Joseph I. Castro, Ph.D., M.P.P.
President, California State University, Fresno
Joseph I. Castro is the first Californian to serve as president of California State University, Fresno. He is the grandson of immigrants from Mexico, son of a single mother and the first in his family to graduate from a university. Dr. Castro is a Professor of Educational Leadership and a gifted scholar in the fields of leadership and public policy who has mentored hundreds of other scholars and practitioners, including many other university presidents and senior officers.
Fresno State is a national leader in recruiting, supporting and graduating students from diverse backgrounds. In 2020, Fresno State was ranked No. 26 in the nation by Washington Monthly and recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top three best public national universities for graduation-rate performance five years in a row. The University was also ranked No. 40 in Money Magazine’s Best Public Colleges and No. 7 for Most Transformative College, described by the magazine as a school “where students beat the odds by doing better than would be expected from their academic and economic backgrounds.”
Prior to his appointment as President in 2013, he served for 23 years in the University of California system. He was Vice Chancellor of Student Academic Affairs and Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) from 2006-13. UCSF is widely recognized as the leading health-sciences university in the nation. Dr. Castro led UCSF’s programs that served the academic and health-care needs of its talented and diverse students. Earlier in his career, he held faculty and/or administrative leadership positions at four other University of California campuses – Berkeley, Davis, Merced and Santa Barbara.
Dr. Castro received a B.A. in political science and an M.P.P. in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in higher-education policy and leadership from Stanford University. He has also successfully completed three advanced seminars on presidential leadership at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
Dr. Castro serves on a number of boards, including the Lumina Foundation Board, WASC Senior College and University Commission, Mountain West Athletic Conference Board, Stanford University Graduate School of Education Advisory Council, James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award Selection Committee, College Football Playoff Board, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities’ Governing Board, and Jumpstart National Board.
Dr. Castro’s leadership has been recognized by many different organizations. In 2019, on behalf of Fresno State, he received a fifth Excellence and Innovation Award from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities since the awards program began in 2013. In 2018, he was named as CSU President of the Year by the California State Student Association and City of Fresno District 4 Man of the Year. In 2017, he received the Mayor of Fresno’s Community Partnership Award. In 2016, he received the Alumni Excellence in Education Award from the Stanford University Graduate School of Education and the Ohtli Award, which is the highest honor granted by the Government of Mexico to leaders in the United States. In 2014, he was selected as Alumnus of the Year by the UC Berkeley Richard and Rhoda Goldman School of Public Policy. Dr. Castro received the University of California Student Association’s Administrator of the Year Award and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award from UCSF in 2010. Dr. Castro was born and raised in Hanford, CA. He and his wife, Mary, have three children, Isaac, Lauren and Jess.