France, Japan, South Africa and Samoa. Fresno State has 22 club sports teams — not governed by the NCAA — that are dedicated to providing students with a competitive athletic experience on campus and in competitions.


Around the Fountain

Donations on the Rise

Nearly 10,000 people contributed more than $22.4 million to Fresno State during the 2017-18 academic year — $18.3 million for academics and $4.1 million for athletics. That’s a 22 percent increase in overall giving from the year before. Individual donor participation was also up 9 percent and alumni support grew by 14.5 percent.

1.44 Million Hours

Fresno State students, faculty and staff provided more than 1.44 million hours of service to the community during the 2017-18 academic year, setting a new campus record. The Jan and Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning at Fresno State announced the estimated economic impact of service at $40.3 million.

NBC All-Star Teacher

jennifer clickJennifer Click, a Fresno State alumna and chemistry teacher at Edison High School in Fresno, was selected as one of five nominees for the All-Star Teacher Award and featured in a video on NBC’s website. At Edison, she founded the E-City Pantry Club that donates hygiene packs to local schools and shelter

Hall of Fame Worthy

The National Football Foundation announced that Fresno State alumni Bernard Berrian (1999-03), who set a Bulldogs record and led the nation with 2,776 all-purpose yards in 2001, and the late Darryl Rogers (1956), who coached the Bulldogs from 1966-72, are on the 2019 College Football Hall of Fame ballot. The Hall of Fame class will be announced Jan. 7.

‘Game of Thrones’ Wine

To celebrate the final season of hit HBO show “Game of Thrones,” Fresno State alumnus Bob Cabral (1984) crafted three wines last year to match the strength of the show’s characters. Cabral is the director of winemaking at Three Sticks Wines in Sonoma and formerly of Williams Seylem in Healdsburg. The wine is available at