History & Milestones

1911

Arthur G. Wahlberg, a respected teacher of Music in the public schools was invited by his friend, President C. L. McLane, to help establish Fresno State Normal School which was located on the present site of Fresno City College. Art, English, and Music were among the original disciplines.

Under the direction of Arthur G. Wahlberg, the first musical organization of the School was formed - a Glee Club of young women preparing to be school teachers.

1912

The Dramatic Club of the Fresno State Normal School produced its first play.

1914

Special Certification in Art offered.

1918

Art and Music achieve department status. Folk, National, and Classical Dance courses offered in the Department of Physical Education.

1920

Alexandra Bradshaw appointed Director of Fine Arts.

Arthur G. Wahlberg appointed Director of Music.

1921

G. H. Hunting appointed Head of the Department of English.

Fresno State Normal School becomes Fresno State Teachers College.

1922

Courses in French, Spanish, and Latin offered.

1923

The first courses in Philosophy offered: Logic 1A and 1B.

1924

Art and Foreign Languages gain department status.

1926

Music gains department status.

1927

English gains department status.

1928

Drama Program became a recognized component of the Department of English.
           
The first children’s theatre production “A Little Pilgrim’s Progress” was produced.

1929

Dr. Albert Ray Lang is appointed Dean of the School of Education under which Art, English, Foreign Languages, Music departments reside.

Philosophy was offered as a minor.

John W. Wright, a Yale graduate, was hired to head the Drama Program in the Department of English.

The first course in Journalism was offered in the Department of English.

1930

The Department of Journalism was formed from an option in the Department of English.

Radio speaking and radio production courses were developed in the Department of English, within Speech Arts.

1931

Speech-Drama major was approved by the State Board of Education.

1932

The Department of English was re-organized into three subdivisions: Composition, Literature, and Speech Arts.

1933

Speech Arts Major approved by the State Board of Education.

1935

Fresno State Teachers College becomes Fresno State College.

First Bachelor of Arts degree in Music awarded after the State legislature authorized degree programs other than those related to the teaching credential

Pre-legal advisement first becomes available.

Foreign Languages gains department status and is chaired by Dr. Grey Blandin Colburn.

Major in Psychology-Philosophy offered for the first time.

1936

The Department of Foreign Languages adds a major in German to its existing majors in Spanish and French.

1937

First course in Radio Drama taught by John W. Wright in the Department of English.

Purchase and conversion of the Trinity Methodist Church into The University Street Playhouse, hailed as the "first plant of its kind possessed by any college or university on the West Coast." The facility contained a Little Theatre and a radio studio that broadcasted weekley programs over the California Broadcasting System.

1938

The Department of English offers concentrations in Composition, Literature, and Journalism.

The Division of Speech headed by J.W. Wright is formed within the Department of English.

1940

The Collegian is published twice a week and a literary magazine, The Caravan, is published twice a year.

Two-year technical-vocational tracks include Commercial Art & Photography, Drama and Radio, and Journalism.

1941

The Department of Foreign Languages adds courses in Italian.

1942

Speech Arts gains department status and is chaired by John W. Wright.

Dr. William E. St. John chairs the Department of English.

The Department of Foreign Languages adds courses in Portuguese.

1943

Division of Journalism established under the Department of English headed by Dr. Paul V. Sheehan.

1944

Dr. Arthur C. Berdahl chairs Music department.

1946

Philosophy gains division status within department of Psychology headed by Dr. Edward V. Tenney.

1947

Psychology and Philosophy gain department status chaired by Dr. E. V. Tenney.

One of the first graduate programs offered by Fresno State College is English, the other is in Education.

1948

Music adds graduate course.

1949

Dr. Charles W. Bird chairs department of Foreign Languages.

Speech adds graduate courses.

1950

Dr. Carlos A. Rojas chairs the deparment of Foreign Languages.

Dr. John E. Herbert chairs the department of Art.

First M.A. degree programs added in English and Speech.

Speech Major lists 5 options: Radio Broadcasting, Theatre, Public Speaking-Group Discussion, Interpretation, and Speech Correction.

1951

Foreign Languages offers graduate courses.

