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Office of the President

Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, Ph.D. 

President - California State University, Fresno

Dr. Saúl Jiménez-SandovalSaúl Jiménez-Sandoval has roots in Fowler, a city 15 minutes south of Fresno, and his commitment to the region and higher education form the foundation of his drive to promote the region’s economic and cultural ascendency. Dr. Jiménez-Sandoval is an immigrant to the San Joaquin Valley, having arrived in the region from Mexico at 10 years old. He worked on his father’s small farm and grew to appreciate the many cultures, languages and communities of the Valley.

After serving over two decades on campus, Dr. Jiménez-Sandoval was named Fresno State’s ninth president in 2021. Prior to his administrative appointments as the Dean of Arts and Humanities and Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Jiménez-Sandoval taught on campus for nearly 15 years. His expertise is in Spanish and Portuguese poetry, and he has published on authors from Cuba, Mexico, Spain and Portugal. Dr. Jiménez-Sandoval has a deep faith in the potential of Fresno State’s gifted students and works tirelessly to promote their growth and success. Under his leadership, Fresno State launched a groundbreaking new direct-admissions program, Bulldog Bound, in the Spring of 2022. In the first year, Bulldog Bound partnered with over 30 local school districts, transforming access to higher education in the Central Valley and fostering a college-going culture across the community. 

Dr. Jiménez-Sandoval is most inspired by Fresno State’s power to transform the individual in ways that promote their unique skills and talents and encourage their dynamic contributions to the greater good. He is proud of Fresno State’s status as a national leader in recruiting, supporting and graduating students from diverse backgrounds. Under his leadership, Fresno State saw an impressive rise in national rankings. In 2023, Fresno State was ranked atop the CSU and among the highest in the West in national university rankings. Fresno State ranked No. 26 in Washington Monthly’s 2023 annual list of top universities. At No. 26, Fresno State ranks alongside six Ivy League schools and private universities like Stanford and MIT. In 2023, Fresno State also ranked No. 8 in social mobility in U.S. World News and Report and No. 6 in Social Mobility in the Wall Street Journal. 

In the first three years of Dr. Jiménez-Sandoval’s presidency, Fresno State has achieved some truly remarkable accomplishments. In the Fall of 2022, Fresno State achieved a “Doctoral University — High Research Activity,” or “R2” by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education. Fresno State is the only CSU in the Central San Joaquin Valley to have this designation and it is Dr. Jiménez-Sandoval’s sincere belief that research is at the heart of innovation and entrepreneurship. In 2022-23, Fresno State was awarded a record-breaking $65.5M in grants and contracts and has recorded a remarkable 75% increase over the last six years. In the Fall of 2023, Fresno State launched its new five-year strategic plan. The plan outlines five primary goals and was a product of the feedback of thousands of individuals across the campus community. 

 Dr. Jiménez-Sandoval believes in the power of relationships and professional development through mentorship and has engaged in mentoring, both informally and through established programs, for aspiring leaders from every college and school at Fresno State. He has also established formal relationships with a number of local and national organizations to strengthen the impact of Fresno State, including Fresno Housing, to address housing insecurity, the U.S. Army Civil Affairs to expand food security, the Fresno Chaffee Zoo and the Study in Portugal Network to establish new study abroad pathway programs. 

Dr. Jiménez-Sandoval received dual B.A.s (cum laude), in History and in Spanish, from the University of California, Irvine. His M.A. and Ph.D. are in Spanish and Portuguese literatures, also from UC Irvine. He subsequently successfully completed an advanced seminar on critical theory at Cornell’s School of Criticism and Theory.

Dr. Jiménez-Sandoval’s leadership has been recognized both locally and nationally.  He serves on a number of boards, including the federal USDA-HACU Leadership Group, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and serves as the Chair of the CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology and CSU WATER.  In 2023, he was named the recipient of the Robert C. Maxson President of the Year award for the second year in a row; the award was presented by the Cal State Student Association, a student organization that represents nearly half a million students in the CSU system. He also received the Horizon Excellence in the Arts Award by the Fresno Art Council in 2019 and was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi honor society in 2016.

Dr. Jiménez-Sandoval is dedicated to the Central Valley and Fresno State and is proud that his academic career has been invested in promoting the deep roots and bright futures of the students and region. With his deep love of the Valley and a strong connection to agriculture and the arts, he is committed to his community where he and his wife, Dr. Mariana Anagnostopoulos, and their two sons, Leo and Arion, call home.