Spring 2020 Message from the Dean

What an extraordinary spring this has been! Fresno is always so lovely this time of year, with the roses waking up from their winter slumber, azaleas blooming profusely, and annuals carefully planted to dress up even the most modest front yard. Walking around my neighborhood during brief forays outside the house, I feel so lucky to live in our beautiful city with its glorious trees that communicate our area’s sense of being rooted to the earth. 

On the edges of our Valley cities lie bounteous farms and ranches with plenty of hard work to be done to sustain all of us and the rest of the world, and in our cities workers are providing essential services, including those now bravely serving on the front line at local hospitals, clinics, and homes. I marvel at the thought that many Fresno State alumni whom we have taught in our arts and humanities general education courses are now making sure that civilization keeps functioning despite many of us sheltering at home. What students once might have considered ‘just stories’ in books taught in our courses, such as Vergil’s Georgics and Boccaccio’s Decameron, is now being revived in a new form today. From this will come new art and literature that will inspire and comfort new generations. 

Metamorphosis is the very essence of springtime, and it has been remarkable to see how quickly Fresno State transformed its entire education into virtual offerings the week that spring arrived. Faculty, staff, and students have worked incredibly hard to learn new technological skills and to adapt curricular and administrative work to the virtual realm. What used to be assigned, invoiced, taught, turned in, graded, or signed all flows electronically now. (We all need to look up from our screens regularly, or our eyesight will metamorphose into something requiring a new prescription!)

Our students and their success motivate everything we do at Fresno State. Right now, our students face serious hardships and uncertainty about their employment, housing, and even their next meal. Fresno State is doing its best to disseminate information about resources and to supply devices to make online learning accessible, as well as food at the pantry on campus. We would appreciate any support you can provide to help our very deserving students during this extraordinary time.

As much as we all have enjoyed our arts and humanities at home while we read books, watch movies, or even create art and play music during our free time, Sergio and I can’t wait to see all of you at our events on campus this coming fall, including the beautiful art exhibits, concerts, lectures, and dramatic productions that the faculty have already been planning and scheduling. Please visit our calendar on the College of Arts and Humanities website for more information as August approaches. 

In the meantime, please take care and be well. And thank you for always being our ‘Inspiration for Life’!


Honora Chapman