1952

Fresno State College organized into divisions: Agriculture, Business, Education, Fine and Performing Arts (departments of Art, Home Economics, Industrial Arts, Music, and Speech; Dr. Horace O. Schorling, Division Head), Humanities (departments of English, Foreign Languages, Journalism, and Philosophy; Dr. William E. St. John, Division Head), Life Sciences, Physical Education, Physical Sciences, and Social Sciences.

Journalism gains department status and Dr. Sheehan chairs.

English offers two BA degrees: English and Comparative Literature.

Latin-American Studies Major offered in department of Foreign Languages.

First course in Graphic Design: Graphic Arts Processes, was listed in the Division of Industrial Arts.

1953

The Department of Speech Arts was formed, chaired by John W. Wright.

First MA in Speech Arts was granted in June.

1954

The 70-member Fresno State College Orchestra became the Fresno Philharmonic Orchestra. 

Music Building was among the first buildings to open on the new campus at Cedar and Shaw.

Philosophy major established.

Radio Broadcasting emphasis in Speech changes to Radio-Television Broadcasting.

Journalism degree offered with 3 emphases: General Journalism, Journalism with emphasis on Public Relations and Advertising, and Journalism with emphasis on Radio and TV New Communication.

1956 

Introduction of the first course in Linguistics at Fresno State College, English 130: The English Language - a collaborative effort between the heads of the Departments of Anthropology and English.

1957

Fresno State College is again reorganized - this time into 12 instructional divisions.

The Division of Fine Arts consists of the departments of Art and Music, Division Head is new chair of Music, Dr. Ralph C. Rea.

The Division of Humanities consists of the departments of English, Foreign Languages, Journalism, and Philosophy, Division Head is new chair of English, Dr. Earl D. Lyon.

The Division of Speech Arts, Division Head is Dr. John W. Wright.

Speech Arts adds a new emphasis in Public Address.

1958

President Joyal appoints Herbert H. Wheaton Dean of Arts and Sciences

Fred Brengelman, the first Linguistics faculty member, joined the Department of English and began to teach courses in this discipline.

Music offers an MA degree.

Russian offered in the department of Foreign Languages.

Journalism adds new emphasis on Technical Writing and Editing.

1st Annual Peach Blossom Festival, an event that introduces elementary school-aged children to oral interpretation is hosted by the Division of Speech Arts.

1959

The Division of Speech Arts offers three BA degrees: Radio Broadcasting Major, Theatre Major, and Speech Major with options in Public Address, Interpretation, and Speech Correction.

1960

Linguistics added under the Department of English.

The Speech Arts building on the Cedar Shaw campus was completed.

1961

California State University Fresno becomes a charter institution of the California State University System.

Dr. Herbert H. Wheaton is appointed Acting Division Head for Humanities.

Philosophy achieves department status, Dr. A. Wayne Colver chair.

M.A. in Art offered.

1962

Theatre Major is changed to Dramatic Arts and Radio Broadcasting Major is changed to Radio-Television Broadcasting within the Division of Speech Arts.

1963

Divisions of Humanities and Social Sciences combined to form the Division of Letters and Sciences, Dr. Herbert H. Wheaton, Division Head

Dr. Russell E. Leavenworth chairs the English department.

Dr. Edgar A. List is acting chair of Foreign Languages.

M.A. degrees offered in French, German, and Spanish.

Dr. Jack A. Pitt chairs Philosophy.

Journalism department adds new option in News-Editorial in Journalism.

1964

Re-organization of Divisions into Schools under President Frederick Ness resulted in the formation of: The School of Arts and Sciences, Dr. M. Bruce Fisher, Acting Dean. The School of Arts and Sciences is comprised of the departments of Anthropology-Sociology, Art, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, English, Foreign Languages, Geography, Geology, History, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Physical Education and Recreation, Physics, Political Science, Psychology, and Speech Arts (which reverts in department status).

Department of Journalism goes to the School of Professional Studies, Dr. Horace O. Schorling, Dean that includes the departments of Aerospace Studies, Health Education, Home Economics, Industrial Arts and Technology, and Nursing.

1965

Frank Laury chairs the department of Art.

Dr. Robert L. Mathers chairs Philosophy.

Courses in Italian offered in department of Foreign Languages.

