Message From the Dean

Jordan College Summer 2018 Newsletter

Dean Sandra Witte

Greetings from the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at Fresno State!

As you know, the University had to manage another free-speech challenge this past spring and summer. In the words of President Castro, “the professor’s conduct was insensitive, inappropriate and an embarrassment to the University."

Like me, I suspect some of you had even stronger words to describe the situations. I certainly agree with the comments being insensitive and inappropriate. Accepting they are protected free speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution has been more challenging for some of us.

However, from whatever perspective I view this situation, I always come back to the same conclusion. I would never choose to live anywhere but the United States of America and with that comes the responsibility to abide in the law of the land – the U.S. Constitution.

Our students have had many concerns about this situation, too.

They don’t deserve to have anyone intimidate them or destroy or devalue their education because they chose Fresno State. They deserve the opportunity to prepare themselves for their future -- a future that will come with responsibilities as American citizens.

As difficult as this recent situation has been, I am hopeful our students have learned the importance of civility and respect, and how to tolerate different viewpoints. This is what sets us apart as true Americans.

Here in the Jordan College, we are continuing to move forward and upward. We have had an outstanding year with great progress in many of our programs.

Lots of that progress has happened because of many of you. Through all of this, we have heard from many of you and I thank you for speaking up. A great many of you have reached out to President Castro, one of my colleagues, or me to let us know you understand the University's dilemma and want to lend your support. We also have heard from a few individuals who want to sever their relationships with us. I am hopeful that with time, they will change their minds.

I am confident when I say that faculty in the Jordan College are respectful, civil, and strongly committed to the success of our students. That’s not to say they are perfect or that you will always agree with their perspectives. But our students know they can count on Jordan College faculty and staff to make them feel safe and respected. And wearing their boots to class is absolutely fine!

I am always delighted to share with you some of the great things going on in the Jordan College. Here are just a few of our Spring 2018 bragging points:

• On April 20, 2018, we formally named our viticulture building the Vincent E. Petrucci Viticulture Building. All of Dr. Petrucci’s children and many of his grandchildren joined us for this very special occasion.
• Our dairy science program has been working to improve the genetics in our milking herd. With that has come the anticipated increase in milk production. And as of now, all of the herd is registered!
• The dairy science program also sent a team of students to National Dairy Challenge, showed some of our animals at a couple of shows and made the cover photo on the November 2017 edition of Holstein World!
• Our plant science program has continued to gain national recognition: we had a winning soils judging team and again had a student named a Greenfield Scholar by the tri-societies!
• Two students from the Department of Plant Science and two from the Department of Agricultural Business were named 2018 Ag Scholars of the Year by Assemblyman Jim Patterson.
• Thanks to a generous local family foundation, we have a great start on endowing our student rodeo team. The lead gift of $250,000 gets us started and provided a matching grant of up to $500,000 towards gifts received by May 2019. Our goal for the endowment is $1.5 million.
• We have received a gift of $1.2 million from the estate of Roxie Moradian to create an endowment to support deserving students in agriculture.
• The Meyers Livestock Judging Team has continued to participate in collegiate contests. They have also received a team van, thanks to the generosity of Marvin Meyers.

We are looking forward to a spectacular 2018-2019 school year – welcoming new faculty, staff, administrators and students to the Jordan College. We also look forward to continuing to partner with you to move agriculture forward!!

Sandra S. Witte

Dean, Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.