Fresno State Centennial

Our History


A time to reflect...

Fresno State has evolved from modest beginnings as a teachers college early in the 20th century into an acclaimed, culturally diverse, 21st century university offering educational opportunities through eight schools and colleges. Our students have applied what they’ve learned at Fresno State throughout California, around the world and into space, benefiting literally millions of people.

From our humble establishment on September 11, 1911, as the Fresno Normal School , we opened our doors to provide the foundation for the future of California State University, Fresno, pledging to be a university accessible to students from all backgrounds with a burning desire to learn and succeed. We pride ourselves on our contributions to the economic, civic and social well-being of our communities, and promise to continue to serve them to the best of our ability.

Fresno State's story is much more than bricks and mortar, programs and research. It’s written in the stories of those who have come to campus to learn, enjoy a concert or check out a book. A centennial is the time when those memories come into sharp focus and are shared, stimulating more remembrances of Fresno State’s first 100 years.


  • Being there when everyone gave Steve Coupland – probably the greatest water polo player in Fresno State history – a standing ovation at the end of his last game as a Bulldog.

    Dan Waterhouse, B.S. Business 1978
  • My fondest memory is the time I was introduced to the girl that would later become my wife. Thank goodness for my graduating from Fresno State and to have met my wife and partner.

    Steven Schleikorn, B.S. Business 1985
  • As a child, my mother used to take me out to visit the animals and picnic at O'Neill Park. I remember thinking what a magical thing it was to have a farm right in the middle of the city… and it still is!

    Tracy Newel, M.B.A. '11 • Staff '07 - present
  • My mother, Amelia Hansen, earned a teaching credential from Fresno Normal School in 1921. She went on to teach at the two-room American Colony elementary school. She earned $1,200 - per year!

    Shirley Kirkpatrick