1966

Dr. Dale C. Burtner appointed Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.

Religious Studies added to department of Philosophy.

Dr. Robert S. Billings chairs English.

Dr. Edgar A. List chairs Foreign Languages.

Phillip N. Walker chairs Speech Arts.

1967

Linguistics achieves department status, Dr. Frederick H. Brengleman, chair.

1968

MA in Linguistics established.

1969

Phillip N. Walker appointed Acting Dean for School of Arts and Sciences.

Greek, Chinese and Japanese language courses added to Foreign Languages.

Eugene E. Zumwalt chairs English.

Dr. Edward R. Gammon chairs Linguistics.

Dr. James M. Smith chairs Philosophy.

Gaylord O. Graham is appointed acting chair of Speech Arts.

Dr. John H. Dukes chairs Journalism.

Heinze N. Kusel chairs Art.

Dr. Wilson W.Coker chairs Music.

Religious Studies and Latin American Studies moves into Special Programs.

1970

Russian offered as a major in Foreign Languages.

Armenian Language courses introduced in Foreign Languages.

Music Major offers three options: I. Performance, Composition, Musicology; II. Teaching credential with secondary school specialization; III. Teaching credential with elementary school specialization.

Interdisciplinary Masters degree in Mass Communications offered in Graduate Studies.

Journalism offers degree emphasis in Advertising and Public Relations.

1971

The School of Humanities (comprised of the departments of Art, English, Foreign Languages, Linguistics, and Philosophy) established following a split from the School of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Ralph C. Rea was appointed Acting Dean.

Drama and Radio-Television achieve department status and joins Journalism and Music in The School of Professional Studies. Dr. Arthur H. Margosian is appointed Acting Dean.

Speech Arts becomes Speech Communication and moves to the School of Social Sciences.

Classical Studies, coordinated by history professor Dr. Stephen Benko is offered under Special and Interdisciplinary Programs.

Chinese and Japanese language courses move to Linguistics.

Art major lists areas of concentration in drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, photography, design, crafts, printmaking, and art history.

Radio-Television Broadcasting Major offered in the new department of Radio-Television.

MA in Mass Communication moves to Radio-Television from Speech Arts.

Speech Communication offers two options: I. Rhetoric & Communication; II. Speech Arts for elementary education credential.

1972

Fresno State College becomes California State University Fresno.

Dr. James F. Light appointed Dean for the School of Humanities.

Dr. Lillian Faderman chairs English.

Dr. Ralph L. Hennings chairs Speech Communication.

Drama department renamed Theatre Arts.

Photocommunication sequence added to Journalism degree.

1973

Dr. Lillian Faderman was appointed Acting Dean for the School of Humanities.

Armenian Studies established in Special Programs coordinated by History Professor Dr. Louise Nalbandian.

BA major in Linguistics with options in Spanish-English Bilingualism, Black Dialectology, and English as a Second Language.

MA in Bilingual Studies (Spanish, French, & German) offered in Linguistics.

Dr. Robert S. Billings is Acting Chair of English.

Dr. William B. Uphold chairs Philosophy.

Dayle H. Molen chairs Journalism.

Dr. James H. Winter chairs Music.

Dr. John P. Highlander chairs Radio-Television.

1974

Joseph Satin was appointed Dean for the School of Humanities.

Religious Studies moves out of Special Programs and becomes an option in Philosophy.

Dr. P. J. Mistry chairs Linguistics.

Dr. Warren L. Kessler chairs Philosophy.

1975

Dr. David F. Quadro chairs Speech Communication.

1976

Ronald Johnson chairs Theatre Arts.

Roger Bolomey chairs Art.

Dr. James W. Slinger chairs Philosophy.

Dr. Philip Lane coordinates Radio-Television.

Hebrew language courses introduced in Linguistics.

1977

Theatre Arts, Radio-Television, and Speech merged into a single Department of Communication Arts and Sciences.  It was chaired by Ron Johnson and joined the School of Humanities.  David Quadro coordinated the Speech Communication Program, Philip J. Lane the Radio-Television Program.

Armenian Studies Program established.

1978

Theatre Arts, Radio-Television, and Speech merged into a single Department of Communication Arts and Sciences within the School of Professional Studies. It was chaired by Ronald Johnson, David Quadro coordinated the Speech Communication Program and Dr. Phillip Lane coordinated the Radio-Television Program.

Sanskrit offered in Linguistics.

Dr. Dickran Kouymijian coordinates Armenian Studies.

Dr. Kenneth Seib chairs English.

Dr. William B. Uphold chairs Philosophy.

Dr. John H. Martin is acting chair of Music.

Arthur H. Mergosian is acting chair of Journalism.

Dr. Raymond S. Weitzman is acting chair of Linguistics.

1979

Creative Writing Option established in M.A. Degree in English.

Edward O. Lund chairs Art.

Dr. John R. Heard coordinates Music..

1980

Dean Satin establishes the Arts and Humanities Advisory Board.

The Dance Program moved from Physical Education and became an option in the Theatre Arts Major.

Theatre Arts Option added in MA degree in Speech.

Composition Option added in MA degree in English.

Women's Studies, coordinated by Gail Wasser (Webber) moves from Special Programs to School of Humanities.

Joyce B. Aikens chairs Art.

Dr. Lawrence Schneider chairs Journalism.

1981

The School of Arts and Humanities formed under President Haak in yet another re-organization; the School includes the Departments of Art, Communication Arts and Sciences, English, Foreign Languages, Journalism, Linguistics, Music, Philosophy, and the Women’s Studies Program.

James D. Tucker chairs Journalism.

1982

University Press established with the publication of FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT: LETTERS OF APPRENTICES Selected and with commentary by Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer.

KFSR-FM, a student operated public radio station goes on the air.

MA in Spanish introduced in Foreign Languages.

Literature option added in MA in English.

Studio Piano Teaching option added in BA in Music.

Ara H. Dolarian chairs Art.

Dr. Jean Pickering chairs English.

Dr. James W. Slinger chairs Philosophy.

1983

MA in Linguistics offers two options: General Linguistics and English as a Second Language (ESL).

Dr. John Barta chairs Foreign Languages.

Dr. Fred Brengleman chairs Linguistics.

Dr. Phyllis Irwin chairs Music.

Dr. Hague Foster chairs Philosophy.

1984

London Semester first offered as a collaborative international educational experience between the Schools of Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences; Dr. Lyman Heine, Director.

Dr. John C. Cagle coordinates Speech Communication Program.

Dr. R. C. Adams coordinates Radio-Television Program.

1985

Armenian Studies moves from Special Programs to Ethnic Studies Program in the School of Social Sciences.

Interdisciplinary minor in Humanities moves from Special Programs to the School of Arts and Humanities, Dean Joseph Satin coordinator.

Dr. Roger Chittick chairs English.

Dr. P. J. Mistry chairs Linguistics.

Dr. Jack Fortner is acting chair in Music.

1986

James D. Tucker chairs Journalism.

S. Michael Opper chairs Art.

Dr. Keith Sauer chairs Foreign Languages.

Dr. Phyllis Irwin chairs Music.

1987

Dr. Robert G. Ware appointed Assistant Dean.

Classical Studies Interdisciplinary minor moves from Special Programs to the School of Arts and Humanities, Dr. Victor D. Hansen, coordinator.

American English Institute established under the School of Arts and Humanities, Dr. Ellen Lipp, Director.

Radio-Television renamed Telecommunications Program with options in: Creative, Management, News/Public Affairs, and Production; R.C. Adams, coordinator.

Jose A. Elgorriaga coordinates Humanities Interdisciplinary minor.

1988

Pre-law Option offered in the BA in Philosophy.

Women's Studies Program moves to School of Social Sciences.

Instrumental and Vocal Performance options added to BA in Music.

Dr. James A. Hart chairs English.

Dr. Jack B. Zeldis chairs Linguistics.

Dr. Warren Kessler chairs Philosophy.

Dr. Maurice C. Gendron chairs Foreign Languages.

1989

Dr. Phyllis Irwin appointed Interim Dean.

Department of Communication Arts and Sciences split into three separate departments:  Department of Speech Communication, chaired by John Cagle;
the Department of Theatre Arts, chaired by Ron Johnson; and the Department of Telecommunications chaired by R.C. Adams.

Armenian Studies Program moves from School of Social Sciences to School of Arts and Humanities.

1990

Luis Costa was appointed Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities.

Classical Studies Interdisciplinary minor moves to department of Foreign Langes. Dr. Pamela L .Vaughn coordinates.

Applied Ethics Program, coordinated by Dr. Warren Kessler, introduced as a Special Program.

Dr. Bruce S. Thornton coordinates Humanities Interdisciplinary minor.

M.A. in Music offers four concentrations: Music Education, Performance, Theory/Composition, and History/Literature.

Frank Laury chairs Art.

Dr. F. Andrew Hart chairs English.

Dr. Jack A. Pitt chairs Philosophy.

1991

President John D. Welty opens a new addition to the Music Building, known as  the New Music Building.  The Office of the Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities relocates to the newly remodeled old Music Building.

Japanese minor and Hmong language course introduced in department of Linguistics.

Foreign Languages becomes department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. Dr. Jose A. Elgorriaga chairs.

Paul C. Adams chairs Journalism.

Dr. Vida Samiian chairs Linguistics.

1993

Departments of Journalism and Telecommunications merged to form the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism. R. C. Adams chairs. B.A. degree in Mass Communication and Journalism options include: Advertising, Broadcast Journalism, Broadcast Management, Broadcast Production, Media Studies, News-Editorial, Photocommunications, and Public Relations. M.A. in Mass Communication is moved from Special Programs to department of Mass Communication and Journalism.

Armenian Studies Program moves to Office of the Provost.

Non-fiction Prose option added to M.A. degree in English.

Richard W. Delany chairs Art.

Dr. Craig Bernthal chairs English.

Dr. Gerald R. McMenamin chairs Linguistics.

1994

School of Arts and Humanities hosted the California State Summer School for the Arts.

Dr. Vida Samiian appointed Associate Dean.

1995

Graphic and Interior Design Programs moves from the department of Industrial Technology in the School of Agricultural Sciences and Technology to the department of Art to form the department of Art and Design. Graphic Design becomes an option in the B.A.in Art and a B.A. in Interior Design is added to the department's curricular offerings.

Armenian Studies Program returns to the School of Arts and Humanities.

1996

Patricia L. Hennings chairs Art and Design.

Dr. Bruce S. Thornton chairs Foreign Languages and Literatures.

Dr. Karen Bell chairs Philosophy.

Dr. Robert G. Powell chairs Speech Communications.

1997

An M.F.A. in Creative Writing offe4red in the department of English.

M.A. in Music offers two options: Music Education and Performance.

Dr. Andrew Simmons chairs English.

Dr. George W. Raney chairs Linguistics.

1998

Richard W. Delaney chairs Art and Design.

Dr. Greg D. Lewis is interim chair of Mass Communication and Journalism.

Dr. Kathleen S. McKinley chairs Theatre Arts.

1999

The School of Arts and Humanities changes its name to the College of Arts and Humanities.

The department of Speech Communications changes its name to Communication.

Music as a Liberal Art option added to B.A. degree in Music.

CSU Summer Arts makes its home at Fresno State.

Dr. Jose A. Diaz chairs Music.

Dr. Robert D. Maldonado chairs Philosophy.

2000

University High School, a college preparatory charter high school with music as its common core arts curriculum, opens its doors to the first class of
100 freshman.

M.A in Art offers areas of studies in: Art Education, Art History, Interior Design, and Studio Art.

Classical Studies minor moves to Foreign Languages and Literatures.

B.A. in Mass Communication and Journalism offers options in: Advertising, Broadcast Journalism, Digital Media, Electronic Media Production, Photojournalism, Print Journalism, and Public Relations.

Nancy K. Brian chairs Art and Design.

Dr. Vincent L. Bloom chairs Communication.

Dr. David A. Ross chairs Foreign Languages and Literatures.

2001

Dr. Barbara Birch chairs Linguistics.

James B. Tucker is interim chair of Mass Communication and Journalism.

2003

Dr. Katherine L. Adams chairs Communication.

Dr. James E. Walton chairs English.

James M. Priest chairs Mass Communication and Journalism.

2004

Lawrence L. Anderson chairs Art and Design.

Dr. Honora H. Chapman coordinates Classical Studies Interdisciplinary minor.

Computational Linguistics otion added to B.A. in Linguistics.

M.A. in Mass Communications changes to M.A. in Mass Communication and Journalism.

2005

Dr. Vida Samiian appointed Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities.

Dr. Jose A. Diaz appointed Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities.

The department of Foreign Languages and Literatures changes its name to the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures. Dr. Barbara Birch chairs.

Richard L. McQuone chairs Art and Design.

Dr. Ellen Lipp chairs Linguistics.

Applied Ethics program is coordinated by Dr. Barbara LaBossiere.

Cognitive Science minor, an interdisciplinary program between Linguistics, Philosophy, Psychology, Communicative Disorders and Deaf Studies, and Computer Science departments is added to Special Programs.

2006

The College of Arts and Humanities Honors Program established.

Dr. Matthew H. Darling is interim chair of Music.

2007

College is awarded a U.S. Department of Education Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Languages grant that made it possible to develop and offer language instruction in Persian and Arabic and develop a minor in Middle East Studies.

BFA in Graphic Design approved for offering by Chancellor's Office.

Interdisciplinary Language Studies added as option in B.A. in Linguistics.

Dr. Thomas N. Hiebert chairs Music.

2008

Publication of the first issue of The Normal School, a literary magazine compiled and edited by faculty and students in the department of English's M.F.A. in Creative Writing Program.

Interdisciplinary Minor in Media Arts, a collaboration between the departments of Art and Design, Mass Commmunication and Journalism, and Music is added to College curriculum.

Minor in Creative Writing added to English.

Dr. Saul Jimenez-Sandoval chairs Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures.

Dr. Scott Moore chairs Philosophy.

Dr. Melissa D. Gibson chairs Theatre Arts.

2009

Animation/New Media emphasis added to B.A. in Art.

Instrumental Jazz Performance option added to B.A. in Music.

B.F.A. in Graphic Design offered with three areas of emphasis: Graphic Design, Illustration, and Interactive Multimedia Design in the department of Art and Design.

Barlow Der Mugrdechian coordinates Armenian Studies Program.

Martin Valencia chairs Art and Design.

Dr. Chris Golston chairs Linguistics.

Dr. Andrew Fiala coordinates Applied Ethics Program.

2010

The College hosted over 50 distinguished alums over homecoming weekend for a series of alumni panels in each of the college's departments before audiences of students, faculty, and community and buried a time capsule in the Dean's Courtyard located next to the Dean's office in Old Music Building in celebration of Fresno State's Centennial Celebration.

Dr. Douglas M. Fraleigh chairs Communication.

Dr. Lisa Weston chairs English.

Dr. Tamyra Pierce chairs Mass Communication and Journalism.

Dr. Michael Caldwell chairs Music.

Dr. Andrew Fiala chairs Philosophy.

2011

The Center for Creativity and the Arts is established headed by Founding Director and Associate Dean José A. Díaz.

The Roshan Endowed Professor of Persian Language and Culture is established.

2012

Interdisciplinary Minor in Middle East Studies is added to College curriculum.

Department of Mass Communication and Journalism overhauls its degree options to reflect current industry standards. Degree options are: Advertising, Journalism, Multimedia, and Public Relations.

Dr. Xinchun Wang chairs Linguistics.

Dr. Tony Mowrer chairs Music.

Dr. Kathy Adams chairs Mass Communication and Journalism.

2013

Dr. Shane Moreman is appointed Executive Director of the Center for Creativity and the Arts.

Dr. Adán Avalos is appointed Artistic Director of the Center for Creativity and the Arts.

2014

Dr. José A. Díaz appointed Interim Dean

The Department of Communication's Barking Bulldogs Debate Team, under the direction of Mr. Devon Cooper, takes first place in the Cross Examination Debate Association's (CEDA) Pacific Region and eighteenth nationally.

The Department of Mass Communication & Journalism establishes a partnership with Community Media Access Collaborative (CMAC), a non-profit public benefit corporation.

The Peace and Conflict Studies program and minor and the Middle East Studies program and minor joins the Department of Philosophy.

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